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Dear Privileged 1st world film photographer

Disclaimer: Contained in this article will be some liablous and harsh words directly addressing you. If you don’t like the finger pointed at you, I suggest you move on. Go look at pretty pictures on Tumblr, go lament the death of real film in a forum, and in other words go find a sympathetic ear somewhere else. This article contains straight talk directed at people who want to make a difference. Not meant to offend, but meant to bring a different perspective to what kind of situation film photographers find themselves in here in the first quarter of the 21st century.

fp3000b_boxThe writing is on the wall folks. Film is being killed off. Strip out all the emotion from the facts and we can see the following: Corporations will behave as corporations do, they’re in it to make money. Long gone are the days when the big film companies could hide test, experimental and under performing  film (monetarily) products within their product portfolio. All the major manufacturers have their product offerings stripped down to the bone. This is the part where you probably feel some anger or resentment towards the big bad company who took your beloved xxxyyyy iso 1600 slide film away. Release that, it happened, the party is over, and it’s not 1985 anymore.

I own an online Polaroid camera store as well as a retail location in Seattle, WA. Some would argue that I should be the most outraged at Fuji’s decision to discontinue FP-3000b instant peel apart film. I’m mean seriously, I’ve pegged my livelihood to the continued availability of this film. But I don’t. It’s our fault, it’s the vibrant community of enthusiastic film photographers who is to blame. We could mince words here but let’s not be pedantic, or righteous, and just move on. We didn’t buy enough film.

The photography world fell in love with digital. It’s easy to see why and I don’t blame anyone for their decision. But as we can see many photographers are doing a walk of shame back to film. Like regrets and the hangover from a fast and furious love affair, the photography community is starting to wake up and realize that film DOES have a place in art. So, here we are it’s the next morning your head is pounding with anger that this company or that had the audacity to discontinue your favorite film. What can you do, you feel powerless, outraged. So mad it makes you want to tell someone about it… on twitter.

Image Credit: Tobias Feltus | New55Enter Bob Crowley and the New 55 project. If you don’t know what this is, go read up on it here. I’m not going to waste your time or space holding your hand or playing cheerleader for this project. What I do wish to say about it is this. If this crowd funded, home-grown film project fails to get funded I will slap the next person I have to listen to bitch about Fuji discontinuing FP-3000b. Don’t tell me about your 1st world problems, I don’t care. We are being given the opportunity to send a clear and direct message to the patent holders.

As of writing this piece, the New55 project is not funded with just 5 days left. There’s over $100,000 dollars to go and it’s anyone’s guess if it will get funded in time. So you say, you don’t have a 4×5” camera? You don’t like the ‘look’ of the film? You don’t shoot instant? You’re confused as to what it’s all about. Well let me say this, I can guarantee you that there are eyes watching this. Eyes that make decisions that affect the film industry going forward. The bottom line is this: If this project fails, we the people will be sending a very clear message. “The market for film is dead”

I don’t care if you have a perfectly good excuse for ignoring this project. If you shoot film you need to donate. I don’t care if you donate at the lowest level, or drop $1,000 towards this project or wouldn’t know what to do with the perks. This is about communicating the importance of saving the legacy of film photography. If you have the privilege to afford to shoot with real film in 2014, you can afford to put a few dollars towards New55.

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Konica Instant Press

One of the most rewarding parts of our retail store is all the cool cameras that people bring us. Often they are inherited family cameras that folks really don’t know what to do with with. Every so often we get the opportunity to handle, or even buy extremely rare items.

The Konica Instant Press is a professional-quality instant camera sold circa 1983-84 by Konica. It integrates a Polaroid-branded CB103 film back which accepts 3¼×4¼” peel-apart instant film.

Like the top-grade folding Polaroid packfilm models (the 180, the 190, and 195), the Konica Instant Press offers a superior lens (a Hexanon 110mm f/4.0) and full manual control over exposure settings. The Copal #0 Shutter runs from 1 second to 1/500, plus T and B; and a white lever above the lens (without click stops) sets apertures between f/4 and f/64. The minimum focus is only 0.6m. This is much closer than Polaroid professional (180, 190, 195) cameras, whose closest focus is approx. 1.3m. It is also closer than the Fuji Fotorama FP-1 with a minimum focus of approx. 0.8m.

The Konica Instant Press does take some features from the iconic press cameras of the mid-20th century, such as the Speed Graphic. It folds closed into a sturdy package, retracting the lensboard using bellows; and it focuses via a top-mounted rangefinder/viewfinder (having just a single eyepiece, unlike some Polaroid models). The Konica also pays special attention to ergonomics, with a large handgrip for the photographer’s left hand molded into the camera’s plastic body. Focusing is done with an oversized knob in the center of the fold-out front panel (reminiscent of 1950s Polaroid Pathfinders); from here the shutter release is within finger reach atop the front edge of the door. This is threaded for standard cable releases.

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You can read a fine review of the Instant Press here from moominsean

So now you get the picture, this is a very fine professional grade camera. We have one for sale! Contact us at or come into our retail store in Seattle.