Film Photography News — September 2020 Recap

New Mag, New Cameras, New Film, +

10 min read by Dmitri ☕️.

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If you’re reading this Letter around the time of its publication — hang tight, it’s a crazy world out there. 😷

Despite the madness, Analog.Cafe’s Monochrome magazine is now shipping, Lomography is launching an instant back for 4x5 cameras, dubblefilm is selling a new point-and-shoot, a new handmade small-batch film is being produced in Hong Kong, new chemistry announced from TETENAL, a new auto-advancing film holder is being Kickstarted, and Analogue Wonderland’s got a subscription service. Plus more.

This August, I got a chance to visit Garibaldi Provincial Park, about an hour’s drive from home. The incredible jade-coloured lake at its heart, above, is faithfully rendered on Fujifilm Provia 100 with 28mm TC-1 lens and scanned on PrimeFilm XA. The slide was developed (and framed!) at a local pharmacy, London Drugs.

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Monochrome mag is now shipping.

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

If you like the kind of stuff I publish on Analog.Cafe, you’ll love Monochrome. It’s full of diverse creative expressions from both past contributors and new authors, including:

Bill Manning, Christian K. Lee, Elisa Caporaletti, Kitja, Lorenzo Stolfi, Martin Beech, merimies, M. Fohl, norayr, Niño Expectante a la espalda de nadie, Paul G., Paulo Monteiro, and Sona Manukyan.

This is a non-technical issue that features lots of images and a few short stories, spread over 50 pages in black and white.

I print and bind each copy at home on sustainably-sourced 32lb 8½x11” paper inside of an even thicker cover fibre. The pages are stapled together 3x for maximum durability and wrapped in hand-sliced black textured cardstock around the spine. This mag comes with an undeniable hand-made feel, and the quality matching that of pro shops. Supplies are limited.

Get your copy of Monochrome here.

All of the proceeds from sales are going to charity. ❤️

Lomography’s instant Back for 4x5 cameras.

Lomography continues its streak of releases, totalling six this crazy year. The latest being a back for Instax Wide film, that can be mounted on large format 4x5 cameras.

This is yet anotherworld’s first” that you can snag at a 10% discount today (134USD). Delivery is slated for April 2021.

Instant film is one of the best ways to estimate what a finished analogue photo would look like. This is especially useful on large format cameras, where a single exposure could cost around fifteen dollars.

An upside-down rendering on a ground glass might not be enough to be completely sure of the composition, exposure, and how the image may look printed.

When Polaroid/Fuji peel-apart film was available, large format photographers used it to ensure/adjust/experiment with their images before committing them to something expensive like Ektar. Unfortunately, Fuji and Polaroid peel-apart films are long gone. Looks like Lomography saw that and decided to fix it.

Of course, those instant prints don’t have to be throw-aways. With a typical large format lens yielding a much better rendering, available light, shutter speeds, and control (incl. tilt/shift), there are plenty of possibilities for unique, quality prints.

You can preorder your Lomography’s LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back here.

Photos are courtesy of Lomography USA.

Speaking of Instax, their Square format will soon be available in monochrome.

Also: Intrepid Camera Co. has recently launched a pinhole for large format cameras on their store, retailing at £25 on their online store.

dubblefilm’s plastic-fantastic “SHOW.”

Oh yes, large format is expensive, but you know what’s cheap? 35mm. Especially when it’s inserted into a €55 plastic point-and-shoot. Sure we can go much, much lower, but for a novice or someone looking for a new toy, this is fresh.

The camera features a standard fixed-focus (1m-∞) 32mm 𝒇8 lens, with a fixed shutter speed of 1/125s and a built-in flash.

The site says that you can use this camera with “every 35mm film available” — though true in some ways, you must be mindful of the lighting conditions. With 𝒇8 lens and 1/125s shutter, the ideal speed for midday sun would be around 400ISO. If you’re shooting in the dusk with the same film, subjects that are far away may not turn out, even with flash. Though these sorts of limitations have never stopped willing photographers creating beautiful things.

The camera is available in pretty/pimp pink and black colours here. Cherry-picked sample photographs below.

Photos are courtesy of dubblefilm.

A new hand-made film, VISCO’s Kodachrome preset, and an emulsive vending machine.

A Hong Kong brewery, YAU, has recently posted a few scans from their hand-made medium-format film. The results look a lot like what you’d get from Washi, the packaging is delightfully old-school.

On the digital side of things, VISCO, a company that specializes in selling digital image filters, spent a lot of time to finally release their Kodakchrome preset. Sure, we should all “just shoot film” to get the authentic analogue experience, however, that doesn’t work with Kodachrome, a discontinued emulsion with an incredibly complicated development process.

And for those of us who shoot a lot of film, a machine like this on every corner is a delicious, impossible dream. Imagine running low on that roll and immediately grabbing a fresh one by 7/11, in the middle of the night. Nice.


Film is no good without the chemicals to develop it in. That’s why it’s great to hear that TETNAL, a major photochemical manufacturer, is back in full force and is on-track with their upcoming offering: tablets.

Daniel Keating has recently posted an instructable on 35mmc for using garden herbs to mix film chemicals. Sure we can use coffee and beer to create a developer, but the greens growing at one’s foot are much cheaper and much more sustainable. Why not!

And if you’re like me, just looking to get started, another recent post on 35mmc by Sroyon might be of interest: “How to Get Started Developing Black & White Film for £25.” Supplemented by Jim Grey’s “Lessons learned so far in home film development.”

Cameradactyl Mongoose: a 35mm auto-advancing film holder.

I have a dilemma.

I’m long over having labs scan my film but my dedicated 35mm scanner, PrimeFilm XA, isn’t as good as it used to be. Should I switch my setup to a DSLR with a macro lens? Sure, it’ll cost more and add gadgetry to my home storage, yet there’s increased scan speed and a better, more flexible/reliable hardware to be had. 🤔

Image courtesy Ethan of Cameradactyl.

The software and hardware for scanning film using traditional methods are far from ideal. As a result, our community’s adoption of digital cameras as scanning devices has been on the up. pixl-latr, Film Carrier, and Negative Lab Pro are some of the recent products designed for this workflow.

Mongoose is a new addition to the DSLR scanning arsenal, meant to make the process much, much faster — without sacrificing the quality. In addition to holding the film flat in place, while avoiding Newton rings, Mongoose features motorized transport, shutter trigger, and frame edge detection.

Indeed, discounting the digital conversion, an entire roll of 35mm is scanned under a minute and a half in Monogoose’s Kickstarter demo video.

The project is over 100% funded, with the current batch priced at $525 per package — you will still need your own camera, lens, stand, backlight, and software. While this seems like too much for personal use, Mongoose could be a game-changer for film labs around the world. Scanning is typically a time-consuming process, where it could take an hour for a single roll. A moderate investment like this could save thousands of hours and some sanity, too.

Analogue Wonderland’s film subscription service.

The British film retailer has just launched a £25/mo film subscription service, billed two months at a time. It comes with three rolls of film shipped every 30 days along with some fun “bits and bobs.” This month’s package comes with a sheet of hand-painted cyanotype paper and a free development voucher. The film’s always going to be worth the pound, as Paul promises to have its value to be at or over the subscription cost.

This service is meant for people who are looking to discover film anew. Though I could see myself collecting extra rolls to diversify my stash that’s mostly just Fuji E-6.

Last few rays of the summer sun reflecting off Mt. Baker behind the downtown Vancouver skyline. From the same roll as the topmost photo.