The British photographic manufacturing company, Ilford, has announced a host of new film products, product partnerships and product refreshers in a flurry of activity this season. The 140-year-old company has remained relatively quiet over the last couple of years as manufacturing brands like Kodak, Fujifilm, Cinestill and Lomography have announced and released a number of analogue products in an apparent film photography ’renaissance’.
Kodak was lauded by analogue enthusiasts all over the world last year when they announced the return to film production with the relaunch of Ektachrome, meanwhile, Fujifilm had a slew of products announced such as the reprisal of the Neopan 100 Acros film (due sometime this winter) just a few months after announcing its end.
While the old hands revived previously loved products, companies like Cinestill have been producing new products such as a single-step solution for processing film (the Df96) and a thermostat/immersion circulator (TCS-1000) to aid the process. And Lomography partnered up with other brands to widen their demographics such as a collaboration with Fujifilm to produce the Diana Instant Square and Rollei to produce the limited edition Instant Kamera.
Though Ilford has made a push towards educating beginners in analogue photography with a series of youtube videos and a Simplicity Starter Pack, production of new products have been scant, until now.
Ilford announced several new incarnations of popular products as well as a partnership to enhance their already extensive range.
The Harman Reusable Plastic 35mm Film Camera is a disposable camera with all the essential features; a built-in flash, battery and film, however, this standard single-use camera comes with a twist: it is reusable. Ilford’s marketing director Giles Branthwaite explained: “there is a desire to reduce single-use plastic products, and as such, we feel it is important for people to have an alternative”. The camera, which comes with two rolls of Kentmere Pan 400 film, is made from recycled parts and can be reloaded.
Another release from Ilford is the Ortho Plus 35mm film, which was previously only available in sheet format. The orthochromatic film means that developing under a dark red safelight is made easier (unlike the more traditional panchromatic films).
The fifth generation of the Multigrade RC Deluxe photographic paper has also been rolled out in Pearl, Glossy and Satin, this time with a, reportedly, improved mid-grade spacing, warmer base tint and deeper blacks. The variable contrast paper has been going since the 1940s with this fifth-generation taking eight years to develop.
Ilford has also partnered up with darkroom specialists Paterson, to create a bumper Film Processing Starter Kit. The Simplicity Starter Kit released by Ilford earlier this year featured a set of single-use processing sachets for 35mm and 120mm films, but this partnership goes a step further by supplying the whole kit required to process a roll of film: 35mm film canister opener, universal film tank, four reels, developer, stop bath, fixer, wetting agent, three 600ml graduates, thermometer, stirrer and two sets of film clips.
Perhaps Ilford has timed this set of releases purposefully on the run-up to Christmas to benefit from the recent resurgence in analogue interest, or perhaps it is a coincidence, either way, it is another encouraging sign for film photographers that analogue photography is not only not ‘dead’ but expanding its market share.