June ‘19 Community Letter

The Return of Fuji — Film, on Kickstarter, and Time Off

4 min read by Dmitri. Published in Letters, Editorials.

Accounts, a platform for the Analog.Cafe authors and readers used to send automated emails every Tuesday, announcing new articles on the website. Last month I’ve committed to use a personal touch and write those letters by-hand.

Today’s email gets a special treatment as it’s also being published on the website. There are a number of worthwhile announcements from film and camera manufacturers summarized in this letter, however, this is not why I’m releasing it in this fashion. I will be taking a break from publishing articles and social media for the next couple of weeks; I thought it would be useful to go over this in some detail on record.

Industry news isn’t something I usually publish on Analog.Cafe. It requires a different kind of skillset to follow, gather, and announce events regularly. I will not be diving into niche journalism just yet, however, a monthly summary of events which some of you may find important is something I’d like to experiment with. If you’re interested in these kinds of reads, create your account here.

Fujifilm announces reformulated Neopan Acros II.

The first piece of news is very encouraging. Especially if you shoot black and white film.

Having recently discovered this Fuji’s ultra-fine-grained film I’m naturally excited to see it return. A particularly pleasant aspect of this announcement is that it comes from the company that’s been seemingly committed to slashing its film production for good. It’s good to see a business with such potential re-investing in analogue imaging medium.

If you can read Japanese, the original announcement is here. A number of websites have already covered the details. In short, it’s a copy of the original stock, made with newly-sourced chemicals.

At a Tokyo garden. Neopan Acros with Vitessa L.

Fujifilm brings a new “hybrid” Instax camera to the market.

Fujifilm has also announced Instax Mini Play. An instant camera that employs the same technology as Instax Square 10: a digital camera with built-in film printer.

Instax Square 10’s 4MP sensor and LCD screen feel like an unnecessary extra step in producing analogue images. Deconstructed, it’s a cheap digital camera with analogue film printer. In my opinion, this design decision has been chosen for its unique advantages. The level of compactness both Instax Square 10 and Mini Play cameras achieve is likely impossible at this price point without the digitizing step in the middle. In order to focus properly, lens has to come out on bellows, which requires a dedicated motor and a complex light-tight construction. Instead, a tiny digital camera captures scene on a tiny sensor and then exposes film through contact print method.

Mini Play is gimmicky and cool. As a programmer I have some reservations about its audio save & playback functionality. Still, this sounds like something I’d very much like to try.

A valley of farm fields in northern Thailand. Shot on Instax Mini 90, scanned on a flatbed scanner. I bet it could be even sharper with higher quality optics.

Kickstarter pains and challenges of operating an analogue arts niche businesses.

Jollylook, a Ukrainian photography startup, has put out another Kickstarter update. It seems that the company had to overcome some serious financial and logistical issues.

Having gone through the process myself I am beginning to question the time and effort investment required for the measly earnings combined with well-known high flop rate. Hopefully there’s a better solution out there for creative individuals. I’d love to hear about it if you know one.

Analogue Wonderland, an online film retailer from UK has covered the recent shortage of CineStill film across most supply chains. The demand has outgrown supplies; the team is working on adjustments to its production methods.

Although Fuji claims that Acros “features the world’s highest standard in grain quality among ISO 100 films” there is something a lot more powerful out there. A highly-specialized Adox CMS 20 is incredibly detailed. By my estimate, CMS 20 will resolve well beyond the usual 20 megapixel limit for 35mm film.

I will be taking a break from social communications and publishing articles on Analog.Cafe.

I’ve been releasing articles on Analog.Cafe every Tuesday for just under two years. However, I’ve been feeling increasingly under pressure from the growing list of obligations. I also require some time to deal with issues of personal nature.

There will be no new posts coming out on the weeks of June 17th and 24th. I will also not be posting on Instagram and Twitter.

I may still send out a tweet or two, but the intensity and amount of content coming from Analog.Cafe will be insignificant. I will continue answering emails. I will continue to take photos.

I will also continue my work on the upcoming technical update for the Analog.Cafe web app. More on that later.

Thank you for your continued support. 👋