“The Developist” Is a DIY Semi Automated Assistant for Home Developing

Developing your own films at home could be easier if you have an “assistant” like “The Developist.”

Home developing is a relatively easy task that gets easier once you get the hang of it. But of course, if there’s something that can make it easier right off the bat, we’d all take it. We always tip our hat for anyone brave enough to put together their own tools, processes, and even machines to make home developing easier and more sophisticated. Today, we’re sharing an interesting prototype for a home developing assistant called “The Developist” with our film photographer readers.

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Review: MiNT InstantKon RF70 (Fujifilm Instax Wide and Manual Controls)

The MiNT InstantKon RF70 is a truly revolutionary instant film camera that has been long overdue.

I’ve been playing with the MiNT InstantKon RF70 for a while now, purposely taking my time with it in order to ensure that I didn’t miss anything. This camera is, in my opinion, the most important instant film camera to have been released in the past few years. It makes use of the less popular Instax Wide format, and it also allows the photographer to have full manual control over the image. The MiNT InstantKon RF70 has a lens with aperture controls and manual focusing utilizing a rangefinder. There is a light meter built in, and the camera is overall pretty lightweight and compact. There isn’t a whole lot to complain about thus far, except for a few things that really concern me.

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The Guide to 100 Speed Black and White Films

In the past couple of years, film emulsions have been experiencing a bit of a revamp. Some have disappeared while others have been either resurrected or created. With that in mind, it’s time for a brand new guide to these emulsions.

In this guide I will be comparing every 100 (ish) speed, black and white film which is actively being produced and readily available to the U.S. market in mid 2018, with the goal to help those of you who are new to film photography figure out a film which might be right fit for you.

While this guide is probably going to be most helpful for beginning film photographers, I’m hopeful that more experienced film shooters will also find this guide valuable and interesting. Due to the nature and scope of what we’re tackling here, this isn’t going to be a super short video. So here are some timestamps to help you navigate the portions you may find most interesting.

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Film Scanner Review: Kodak Scanza

The Kodak Scanza is a simple to use scanner with a few quirks.

I’ve reviewed options like the Kodak Scanza before that I wish were higher in quality, but what you’re getting for the most part isn’t really all that awful. It takes your 35mm film and can deliver up to 22MP JPEG files. If you want TIFFs or DNG files, then you’ll need something significantly higher end that is bound to take up more real estate on your desk. But if you just want to scan your photos, it’s seriously tough to beat the Kodak Scanza. It works via a simple interface that takes your film, gives you an immediate preview with color corrections, and allows you to scan by simply pressing a button. These images are then put onto an SD card or onto your computer directly. This all sounds fantastic, except that the Kodak Scanza suffers from a few design issues that are holding back my highest recommendations.

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A Quick Look at Ilford Delta 3200 vs Kodak TMax P3200

Ilford Delta 3200 vs Kodak TMax P3200 is the film comparison we need right now

In the analog film world, there are two big high ISO black and white films in existence: Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak TMax P3200. They’re both much different films, but they’re also both black and white. It recently came to our attention that folks would love to see some sort of comparison of both. And so we decided to go through our archives of testing to bring you some of our thoughts.

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Review: Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 (Fujifilm Instax Square)

The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is perhaps my favorite Instax camera of theirs made thus far.

With the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6’s arrival on the scene, Fujifilm I feel has created a respectable Instax Square camera. When the SQ10 was released, I was very hesitant. I’m not a fan of a digital photo being printed onto an Instax frame from the camera. By and large, I prefer full pass through of light through the lens to the film plane. Somehow, Fujifilm was able to create it in a compact form factor that is also very stylish. In many ways, the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is what the Instax Mini 90 is but with the Square format.

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First Impressions: MiNT InstantKon RF70 (Fujifilm Instax Wide)

Could the MiNT InstantKon RF70 be the most important camera in the history of Instax?

The previously stated sentence is one I’ve had in my mind for quite some time now: I genuinely have been mulling over the new MiNT InstantKon RF70. This is the first camera to give the photographer full control over shutter speed and aperture in addition to providing the photographer with a working meter while using Instax Wide film. It still baffles me why it took this long for the RF70 to happen. I’m sure that others are going to try to copy this; but the MiNT InstantKon RF70 is the single camera I’ve been wanting for years and am incredibly excited about it. When MiNT sent it over to me for reviewing, I was overjoyed.

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The Beauty of Light Leaks: Playing with DUBBLE Film Sunstroke

DUBBLE Film Sunstroke is a sunkissed film emulsion with beautiful light leaks.

For years, photographers tried to negate or reduce the effect of light leaks on their film; but we began to embrace it after some time and now we’ve got DUBBLE Film Sunstroke. This film is a Kodak emulsion that has had light leaks hit it in just the right spots. Your images will otherwise come out completely normal except that they’ve got these light leaked patterns on them. This isn’t new (pre-exposed film) and other cool effects have been around for years. But it’s only since the start of the Analog Renaissance did we actually try to do this again.

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Field Report: Working with the Silberra Pan Film Lineup

Silberra creates a pretty beautiful lineup of films, but nothing that is too starkly different from the rest

I have to admit that I’m really excited when a new film manufacturer pops up or a company announces a new film emulsion. Silberra is a key example of this. The company has an ISO 50, 100, 160, and 200 film in black and white. Something that I was really concerned about though is just how they were going to distinguish themselves from all the rest. I mean, when Japan Camera Hunter Street Pan 400 came out, I was able to see how it stacks up against the rest. It’s a much different film which means it should be used differently. Kodak has Tri-X and T-Max, Lomography has the Grey series, and Ilford has an incredibly large stable of black and white film emulsions. So with Silberra, there needed to be something incredibly special about their film.

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Film Emulsion Review: Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 Color Negative Film (35mm and 120)

Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 is an odd, but pretty cool film

For years I’ve walked into Lomography’s shop and looked at Redscale XR 50-200 with disdain. I’d wonder why any hipster would want to try something like this! But then I tried it myself, partially out of curiosity, part out of needing to do this review, and part out of just trying to understand it. Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 is a film that you expose anywhere between ISO 200 and 500: the results depend on how you expose the film. Some are more normalized, others more random and super orange tinged. While proper photographers may not love it, ordinary folks think it’s pretty darned cool and fun.

Perhaps that’s all this film was developed for.

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Film Emulsion Review: CineStill bwXX Black and White Film (35mm)

CineStill bwXX film is gorgeous in so many ways

I’ve forever been on the hunt for a black and white film I’m truly, madly in love with. While the Ilford Delta lineup of film is more my taste, CineStill bwXX comes really close! I can’t find any major fault with CineStill bwXX: it’s more or less a film designed for cinema and repackaged for 35mm still film camera consumption. Photographers who want the look of classic old time cinema may really enjoy what CineStill bwXX offers. Is it sharp? It can be. Is it grainy? Oh yeah. Does it have those deeply inky blacks I enjoy? Heck yes. In fact, photographers who like to max the contrast of their images after a black and white conversion will really enjoy CineStill bwXX. The film also pushes decently well and most of all, I feel like it has a distinct look vs Kodak T-Max, Tri-x, and much of what Ilford offers. Oh yeah, and CineStill recommends rating it between ISO 200-400: but I’ve pushed it to 800 with decent results too.

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Vintage Camera Review: Leica M4-P (Leica M Mount)

The Leica M4-P is one of the most beloved Leica cameras and it isn’t too expensive either!

If you ever happen to stumble on a deal like I did with the Leica M4-P, then snag it as soon as you possibly can. In many ways, the Leica M4-P is one of the most perfect analog cameras. Although the Leica M6 goes a step further and incorporates the inclusion of a working light meter while allowing the camera to operate completely and totally mechanically at all shutter speeds, the Leica M4-P is essentially the Leica M6 without a light meter. And if you’re like me, you don’t always need a light meter because you’ve shot so often that you know and understand how Sunny 16 works, or you’ve got an app on your phone that will help you figure out your lighting with ease.

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Film Emulsion Review: Kodak Portra 800 (120)

Kodak Portra 800 is a film that truly surprised me.

I cut my teeth in the photography world amongst some really old school people–these were folks who probably would have never used Kodak Portra 800. Why? Well, they swore by the fact that everything over ISO 400 is way too grainy. And that grain is bad no matter what. This is wrong; and I only wish back then that I hadn’t let folks like that try to mislead my mind and that I was more experimental. Kodak Portra 800 is a gorgeous film that is obviously still around for great reasons. It’s a film primarily designed for portraiture in available lighting. With that said, it’s beautiful in 35mm but even more so in 120 with fast lenses. And considering that so many photographers out there love to work with natural light more so than working with a flash, it could be one of the films that stays in your film camera on a consistent basis.

Indeed, it has to be one of the best available light films I’ve ever played with.

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Review: Lomography Lomo’Instant Square (Fujifilm Instax Square)

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Square is the first good camera to use the Fujifilm Instax Square format.

When Fujifilm came out with their own Instax Square camera, I found it to be a serious letdown; but now we’ve got the Lomography Lomo’Instant Square. This camera is far different; for starters, it’s actually analog. This will appease so many photographers who wanted something that wasn’t a digital photo being taken and then printed out onto a piece of film. On top of that, just look at it–it draws inspiration from a previously made Kodak Instant Film camera. Announced last year as a Kickstarter, the camera is starting to make its way into the hands of a number of people. I was able to play with a prototype awhile back; but the finalized production camera is quite a bit better.

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Film Emulsion Review: Ilford Delta 400 (35mm and 120)

Ilford Delta 400 is perhaps my absolute favorite film emulsion.

While I really enjoy the look of Kodak Tri-X 400, almost nothing in black and white has made me drool like Ilford Delta 400. I’ve always felt Ilford Delta 400 delivers those inky, beautiful black levels I’m smitten with. It’s a beautiful film for street photography, portraits, candids, etc. It’s simply a gorgeous film that consistently delivers everything I want in a photo. What makes Ilford Delta 400 even better for me is that it pushes and pulls well and looks good no matter what ISO you’re shooting it at. I’ve shot it in both 120 and 35mm and found both types of results to look pretty fantastic. Ilford Delta 400 doesn’t have the characteristic grain Tri-X does, but a very classic look instead. It isn’t as gritty as Tri-X, and for that reason you shouldn’t necessarily use it as such.

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Film Emulsion Review: Fujifilm Velvia 50 (35mm and 120)

Fujifilm Velvia 50 is a gorgeous film when printed; but make sure you’re careful about the scans!

Perhaps one of the most magical films out there is Fujifilm Velvia 50. It’s one of the last slide films available for purchase and is a favorite of landscape photographers everywhere, not only due to its beautiful, vivid colors, but its low ISO which allows for incredibly detailed images. Fujifilm Velvia 50, like many other films, is better at medium and large formats; but arguably the most popular option is the 35mm film. Why? Well, it’s the format most amateur and hobbyist photographers know. Talk to them about medium format and they’re not sure what to think or do. Either way, Fujifilm Velvia 50 still looks great at the smaller formats.

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Vintage Camera Review: The Polaroid SX70

The Polaroid SX70 is one of the most iconic and well known analog film cameras ever made. It was designed to be simple to use, compact, yet versatile. In today’s culture, it is a camera often associated with the hipster culture, and many people don’t even know that film is still made for it. Using film from the Impossible Project and Polaroid originals, your Polaroid SX70 is an option bound to not only look great on a bookcase, but also will be fun to use. Many companies tend to buy them up, refurbish them and then flip them for sale.

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Film Emulsion Review: Ilford Delta 3200 (35mm and 120)

Ilford Delta 3200 is the highest ISO black and white film on the market. 

Ilford Delta 3200 is a black and white film perfect for photographers shooting concerts, street photography at night, or anything that requires you to shoot in near darkness like a wedding reception. Like the other Delta films, it’s fairly contrasty but perhaps the least so of the bunch. Characterized by a strong grain in the images and a fair amount of sharpness, Ilford Delta 3200 deserves to be used with your fastest lenses and while using a camera that is handheld. You can surely use it any way you’d like, but in most other situations it would be more logical to use a slower ISO film. Instead, Ilford Delta 3200 should be brought along when you want to go out at night.

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Vintage Camera Review: Olympus XA2

The Olympus XA2 probably isn’t as famous at its predecessor, but it is quite a beautiful and simple camera to use. In some ways I think about it as Olympus’ version of the Lomography LCA camera. It’s characterized by its simple operation, its very interesting flash design, its small size, and its pretty darned good image quality. These days, I’d strongly recommend it as a compact film shooter for anyone who loves street photography or even just wants something incredibly pocketable. Where the Olympus XA had aperture priority control, the Olympus XA2 doesn’t. Instead, you’ve got ISO control and zone focusing. That’s it. Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of a very good light meter. Of course, you can always trick the camera using ISO changes, but you may not want to do that all the time.

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Instant Film Review: Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome

We’ve waited a long time for Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome film and it’s finally here!

One of the best things to have happened in the Polaroid/Instant Film world in so many years is the arrival of Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome. Announced earlier this year, the new film is a highly needed item that shows Fujifilm’s commitment to the Fujifilm Instax Wide format. The company has Mini, Square and Wide–and for a while the Wide format hasn’t been shown very much, if any, love. Perhaps this is because the other formats are much more portable, but Fujifilm Instax Wide has an appeal to photographers on the higher end. It is the largest format of all the Instant film formats and when put into the right cameras, the images sing.

Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome could be the absolute sharpest black and white instant film emulsion I’ve seen or used in years. In my opinion, it’s capable of outdoing even the old Fujifilm 3000B. Yes, I seriously never thought I’d say that. While I miss the excitement of the peel apart process, I’ll be the first to admit Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome is a superior film. And you can get Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome on Amazon now.

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Vintage Camera Review: Nikon N80 (Nikon F Mount)

For a really long time, the Nikon F100 was the best buy if you were looking for a Nikon film SLR at a good price that was compatible with most modern lenses. But then people discovered it, and like everything that gets discovered, the price got ruined. The Nikon FM2? Yeah, they’re really expensive now. It’s no secret second hand film cameras are on the up and up when it comes to prices and sales. Not only that, but they’re pretty. Well, most of them are. In the case of the Nikon N80, we’ve got the camera designed to be more consumer oriented and a step down below the famous Nikon F100. But for everything a professional photographer could want or need, it’s highly capable. And unlike digital cameras, all you need is some sharp film, good glass, and a lot of light.

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