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.