Film News: New Lomography Cine200 Tungsten film
This week Lomography released a ‘new’ film. Well, I say new, it isn’t really new. But still, this is good news, right?
This week Lomo has announced that they have a new film out, though it will only be in a limited number of 4000 rolls. Priced at about $13 each. Yay.
After Lomo buddied up with Kodak Alaris there was a faint glimmer of hope that good things would be happening in the film world. Two huge names in film photography teaming up to create…. a film that was already being made for the cine market and has been converted and re-rolled.
In all honesty, when I first read the press release about this my immediate thoughts were, why? And Cinestill. And then why? again.
I can only guess that they have noticed the popularity of the Cinestill film and want to get a slice of the pie by releasing a very similar film. Fair enough, that is only good business.
But this is not what we need right now.
I appreciate all that Lomo does for film and for photography, their passion is obvious, but at the same time, this is not what film photography needs right now. If they keep on knocking out highly creative and highly expensive films it is going to alienate a whole bunch of potential future film photographers.
What film photography needs right now is a relatively decent, cheap as chips film. Rough and ready. Colour or black and white is fine, but the cheaper the better. No frills or anything. It could even come in a plain unprinted box. There are still a number of decent unused emulsions that could be used without going through loads of development and testing.
If Lomo have the power to put out limited edition overpriced films like the Cine and the Purple, then they certainly have the power to release a budget film that could attract a new generation of film users. I get loads of mails and messages every week from people telling me they would love to shoot film, but the film is just too expensive.
So Lomo, do us a favour and make a film that anyone can shoot, even students, and first time film shooters. That is what film photography really needs.
Lomography stuff is _always_ hugely overpriced. Re-badging low cost B&W film to sell it n times its price ? Selling at a premium plastic soviet camera that used to come with cereal boxes ?
I wonder of course if there’s a niche in the market for JCH to exploit?
Ilford recognising this have the Kentmere brand. nominations for colour negative?
Im sure a lot of you are aware of this, but i the UK Poundland do Agfa (which seems to be rebadged Fuji) at a quid a roll. Predominantly 24 frames but you get the odd 36 framer.
I tend to use it at 400 and love the colours/contrast.
Would it be possible to use the film canister as a platform for adds, which could help to finance the film (meaning making it cost less). It is clearly not the best advertising space given that you put the canister in your camera and then later send it to the lab or throw it away (so basically you just see it for a few seconds). But today commercials are often on even shittier places. Plus photography related commercials might even have some reach there,
Am sure someone had this “brilliant’ idea before, but wanted to throw it out here.
As I’ve argued I think before cheap film isn’t the issue. Until someone is making new cameras and I don’t mean toy ones, the film industry isn’t viable in the long term. Obviously it won’t keel over overnight, there are enough interested parties but the margins will get squeezed one way. The only viable way to correct that in my eyes is a growth and that growth can only come with new users. Recycling cameras on ebay and similar only gets you so far.
Maybe in the really long term, but as it is now (used “market” being oversaturated and the resulting ability to acquire a really good kit for like 100 bucks), I’m having trouble imagining this being a serious issue. Any newly manufactured cameras would be much more expensive in comparison and likely have the status of a luxury item right from the get-go.
Sometimes they don’t even rebadge it- a while back I saw them selling Agfa Precisa CT (which is in-turn rebadged Sensia stock) for like 9EUR a roll- and it can be bought in 2packs at DM drugstores all over central Europe for 8,50EUR! DM also has rebadged Fuji Superia (200 and 400) for about 1,50EUR a roll- Agfa APX100 for 3,50EUR. Bellamy- instead of developing a new/reviving an old stock as you proposed a while back, what about just getting the cheap stuff out there? Granted a drugstore chain has quite the buying power, but I can’t imagine they are selling that much of it…you have the market, the following, the ability to get it to those who do not live in places with DM’s or Poundland’s around the corner…I saw you selling some A&S films a while back-why not try something similar again?
While I’m not a lomo fan, not sure that ‘cheap’ film is an answer to long-term availability. There’s plenty of B/W options at $5 US or less a roll, which is a fair price and one that can earn everyone involved a little profit. If companies can’t make money selling film, we won’t get more, after all. I am concerned that the only business model that will be around for film is the short term fad sale – purple film is great and all but a stable supply of a few key emulsions is a better option for photographers.
Lomography is not the answer to the film world’s problems. Lomography is a nuisance, a distraction at best. Their whole business model is structured around producing cheap and selling with a high margin. They have no interest in high volume, low margin products such as a cheap and high quality film product. That applies both to their own product range as well as the products which they are just reselling. They apply a considerable price penalty on items they resell or re-brand (~30% on top of average prices elsewhere). The products they design and produce are of low quality in terms of durability and overall design, especially where higher selling prices apply. For instance, I admit to being lured into buying the Belair 6×12 medium format camera. The design of the camera is so poor, that it’s basically not able to produce consistent results. The shutter release is positioned off balance, close to the lens and away from the body, introducing camera shake easily. The plastic lenses the camera came with, are so poor in image quality, that not even the center of the frame will be sharp enough. The expensive, Russian made glass lenses offer better image quality (in theory), however, they are so heavy in comparison to the camera itself, that in conjunction with the shutter placement design flaw, not even a tripod will save you from camera shake at exposure time. All of this can be forgiven to an extend by the most faithful Lomo fanboys, however the worst design flaw of the Belair results in “fat rolls” and out of focus images as the camera cannot keep the film flat in the back and tight on the spool. Other products they designed have similar flaws. Take their film scanner construction where you use your smartphone in combination. It requires an app. Just a take a look at the rating of their iOS app and the user comments. It’s basically unusable. They still sell this crap.
Their iconic products that are proven to work within a range of expectations (Diana, Holga etc.) are available at a fraction of the price with the same quality from Chinese manufacturers – you only miss out on the Hipster marketing.
There is nothing to expect from Lomography that will result in something good for those who love film. Lomography literally is for those who are willing to pay “the hipster tax” which is nothing else than a “stupid tax”, a tax for the stupid. My advice: avoid them, do not buy their stuff, don’t let yourself be associated with them. It can only end in tears.
And besides, you are asking Lomography for something that is already readily available on the market: high quality, high volume, very low price color film – made in Japan no less! Large drugstore chains in Germany sell re-branded, made in Japan color film at ISO 200 and 400, at 24 and 36 exposures a roll for about 1EUR per roll.
Other drugstores in Germany sell the same product (the film cartridge is always identical). The ISO 200 rolls are pink and read made in Japan. The ISO 400 rolls are blue and also read made in Japan. The film tends to accentuate green tones over red, consistent with my belief that this film is made by Fuji. I buy the ISO 400 film mostly in packages of three, at 36 exposures each for about 3EUR. I have to check on the exact price again.
I shot the ISO 400 film recently while watching the Germany – Algeria soccer game at a public viewing event in Hamburg, Germany with a Minolta XD7 and the Minolta MD 50mm f/1.2:
The quality is not Portra 400 of course, but it’s a film at the fraction of that price and performs well beyond expectations. I shoot it almost exclusively for my open ended Hamburg project.
You should find out if Fuji is really behind this film as a manufacturer and how the distribution model works. Since most German drugstore chains are distributing and re-branding this film, it shouldn’t be impossible to come to a similar arrangement.
Tobias- awesome photos! You captured some telling moments-although that wasn’t the best game ;-) I too am a big fan of DM for their cheap film (Paradiso right?;-) I also love the Precisa CT. Regarding distribution: I second that idea- I don’t think there is a problem here in central Europe, the UK, Japan or the US- but I think I there are growing scenes in places just outside of these “strongholds of film”- from my experience talking to friends from the Philippines, Turkey, or even some parts of Russia…they can barely afford film, and paper is even worse from what I hear. One thing I’ve been wondering though- If it was to be distributed internationally, what about the X-Ray checks???
Thanks Stuart. I appreciate the comment. I agree, the game was a strain.
I have no idea how international cargo freight is managed in regards to x-ray checks. Good question.
So true!!!! Affordable film is what we really need! I shoot film already but find myself having to shoot digital often because the expense is just too great. So I have to resort to either shooting all digital or mostly digital and a roll here and there. Mitre affordable films please.
Rough and ready = 3-packs of Gold 200 at WalMart for $10.50. it’s never going to get any better than that.
Don’t forget Arista films! It costs less than US$ 3.00 in Freestyle.
that’s available – German Drugstores
In the local shops only. 2-4 EUR per film
Or Fujicolor from 2 EUR on at Fotoimpex http://www.fotoimpex.de/shop/system/?func=anzeige&wkid=30921357756299&rub1=Filme&rub2=Kleinbildfilme%20135&cache=&pn=0&sort=5
I don’t see me shopping at Lomo at all, well I did, but that was a petzval toy. ;-)
I support your views Bellamy, and I do hope Lomography listens. That company has a potential to be something great, and with a booming userbase of young photographers (who are probably also buying second hand vinyls) the future can be bright, even if digital photography has come to stay.
I’m in a local students photography club in Oslo, Norway, and our members are huge film users. We have a great darkroom, probably the best in town, and at least the cheapest.
Students are on a budget, so we have found two cheap films out there:
– For colour, a local store sells Tudor XLX 200 135 film with 24 frames.
– For black and white: Fomapan. It is still produced by the same Czech manufacturer that developed it, and we buy it from a local importer (the type you meet by the metro station, that hands you a groceries bag when you hand him the cash, but instead of herbs you get film. Not sure wich is the most addictive…).
Despite epic self-promotion, Lomography seems to be circling the drain. The store-based model died in the N. American market where nearly all of its shops failed. Who suckers now for their high-priced, cutesy-packaged, respooled film and those over-processed, light-leaked, color-shifted Instagram-ish results –all supposedly, and consistently, straight out of the camera?
We won’t see budget priced b&w and C-41 film from them. Ever. No more than Apple Stores are likely to start selling off-brand computers and tablets.
For many of us, though, it’s less a problem of cheap film than cheap, reliable processing, especially for C-41 materials.
Wow, lotsa hate for Lomo. Yeah, they’re overpriced…not for me but someone likes it.
The argument is that they’re a ‘gateway’ retailer — they get people interested initially in the process of using film, and then the thinking is that they’ll get into it further. I think that’s a fair statement. When it comes to the youth demographic, you can’t think in terms of one monolithic entity…it’s all multi-tiered and decentralized. So in that sense, Lomo has an important role to play.
Hey, if you want to talk overpriced boutique products let’s talk Leica. *ducks for cover*
Sorry, Colin, but I just don’t see many–if any–of the “youth demographic” shooting anything but smart phones or the occasional low-end DSLR around Toronto. The film ecosystem here collapsed around 5 years ago with widespread lab closures. The Lomo Store here crapped out for lack of business–this in N. America’s fourth largest city. Trying to “brand” film photography just didn’t fly. “Too expensive,” “too much trouble,” and “too hard to share” are the usual complaints I hear now about film photography. Baseless? Maybe.
Thank you, Bellamy, for keeping us informed. Demons (speaking figuratively, of course) must always be confronted. I have not yet bought a Lomography product. I was thinking about one of their films because I still do small format mostly. But that would be it, for me, from Lomo.
I don’t think we should bash Lomo here. As previous posts have mentioned, they fill a niche market, the cool hipster market. I grew up shooting film and switched to digital 6 years ago. About 2 years ago I walked past a Lomography store in Johannesburg. My girlfriend at the time bought me a Dianna F+ camera and all of a sudden I was rediscovering my love for film. All my old film cameras were pulled out again, Nikon F5, FM3a and F80 and the next thing I knew I was on a film photography quest, trying to find out everything I could about different film stocks and techniques. I had always used to use fairly cheep Fuji Superia film as that was what was most prominent in stores, but now Tri-X, Portra, Fuji Pro 400h and Velvia have all been through my camera. And it all started with Lomo!
So I don’t think it’s Lomo’s responsibility to provide us with cheap film. They’re already doing something invaluable, and that’s getting people in a digital age trying out film and having fun with it. Once their interest is piqued, they may go on a film quest of their own!
100%, that’s my story as well. Lomography was my fire starter to start with film photography
I really really really wish there were more…economical ways to get ECN-2 developed. I am very tempted to try some of the 250T or 500T I have seen out there. Somebody could make A TON of money developing this in color…all that seems to be available is to have it done in B+W or wait months…with a “x feet minimum” to get it processed. I think that if this ever got off the ground it would cause a renaissance of film photography.
And the Lomo stuff/philosophy just sounds odd….
I don’t think Lomography is the problem. Anyone who doesn’t shoot film because it’s “too expensive” isn’t going to be enticed by having cheaper film to shoot. Even if it were $1.00 a roll they wouldn’t do it, not only because of the price of developing/scanning, but also because they’re constantly being reminded of the cost every time they want new pictures. Never mind that there are people out there GIVING away film cameras (I know because I’ve had several given to me) and that the entry cost for film photography is so incredibly low, compared to spending thousands of dollars for a DSLR.
These people forget how much they spent on digital equipment because they pay it all up front, so paying $10.00 to take 36 pictures doesn’t seem like a deal to them. Never mind that they’d have to shoot maybe 200-300 rolls before it equals the cost of that digital camera they bought.
By comparison, since I took up photography in 2009, I’ve shot around 60 rolls of film. For about $12.00 per roll (say $4.00 for film and $8.00 for processing and scanning) that comes out to $720.00 in 5 years. That’s an average of $144.00 per year, at the equivalent of a roll of film per month. Now compare that to the cost of going to Starbucks… Let’s say $5.00 per visit once per week (quite a conservative estimate, really; some people do that shit daily) for a year would be $260.00.
For the poor among us, Lomography isn’t the answer to anything. For the first 3 years I shot Fuji Superia (which I really love) or expired film wherever I could find it, to keep my costs as low as possible. I bought a 4-pack of Superia 800 from Wal-Mart early this year for $12.00 and one could easily keep the costs as cheap on the b&w side with Kentmere and Arista.
So shooting film is expensive? Hardly.
I re-stocked on Rossmann 400 (ISO 400 color film, a made in Japan, probably a white labeled Fuji film). They sell for EUR 2.65 for three rolls with 36 exposures each. Yes, that’s right. I bought 30 rolls of made in Japan color film for less than EUR30.
A cheap choice for black and white film would be Rollei labeled film which can be bought online.
Cheap, mass produced film is not the problem. Lomography with their overpriced products and their perceived monopoly on analog mindshare is the problem. People need to know about the cheap alternatives (that are at the same time higher quality than the made in China crap Lomography sells for film!).