October ‘20 Community Letter

1 New +1 Dead Camera, New Light Meter, and the Rising Film Prices

4 min read by Dmitri.

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This month’s letter covers the new 35mm pano camera from Lomography with their Sutton’s liquid lens design and prepares to say farewell to Nikon’s last line of 35mm film SLRs. Also, read about a compact new light meter and the rising film prices.

Photo by Heinrik Staff, courtesy of Lomography USA.

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Lomography launches HydroChrome.

Last year, Lomography launched Sutton liquid lens design as a part of an “assemble-yourself” medium format camera kit — LomoMod No.1. The 80mm lens on LomoMod comes with six aperture plates for switching between 𝒇11 and 𝒇32. Its built-in shutter fires at either 1/100 or bulb.

The most attractive feature of this design is its gamified access to the lens’s chemical composition. A hollow plastic ball, it can be filled with liquids of varying colours and refractive index.

This liquid-centric design dates back to 1859 though the principles are still used in modern microscopy and telescopy.

The 2020 version of the Sutton lens features an additional aperture, 𝒇168. Its focal length has shifted to 32mm. And it is now mounted on a 35mm panoramic camera, still made of plastic yet looking sturdier than the ‘Mod.

Sutton liquid lens isn’t very sharp, even when we double its resolution by stacking film like in the photograph above. Though you probably wouldn’t be using a camera like that for reproductive accuracy.

If you’re looking to buy HydroChrome, keep in mind that not every lab and not every scanner can work with panoramic images that spill onto sprocket holes.

Photos are courtesy of Lomography USA.

Nikon F6 discontinued.

Nikon’s last film SLR has been discontinued, according to Nikon Rumors. It’s hard to believe that the brand was still making 35mm film cameras in 2020, long past the digital revolution. Alas, the ‘Rona and the recent recalls are likely to have sped up the inevitable demise of the F6.

A new portable/mountable light meter.

Lime One is about nine days away from closing its Kickstarter campaign. The project has reached 2x its goal.

The device looks like a slicker version of the other recent mini-lightmeter project by Reveni Labs. It costs roughly the same, but I haven’t had an opportunity to try either. A nice comparison of the two can be found in this article by Hamish Gill.

The rising film prices — and how to save on your next emulsive purchase.

Slide film can get very expensive. One of these canisters costs over $100!

Film costs are going up. Ilford has had two rounds of price increases this year alone; both Kodak and Fuji went up by 30% recently.

In my experience, the largest avoidable expense is overpaying and missing out on deals due to the complex and varied pricing for 35mm film. With over a hundred choices, priced anywhere between $5 and $30, anyone can get lost!

Thankfully, there is a way to better understand what a fair price for the roll of your choice should be. 35mm Film Price Guide lists averages in six currencies for 34 different stocks along with trends and suggestions. I use it to quickly pick the best-priced rolls at the physical store and find film deals online.

The Price Guide data will get another update ahead of the holiday season. Make sure to subscribe to the 35mm Film — Price Alerts emails to get notified once that goes live.