Four years ago, a group of intrepid photographers decided to try and recreate 4×5 instant film, and after much trial and error they have now launched a Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds to launch their new film into the world.
According to their kickstarter, they first began researching patents, papers and started researching people with knowledge on how to develop these pieces in addition to finding vendors who could provide raw materials.
Being transparent was a major concern to the group and they chronicled everything they had worked on on the official New55 blog.
Proceeds from the kickstarter will be broken out in a variety of ways. The team plans on using it to fund more research in missing components, aquire assembling machines to produce the film, obtain engineering assistance and manufacture the “first edition” of New55 film.
There are risks involved; however the heads feel they have mitagated these by seeking advice from experts in the instant film community, including The Impossible Project, 20×24 Studio, Soundwave Research Lab and a long list of photographers.
In addition, the New55 staff has plenty of experience working in their favor. Bob Crowley, founder of New55 has years of experience as a materials research scientist with a long resume working in the wireless communications, medical and sound reinforcement industries. Joining him is Sam Hiser as CEO; bringing with him experience in software, start-ups and finance; bringing a smooth opperation to the bussiness affairs.
At the time of this writing, New55 has raised 14k of their four hundred thousand dollar goal.
Australian based Indisposable Concept, a community based photographic project centered around the idea of spending one week shooting with a disposable camera, and sharing your results of what can be captured with a simple tool and medium. Pdexposures Podcast host Nate Matos submitted a roll from his trip down the West coast in August of 2013 and wrote about his thoughts here. But as The Indisposible Concept surpasses 600 rolls of film and 10,000 photos it has come time to get the images out in ways other than social media where the project predominantly lies.
Due to the extraordinary costs of producing a book with a true production run rather than print on demand, The Indisposable Concept has turned to crowd funding with the help of Pozible. A site much like Kickstarter aimed at those outside of the United States.
We want to say thanks to those who have shared their world with us and give a bit more back to the Indisposable community that has supported us.
They are seeking a sum of $35,000 AUD (approx $31,600 USD) to complete their goal and get the first volume of the Indisposable Concept coffee table book published. When asked why crowd funding, the answer was clear “After seeking out various publishing options to gain support and inspiration the decision to self publish gave us the power and freedom to maintain the creative control and vision we have utilized throughout and put the process back into our own hands and the IC community.”
For your pledge, which goes from $25.00 AUD to $1,000+ AUD you can receive any number of rewards ranging from personal thank you’s to their 6,000+ followers on Instagram, to t-shirts, disposable cameras and more. To find out more about The Indisposable Concept you can visit their website here, and to pledge to their Pozible project click here.
Also, one of Nate’s images from his submission can be seen in the video, keep an eye out for it around the 38 second mark!
We just got word that the Impossible Project have updated their iOS app, with various fixes to the bugs introduced with last month’s improvements to the user interface and functionality. Moreover – in case you missed it – they’re basically building a social network within the app, with the ability to follow users and get push notifications. Combine this with the scanner utility and the in-app film store, and the app becomes a one-stop shop for instant film lovers.
Look, you can now follow Simon’s instant exploits in the Impossible app.
Now, I’m (still) not an Impossible shooter, but with Fuji’s abandonment of FP-3000B it’s looking more and more inevitable that this is where I’m going to end up, so it’s good to see that the Impossible Project is still moving forward with new ideas and actually paying attention to the issues with their products.
But I hear what you’re saying: this isn’t really news. Who cares about bugfixes, right? No, the real news is buried on the second page of the press release:
“We are currently finalizing the Android version for release mid-year 2014.”
Yep. It may have taken a while but Android users will finally get to join in the fun soon.
Some of you may remember that last year I wrote a post detailing how Soviet LTM/M39 lenses (i.e. lenses built for the Fed and Zorki rangefinders) do not work correctly on Leica cameras.
Well, I was never particularly happy with that post. Why? Because it was reliant on film scans, and I don’t trust them. Or, more to the point, I don’t trust my scanner. It produces an image suitable for the internet, but the scans are never as sharp as a traditional wet print.
Luckily, I recently had my Leica overhauled, so I went back and approached the subject again.
What you’re seeing above is the testing ground. Appropriately, I used three different Soviet rangefinders (one from each major product line), and ensured the middle one (the Fed 2) was 1m away from the film plane. The Leica IIIf I used to take the photos was set on a tripod and focused with each lens in turn, using the rangefinder, on the Fed 2 logo. The lenses were all set to f/4 (as the Industar 22 is a 50mm f/3.5 lens, and I wanted to ensure all lenses were at the same aperture. It’s worth noting that I honestly thought that the increased depth of field from wide open would actually compromise the test, but I was wrong). I also checked the distance scale of the lenses matched to ensure there were no rangefinder errors, and I’ve used all of these lenses successfully wide open and close-up in the past (on their respective bodies).
But what’s the point of doing the test again without removing the weak point in the old one? So rather than scanning the film, I went into the darkroom and did some quick 5×7 prints, starting with the full frame you see above and then fitting just the center of each photo onto the 5×7 paper. The resultant crops would be equivalent to a 11″ x 17″ print if I was to print the full frame. All exposures were identical, and in hindsight I should have printed them considerably lighter – but sharpness is what we’re looking at here, not exposures.
First, we start with the baseline, and my favourite lens – the 50mm f/2 collapsible Summicron.
Results are as you might expect – the sharpest focus is on the Fed 2 logo, and while there’s noticeable falloff to either side, there’s still enough sharpness to make out details on the front plate of both the Zorki 5 and the Kiev 4AM – which are each 35mm away from the Fed’s logo – but you can’t make out the Jupiter 3′s front ring (even when you’re not looking at a bad scan of a grainy, dark print).
So let’s look at the Jupiter 8, the Zorki’s equivalent of the Summicron:
Oh dear. This lens worked fine on a Zorki or a Fed in similar conditions. Here, nothing’s particularly in focus, but the Kiev’s nameplate is getting close. You can’t really tell from the small files I’m having to use to prevent the page from being unviewable, but it’s obviously backfocusing by more than 4cm. Probably not a big deal once you’re not close up, but remember – this is at f/4, and this is a 50mm f/2. If it’s this bad at f/4, wide open it’s going to be nigh-useless for critical close focus.
But then the Sonnar design of the Jupiters can cause various problems, so let’s move to the Tessars.
The above frame is from the Industar 26m, and amazingly, it looks almost exactly the same. So what about the little collapsible Industar 22?
Yep. That’s just as bad. In fact, the focusing – well, mis-focusing – is so similar on the three, that it would go some way to explaining why they all work without any issue on my Fed 2. And to eliminate arguments of adjustment or recalibration, they’ve all been purchased from totally different sources. One – the Jupiter 8 – came from a charity shop in England. The Industar 22 came from an eBay seller in Russia. And the Industar 26m? That came with a Fed 2 from Lomography. None of them have been serviced or adjusted since I bought them (although I have relubed the Industar 26m – but didn’t touch or adjust the shims), which means this is probably how they left their various factories (I26m: FED, I22: KOMZ, Jupiter 8: KMZ).
Like I said earlier, the images you’re seeing in this post are fairly small; you’d need critical eyes to see that the Kiev logo is, in fact, out of focus. Hopefully, you can all appreciate that the Fed’s logo is out of focus too, but just in case you think that it’s just low-contrast, here’s a gargantuan collage of the different prints on Flickr. Pixel-peep away and try to prove me wrong.
Either drunk Soviet workers in three factories all made the exact same mistakes, someone has a small workshop that exists only to collect and adjust Soviet lenses to the same inaccurate specifications and then redistribute them, or the point of my original post remains: the lenses for Fed and Zorki cameras are calibrated differently to those designed for true Leica-mount cameras, and while some correctly calibrated lenses exist (see the comments on the original post for discussion of “true” LTM-spec Drug 2s), the chance of getting one is slim.
But hey, maybe you’re just not as picky (read: obsessive) as I am.
According to the website Photo Rumors and a Fujifilm Japan press release, Fujifilm (why they still have the word film in there we cannot understand) has decided to kill off two low selling films. Neopan Presto 400, and Pro 400.
It is worth noting that the Pro 400 is not the same as the similarly titled Pro 400H which is sold state side. However there is still clear cause for concern that other films will be on the chopping block soon.
Looking for some inspiration to get out there and shoot? The folks over at March of Film, (our very own Amanda & Simon) have got you covered! March of Film is back for a 3rd year and better than ever.
March of Film is a theme-based project with two simple goals: 1. Spark your creativity 2. Keep film alive.
So grab your favorite cameras, load up that film you’ve been wanting to try, get out there & have some fun!
31 themes will be posted on marchoffilm.com on March 1. Shoot one theme or shoot them all! Submit your photos to our new photo upload page. Also share your photos on twitter using the tag #marchoffilm. The March of Film crew will be curating a ‘zine in conjunction with Pdexposures to feature a selection of great submissions! And bonus for 2014 – if you shoot all 31 themes you’ll be entered to win the coveted MOF trophy!
March of Film was created during the very uneventful winter of 2012 when Amanda & Simon discovered their love for film was hampered by a lack of inspiration. Knowing they weren’t alone, MOF was born to rid you of those winter blues & bring you into a film-filled spring.
Get stocked up on film and grab your favorite cameras because March 1 is only four days away!
Follow along @marchoffilm | facebook
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many of us here at Pdexposures who enjoy the classic notebook. Be it for writing down exposure information such as Jeff of the Pinhole Podcast does, or film settings like Simon, or gibberish and scribbles if you’re Nate. The point remains that it is not an uncommon theme that if you shoot film, there is a good chance you like doing other things a more traditional way. However this can be cumbersome, with notes and diagrams jotted all over the page. Enter, Analogbook – The Photographer’s Notebook.
As an artist who regularly uses the photographic medium, I was looking for a way to more accurately record my process.
Says Andrew, creator of the Analogbook “I love gathering data, looking back on notes from each exploration and each snap of the shutter. After a summer of shooting photographs for an upcoming exhibition, I noticed my standard notebook was filled with small scribbled logs of f-stops, shutter speeds, times of day, and more.” So he came up with a simple idea to keep track of information.
Analogbook is a set of specially designed notebooks made specifically for professional photographers, artists, and photography students. A combination of the words “Analog” and “Logbook”, they are a useful resource and celebration for all of those choosing to shoot film.
Analogbook comes in four platforms, 135 (seen above) allows you to track your whole roll of film on two easily organized pages. The same is true for the medium format version (below):
The large format Analogbook changes things up a bit giving you space for tons more information.
But if you’re the kind of person who really, and we mean really loves to take notes on your prints then the darkroom Analogbook is the one for you. Twice the size of the standard books this allows for information to be recorded on print times, dodging and burning, and zones if you go that far.
A 3 pack of Analogbooks (you pick the format) can be yours for £12 + £3 for international buyers, which is about $25.00USD. Support this project and pick up a set for yourself here!
After his recent guest appearance on the Pdexposures Podcast we thought it would only be fitting to have Dan show off his personal darkroom setup. We hope you can learn from his wealth of knowledge. And be sure to listen to Episode 25 of the Pdexposures Podcast to hear Dan for yourself!
I thought I would give everyone a quick whirl around my darkroom space. I’m very fortunate in that we have a guest bedroom on the top floor with a spacious bathroom. Since we don’t usually have guests, I can usually claim it as my darkroom, on the condition that I clean it out once we’re expecting company to stay for a night or two. I still want to build a fully furnished, permanent basement darkroom, but after listening to Pdexposures, I’ve learned to quit my complaining. Nate and Tony are doing just fine working in smaller spaces than I have.
First, here’s a general shot of the area from the doorway. What you’ll notice is that my enlarger—a Beseler 23C—is on a cart that I picked up from Goodwill. Perfect for transporting a lot of stuff in and out of the darkroom at once. Underneath the enlarger are two shelves, one of which is where I keep my selection of papers. I keep a number of resin coated and fiber base papers on hand, and about half of them I got either free or dirt cheap thanks to Craigslist.
On the left of the sink is where I keep my safelight and my GraLab timer. The timer is there as a quick and easy way to keep track of time when I develop film and paper. If the safelight is plugged in, it lights up whenever the timer is at zero. It’s a great signal that a print should move on to the next chemical bath, for example. Apart from the two boxes of Forte paper I got for pocket change, you can see a humidity monitor (for some alternative processes) and a 35mm film leader retriever.
Moving on, you can see my water pitcher, a Darkroom Automation enlarger lightmeter, a vacuum pump for getting air out of half-empty bottles, random film developing stuff, and my digital enlarger timer. This is my main timer, which consistently controls the enlarger’s power to within 0.1 seconds. The enlarger lightmeter is able to read the light output from the enlarger, and simple testing and addition lets you know how long you should expose your paper. These have been two of my best tools.
Next, we’ve got the trays. All are clearly marked—Develop, Stop, Fix I, and Fix II. A number of darkroom printers advocate two fixer baths instead of just one. The reasons are complicated, but they make sense and I have the counter space. A towel is set under everything to keep spill stains to a minimum. I should also note that I usually move the electrical cord a bit more out of the way when I’m actually printing.
Here, by the way, is a sample of what I used to black out my windows. I used to put plastic sheeting over the windows and hold them up with painters’ tape. However, since I was printing a lot and painters’ tape is expensive, I needed a better solution. I measured and cut some black foam core to fit in the windows, then I lined the edges of these panels with some strips of black felt from the fabric store. The felt fills in the light leaks quite well and adds friction so that the foam core panels don’t fall away from the windows and let light in.
In the bath tub, I have my somewhat elaborate print washing rig. The freshest water trickles into an aquarium (kept from blocking the drain by an upside-down tray), in which a sideways rack keeps the prints vertical and separated. When I’m doing fiber based printing, I use some plastic tubing as a siphon to transport some of the wash water into another tray, which is my first washing bath. The prints get washed there for five minutes before going in a Hypo Clearing Agent bath for a few minutes, then into the washing tank. Fiber takes a lot to get clean, but it’s worth it!
Outside the bathroom, there’s a linen closet in which I’ve claimed a shelf for all my darkroom chemistry and storage of tools I’m not using at any particular moment. The stock of chemicals builds up quickly, and it’s nice to have a place where you can accumulate everything in one spot.
In the guest bedroom itself, I have a few other goodies, including my latest acquisition, a heated print dryer. It gets fiber prints dry relatively quickly, and also flatter than any other method I’ve found. I still want to get a dry mount press so that I can get them truly flat, though. On the bed, you can see the VWR heated magnetic stirrer that I use for mixing up various chemicals from scratch. That’s really one of my favorite things to do. There’s also a series of contact prints I’ve made, all affixed to their corresponding negative sleeve pages. I really should get caught up on making those.
Well, there you have it, my exhaustive darkroom setup. I hope that this overview gives any prospective darkroom builder some ideas and inspiration. If you have any questions about my darkroom, don’t hesitate to ask me on twitter (@yeknom) or via the contact page on my website, http://www.dommephoto.com/contact/. Happy printing, everyone!
Thanks for the great submission and walk through Dan! If you have a home darkroom to share, send an e-mail to email@example.com and we’ll feature you here!
Last week a panic erupted on twitter with the breaking announcement made by @impossible_hq announcing the suspension of B&W Spectra film because of a shortage of key materials; with no ETA on when it would return:
We reached out to The Impossible Project to get an official statement on the full story and received a response from Wim Nijmeijer, who oversees R&D in Enschede:
“In our film for Spectra/Image we are missing a sufficiently thin rail material. The rail in this film is in between the negative and the positive material. See image of peeled-open picture. The function of a rail is to control the thickness of the paste spreading between the positive and negative. We do have a thick rail available. Fortunately we can use that in Color for Spectra / Image. But the B&W system needs a thinner spread of the paste to help keep the image stable after the picture has been taken. The thicker rail is of old stock that we have left over from when we took over the factory from Polaroid. Initially we had some thin rail also. But we have consumed all of that material.
The problem really lies in the very specialized adhesive that is on the rail. We know the type but the supplier Morton is not able to supply us with a new batch of this formulation. And although we tried numerous alternatives for different other suppliers it turns out to be very difficult to find an adhesive that is sufficiently good for the film for Spectra/Image. In the film for 600 and SX70 the rail is in a different position. There rail is on the back of the frame under the mask. For those films we do have established a fresh supply of rail with a new adhesive.
The fact that the rail for the film for Spectra/Image is in between the rail and positive sets higher requirements for the adhesive. The materials that it needs to hold together are different than in the film for 600 and SX70. The machine on which the film for Spectra/Image is made is different. Also the stresses that are put on the adhesive bonds are higher when the film is being processed.
At the moment we are working on 2 parallel strategies to get us back in production with the B&W film for Spectra / Image. One strategy is the continued search and testing of new adhesives (Dick Lemmens’ team). The other is making a change to the B&W paste so that it can work with a thicker rail (Martin Steinmeijers’ team). At the moment there is no turn-key solution in sight yet. When we do find a solution we want to make sure there are no unwanted side effects. So at the moment I’m guessing it will take at least 3-6 months for us to get back into production.”
We would like to thank Mr. Nijmeijer for giving us this update on the status of B&W spectra film and look forward to seeing this project back on track soon!
Photo credit: AJ Potter - Impossible Project PZ600 Black Frame for Spectra
In our first entry to the Red Light District we take a look at the personal darkroom of Pdexposures founder Nate Matos. Coming from tiny spaces that weren’t fit to print inkjet, Nate was pleased to put his new darkroom together;
“I had always wanted a real darkroom, something serious and built into the house. It started about 5 years ago when a friend and I stumbled into an estate sale of a photographer. Not only were there over 200 cameras, hundreds of photography books and gobs of interesting photographica but there was also a darkroom attached to the study.
Despite my dreams the space never really arrived. And as much as I wanted to be, I was never dedicated enough to unpack everything and set it up in a bathroom more than a handful of times. Within the past year I moved and along with the new living quarters there was a 10×10 shed out back which was perfect for storing extra boxes – wait, scratch that. It was meant to be my darkroom.
I have a decent setup including a Beseler 67SII enlarger with the Dichro head and extended base. Coupled to that is a Nikkor EL 50mm 2.8 enlarging lens hooked up to a white Gralab timer. This all sits atop a nice sturdy Craftsman workbench which allows chemical storage and places for easels and notes. This spring/summer I’m looking to add heat, water and electricity so it all feels more put together.”
Thanks Nate! You can find him around the web at:
Have you got a home darkroom you want to share with the world? Send a series of photographs along with a short, descriptive text to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might just be the third or fourth in this series (but you won’t be the second, as fellow Pdexposures host Tony Gale gets that spot).
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