From Russia with Love: Silberra Crowdfunding the Largest Ever Film Photography Campaign
“So damn beautiful! With every death there comes rebirth, it’s the circle of life. We’re gonna be alright.” [Makes humping motions] – Chazz Reinhold
This scene with the character played by Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers immaturely popped in my head when I read the exciting news coming from a brand new company called Silberra, based in Russia. Many folks are still smarting from the Fuji”film” announcement last week but Silberra is a young analog photo company that has hugantic goals in the camera film industry: it just launched a $115,000 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to mass produce some brand new film!
There have been some wonderful independent producers of photographic film *ahem* but none as comprehensive as this: Silberra’s announcement covers four new 35mm and 120 black and white film series, three orthochromatic films as well as new photographic papers and development chemistry. The four film series are:
- Silberra PAN, based on a tweaked Agfa recipe and available in four stocks: ISO 50, 100 and 160, as well as a limited edition 200 ISO film.
- Silberra ORTA, a brand new from-scratch orthochromatic film, available in ISO 25, 50 and 80 versions.
- Silberra IC, a brand new isochromatic film stock.
- Silberra PAN II, a brand new panchromatic film.
The four black and white films aren’t fast and contrasty like say, JCH Streetpan, but instead more fine grain and panchromatic. Current offerings in 35mm are the Silberra PAN50, Silberra PAN100, Silberra PAN160 and Silberra PAN200. The company announced three orthochromatic films at the late beta-rest phase, which are the Silberra ORTA25, Silberra ORTA50 and Silberra ORTA80.
According to Silberra:
“With the product ready we need funds to start mass production of the film and to continue our R&D, which currently focuses on RC photographic paper and two new film series: Silberra IC (Isochromatic) and Silberra PAN II (a totally new panchromatic emulsion).”
Be sure to check out Silberra on IndieGoGo.
Let’s take a closer look at the films already available. Below are sample images from each film gathered for your perusal.
Frodo Baggins and The Hobgoblin have also been emulsified with Silberra (yeah I know, just thought that Sergeant Elias would be too obscure but I digress)
The two top dogs of this endeavor, photographer Vladimir Vishnevsky and businessman Konstantin Shabanov started the company in 2009 and adopted the Silberra brand earlier this year. I do not know them personally, but I dig this project big time and the samples look great. The look is something like the result of a passionate, steamy affair between old-school Efke R and Ilford SFX.
I believe we at JCH know a little something about how hard it is to produce your own film so this ambitious project deserves mad props and support. Making totally new film would seem a much better application of valuable resources than being a plasticy poser *cough* Yashica!
We are all struggling upstream against the currents of megapixels and Silberra’s master plan comes as a glimmer of hope in the era of big film companies and their silver-halide cleansing campaigns. If you like what you see here and wanna help be a part of the future of film photography, please show your support over at Indiegogo!
This is amazing indeed, but could someone more knowledgeable than me tell me if it is that much harder to produce a high ISO b/w film? There’s plenty of choice in the 50-200 ISO range already. On the contrary, stuff such as Neopan 1600 is dearly missed.
Still, this looks darn sexy.
In the 1960s I shot a lot of Panatomic X, an ASA 40 extremely fine grained film. From the 1970s on it been mainly color—Kadachrome, Ektachrome, ECN 5247 cinefilm, EktaPress, FujiPress, Ektar 100 and various Portra. When one of my childern shot for his school newspaper it was Kodak P3200 in his Rebel—Me, I prefer fine grain and used Kodak BW400CN.
I’m still waiting for the pre-pre-annonced Ektachrome.
A nice film with grays included in it will be welcomed. That is, lower contrast and fine grain. Speed of 160 and higher is good. The reason for the speed is everyday use wants available speed; even if you don’t need the speed today, tomorrow you may want speed on the very same roll. Slower speeds are specialty films to most of us, and although we will sometimes use them, we’ll gladly trade a little on grain and tonal range to get more speed. Once the film becomes known, we can push it for even more speed and for higher contrast when desired.
And it’s exciting to have an ortho as well. I miss ortho sometimes, even if it means packing a tripod to use it.
And I would agree with Seb above. We do have Delta 3200 for high speed stuff. It is great. If you folks want to venture into high speed, there is a market. We’d want something fast, that can be properly developed in D76 or Xtol. The Delta 3200 requires special developer and close attention to exposure. So if you can develop a film that has either wide exposure latitude or uses ordinary developers it would be welcomed by quite a few people.
Check out the Film Photography Project website for other Crowdfunding/kickstarter campaigns on the go!
Love these…but I’d like to see some 1000, 1600 or 3200 film as well. I need grain and grit.
If you want grain and grit, stand develop and agitate
I was priviledged to be sent a few beta test rolls of various emulsions to play with, plus some chemicals, and I can honestly say that these films are different from what I am used to, In that the tones are much more “open” in the shadows and the highlight tones are well separated and “clean”. The negs print easily on multigrade, they love to be “split-graded” where appropriate and they scan very well, for those without a darkroom. Particularly outstanding is the Pan160 developed in their own “Ascorol” developer. The Ortho films are curious and you have to expect the normal tones you get with Panchro film to be different, skintones a bit darker and blue skies a lot lighter, for example. Their international online shop is now open and they ship cheaply and fast. Try a few rolls, they will make you smile.