News and commentary about film and Nikon film SLRs:

Fujifilm Increases and Decreases

(news & commentary)

Fujifilm has announced that a 20% price increase will take effect in October on the following 35mm films:

  • Fujicolor 100
  • Fujicolor Superia Premium 400
  • Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400
  • Fujicolor Superia Venus 800
  • Fujicolor Natura 1600
  • Fujicolor Pro 400H
  • Fujichrome Velvia 50
  • Fujichrome Velvia 100
  • Fujichrome Provia 100F
  • Neopan 100 Acros

120 sizes of many of those films also get the price increase, as do Fujifilm disposable cameras. 

Meanwhile, we get another round of discontinuations (date of discontinuation in parentheses):

  • Fujicolor Pro 160 NS 220 (Dec 2016) (use 120 size instead)
  • Fujichrome Provia 400X (Dec 2015)
  • Fujichrome Velvia 50 for 220 (April 2016) (use 120 size instead)
  • Fujichrome Velvia 100 for 220 (March 2017) (use 120 size instead)
  • Fujichrome Provia 100F (August 2016) (use 120 size instead)
  • Fujichrome Velvia 100F 4x5  and 8x10 (March 2017) (use Velvia 100 instead)

The good news, of course, is that we have plenty of warning about both things and can stock up if we rely upon any of these films. The bad news is that the trend towards discontinuation—especially of lesser used formats—is continuing, and costs of producing what remains in production are going up.

Meta35 Brings SLRs into Modern Age

(news, commentary, a bit of a review)

source of item: review copy supplied by Meta35

Meta35 is a small USB dongle and cable that you plug into data port of your film SLR, plus a Windows or Macintosh program. In the Nikon world Meta35 supports the N90(s), F100, F5, and F6 models. The Canon 1V is supported. And if you’re an A-mounter, the Minolta Maxxum, Dymax, and Alpha 7 and 9 models all are supported. If you’re interested in what exactly is supported, see here.

A bit of history: the Nikon N90 was the first commercial film SLR I know of that kept shooting information in memory internally, and had a way of getting that out of the camera into a form you could use on your computer. Originally that worked via a Sharp Wizard, but Nikon also created a piece of software called Photo Secretary and produced a 10-pin to Serial cable. All the Nikon prosumer/pro film SLRs after the N90 had the ability, and it formed the genesis upon which the Nikon DSLRs did EXIF, too. 

Minolta eventually jumped on this bandwagon, though I’m not sure what software they provided. Canon was also a little late to the game, with the EOS 1V being the only camera they built that had accessible shooting memory. 

When the F6 appeared, Nikon built a new accessory, the MV-1, that essentially moved the camera data to a card, and then you could use that card with your card reader and another Nikon program to grab the data in spreadsheet form. 

The Meta35 disperses with the intermediary step of a card: you plug the Meta35 into your camera (10-pin port on the Nikons) and your computer (USB port) simultaneously and run their software program to grab data.

Meta35 was released a bit before I expected, so I haven’t gotten the rolls of film back yet I shot to use with this article. Instead, we’ll pull data from when I was reviewing the F6.

bythom meta1

Here I’ve performed the first step: data import from camera. Apparently I left data from two shoots in the camera (you have to erase camera memory from time to time as it is finite). The image we’re looking at here was one of a series of focus checks I was doing, which I later digitized into a JPEG with my Nikon slide scanner. At the bottom below the image note the EXIF-like data: this image was shot in Manual exposure mode, 1/250, +0.3EV exposure compensation, f/5, using the matrix meter, ISO 400 film, and the 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 24mm:

bythom meta2

Note that you can create and attach further metadata to the image with Meta35 (see lower left of main window, shown magnified here):

bythom meta3

With some cameras (unfortunately not my F6), you can set custom functions, as well, including being able to load a preset of functions you’ve previously made with a single click):

bythom meta4

Meta35 isn’t without a few warts, though these are generally things built into the camera that they had to program around. For instance, on some cameras you have to disconnect the camera when you exit Meta35 (the camera thinks it is still talking to something ;~). As I noted before, you need to be disciplined about erasing the camera’s memory or else you may end up shooting without recording new data. 

In general, the Meta35 software is straight forward and prompts you on many of those gotchas that might catch you up. Using Meta35 is a little labor intensive if you’re going to do it right: (1) erase your camera’s memory; (2) go out and shoot; (3) have your film processed, (4) scan the film and place each roll into its own folder; (5) hook the camera to the computer and run the Meta35 software; (6) grab the data from the camera; (7) load your scanned images; and (8) enter any additional metadata you want. 

Step 4 is trickier than you think. What you’re really going to want to do there is not only scan, but do a full post processing to create a finished image, I think. Meta35 backs up your images before it embeds the added data, by the way. 

So why would you want Meta35? 

Well, the classic film SLR problem was this: you’d go out and shoot in the field, then you’d come back and you (a) couldn’t exactly tell what you messed up; and (b) you couldn’t distinguish image 1 with settings 1 from image 2 with settings 2 unless you took copious notes. Moreover, those notes didn’t exactly embed with the images ;~). So a year later and you have a question, you have to figure out which notes apply to which image.

If you’re shooting film for customers or publication, the ability to now tag additional metadata into the scans you might provide them is also useful. Sure, you can do that in Lightroom, but Lightroom doesn’t have the camera shooting information in it, and sometimes (photo publications, for instance), they want the shooting information. 

At US$150, Meta35 isn’t cheap. But it’s useful. Indeed, I find it more convenient than Nikon’s MV-1, which costs US$250. Moreover, Meta35’s software is decidedly better than Nikon’s crude program. 

Ilford Film User Survey


Ilford issued a press release last week concerning a survey they performed of thousands of film users. Interesting stats:

  • 30% of film supporters were under 35 years of age
  • 60% had been using film less than 5 years
  • 49% develop and print pictures in a darkroom
  • 98% used black and white film

Fujifilm Film Discontinuation


Fujifilm published a notice last week that Fujifilm Velvia 100F will no longer be made after February 2015 in the 120 format due to a decrease in demand. 4x5 and 8x10 sheets will still apparently be produced for the time being, as will 35mm rolls.  

Latest Film News

The film world continues to give and take. 


Taken is Kodak Pro BW400CN, which was discontinued in August, though should still be around in stores for a few months. Get it while you can.

Given is LomoChrome Turquoise XR100-400 film, another of those false color films, this time with colors “in varying shades of blues from aqua to cobalt.” Expected to be available in April 2015, only 5000 rolls are going to be produced initially, so you should probably order now if you really want this new film.

Help Save a Film Factory

FILM Ferrania has a unique Kickstarter project: fund them so that they can preserve Trixie, Walter, and Big Boy. 

What are those, you ask? Well, they’re massive sets of equipment used to make the plastic and chemicals in film, plus the coating gear that puts them together. The three sets of equipment are currently in an unused Ferrania plant gathering dust. Ferrania closed its doors in 2010, and the buildings and equipment that made all their film are scheduled to be destroyed soon. FILM Ferrania is a start-up that’s created small batches of film on their own, but now they’re trying to acquire what’s left of the old company so that they can expand. 

What they’re offering as a reward are limited edition 35mm, 120, Super8, and 16mm rolls of a re-engineered ScotchChrome ISO 100 slide/reversal film, products that used to be made by the old Ferrania. 

So, if you’re a film fan and want to help keep some of the old production gear operating, check out their Kickstarter page

CineStill bwXX Film

CineStuff announced a new film for Photokina 2014, the bwXX negative film. This is a repackaging of the old Eastman Double X 5222 film stock, which was used in feature films such as Schindler’s List.

Designed to be exposed at ISO 250 in daylight and 200 under tungsten, the recommended developer is Kodak D-96, though this negative stock can be processed with many black and white developers. CineStill provides the film in 36 exposure film canisters, but note that the canisters are not DX coded, so you’ll have to set ISO manually. This is a limited availability film, and currently costs US$7.49 a roll.

CineStill Web site

Lomography Cine200 Arrives


Lomography has announced that their Cine2000 Tungsten film is now available in the US and Canada, in limited supply. 

Cine200 is a 36-exposure roll of ISO 200 negative file that is processed in regular C-41 developer. It’s basically a repack of the Kodak Vision3 200 motion picture film stock (see this page for details), and do note that it’s balanced for 3200K, so you’d need an 85B filter to shoot in daylight.

Lomography site

Kodak Film Prices Going Up?

(news & commentary)

Kodak film prices will be going up on June 1st, at least in Japan. It’s unclear whether this is a global price increase or just a delayed response to the yen’s slide against other major currencies. 

The price increases are variable, ranging from 30% to 80% in the T-Max 35mm line. 4x5 users will find T-Max 400 increases 120% for 50 sheets. 

The high percentages of the increases would tend to indicate to me that we’ll see global increases, as they’re more than the yen slide would demand. Indeed, “lower global demand and high raw materials prices” were quoted as reasons for the increases. 

If you do a lot of film shooting, it probably pays to be keeping a reasonable stock in your refrigerator until ideal storage conditions. We’ve had a steady increase in prices and removal of less popular stocks for several years now, and there’s no end to that in sight.  

Two More Fujifilm Films Discontinued


Fujifilm today announced that they are discontinuing Neopan 400 Presto in 35mm form and Fujicolor Pro 400 in 120 roll film due to insufficient demand. 

Remember also that Fujifilm pricing goes up on April 1st. So consider this a reminder to stock up.

text and images © 2015 Thom Hogan — All Rights Reserved — TwitterGoogle+