Saturday, November 11, 2017

When a door opens, take it.

There is no doubt that analog film shooting is back in a bigger way than most of us envisoned. Whether it is the simply a revival of film due to people looking for something new, or people fed up with digital perfection, or a surge of interest in film as an artistic medium, there is no doubt that we are seeing not only a surge in film sales, but introductions of new films from manufacturers other than the BIG THREE (Kodak, Ilford, Fuji).  What has been noticeable is the indifference of the major camera manufacturers to this phenomenon.  Lomography is the mainstay in terms of offering up new film cameras, as well as resurrecting some of the cameras from the former Soviet Union.  Yes, I am fully aware of the massive number of film cameras sitting out there, waiting to be used -- literally millions.  Yet, they are ageing, and repairs for them are getting iffy, seeing that there are a limited number of places that can do major repairs of cameras.  What about a new, attractively priced Nikon FM-style camera, or a Pentax K1000-style camera, or maybe even a Canon EOS film camera? Nada from those guys.  They are putting their money into yet another iteration of digital cameras that will make you have to get a new computer to keep up with the size of the digital files. Most of us that are hobbyists long ago figured out that 14 MP was enough. Hell, for many things, a 6MP DSLR is enough.
The Ricoh SLX 500 is a good, no-frills manual SLR that could
serve as the type of basic SLR that could be made.

I have a good number of excellent film cameras, so why should I worry?  But, there are probably thousands of people that would buy a new 35mm SLR if any were available, especially if it were offered in a lens mount that is popular.  I know that Cosina made the Bessaflex around 2002, and I sort of lusted for one for a while.  The Nikon FM10 was made until very recently.  So, Cosina would be the obvious choice for a manufacturer of a new SLR.  But nooooo!

Enter the announcement of some surprises in the past few weeks on Kickstarter.
The REFLEX camera was announced just about two weeks ago, with little initial information. At first, I was skeptical of the product (for the aforementioned reasons), but after they released their video and the camera specs, it now seems like a pretty interesting advancement in a 35mm SLR.

Now, there is also another 35mm SLR, the Ihagee Elbaflex. Incorporating a Nikon F-mount is a great idea, and I am waiting to see more information in a few days.  This is the type of camera that I would hope for, and something that schools could actually purchase as a learning tool.  The 1/500 sec max shutter speed may seem limiting, but really, it's not.  Perhaps it is a clone of the old Kiev 19, which has an F-mount (and I have one of those).  We will see more about the product in a few days.  EDIT -- Today's (11/12) post from Kosmo Foto also hints at the Elbaflex being a revamped Kiev 19 SLR.
The Kiev 19, while not a Nikon FM, is certainly a functional SLR.

Much as the new films are coming from small companies (Bergger, Silberra, Maco, Foma, etc.), the new cameras are coming from small startups with the idea that they will fill a demand for new film cameras. I seriously hope that they succeed and perhaps that will get Cosina in the picture to re-issue some basic 35mm SLRS as well.

1 comment:

Mistral75 said...

The so-called Ihagee Elbaflex is a revamped 1988 Kiev 19M camera without its light meter and with a wooden grip replacing the original plastic one.