November ‘20 Community Letter

Valoi Film Holder, SALE, SolarCan Colours, Kodak Prices, Silberra, and More

7 min read by Dmitri.

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What’s new?

2020’s second-to-last month brings a new film holder from Valoi, a limited-time sale on Monochrome magazine, new SolarCan cameras, and lots of great reads.

Sadly, Kodak has announced another price hike, and Silberra is still brushing off its obligations. On the bright side: we’ve done some good as a community this year, and there are more great ways to help.

One of the envelopes for Monochrome magazine, freshly addressed with a felt ink pen.

Valoi film holder.

Scanning is a modern photographer’s problem. The process is a recent necessity with lots of unresolved issues. Leaving this work up to the lab is a nice option if you’re happy with the results, but this may get expensive. Flatbed and dedicated film scanners are slow, and the software they come with is often very ugly, ahem SilverFast!

Courtesy of Valoi.

A relatively new method involving a digital camera with a macro lens is very “hot” today. It’s much faster than any other way of scanning film with decent, even good results. However, you’d need to dish out some extra cash for a light table, a tripod contraption, software and a remote release. Oh, and none of this would work without a good film holder.

Film holders’ job is to flatten the strip perfectly and keep an air gap between the emulsion and the backlight glass to avoid Newton rings. This tool was first popularized and manufactured by Negative Supply and has recently got an iteration from Cameradactyl. Neither of which is cheap.

Valoi’s mission is to go easy on our wallets. And it’s working: the project raised over half of the funds needed in less than 24 hours on Kickstarter.\

If you’re in-between picking a dedicated scanner or the DSLR way, consider how important the resolution of your film is to you, whether you’re planning to switch formats, as well as your time, money, and whether you have the camera/lens already. Have a look at this Twiter poll I ran to see what others are saying.

Monochrome magazine SALE!

Monochrome is a hand-made community magazine documenting the beautiful, private, and uncanny scenes from the fourteen photographers’ homes. This printed issue is a memento of the year 2020 and the events that changed our modern lives forever.

Our little zine project has already seen several glowing reviews, including a video mention from bigheadtaco and lots of great vibes from the community.

I am particularly proud to have already donated £500 to UK Black Women Documentary Photographers Fund on behalf of everyone involved in Monochrome’s production.

If you haven’t got your copy yet, this is your best chance to save 20% off the sticker price, enjoy premium printed photography, and support people in need.

This sale will end on December 2 at 9 PM PST. Supplies are limited.

Get your copy now! 🎁

SolarCan Colours.

Solargraphy is the practice of ultra-long exposures, typically on chemical print paper, where the eery end-results are the traces of the brightest point in our sky over weeks, months, even years. Though it may sound daunting, the guys at SolarCan make the entire process as easy as finding a spot for your camera and scanning the paper once it’s done exposing.

Having delivered thousands of their can-cameras, SolarCan is now Kickstarting their newest iteration: Colours. The project has already passed its funding goal three times over, but there are a few days left for you to snag yours.

One thing to keep in mind, though: after you scan your paper, it will begin to fade.

Kodak to raise film prices by 10-20% in 2021.

It’s happening again. Kosmo Foto reported a 10-20% hike on emulsive products starting January 2021. In that same article, Stephen says that it’s impossible to know what the actual film costs will be for the consumers. Retailers have varying markups on their selections, and in some cases, they may choose to absorb the increased fees.

Last year, I built a tool to help you correctly estimate film expenses and recognize good deals. It currently covers popular 35mm options though many say it’s already been helpful for all film shopping. 35mm Film Price Guide gets updated every six months or so with average prices collected from eight popular retailers. This info is compiled into a searchable database of 34 stocks along with trends in 6 currencies, sample images, and descriptions.

If you’d like to stay on top of real-world film pricing, sign up for Film Price Updates — an occasional email newsletter with detailed reports.

Silberra is ignoring, patronizing its backers.

Silberra did not have a smooth start. Their 2017 campaign raised just 30% of their funding goal, which hasn’t stopped them from charging 754 backers upon its completion.

Though delays and flops are common on crowdsourcing platforms, no one could have expected Silberra to let their supporters down in such a dismissive fashion. Following the underwhelming campaign’s close, the brand’s drawn-out updates had sharply decreased in frequency. Silberra became impossible to get hold of; they’ve abandoned their Twitter account.

To make matters worse, Silberra began full-fledged distribution of their products across various retailers in 2019, while at the same time continuing to ignore their backers.

This month, Silberra sent their severely overdue update as a response to Studio C-41’s recent tweets:

“Though almost 1/3 of the backers have got their perks we may hardly find more than just several mentions about this fact.”

People and projects that could use your help.

This year I chose to try and donate my earnings directly to the people in need. Doing so requires active research and trust, but the reward is an immediate improvement in the person(s)’ lives with minimal overhead. If you’d like to take a similar approach, I’ve compiled a list to get you started:

Bad Student is the only Risograph printer in the Philippines whose team had barely escaped the flooding waters of Typhoon Ulysses with their lives. Linked is their Instagram story with donation info.

Mental Collodion is a project by Simon Riddell aimed to raise awareness for mental health issues.

Dominick Lewis is pretty close to his goal for “the only Black-owned brick and mortar camera store in Brooklyn.” This space will also be used for community building and education.

Sirkhane Darkroom is a photography school run by Serbest Salih on the Turkish/Syrian border. Serbest is spending his time educating refugee children on the art and science of film photography.

Latest reads on Analog.Cafe.

Last but not least, I’d like to introduce a few reads I published this month together with Analog.Cafe’s wonderful community contributors:

FED-2 II/b With Industar-10 is a 12-minute read with loads of illustrations and useful info on a Russian Leica copy.

N-Po Generation is a short essay by Sa-eh Kim on the rising cultural phenomena in South Korea: a mix of ‘90s American teen movie fashion and hipster culture.

A top view of my FED-2 camera with its Industar-10 lens fully extended.

Quarantine Zine Project Overview is a report on a monthly community publishing enterprise held on Twitter and distributed in print but only to the participants.

Moments in Between Madness is a review of a book by Joseph Rovegno, who’s documented the Black Lives Matter protests in New York City between May 29ᵗʰ and June 3ʳᵈ 2020.

If you find Analog.Cafe’s content useful or entertaining, consider supporting this project via “Buy Me A Coffee.” 🙌