Stamps, coins, comic books, and baseball cards. Those are some of the popular things people around the world collect as a hobby. Not Ying Nga (Cecilia) Chow. She collects unprocessed photographic camera film.
Chow, a photography enthusiast based in Hong Kong, China, started collecting different films back in 2008. Since then, she has amassed an impressive collection of over 1,250 different films, ranging from ordinary films that are still in use today, to obscure old Russian films that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere on Earth. The collection features films by over 100 different brands from 30 different countries. Read more…
Los Angeles Times Jay L. Clendenin spent four weeks leading up to the Olympics traveling around Souther California, making portraits of athletes on the US Olympic Team. While he certainly wasn’t the only one shooting the athletes, Clendenin chose an interesting way of capturing them: in addition to using Canon 5D Mark IIs for digital photos, he also used a 4×5-inch field camera and a 100+-year-old Petzval lens. When displayed side-by-side, the photos show an interesting contrast between “old” and “new”. Read more…
One of the big conveniences of shooting digital is that your pictures pop out with useful details baked into the EXIF data. Exif4Film is a tool that makes recording EXIF information easier for film photographers. It comes as a pair of programs: an Android app helps shooters store specific details as soon as photos are captured, and a desktop application takes the Android app data and automatically adds it to your film scans. The apps are completely free, and developer Kostas Rutkauskas tells us that they’re planning to open-source the project soon. If you’re an Android user and analog shooter, give it a shot and let us know how it goes!
Like everyone else who heard that Kodak was discontinuing Kodachrome in 2009 — and that Dwayne’s Photo would not develop the slide film after 2010 — I shot as much Kodachrome film as I could acquire, before that “last developing day” deadline. Read more…
Bad news if you’re a film shooter and Fujifilm is your brand of choice: the company has announced that it will be increasing the worldwide price of its entire line of photographic films starting in May 2012. In the announcement, the company blames demand and economics for the decision:
The demand for film products is continuously decreasing, yen’s appreciation and the cost of production, such as raw materials, oil and energy, continues to rise or stay at high level. Under such circumstances, despite our effort to maintain the production cost, Fujifilm is unable to absorb these costs during the production process and is forced to pass on price increases. To sustain its photo imaging business, Fujifilm has decided to increase the price of photographic films.
Fujifilm remains committed to photographic products and asserts that even with the new price. Its photographic products remain exceptionally good value compared with other system products.
While the announcement doesn’t mention how much prices will increase by — they state that it will vary depending on market — Fuji Rumors reports that it will be an increase of over 10%.
Knowing how long to develop film for is easy if you use popular films and developers, but what if you want to use some obscure combination that isn’t well documented? If that’s you, check out the Photocritic Film Development Database. It’s a simple service that outputs development times for 1440 different film/developer combinations. For combinations that aren’t officially published, creator Haje Jan Kamps has come with a formula that estimates the time — a formula that he says is surprisingly accurate.
Wondering whether or not the shutter speeds on your camera are accurate? Instead of taking it to a shop or buying expensive testing equipment, you can use an old television or CRT monitor as a simple shutter speed tester! Camera enthusiast Rick Oleson has an easy to understand diagram showing what you can expect to see from the screen at different shutter speeds. For a more technical explanation and tutorial, check out this article that appeared in a 1967 issue of Popular Science.
Philip Bloom recently shot this interesting mini-documentary on Anthony Vizzari using a Sony NEX-5N. Vizzari is a guy who collects photographs and cameras, owns a photo shop, and runs a photobooth business. Here’s an artist, architect, antiquarian, photographer, and storyteller, and calls himself an “archotographist”.
A warning: this film contains a few upsetting images. Vizzari collects vintage “mourning” photos in which families gather to make one final photo with the deceased.
Here’s another helpful step-by-step guide teaching how to develop B&W film (in this case it’s Agfa APX 100) using powered coffee and vitamin C (AKA “caffenol“). You can also download a text version of the process here.
Over the past year, major movie camera manufacturers ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have all quietly stopped manufacturing film cameras — a tough blow to film, and grim news for film photographers. Debra Kaufman over at Creative COW writes,
Can the continued production of film stock survive the twin disappearance of film acquisition and distribution? Veteran industry executive Rob Hummel [...] recalls when, as head of production operations, he was negotiating the Kodak deal for DreamWorks Studios. “At the time, the Kodak representative told me that motion pictures was 6 percent of their worldwide capacity and 7 percent of their revenues,” he recalls. “The rest was snapshots. In 2008 motion pictures was 92 percent of their business and the actual volume hasn’t grown. The other business has just disappeared.”
Panavision’s Executive VP Phil Radin states that, “Film will be around as long as Kodak and Fuji believe they can make money at it.” With their revenues from the movie industry drying up, Kodak and Fuji are going to have a harder time keeping their film businesses profitable. If you want to see film survive, then you can do your part by buying film and encouraging others to shoot analog as well!