How much longer can film hold?

NPR has a piece titled How Much Longer Can Photographic Film Hold On?:

At the turn of the 21st century, American shutterbugs were buying close to a billion rolls of film per year. This year, they might buy a mere 20 million, plus 31 million single-use cameras — the beach-resort staple vacationers turn to in a pinch, according to the Photo Marketing Association

Basically, film is not dead, but it is far beyond in term of market. The biggest risk for film is not that big companies stop producing it but rather that they hoard the technology to make it. Agfa Scala was the first example, albeit salvaged by the makers of DR5, still repeating the mistake. Polaroid is the second example, and the Impossible Project did the impossible with it. Kodachrome is the third and hardest example: a very complicated and undocumented process without any alternative. I believe slide film E-6 will be next. Time will tell.

Pentax Q

Pentax just announced the Pentax Q, a mirror-less camera with interchangeable lenses and a small sensor of 1/2.3″. There will be 5 lenses available.

As usual, DPReview has a preview.

Just a few comments after reading the specs and the preview:

  • Small sensor. I already find the m4/3 to be noisy due to its size. 1/2.3″ is significantly smaller and the quality will likely converge to a compact: lot of noise at higher ISO.
  • Barely smaller than the Sony NEX (or a micro 4/3), according to the picture on DPReview, despite a much smaller sensor.

Also the lenses will include a “standard” prime (kit) 48mm equivalent, “standard” zoom ($300), a fisheye with manual focus and fixed aperture f5.6 ($129) and for less than $100, two “toy” lenses, one wide (28mm equiv.), one (100mm equiv.) telephoto whose image look will remind of the Diana or Lomo.

At $800 with the prime lens, I don’t really see where the Pentax Q fits in the market. That reminds me of the Pentax Auto 110 film SLR.

Polaroid, something that was impossible

Technologizer relate the story of the Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible:

Most important, unlike any other Polaroid, the SX-70 asked the photographer to do nothing more than focus, press the shutter, and pluck the snapshot as it emerged from the camera–and then watch it develop in daylight. It was the first camera to realize what Edwin Land said had been his dream all along: “absolute one-step photography.”

This was in 1972 and it was a landmark towards the true instant photography. Long before digital.

Open letter to Leica

Lloyd Chambers wrote an open letter to Leica:

The M9 felt like 2 year old technology the day I got it, with many disappointments.

And yes you are allowed to bad mouth Leica. I believed that the M8 was a mishap – evidence that Leica didn’t really know what to do. Apparently the M9 is too. And very expensive. Chambers has already written very extensively about the M9 (sorry, paywall).

And I have read a lot of praise about the Leica M9 too.

Leica 25mm for m4/3 and Panasonic GF-3

News from the micro Four Thirds front:

Panasonic GF-3: more compact than the GF-2, still no viewfinder, even more stripped down:
DC Resource previewDPReview
In July 2011 with the 14mm f2.5 for USD$699. August for USD$599 with a kit zoom.

Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4 DG: fast sharp “standard” lens:
DC ResourceDPReview
Price unknown, for August 2011.

Vivian Maier

On Mother Jones: The Best Street Photographer You’ve Never Heard Of:

Four years ago, a Chicago real estate agent stumbled upon a box of negatives. Little did he know that he’d discovered Vivian Maier

See alsoThe Secret City of Vivian Maier.

Vivian Maier was still living at the time of the purchase, Maloof didn’t know, nor did he know what her name was until he dug more in the archives. Only recently her work started being shown after being cataloged and processed.

It is the ordinary story of a nanny that filmed, photographed and documented life. She was a private person and seen through her passionate eyes we discover New York and Chicago in the 50’s and onward.

About the Maloof Collection:

The vast scope of the archive is impressive. It consists of more than 100,000 negatives, over 3,000 prints, hundreds of rolls of film, home movies, audio tape interviews, and various other items, representing roughly 90 percent of Vivian’s work.

Ricoh GR-D III for street photography

Using the Ricoh GRIII For Street Photography: A Review by Eric Kim (from The Phoblographer):

Without spoiling anything, it is truly the best compact camera for street photography, and everybody who is serious about shooting in the streets should have one. Keep reading to read my in-depth review of the Ricoh GRIII digital.

I have a GR Digital II which is almost the same. The Ricoh GR Digital series have a lot of fans. I believe this family of camera is greatly underrated, maybe because it does not have a zoom making it some sort of pariah for consumers. I have yet to get myself on using it in that situation having used the E-P1 more often. Maybe soon for a more complete review.