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Pinsta Instant Camera: An Analog Micro Darkroom and Negative Enlarger

Pinsta Instant Camera: An Analog Micro Darkroom and Negative Enlarger

Pinsta Instant Camera: An Analog Micro Darkroom and Negative Enlarger 1

Pinsta Instant Camera is a new pinhole camera that can shoot directly onto positive 4×5 inch photographic paper where it develops internally, eliminating the need for a darkroom.

The selling point of the new pinhole camera is that it can shoot and print analog photographs in any location. Project creator, Oliver New who started his career fabricating parts used in analog photography print processors says this system makes analog photography available to everyone, letting photographers preserve, engage in, and show others the magic of analog photography. New also says the system would be excellent for educational and photography courses and help amateur photographers learn more about the traditional processes.

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The camera not only shoots instant images but also doubles as a mini-enlarger. Simply load the (35mm, 6×45, or 6×6) negatives into the internal enlargement slide and you can enlarge them onto 4×5 inch paper. It is even possible to create prints with what New describes as fun and creative frames and overlays using Pinsta’s internal slide system. The only additional “darkroom gear” investment customers will need to acquire is a dark bag for loading the next shots into the system. Once this is done, capturing the frame is simple and follows the standard pinhole photography rules.

Position the camera to get the shot you want and open the shutter. On a normal sunny day, a typical pinhole exposure will take about two minutes, and then the prints are developed with regular photographic chemistry that is inserted and extracted with a set of included syringes using the camera body as the darkroom and the camera back as the developing tray.

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New says a set of the included syringes will develop around four to five shots depending on the type of photographic paper that is being used. Once the syringes have been used, photographers can simply reload them using their own chemistry to continue shooting and developing on-site.

For extra creativity and fun, the team says the internal light baffle can be used as a filter slide for customizing the photos or enlargements with overlays, textures, double exposures, or shaped exposures.

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New says they see the Pinsta as a fun tool for hobbyists, an excellent tool for artistic creators, and a brilliant learning tool for educators. He hopes the system will be used all over the world in education and recreational photo workshops, and he hopes to expand on its usability by adding film backs for 35mm and 120 film, a wide-angle back, 10×8-inch back, a narrow-angle extension back, as well as a dedicated smartphone app for automatic exposure calculations when on location.

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Below are a few sample images taken with the system:

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Pinsta can be backed on Kickstarter starting at approximately $215 for the Earlybird Camera Basic set which includes the Pinsta Camera, 3x chemistry syringe and a Light Baffle/Filter slide, or up to $4000 USD for the Super Multi-Camera Kit (ideal for workshops and schools) which includes 20 Pinsta Camears, 60 Chemistry Syringes and 20 Light Baffle/Filter Slides. Shipping of the cameras is expected to start in February of 2022. The full set of backing options can be found on the Pinsta Instant Kickstarter.

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Disclaimer: Make sure you do your own research into any crowdfunding project you’re considering backing. While we aim to only share legitimate and trustworthy campaigns, there’s always a real chance that you can lose your money when backing any crowdfunded project.

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New gear: Ilford pop-up darkroom

The Ilford Pop-Up Dakroom

It’s not often we hear about new innovations in the realm of darkroom printing, but Ilford Photo gave DIYers everywhere something to be excited about this week, with the announcement of the new ‘Pop-Up Darkroom.’

The Pop-Up Darkroom is exactly what it sounds like: a tall, light-proof tent designed to make home film developing and printing more accessible to analog photographers. It will ship later this year for roughly $265.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Who’s the Pop-Up Darkroom for?

Developing film at home can be a challenge. The process of transferring frames from film spool to developing reel is especially difficult. If you don’t have a dedicated darkroom (which, hello, most of us don’t), this often takes place in a light-tight ‘changing bag.’

To execute the film loading process blindly and with one’s hands in a bag requires patience, practice, and skill (especially when working with medium format). Fortunately, once your frames are on the reel and in the light-tight developing tank, the rest of the process is daylight-friendly.

But this obviously isn’t the case when making photographic prints from negatives—you’ll need an entire light-tight space with room for both a film enlarger and trays of chemicals. Unfortunately, for most folks, permanently converting a space in their home into a darkroom is just not feasible.

If only there were some way to create a temporary light-tight space that could ‘pop-up’ on a whim…

Ilford pop-up darkroom carry bag
Ilford’s new pop-up darkroom breaks down and stores in an easy-carry bag. Ilford

Pop-Up Darkroom specs and details

Ilford’s new product allows you to set up a darkroom in virtually any room in your house, or even outside (just be sure to secure it from wind gusts). When assembled, the durable light-proof tent hangs on a 2.2m (~7.2ft) tall frame to give you a 1.3m x 1.3m (~4.25ft x ~4.25ft) working area you can use standing or sitting. It’s designed to fit in most North American, European, and Asian homes, which all have an average ceiling height of between 8 and 9-feet.

A built-in air escape at the bottom allows you to use a fan for ventilation. There’s also a smaller vent closer to the top that you can attach air extraction tubes to. Developing chemicals can be pretty potent (unless you’re using beer), so it’s probably a good idea to at least consider some sort of ventilation solution when hanging out in there.

Best of all, when you don’t need it, the Pop-Up Darkroom stows into a 0.68m x 0.25m x 0.25m (~2.2ft x 0.82ft x 0.82ft) bag so you can stash it away in a cupboard—though be warned, it weighs a respectable 8kg (17.5lb). 

Why develop and/or print film at home?

Developing your own film, particularly in black-and-white, is quite easy (with the exception of loading the reels!). Plus, the process gives you more options and creative control than you might find at a lab. It can also help you save quite a bit of money in the long run. And printing B&W photos at home is a fun, hands-on process that results in a tangible, one-of-a-kind output.

When is the Pop-Up Darkroom available?

The Pop-Up Darkroom goes on sale in November. Digital Camera World reports that it will retail for around $265, although Ilford hasn’t confirmed that price just yet. 

To coincide with the release, Ilford has also announced a Darkroom Starter Kit, made in collaboration with Paterson. It will include everything you need to start developing film in your Pop-Up Darkroom; it will retail for around $150. 

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Ilford Unveils a Pop-Up Darkroom For Film Photographers

Ilford Unveils a Pop-Up Darkroom For Film Photographers

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Ilford Photo has announced a new Pop-Up Darkroom that gives film photographers the opportunity to develop their prints on-the-go or in any indoor space without needing to convert it.

Ilford, the United Kingdom-based photographic film, paper, and chemicals manufacturer, is a well-known name in the analog photography world. At the start of the year, the company, which was founded in 1879, invited interested photographers to go on a virtual tour and see what its factory looks like today and how the film manufacturer operates. It also employs a modern approach and shares insightful and educational film photography videos that are accessible for everyone on the company’s YouTube channel.

The company’s latest product, the Pop-Up Darkroom, supports Ilford’s goal “of encouraging and enabling film photographers to take the next step in their analog journey and experience the creativity and magic of darkroom printing.”

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The Pop-Up Darkroom has been created for film photographers who want to print their negatives but who may struggle to convert their existing spaces into suitable darkrooms. Not everyone has the space for a large darkroom or the tools to modify an existing tent into a darkroom. Ilford designed its pop-up darkroom to fit indoors, based on most standard ceiling height rooms in American, European, and Asian homes.

When erected, the darkroom stands approximately 7.2 feet (2.2m) tall and still affords a workable 4.3×4.3-foot (1.3×1.3m) space to process and print while the user is seated or standing. It has a built-in air vent that allows users to add an optional fan or air blower, and a smaller vent is included closer to the top of the darkroom to attach air extraction tubes.

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The darkroom has a durable light-tight black material that clips to the frame in addition to an accompanying ground mat which adds extra protection for the flooring and can also be fastened to the darkroom material. It also has a material loop at the top to allows photographers hand a safelight.

For easy storage and transportation, the darkroom can be easily folded down using the included carry case.

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The Ilford Pop-Up Darkroom will hit store shelves in the final quarter of 2021. Pricing has yet to be announced, but Digital Camera World is hearing that it will carry a price tag of around $265.

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How to Turn an Ice Fishing Tent into a Large Mobile Darkroom

How to Turn an Ice Fishing Tent into a Large Mobile Darkroom

Although large-format photography may be an intricate and slow process often shot in a studio, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be taken outdoors with a little ingenuity. Photographer Markus Hofstätter has shared how he modified an ice fishing tent to create the ultimate mobile darkroom so he can shoot and process his work anywhere.

As an experienced collodion wet-plate photographer and educator, Hofstätter has previously shared his best tips and experiences in this type of art where the old practices and equipment meet new technology and methods. He has created tutorials, such as how he repaired a broken Linhof tripod he came in possession of and damaged cameras that simply needed a touch of DIY and 3D printing technology to get them back to full working order, as well as a step-by-step on how to make a ground glass focusing screen at home, among other resources.

In his latest video, Hofstätter revisits mobile darkroom modification — following a previous video from 2019 where he reviewed the dark tent he used at the time — to make it both light tight and easy to set up whilst on location, especially if he is shooting by himself.

Using a portable Eskimo Quickfish tent, which he first tried at the Camera Obscura Festival, Hofstätter realized the tent would give him the exact space he needs for darkroom work both by himself and when working with others and would serve as an upgrade to his current solution.

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He purchased a refurbished Eskimo Quickfish tent and set out on a mission to find the best option to modify it for his darkroom needs, taking into account other photographers’ suggestions and advice. First, he used a black screenprinting paint mixed with a cold fixer and used it to paint all over any holes and seams inside the tent. The next step was to fix the existing zipper so it would not let any light in. Hofstätter solution involves a permanent cover for the zipper that is similar to the one found on a pair of jeans.

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Designing a cover for the zipper

To deal with the tent’s windows, Hofstätter combined red gelatin filters and Velcro which he is able to stack on top of each other in cases where he is in particularly bright locations. To completely black out the tent, he used sheets of pond liner that could also be attached over the windows with Velcro.

Hofstätter also used that same pond liner to cover the floor inside the tent to protect it from any possible chemical spills and to block any humidity that could come up from the ground.

The finished setup uses the modified tent along with other internal additions like a power bank, red light LED, portable table, water canister with a tap, and the appropriate cases to safely transport chemicals. Despite all this, Hofstätter maintains that the setup is still easy to assemble and can be done alone. He says that it is a great solution for photographers who want to travel with ease while still being able to effectively work in the darkroom.

In the video above, Hofstätter shares in detail what kind of equipment he uses inside the tent and why with the hope that others will find it a useful resource to start with. As always, his goal is to share his knowledge and help photographers find the most cost-effective and ergonomic solution to pursue large-format photography.

More of Hofstätter’s work can be found on his website, including his blog articles, as well as on his Instagram and YouTube channel.


Image credits: All images by Markus Hofstätter and used with permission.

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Ilford is Creating a Set of Super Helpful ‘Darkroom Guides’ on YouTube

Ilford is Creating a Set of Super Helpful 'Darkroom Guides' on YouTube

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Over the past seven months, Ilford has been publishing a set of helpful “Darkroom Guides” to the How To playlist on the company YouTube channel. The series was created to help film photographers take their “next steps in your black and white darkroom printing journey.” If that describes you, then this is one you’ll want to bookmark.

There’s a lot of information out there about film photography—including some exceptional websites like EMULSIVE that are exclusively dedicated to film lovers—but if you’re looking for “how to” advice, one great place to start is right at the source. Ilford’s channel is filled with great behind the scenes videos, how to videos, and some fascinating photo stories besides.

This particular series features Rachel Brewster-Wright—the owner of Little Vintage Photography—who uses each episode to walk you though one key darkroom technique. The series begins with an introduction to Dodge and Burn and moves on to more advanced techniques as the episodes roll on. By episode four, you’re learning how to use multigrade filters to take your printing to the next level.

There are currently four episodes live, which you can see for yourself below:

Episode 1: Dodge & Burn

Episode 2: Selenium Toner

Episode 3: Photographic Papers

Episode 4: Multigrade Filters

We hope to see more videos with Brewster in the coming months. In the meantime, if you enjoyed this then definitely check out Ilford’s full “How To” playlist for lots more tips and tutorials on shooting, developing, and printing your film photography.

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