Whilst I munch the last of the Xmas mince pies and sip the last of my Vino prior to having January off the booze, it’s worth mulling back over the last 12 months in the Analogue world both on a international and personal level
Best New Product : The LC-A 120
Runner Up – Leica M-A
The fact that Lomographische AG get a product here is no surprise. One of the few producers of new analogue gear they launched schlew of analogue products during 2014. The LC-A 120 for me is the standout product although I Haven’t one (Hint LSI – send me one and I’ll happily review). Of all the new products this year this is a bit of a jump taking a classic 35mm P&S and bolting on a 120 film body.
Leica deserve their runner up place with the M-A , a camera I am even less likely to own given the cost. On one hand this ain’t revolutionary and doesn’t actually add anything new per se but what leica have had the balls to do is introduce a mass (okay somewhat selective) market 21st century all mechanical film rangefinder without any metering.
Film of 2014 : Kodak BW400CN
Runner up : Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200
Okay this is purely personal but IMHO for a pure P&S boy the best film this year has been BW400CN, Kodak’s now defunct C41 process Black and White. This film has delivered time and time again for me this year. This can be processed in any Lab using standard colour C41 negative chemicals and has great exposure latitude. When exposed well the grain is truly fine but push over or under and the grain creeps in. Sadly killed off by Kodak Alaris you can still buy this classic (still stocked in some Boots on their Buy on get one Half price deal)
Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 (AKA Fuji C200) deserves a mention if only for the fact it’s the cheapest film in the UK (it’s C200 guise is the second cheapest !!). An Old Skool emulsion but can’r be beaten bang for buck and the results are still pleasing with a vintage muted colour palette.
Supporting the Canny Photographer 2014
Winner (Joint) ASDA/Poundland
Honourable mention Boots
ASDA and Poundland ? Well give these bargain basement folk credit where credit is due. With them I can shoot, process and scan a film for £4 or less. You might critique these for ruining the competition but there are scan others selling film and services left these days on the British high street
Boots get an honourable mention as still on the whole stocking film and in some places offering in store processing (all stores still offer option to send away)
99p eBay steal of the year : Chinon 35EE
Runner up : Halina 35 autoflash
Many folk post items with an auction starting price of 99p to avoid fees on eBay and sometimes you can get lucky with getting a camera for a steal at this start price. My Chinon 35EE was my steal of the year on this basis. This good Japanese 70’s compact rangefinder is widely available but doesn’t have the same cachet of models like the Konica C35 so can be got for a song
My other notable success was a Halina autoflash 35.
Welcome Launch of the Year : Film Ferrania
2014 saw the welcome launch of Film Ferrania a company setting out be another player in the film market. Set up in Italy by former employees of Ferrania, they’re hoping to begin commercial production of a E-6 reversal film based on Scotch chrome and raised well in excess of their $250,000 kickstarter target. Another welcome independant player alongside the likes of the impossible film project and revolog.
I await my 4 rolls in spring 2014.
Noooooo Moment of 2014 : Kodak BW400CN ceases production
As you can guess I love this film so when Alaris announced they were ceasing production I was gutted. I’m sure some bean counter at Kodak has looked at the figures but C41 black and white films are a great bridge for novices and for those of us who don’t have the time to home process as you can still get ’em done in all photo labs. Ilford have luckily promised to continue production of almost as good XP2 the only internationally available C41 B&W (Ilford also make Neopan 400CN for Fuji but this is only for UK & Japan markets) although I suspect that was easy to say as they’ll have a monopoly.
For others the concern has been over Fujifilm killing off yet more film with Velvia 100F (E6) being bumped off in 120 size and rumours around the demise of one of their professional medium format rangefinders.