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Of Eclipses and Webservers

Some of you probably noticed our website was down for the last few days right on through the eclipse! We’d like to call it a side effect of the eclipse but now it was mostly my fault.

A cloudy view of the eclipse
A cloudy view of the eclipse which, sadly, was the best direct view we had.

In any case, we’re working on making that better! I had a long explanation but figured most of our customers probably don’t care to read about how we run or websites – folks just want them to be up! My personal philosophy is most things on the Internet can go down every now and again and that should be fine. That includes our websites. But “every now and again” should be minutes maybe even hours but certainly not days! My apologies! We’ll do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

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Introducing Circular Filter Cases!

Folks that have been keeping an eye on our socials may have noticed I’ve been working on screw together filter cases as a means to have a simple and lightweight rigid option for both storing and traveling with filters. Though I still plan to have more sizes and colors, I decided to release the product out for the sizes and materials I currently have available.

Currently available for 55 and 67mm filters which can accommodate 3 or 4 filters. I’ve tested these personally with Hoya and Tiffen filters. Most should work but some there are some brands which may be thicker. If in doubt just reach out to us!

I’ve got more designs coming, including hopefully a Reveni light meter holder for Hasselblads, large format lens caps, lens cases, more carriers, lots of things! But I’ve been wanted to design these cases for a while, in part because I need them when I’m traveling for my own needs, and thought it’d be good to share these out.

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DSLR Scanning Table Updates

Our scanning tables are getting another update!

Thanks to our new Prusa XL, I can now print multi-material. This means I can make the bottom anti-slip gaskets without having to use the stick on laser cut cork. It not only seems to work better but looks much better and lets me make some further adjustments to the geometry. Some folks that have open scanning table orders will be getting to new version and I’ll be updating all our listings on our direct store as well as eBay and Etsy this week to reflect the change. Price will remain the same.

Happy Scanning!

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Finally, Your Request Heard – 35mm Full-Rebate Scanning Table

It took longer than it should have, but I finally listened to your pleas and have made a 35mm Full-Rebate (Full-Frame) Scanning Table! Available now right here on our direct store with eBay and Etsy to follow shortly. It is also available with the Raleno Scanning Table system by request and will be a normal offering at some point soon.

Honestly this wasn’t all that hard of a change to make. I had to move some of the hidden magnets around…and that was honestly about it apart from the gate sizing which I was able to take from my darkroom carrier designs. I’ve been wary of releasing a full-rebate option just for fear of film flatness. Since I don’t (yet!) have an ANR glass solution, the film flatness is impacted though it the same trade-off as in my darkroom carriers and I have found it is generally pretty minor. The flare is still certainly a factor but again like the darkroom carriers, if using good coated glass, it’s also pretty minor.

So I finally relented and am making this available! Some 120 sizes may follow for the 6×7, 6×12, and Raleno scanning tables as I am able. If folks have an interest in a 120 option, feel free to reach out!

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8×10 Drying Rack Is Finally Available!

As long last I am finally confident enough in my 8×10 drying rack design to offer it up as a product!

It is a beta product for now just because I have only been able to test a few 8×10 films, though I suspect many will work. Any standard base film cut to proper dimensions should work (though if folks find otherwise do let me know). Thin base films (like those from Astrum/Svema) will not work at present as the base is too think to support itself.

Otherwise it works similarly to the 5×7 drying rack, just bigger. This includes hold downs. These are optional but recommended as they help keep the film straight and well separated from each other.

Currently only available in the 2 sheet variant, though I do plan on having perhaps up to 6 sheet options available.

If you have any questions about the drying rack, or really anything else, feel free to use our contact us form and reach out! Otherwise if you’d like to grab up an 8×10 rack they are available now!

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Another Update to the 8×10 Drying Rack

This might be the one, though I think I said that last time… I’ve been wanting to work on this for a while but between travel, getting orders out the door, and the incredible heat here, I haven’t been shooting much 8×10 and that’s put this a bit on the back burner. The last prototype worked well, but I did feel the sheets were just slightly too close together and, much like my 5×7 drying rack, would benefit from the optional hold-downs. The new design implements both of these changes. This would be a 2-sheet version and while I likely will offer a 2-sheet version, is mostly for economy while I’m prototyping designs. I expect to have at least a 4-sheet (and probably a 6-sheet) as a final product option. I’m hoping to test this soonish and finally have this as an official product not too long after!

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Initial Infrared Tests With Astrum/Svema FN64

As I’ve been slowly getting into 8×10 large format photography, I’ve been wanting an 8×10 infrared film stock since I really enjoy taking IR photos using Rollei IR 400 in 4×5 (even with some of the annoying caveats). Until recently, I didn’t think there was an available solution (apart from super expired and expensive film), and while there’s varying opinions about whether FN64 is still being manufactured, it is available “new” from Astrum (a Ukranian based photographic company, of note). I managed to get my hands on some to test by way of a group buy and thought I would provide my initial findings:

Svema FN64
Rollei IR
Rollei IR 400

These were taken minutes apart using an R72 filter and metered the same way. I bracketed 5 and 6 stops so for FN64, I rated it at an effective ISO of 1 and 2; and for Rollei IR 6 and 12. Oddly the Rollei came out a but underexposed and I also under-developed it slightly. That may explain why it seems to have a more dramatic appearance. Both were developed in Adox XT-3 (Replenished) in my DIY rotary. I picked the 1 ISO shot for FN64 and the ISO 6 for Rollei IR (more on that in a bit).

These images have been “dodged and burned” in Lightroom but with similar treatments to both. I wanted to compare results of how I would make an actual darkroom print rather than just a raw scan, although the raw scans aren’t too far off – I just accentuated the darkened sky a bit more and burned in the water some.

These were both shot in 4×5 – I only have 25 sheets of FN64 in 8×10 and didn’t want to break those out until I have a good working process in 4×5. FN64, like Rollei IR, is on a thin base. This is true for 35mm as well and, though I haven’t opened the 8×10 package yet, I expect it to be on a similarly thin base. That makes for a potentially challenging situation but one I hope I can work with. Being able to make contact prints for an 8×10 IR negative would be quite something!

The results are pretty close I would say. Of course, FN64 has lower grain and, being a much slower shutter speed (I believe 2 seconds), has more movement in the tree leaves though I quite like that. Unfortunately both sheets have some annoying blemishes. The FN64 has what looks like streaks running left to right which can be seen in the sky. I’m not sure if they would print through in the darkroom but they are definitely there in the scan. The Rollei IR has lots of pinholes (also in the sky). Oddly more than I usually get. Similarly, the other sheets from both films had one half of the image slightly darker divided right along the middle. I think this may be an issue in the camera (my Chamonix bellows aren’t fully IR safe and perhaps that’s enough to cause an issue, or there’s an issue with my holders – though I used two different brands for these tests).

I used a pre-wet for both films which I commonly do when using XT-3 in replenishment. For Rollei IR I tend to prefer 510-Pyro and expect that will be a good match for FN64. I started with XT-3 since it’s more economical to do film tests with. That and my last bottle of 510-Pyro seems to have crystalized in a weird way and opted not to risk it for these tests. My plan is to use the DeFehr semi-stand agitation method for both (probably in my SP-8×10 tank) and compare those results. The minimal agitation, I hope, will help avoid the pinholes for Rollei IR (it has helped in the past) and might perhaps avoid those developing streaks.

Thing about IR is there’s more of a guessing game going on since you can’t directly meter for the IR anyway which makes semi-stand development a reasonable trade-off I think. I don’t expect perfectly printable negatives necessarily. In the past using 510-Pyro with Rollei IR has made for some fairly easy to print negatives though and I hope FN64 will prove to be the same. If so, it might just be the solution I’ve been looking for in 8×10!

That is until Ilford finally decides to offer SFX 200 in sheets…. (that’ll be the day!)

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Our Modest Print Farm

Occasionally I’ve had customers ask what my 3D printing setup looks like. Until recently it was not something that was worthy of a photo, looking very much like a business that really hit its stride in 2020 😛 As we’ve grown, I recently had some extra funds and time to improve it to something that, while still modest, is something I don’t feel so embarrassed to share.

This is where most of the print magic happens! Just off the frame is a Corsi-Rosenthal box (a fancy way of saying a box fan with filters) to help pull out particulates. Out of frame on the left there is an AirGradient with a VOC sensor to detect presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This is mostly for when printing ABS, which the printer on the bottom corner, a Voron V0.1, mostly does (it’s what prints the smaller tin-type stands, the lens hoods, and the 120 film canisters, spare printer parts).

The big honking printer left-center is my Voron 2.4. It’s for 8×10 Simpleasels and my Eurorack stuff (that’s over at Next to it are my 3 beloved Prusa MK3 workhorses. The first two print most things. The last one mostly does my PETG prints (drying racks, lens discs, filter trays, blank Eurorack panels).

Most of the time I have anywhere between 3-5 printers running. I’m getting to the point where I could use a 6th. The next printer I plan to add is a Prusa XL so I have 2 printers that can make big things. After that, I might be pushing against power limits but there is some space in the other corner out of frame for another printer (perhaps an MK4, or a 300 Trident) as well as another small one on that desk with the V0 (perhaps another V0 or T0). I can also likely cram more MKs sized printers in once I get the dry boxes up on a shelf or hutch, depending on how much space the XL may end up taking.

Modest by full time print shop standards but for folks that were curious where their products are made, it’s in this room. Unless I’m laser cutting something. That’s in the garage and a story for another day…

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8×10 Drying Rack Update

Testing out my 8×10 drying rack prototype with some actual film!

This is Fomapan 200 (developed in 510-Pyro for the curious) and as you can see, it’s fairly bendy. I was already thinking I’ll need to add something along the top just like I have for the 5×7 drying racks to hold the film along the top-center. I also need to space the notches out further I think but it is coming along and I do expect I will be releasing it as a product at some point, though it will probably take another couple of iterations through some designs before I get it good enough to sell. Worry not though it’s coming!

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Coming Soon: Film Ferrania P30 and Orto!

This might not be as big a deal for others but it’s sure a big deal for us! And by us I mean my better half and I as the business has now grown that there are now two of us running things. I never dreamed we would get to do these things! Thanks to all who have supported us along the way!

With that in mind, I’m incredibly excited to say we will soon be offering Film Ferrania ‘s P30 and Orto films! P30 will be coming shortly with Orto to follow soon!

Folks have probably seen some of my P30 tests. Those were already things I had planned on doing since I’ve had a handful of rolls here for a couple months now I’ve been meaning to use for doing some testing with 510-Pyro, XT-3 and maybe D23. I still plan on doing those and do plan on sharing those results here and on our website.

We’re definitely not the only place you can find Ferrania films (and that’s a good thing!) but if you’re already looking at picking up some of our negative carriers, scanning tables, drying racks, etc. you will soon be able to throw in a couple rolls of gorgeous Ferrania films!