LomoChrome Metropolis (Pic: Lomography)
Lomography’s LomoChrome Metropolis, one of this year’s surprise film releases (Pic: Lomography)

2019 was another momentous year for film photography.

Not all of it was what we wanted to hear. The two major film producers – Fujifilm and Kodak Alaris – both announced across-the-board price rises. The cost of film is a double-edged sword; the producers need money to invest, but raise prices too much and you risk harming the recovery.

But there was also reason to be very optimistic. All the major players released new films, showing there is still hunger for more new emulsions.

The following is a list of some of the bigger film-related stories this year, most of them reported on Kosmo Foto. 

January

Lomography launches Potsdam film
Lomography added to their black-and-white film roster in 2018n with Berlin Kino, a 400-ISO film made by ORWO. They followed it up in January with a 100-ISO film in. 35mm called Potsdam Kino.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 (Pic: Kodak Alaris)
Kodak Ektachrome E100 (Pic: Kodak Alaris)

Ektachrome 120 ‘launching in months’
In an interview on the film photography podcast Sunny 16, Kodak Alaris UK’s Andy Church said Ektachrome E100 was being readied for 120 and large format, with release as early as April (optimistic as it turned out).

Reflex team ‘to build shutter in house’
The team building the new Reflex SLR budget admitted they were having to build the camera’s shutter in house as they were not able to source one from the usual suppliers.

February 

Last Leica M3 on sale on eBay
The last-ever Leica M3 to be produced went up for sale on every photographer’s favourite wallet-busting website.

Tetenal saved from bankruptcy
Film chemical producer Tetenal entered 2019 under a cloud, coming perilously close to bankruptcy. A management buy-out managed to stave off disaster, however, and the company is producing chemicals as normal.

Lomography’s stores close
Love or loathe them, it can’t be denied that Lomography – and its suite of stores in cities across the world – have a vital part to play in film’s survival in the early 21st Century. So it was sad to see some of the last, in London and in Paris, close their doors for good this year. Lomography continues, but as an online brand.

Lomography Lomogon lens (Pic: Lomography)
Lomography’s Lomogon lens (Pic: Lomography)

Lomography launches Lomogon lens
Even as Lomography was closing its stores, it released another new lens via Kickstarter – the 35/2 Lomogon, designed for both SLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Fujifilm’s price rise
In February Fujifilm dropped the unwelcome news that the price of its range of films would go up by 30%. 

Dubble the fun
Dubble Film – the Barcelona-based producer of pre-exposed experimental films – announced a name change and a new collaboration.

Reto3D launches on Kickstarter
3D fan? A Hong Kong team launched this film camera on Kickstarter aimed at bringing some of the joy of the 1950s back to the photographic world.

April

Camera Rescue saves 50,000th camera
The team at Camera Rescue in Finland have intended to repair or refurbish 100,000 cameras by the time Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence at the end of 2020 – and in April they reached the halfway point.

Yashica launches new Kickstarter
Despite earning plenty of brickbats with their film camera-styled digital model in 2018, the team resurrecting the Yashica name were undeterred: April saw them raising funds for three new film cameras.

May 

24-hour film party people
Desperate for some film in the small hours in the middle of Melbourne, Australia? Help is at hand…

June

British police seek 0M-20 in murder
British police put out a call for an Olympus OM-20 believed to be evidence in an unsolved murder case from the 1980s.

Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros

Return of Fujifilm Acros
There was much dismay when Fujifilm’s Neopan 100 Acros film was discontinued in 2018; Fujifilm surprised many by announcing its return less than a year later.

Shanghai release GP3 in 35mm
Chinese film producer Shanghai made a surprise move, releasing their GP3 black-and-white film in 35mm.

July

Foma Bohemia releases anniversary packaging
The Czech Republic film producer Foma Bohemia unveiled special packaging for its 120 film, based in the packaging used in the 1930s.

Lomography LomoChrome Metropolis film (Pic: Lomography)
Lomography LomoChrome Metroplis (Pic: Lomography)

Lomography launches LomoChrome Metropolis
Lomography didn’t just revamp its black-and-white line-up – in July it announced the first new colour negative film for five years with the 100-400-ISO Metropolis, launched via Kickstarter.

Bergger teases new film release
French film producer Bergger, whose Pancro 400 black-and-white film has become very popular – hinted at a new emulsion on the cards.

August

Chroma Camera’s next move
Steve Lloyd, the man behind the Chroma large format camera, announced his next project – the Chromagraphica, a dry plate holder for large format cameras.

Ilford Photo silver ticket prize
Ilford Photo went all Willy Wonka on us, hiding a silver ticket for a prize package which includes a tour of the film producer’s Cheshire factory and £400 worth of products.

October 

Polaroid Originals pull Spectra film
Bad news for instant film fans – Polaroid Originals announced the end of its line of films in the Spectra format.

Lomography Berlin Kino film (Pic: Lomography)
Lomography Berlin Kino film (Pic: Lomography)

Lomography releases new version of Berlin Kino
Berlin Kino had only been out for a year or so, but Lomography announced a reworked version of the emulsion was being released.

Harman launches reloadable Kentmere camera
Ilford Photo’s parent company announced a new product which appears to have been very popular – the Harman Simple Camera kit, which pairs a simple reuseable camera with a pair of Kentmere-branded black-and-white films.

CT hand luggage scanner warning
Hugely worrying news for some, and confirmed when Kodak updated its travelling with film recommendations in light of Kosmo Foto’s story

Ilford Ortho Plus (Pic: Ilford Photo)
Ilford’s Ortho Plus, revealed in October (Pic: Ilford Photo)

Ilford Photo releases Ortho Plus film
More good news for black-and-white fans: Ilford announced a new film available in 35mm, 120 and sheet film formats.

November

P30 gets an upgrade
FILM Ferrania had stopped producing its first film – the 35mm version of an old Ferrania cinema film – until it had tweaked the chemistry. In November, the version started hitting shops.

Kodak Alaris raising film prices in November
More wallet-wounding developments: Kodak Alaris declared that it would have to raise the prices of all its films in January to invest in extra production facilities to meet demand.

December

More from Yashica
The team using the Yashica name announced their latest project – a compact 35mm camera based on one of the original company’s models from the 1980s.

Extra Ektachrome
It had been promised since the start of the year – and finally in December, Kodak’s Ektachrome E100 was released in both 120 and large format.

 

Stephen Dowling
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