March ‘21 Community Letter

New/Discontinued Film, 2 New Cameras + School, New Enlarger, and WTF’s NFT?

9 min read by Dmitri, Dominik Oczkowski, Intrepid, Sterling Crispin, and Street Candy.

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What’s new?

I am grateful to see film photography survive, even flourish a year into this pandemic.

With the lockdowns still largely in effect, Street Candy delivers its new monochrome film stock — MTN100, Intrepid launches a Kickstarter campaign for its colour enlarger, Film Ferrania “confirms its intention” to release P30 in the 127 format, Harman announces a new “reusable” camera, and Brooklyn Camera promises an instant film processor. A pinhole stereoscopic film camera is about to close its Kickstarter campaign, and Camera Rescue is starting a repair school. Meanwhile, Adox is discontinuing its Silvermax film.

Also: WTF is NFT? and Monochrome Magazine 7-Day Sale! 🎉

Photo courtesy of Vincent Moschetti, Street Candy. Shot on Contax T3 and processed by Nation Photo.

Street Candy MTN100.

Street Candy is a company that Vincent found “on my[his] mother’s couch,” which soon became a family business. In 2020, Street Candy was the first company to offer 35mm film in environmentally-conscious packaging. Spooled into recycled canisters and packed into recycled cardboard tubes, MTN100 is Street Candy’s second offering, following ATM400’s success.

MTN100 is a monochrome emulsion from a German cinema stock that Street Candy highlights as a fine-grained, sharp, contrasty, and versatile film. It can be pushed and pulled up to two stops and should work well with the monochrome reversal process.

Modern film camera users beware: there’s no DX code.

The first batch of MTN100 is already sold out. The second batch is currently in production, pre-sold at 10.49€ per roll on the Street Candy website, coming soon to Nation Photo and already available at Analogue Wonderland.

Monochrome magazine 7-day sale! 🎉

Monochrome is a hand-made paper magazine that features fourteen film photographers’ experiences following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember those times?

Monochrome hand-made magazine. 50 pages of sustainably sourced paper & black ink. Available on Etsy from FilmBase shop.

The magazine has earned several glowing reviews, including a video mention from bigheadtaco, an interview with Lee Webb, and lots of great vibes from the community.

To celebrate mid-spring and the encouraging rollout of the vaccine around the world, I’m taking 15% OFF Monochrome ‘til April 7th, 2021.

All sales benefit charity. ❤️

Intrepid colour enlarger.

Following the success of Intrepid’s conversion kit that turns their 4x5 camera into a monochrome enlarger, the company is launching a dedicated colour film enlarger, priced at £220+ on Kickstarter. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over £100,000 of its £20,000 goal. In their press kit, Intrepid describes:

...The Intrepid Enlarger is the smallest, most compact darkroom enlarger ever made. Designed to make prints from both colour and black & white film (from 35mm up to 6x9) all without the need for filters. It can even be used to make scans of your negatives using a digital camera/smart phone!

Indeed, the enlarger’s size is its greatest advantage, according to Doing Film Things on YouTube (and many others).

To make use of it, you’ll need a tripod/copy stand, a lens with a 39mm thread (50mm for 35mm film and 80mm for 120), darkroom chemicals, photo paper, tray, tongs, a printing easel and a grain/focus finder.

Image courtecy of Dominik Oczkowski. Panorama pinhole on Minuta Stereo pinhole camera.

Stereoscopic pinhole film camera.

Dominik Oczkowski, an architect from Munich, has just reached his funding goal on Kickstarter to manufacture a dual-format stereographic pinhole camera made from eco-friendly wood composites.

Image courtecy of Dominik Oczkowski.

His invention consists of two parts: the camera and a stereoscope that you can use like binoculars to look at stereograms for that 3D effect. The camera features a set of drilled (for higher precision) 𝒇140 pinholes that work at either 20mm or 50mm focal lengths (35mm equiv). It can be configured to either take panoramic or square exposures on 35mm film, square exposures on 120 — in both stereo, or not.

Better yet, you can control the rise and fall of your 35mm exposures to avoid keystoning when photographing architecture.

With only a couple of days left on the campaign clock, Minuta Stereo can be ordered as a pre-built or a self-assembly kit on Kickstarter for €160+.

Camera Rescue opens “the only film-camera repair school in the world.”

Camera Rescue opened up its four-month in-person camera repair program for Finnish students with an optional two-year certificate that seems to be coming with guaranteed employment. The government will pay the accredited course fee, an offer that may extend to foreigners — once we’re allowed to travel again.

Knowing how difficult it could be to repair film cameras or to find a good service to do that, the program is poised to spread the knowledge paramount to keeping film photography alive in the foreseeable future.

Film Ferrania P30 in 35mm, exposed with Pentax PC 35AF metered at ISO 25 and developed at ISO 40 (pulled one stop from the box ISO 80).

Film Ferrania P30 in 127.

127 is sitting between 120 and 35mm, giving way to cameras with a relatively high resolution yet more compact than medium format can allow. This Casual Photophile article is an excellent primer on the history, use, and some of the cameras that can take it.

As exciting as Kosmo Foto’s March headline may sound to 127 enthusiasts, “FILM Ferrania confirms intention to release 127 film,” my guess that this is not going to happen anytime soon. The Facebook group comment that has sparked this announcement only says that it will be “easy to do” once Ferrania is able to produce medium format film, which they haven’t. Happy to be proven wrong on this one. 🤞

New “reusable” 35mm camera from Ilford makers, Harman.

Is motorized film transport really that important? My preference is usually a simple, mechanical design whenever possible; still, there are enough times when I wished I remembered to wind the film, having missed a fleeting shot.

Watching these new reusable cameras come to market, seeing the feature set slowly increase, it is does sometimes feel like we are at the beginning of the path to a new autofocus point & shoot camera. We had disposables, then reusables, now reusables with motorised film transports. Could the next step be faster lenses, autofocus or auto exposure…?

Josh Foster writes for 35mmc’s announcement of Harman EZ-35 Motorised Reusable Camera.

Instant film processor.

Polaroid film users, especially those who shoot unmodified SX-70s, will tell you that getting a good exposure is a no-easy task with this medium. To help with some aspects of this issue, Brooklyn Film Camera and Negative Supply teamed up to create a tool that would shield your frames from light and maintain temperature control. While this tool will not help with the film’s limited dynamic range or manufacturer defects/expired chemicals, it should make a difference while shooting outdoors, especially in the cold weather (there is no A/C unit for hot weather).

Instant Processor will be launching a Kickstarter campaign for their Film Processor in the coming months. You can subscribe to get notified of their launch here.

Agfa APX100 (expired, “Made in Germany”) — similar to Adox Silvermax.

The last of Adox Silvermax.

This is the second film discontinuation this year, which is a lot worse than I “predicted” earlier. Alas, Silvermax is no more.

WTF is NFT?

“NFT” is all over Twitter, news and social media this month. So what is it? Simply put, NFT is a way to draft a certificate of ownership for digital art/media securely.

So how is it useful and what has it got to do with photography?

Let’s say Lisa, a film photographer, makes a silver gelatin print. When it got sold on her website, she packages the print and mails it to the customer.

Lisa’s next artwork up for sale is a limited edition animated GIF she made with 35mm scans off her Nishika N8000. Knowing that it’s practically impossible to limit files being copied (just to display an image, it has to be copied from one place to another within the computer memory), she considers her options. Lisa could save the file on a USB stick and send it like a print, but her client may not have a USB reader. Managing DRM or hosting the GIF Netflix-style is out of her budget. Her best option to sell a limited edition GIF turns out to be “minting” or generating an NFT, a non-fungible token. The token certifies that although there may be many copies of her GIF elsewhere, the one hosted at lisaaaaaaaaaaaaa.com/3d-cat-on-film is a registered, limited-edition version that “belongs” to Lisa.

Once Lisa makes the sale for her limited edition GIF, she transfers the NFT record that certifies the file hosted at lisaaaaaaaaaaaaa.com/3d-cat-on-film to her customer. All other instances of that file, according to NFT, are either working or unauthorized copies. Her customer can now re-sell the GIF, opening up the secondhand market for Lisa’s art.

All NFT certificates are built on Etherium blockchain technology, the second most popular digital currency after Bitcoin. NFTs are receiving a lot of press from high-profile multimillion-dollar purchases and many small-time artists declaring on Twitter that they sell or have an opinion about NFTs.

Though I am excited to see a new income source for artists, there is a price to using this invention.

Source: bit.ly/relative-energy-costs-nft

One of the most discussed costs of NFTs is ecological. It takes a lot of electricity to power computers that generate them.

Judging by the graph above (originally found here), an average NFT image sale will probably net less CO₂ emissions than the same image sold as a print on a cheap T-shirt. Both of which pale in comparison to popular consumables like coffee — yet still significant enough to cause an enormous compound impact on our ecosystem.

The proponents hope that the value of their NFTs will grow like that of the first prints, movie reels, and vinyl records ever made and that the technology manages to decrease the emissions significantly. The critics, however, point to the uncertain market for an incomplete, ecologically-inefficient technology that few participants fully understand.

Proof-of-stake [a new technology that NFTs can use in the near future] comes with a number of improvements to the proof-of-work system: better energy efficiency – you don't need to use lots of energy mining blocks…

Etherium.org