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Thread: Freestyle Catalog review

  1. #1

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    Freestyle Catalog review

    It showed up quite unexpectedly yesterday. I've been using up some of the old stash of supplies so I haven't ordered anything from them in awhile ( I guess I'm still on their list though.) It is always a treat when one of these comes in the mail. Of course it is always "good news/bad news" when it comes to what is available in traditional photography supplies and Freestyle is one of the better indicators as to what materials I'll have available to work with. The new Freestyle catalog is no exception.

    First the good news:
    I see that Kodak Tri-X is now being offered in 50 sheet boxes in 5x7!

    Fomabrom 111 is at long last available once more in the USA. J&C was the last outfit that I know of to stock Fomabrom 111 but unfortunately John went out of business before I could order some from him! I've heard a lot of very good things about 111 from friends in Europe and it is definately on my "A" list.

    Plastic cameras are something of a specialty at Freestyle. I'm not a big fan of them since my first and last Holga literally spilled it's guts ( a completely exposed roll of VP) at the foot of the Grizzly Giant in Mariposa Grove when the tinny back latch/camera strap attachment gave up the ghost, but they do tempt me at times.

    Lomo has exhumed the Diana camera. This one is a bit steep in price compared to the Holga but according to the catalog offers a seamless or near seamless panorama capability on 120 film---this sounds interesting----especially if the back latch is a better design than madame Holgas!

    Speaking of Holgas, they now come in 6x12 and stereo 3d models. If they come out with a 617 Holga I might actually be tempted to get one. No, not really...well maybe.

    Arista.eduUltra 100 iso is still $99.99 for 50 sheets of 8x10. This has to be the biggest bargain in 8x10 panchro going these days.

    Now the sad news:

    Kentmere Kentona and Bromide are listed as "still available while supplies last" which I take means that they are on the way to the great paper safe in the sky, where all good fiber based graded papers eventually must go. I don't know if this is just a US thing or if Kentmere will stop making them for the global market as well. I always liked Bromide, and though I've never had the desire to try out Kentona now I'm kind of regretting it--pared with my soft focus Cooke it might have given some interesting results.

    Even more ominous, Ilford FB Graded Galerie isn't even mentioned. I honestly don't know if it is actually on Harmon's chopping block as it is usually listed on Freestyle's website and seldom in thier printed catalog. Perhaps the lower cost Kentmere Bromide was stealing Galerie's market? Perhaps Harmon put the brakes on FB graded papers altogether? Maybe some Ilford-ista, if you're reading this, can set me straight.

    Freestyle still lists Kodak 8x10 film as being only available in those 10 sheet boxes. Perhaps I've been too hard on Kodak as I reckon by the price of Freestyle's 10 sheet box that a 50 sheet box of the stuff would cost around $500! This certainly takes it off my 8x10 menu so to what purpose did I complain? But it is still a viable option for 4x5 and 5x7 IMHO and I'll still shoot the stuff in those formats.

    There is also a camera called Blackbird Fly (where did they get that name?? When I was in Asia there was a chinese made car battery with the anglicized name of "Long March"---now that is ominous!) which is a plastic 35mm TLR for about $120 a pop. The question this brings to my mind is why get one of those when you can get a Rolleicord for under $100? Perhaps because it comes in colors? Silly!

    Well there is my review of the new Freestyle catalog. I'm jazzed about Fomabrom 111 being available in the US, confused about the mysterious fate of Ilford Galerie and I'll lament over the Kentona I didn't try. I'm happy to be able to get 5x7 Tri-x in decent quantities without being gouged on packaging but sad that the new TMY is something that I'll never get the opportunity to try in the 'dorff or Gowland.

    Cheers!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  2. #2
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Hi John,

    There is a thread that talks about discontinued Ilford/Harmon products over on APUG in the Product Availability category. Simon did not mention anything about Bromide, but a poster mentioned Freestyle's message about its availability, and asked Simon if Bromide was discontinued. Simon (from Harmon) posted, but did not discuss Bromide one way or the other. Sal and I both posted asking him to clarify what was happening with Bromide, but no answer.

    My am assuming that Bromide is gone. Whether it is going to be replaced with something or not is another question. Probably not, but you never know. I can make arguments in my mind for why they are replacing it with a Bromide II or something, and I can make arguments for why no company in its right mind would market a brand new graded fiber paper.

    Too bad if it is heading to the great fiber paper graveyard. I just started using Bromide a short while ago (for my WP contact printing). It is a very nice paper.

    Regarding the plastic cameras. I bought a couple of Holgas for my little kids to play with. My friend who used to work at Freestyle recommended that I tape the back shut with gaffers tape. I thought it was to prevent light leaks. Maybe it was to keep it closed!

  3. #3

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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Hi David.

    I've been waffeling between Bromide, Galerie, Emaks and Slavich. I've had very good luck with Bromide except for the curl, which didn't want to allow the paper to easily fit into a Ganz Speel Easel. Once I switched to a nifty little old Leitz easel the problem was solved for enlargeing (the new dark room dosen't have enough room for me to use the Saunders so it languishes in storage) and a Printfile proofer is what I've been using for contact printing.

    What I find really cool about Slavich and Emaks is that they allow for a red safe light (actually thats the only color safe light recommended for Slavich) so I got a string of red led Christmas lights on clearance at Longs Drugstore to replace my GE Guide lamps. It makes the ol' darkroom look down right holiday like! I've even taken to playing Bing Crosby and Perry Como Christmas albums when printing!

    I wonder if I can still use the reds with Fomabrom 111?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  4. #4

    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    Even more ominous, Ilford FB Graded Galerie isn't even mentioned. I honestly don't know if it is actually on Harmon's chopping block as it is usually listed on Freestyle's website and seldom in thier printed catalog. Perhaps the lower cost Kentmere Bromide was stealing Galerie's market? Perhaps Harmon put the brakes on FB graded papers altogether? Maybe some Ilford-ista, if you're reading this, can set me straight.
    B&H, Adorama and Calumet all still show Galerie FB, as does the latest Ilford Product Availability Listing.

    (Does that make me an -ista? )

  5. #5
    -Rob bigcameraworkshops.com Robert Skeoch's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Christmas lights in the darkroom.... you west coast guys live large.

    I haven't been able to get an answer from anyone regarding Bromides future. Although in Canada I'm still able to put in orders for it. I did get a box last shipment, but have a few still on backorder. I've decided to stop selling my supply until I find out... since I use it myself and have a show this fall that I'm printing for.

    -rob

  6. #6
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    John,

    Is one of those other papers similar to Bromide (in tone, brilliance of the white base, etc.)?

  7. #7

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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Quote Originally Posted by David Karp View Post
    John,

    Is one of those other papers similar to Bromide (in tone, brilliance of the white base, etc.)?
    David,
    I can't say for sure but the Foma 111 is on a baryta (sp??) base, so I'm guessing it would have a brilliant white base, perhaps like some of the old Agfa papers (I haven't used 111 yet.). Emaks and Slavich appear to me to have an over all warmer tone than Bromide. IMHO Galerie probably comes the closest to Bromide but ymmv of course. I've been using Ansco 130 pretty regularly for the past 2 years now, although I'd suspect the choice of developer would contribute something to the tone, eiher cooler or warmer, with any of these emulsions.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  8. #8

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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    ...I see that Kodak Tri-X is now being offered in 50 sheet boxes in 5x7!...
    The change to 10-sheet boxes was for 8x10 only. 320TXP in 50-sheet boxes has been continuously available.

  9. #9
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Freestyle Catalog review

    Thanks John.

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