Pentax 17

I previously mentioned the Pentax film renaissance. Today Pentax announced the Pentax 17 (via DPReview).

This gives the details we didn’t previously have.

It’s a vertical half frame (17 mm wide, 24 mm tall) 35mm millimeter compact camera, with a manual focus fixed prime lens. It has program exposure with a few modes, and built-in flash with sync at 1/125. It will be priced at USD$499.95, to be available in late (aren’t we already in the second half?) June 2024.

The manual focusing is zone based, reminiscent of non auto-focus compact cameras, and the viewfinder is parallax corrected, and centered on the lens in the middle of the camera. This is neither a reflex (through the lens) nor a rangefinder.

The body construction has metal, i.e. it’s not a cheap plastic blob. The leaf shutter goes from 4 sec to 1/350 sec, with also a bulb mode. The lens is a fixed 25mm (37mm equivalent) with f/3.5 aperture closed down to a max of f/16. Film advance is mechanic with a lever, so is ISO setting (no DX). The camera uses a CR2 battery for the metering and the flash.

The half frame allow 48 and 72 shots on 24 and 36 exp rolls respectively. If you want to shoot in landscape mode, just flip the camera.

This camera could totally be from the late 1970s, minus a couple of things. According to Ricoh-Pentax, the lens is based on the 1994 Pentax Espio Mini, but using the same attribute as was used on the 1962 RICOH Auto Half

At USD$500 I am not sure whether this is right-priced or not.

Where to buy in Canada

I have put up a curated list of Canada camera stores and film processing labs. This came from the need to know where I could get film processed, or get supplies for it.

There is a lot of reasons why you’d want to buy from a Canadian store (when living in Canada), including that some of the supplies, like chemicals for film processing, are not easy to import. Also the prices are mostly MSRP which mean that patronising a local business won’t cost you more.

I hope this is useful.

Link: Pentax film renaissance

DPReview has an interview with the team behind Pentax upcoming film camera:

Everything analog is suddenly cool again, and photography is no exception: There’s an incredible renaissance happening in film photography, led by a generation who grew up never knowing anything other than digital cameras.

Yes. There is room for a few new film cameras that produce quality images (that’s a stab a Lomography). While things are moving in the world of film supplies, not always to the taste of aficionados, the stock of used film camera is just getting older. And older mean breakage, difficult to repair.

The first announcement came in December 2022, but in April 2024, the publication date of the interview, we have a bit more detail. It will be a half frame 35mm camera, vertical, in a compact format. But every other details remain elusive, including exposure modes.

To be continued…

Developing black and white slide film

Kelly-Shane on the Go Everywhere channel made a 7 minutes video to show us how develop black & white slide film, only using regular black and white film, black and white chemistry, and some household chemicals to preform the reversal process.

I am actually surprised it is that easy. I always wanted to try black and white slides but the availability of Agfa Scala always made it a hard sell.

The end of Polaroid Spectra film

This is not the first time Polaroid Spectra film becomes discontinued. The first time was when Polaroid went under and the remaining stock depleted. DPReview now reports that Polaroid Originals is stopping the production of Spectra film because the remaining cameras are now aging, unrepairable, and there is nothing they can do about it.

This is a bigger problem with film photography in general that I wrote about previously: the whole production supply chain, from cameras to film processors and scanners is in danger. Nobody develops new hardware, because it requires a lot of R&D and the old one is becoming harder and harder to repair, non withstanding for processors and scanner where the software is antique and only runs on obsolete systems.

Reflex, a new 35mm film camera design

Petapixel had the news about Reflex, a new 35mm film camera design:

The Reflex combines old, time-tested designs with exciting new ideas to create a brand new concept of what a manual film SLR can be for the modern generation of photographers.

Head over to the kickstarter page that explain it in more details. Here is the summary:

  • Modern mechanical and electronic components.
  • Interchangeable mount, by default with a M42 threaded mount, but optionally K, Nikon F, Canon FD, etc.
  • Interchangeable back: 35mm film magazine.
  • Built-in Flash and continuous LED light.
  • Modular, “open-source” and connectivity (like Bluetooth Low Energy). The intent being to have open specifications for third-parties to provide accessories.
  • Battery with USB charger.

Still at the Kickstarter level, already past half of its funding as I write this, on the first day, Reflex plans to ship in September 2018 with the specifications still subject to change. The pledge that gives the camera body in its barest configuration as a reward is at GBP350 (~CAD$590). You get the M42 mount, no lens. I believe this is reasonably priced.

My thoughts:

It is good to see that there are some people interested in make film cameras, beyond the booming instant photography. Yes there is Japan Camera Hunter’s project of 35mm compact camera project but it seems to be just a project.

The supply in used film camera is nice, with quite many affordable units, but it won’t be eternal. Something fresh is definitely needed for the survival of film photography.

The design is also interesting. It doesn’t try to be too complicated or gimmicky, the two major innovations are the interchangeable lens mounts and the removable film back. The former is a dedication to reusing older lens, without having extra adapters, and the later solve one of the issue of film that we can’t change film type without finishing a roll (or hacking by rewinding the spool, been there, done that). Some would argue that the flash or continuous LED light are gimmicky, but the Bluetooth Low Energy part is interesting. I like geotagging and this seems to be the perfect fit. It would be terrific if we could get the exposure information and DX that way as well.

And with all the comments, Shootfilm has an opinion on the matter.