June ‘21 Community Letter

6 New Films, New Book Coming, Fujifilm Hackers, New Logo and Film Shortages

8 min read by Dmitri.

☞ Get “Community Letters” via email: a monthly overview of the latest news, events, and stories from the film photography community.

What’s new?

This month’s letter is a little late — sorry about that. I’ve been busy home-printing a new photo book about my recent trip to Russia — it’s a lot of work. Anyhow, I’m happy to pass on some great news from the film photography industry, including a new ISO 400 monochrome film from Kosmo Foto, three new emulsions from Kono!, and two new films from dubblefilm, too. Details and sample images below.

Further down, I’ll also briefly cover hackers gaining access to Fujifilm and the film shipping delays. And lastly: I’ve updated the “Rhombus” logo for Analog.Cafe!

Image courtecy of Kosmo Foto.

Kosmo Foto launches Agent Shadow — a 35mm B&W ISO 400 film.

Kosmo Foto, the company behind the Mono 100 film, has launched a massive Kickstarter campaign for their new emulsive offering: Agent Shadow.

Agent Shadow is a box ISO 400 35mm film that features a beautiful package design and the ability to retain usefulness even when pushed to the crazy-high ISO of 6400:

Photo by Stephen Dowling on 35mm Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow pushed to ISO 6400.

Stephen Dowling, the company’s founder, isn’t making this film personally. Instead, he’s packaging existing emulsion into 36 exp. 35mm branded canisters and boxes “…made by one of the most famous names in film production, with nearly 150 years’ experience making film and photographic products.” This means that it could be a stock that you may find in-store today, as is the case with Mono. Or it could be coming from motion picture reels that require spooling. This is the case with all the films covered here, by the way.

Whatever its origins may be, if you are looking for a fast 35mm black and white film with decent grain management and an impressive dynamic range, Agent Shadow is your best budget choice today. Right now, you can get a 10-pack on Kickstarter for £50 ($69 USD), which is cheaper than any of the current ISO 3200 and ISO 400 options I track here.

Photo by Antony Rue on Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow. I’m seeing LOTS of dynamic range here.

On his Kickstarter page, Stephen notes that Agent Shadow is “comparable to films such as Ilford PAN 400 and Delta 400,” and that it can be processed with “[a]ny standard black-and-white developer (a full dev table will be published here and on Kosmo Foto when the film is shipped).”

That’s not all. Some Kickstarter pledge levels come with a graphic novella made specifically for Agent Shadow launch, a mock briefcase box, and even a custom-paint FED-2 camera.

Moscow Dayze: a hand-bound photo book featuring images from pre-pandemic Russia (coming soon).

Regular readers of Analog.Cafe know that I’ve been working on a personal book project during this past year. This January, its Kickstarter campaign was featured on Kosmo Foto, got a fancy “Project We Love” badge from the Kickstarter team, and reached its modest funding goal within two days of the launch date.

A stack of printed pages for the first twenty copies of Moscow Dayze book — ready to be hand-bound and shipped.

Moscow Dayze is a home-printed, hand-bound photobook with a beautiful cardstock spine, made with quality, sustainably sourced paper. It’s assembled and shipped with zero plastic. Inside, it features a free-form layout and lots of full-page spreads stretching up to 16” ✕ 11” (40cm ✕ 28cm).

This is my most intimate, most ambitious creative project to date, and I am thrilled to say it’s just a month away from going on sale at the Analog.Cafe shop and on Etsy. Watch for my next Community Letter for details.

Kickstarter backers: your rewards will be shipped in a matter of days.

dubblefilm releases two Daily 35mm films: Color, Black & White.

dubblefilm, the company that made its name with pre-exposed special effect films such as Solar 200, has now made the new Daily series available in colour and monochrome. As you may have guessed from the films’ name, they are meant for general photography, when you may not want any colour overlays or strange/unique rendering in your images.

Image courtecy of dubblefilm.

dubblefilm’s Daily Black & White 35mm ISO 400 film comes in a 36 exp. canister without any DX-coding, which means that certain electronic cameras will default to ISO 100. dubblefilm says they’ve tested the film at ISO 100 thoroughly, and the results are “really good.”

I like the sharpness and the dynamic range I see in the samples. The grain looks somewhat chunky when compared to Agent Shadow in the scans I saw but not necessarily in a bad way.

Daily Black & White film retails for €6.00 ($7 USD) on dubblefilm.

Photo by Dimitri Rowe.
Image courtecy of dubblefilm, shot on the company’s SHOW camera.
Image courtecy of dubblefilm, over-exposed by 2 stops.
Image courtecy of dubblefilm, under-exposed by 2 stops.

dubblefilm’s Daily Color 35mm ISO 400 film comes in a 27 exp. canister without any DX-coding, which means that certain electronic cameras will default to ISO 100. dubblefilm says they’ve tested the film at ISO 100 thoroughly, and the results are “really good.”

The scans suggest a very good dynamic range, decent-sized grain, and seemingly natural-looking colours, even when the film is over- or under-exposed by 2 stops.

Daily Black & White film retails for €10.00 ($12 USD) on dubblefilm. This would translate to about $16 if you were to buy this film in 36exp.

Kono! releases 3 new films.

German brand Kono! has recently released three of its own film offerings: a colour 120 spool and two new monochrome 35mm rolls.

On their website, Kono! claims over 30 years of experience working with emulsions and co-authoring One Instant peel-apart film. Their colour film specialty is similar to that of dubblefilm, which is pre-exposed C-41 emulsions. However, Kono!’s effects are usually more dialled back, suitable for everyday photoshoots. You can find sample photos and the purchase link (currently selling at €18.90) for their new 120 emulsion, Delight ART 100, here.

Kono!’s other two offerings are Moonlit 100 (€10.90) and Moonlit 3 (€12.50) — both 35mm monochrome emulsions. Moonlit 100 is a panchromatic film with seemingly high contrast and fine grain (Phoblographer has some samples here for all the new Kono films). Moonlit 3 is its insanely contrasty, fine-grained orthochromatic cousin.

A new logo for the Analog.Cafe brand (top) and the old one (bottom).

This blog’s logo changed a few times, each iteration being a slight move towards a simpler design. The new form remains a rhombus, which represents my favourite shape of a rangefinder patch. The dot is also an element from film camera design, that could be interpreted either as a pinhole or a focusing patch on SLR screens.

Those are the things that I thought of while making this design, but since it’s quite abstract you may interpret it differently.

Fujifilm: hacked, film shipping delays.

I love analogue technology and strive to use it as much as possible. But the 2021 reality is that digital data is the bloodline of modern communication and manufacturing. In no small part, it controls the supply of film — via online retailers and the systems that enable production and our use of film.

This month, the hacking spree that includes many high-profile victims has hit Fujifilm servers. The company did not elaborate on what systems were impacted exactly. Though film production is only a small part of what Fujifilm does today, it may have been affected to some degree.

Coincidentally, a local Vancouver store chain responsible for much film sales and development, London Drugs, is experiencing months-long delays getting Fujifilm stock.

And just as I am about to conclude this letter, a post on Emulsive emerged about Kodak supply chain issues.

One thing’s for certain: 2021’s been a crazy-eventful year thus far.