Friday, October 18, 2013

Sam Hiser visits New55

Friend, fellow collaborator, New55 and large format enthusiast Sam Hiser joined Alex Milne and me for a day of review of the New55 project, and its possible trajectory.

We had time to try something new: A New55 PN using Tri-X.  Yes, the stuff from Kodak. Don't get too excited, but it does work to some extent, yielding what we think is an ISO of about 200ish. Click on the image for a bigger view. This PN produced a sepia positive that was a bit excessive but might be corrected. The negative is dense, scanned fairly well, and isn't blocked up in the highlights.

If you have a chance to try Stone's Inn in Ashland MA, do so. This certified haunted pub has a great lunch menu.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Back at it

Alright I took a month or so off and now gearing up for another attempt to make this go.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Soundwave Research skunkworks and New55

Most readers who have been following along know that New55 is a skunkworks project - one that exists in a back room of another enterprise.   Skunkworks as a term generally means "unfunded" or side funded, in other words, not a formally funded program, but something that is allowed to go on sharing other resources. In the case of New55, that sharing hasn't been free, but has amounted to quite a big expenditure in time, travel, materials, chemicals, clerical, paid help and legal fees to bring it to the near-ready for commercialization state that it is in.

The concept and feasibility phases are over: New55 has shown, without a doubt, that a high quality instant 4x5 PN product can be produced, and in doing so we made important discoveries and even invented what could be the next phase of instant large format (and any other format) photography. Two very valuable patents are pending, also, which is surprising to those who thought everything in film photography had already been invented.

It's quite an accomplishment for a skunkworks.  About a year and a half ago, we had an agreed to commercialization route that would provide the necessary funding level to bring all this to market. The cost of bringing new products to market is high and that's what we specialize in, both at and, as well as other places.  So far we have not secured that funding, and do not feel we should further fund it ourselves (especially after reviewing expenses to date!)

Meanwhile the crowd of people who say they want New55 has grown and some, but not all, are accepting of the likely $6 plus per sheet cost. This is a real concern because our research shows that people will spend thousands on cameras and lenses, only to limit their purchases of the consumables.  But I am most interested in the new Direct Positive material invention, and see it as a way to advance photography - real photography - well into the post-digital age.

Over the course of the last two years we have seen EFKE close, KODAK bankrupt, Fuji discontinue its best instant films, and we wonder when the bottom of this hill will be reached. I think we are nearer to that now as KODAK claims sales have leveled off. Also, silver prices have been reasonably stable, and Harmon appears to be steady.  TIP has had its ups and downs but we have to admire the color protection products and what went on there.

So what will happen next? Look for us on Kickstarter soon, when you will have your chance to be in on the creation of the first new 4x5 film of the 21st Century.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Frequently asked questions

New to New55?  Here are answers to your frequently asked questions. Many of the comments that we do not publish are short questions answered in detail here.

Click on this link!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SK Grimes - The Photographer's Machinist

My recent visit to SK Grimes in Woonsocket, RI was quite interesting and I met Adam Dau, seen standing in front of the window of his well equipped machine shop.  Adam is doing some work on a Xenotar 150 that I do not trust our own machine shop with. SK Grimes has been around a long time and has probably mounted thousands of lenses in shutters for large format photographers and produced many precision machined part for photography.  If you need custom machine work to adapt that Petzval to your Linhof, I believe this is the place to go.  Find out more at

The Autochrome

1920s Autochrome, scanned and intensified
Could we produce an instant Autochrome?

The Autochrome is a positive transparency process involving the use of distributed color filters adjacent to a panchromatic emulsion that is reverse processed.  Autochromes were widely commercialized with the greatest concentration in France, where they were manufactured.  Starch grains, dyed various colors, were used for the color filters, and the color matrix and the emulsion were applied to glass plates.

There are various hints that color film production may cease in the future and it could be that the only color film in production would then be The Impossible Project's integral color product.  While this still seems a way off, some people are considering how we will accomplish color photography in large format in the future. There are a number of aspects to the Autochrome that are appealing and that could be useful in the post-digital period.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

We need 10,000 clips. at least

The clips are really needed in quantity now. They can be made of half hard steel and painted in the thickness shown, or unpainted stainless steel with a thickness of 0.003".  The stainless steel option is better.  Quite a high load is placed at the center of the clip, so it has to be strong, and not bend, or break.

The target price of 10 cents per clip is possible once we get to the 100,000 quantity level, but the tooling right now is about $8000.  If you wish to bid on the supply of these clips, we are ready to issue a PO, if the price is right.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A trickle of packs

Just an update.  The trickle has started and a few packs of New55 FILM have gone out to paying customers at the very high and we-are-grateful price of $20.  The theory is that if we keep doing this the wheels will turn to larger quantities and the price will start to decrease.

The most important aspect of the $20 packets is the message it sends to potential backers of the project who still need encouragement to proceed with a deal that was given a handshake some months ago.

In the meantime we are sourcing parts again, and trying to get 10-100,000 clips started at a reasonable price.

Another milestone has been the filing of all regular patent applications before the cutoff date of the "America Invents Act", which makes it even harder for small companies to develop, own and protect their intellectual property in the face of large corporations.