I always get excited about a new catalog---a little apprehensive as well. I'm not advertising for Freestyle here, but rather offering some opinions by the looks of things because this catalog is, for me a bellwether of the availability of photographic supplies.
At the outset, Spring 2011 seems thicker and heavier than the last Freestyle Cataog, which has to be a good thing, right? It's got a nice photo of the Chrysler Building on the cover and the opening spread continues with a "snapshot of the industry" articleby Freestyle VP Eric Joseph, like in the last catalog. I found it reassuring, which I assume is the purpose.
There are a few notices---Arista .eduUltra film & paper is in short supply, but the stiuation is being rectified and more.eduUltra materials is being ordered to satisfy future demand.
Prices for silver products have increased (no $hi+) but rest assured that Freestyle is "grateful for your continued support of traditional photograhic materials." Freestyle is one of the biggies when it comes to traditional materials---to whom else will we turn? Well there are a few other excellent outfits, but the prices from the manufacturers have gone up across the board.
And you can now buy a Holga 3D stereo camera but that dosen't interest me. If it interests you, get your own catalog!
At this point I genreally rip into the catalog with fear and trepidation. Is what I want & use still in the catalog? Like the punk in the Dirty Harry movie, with Clint Eastwood pointing his .44 Magnum up my snout and growling: "Did Ifire five shots or six?" Like the punk replies: "I gots to know!"
Foma 111 Glossy (N) is still listed (my current favorite printing paper) So is Slavich Unirom and Fotokemika Emaks,which are viable alternatives
Film: Arista.eduUltra 100 in8x10 is still listed although I've been warned about possible short supplies. I see the price went up $10 for a box of 50, which is at last reasonable.
FujiB&W Neoan 400 is available at least in 35mm, although Kodak TMY 35mm is a buck cheaper.
Ilford HP-5+ & FP-4+ in 8x10 are now $101 plus change for a box. Living in California I find ordering Ilford out of state without sales tax a better deal.That Badger Graphic and B+H have so far been able to post substantially better prices is an even bigger plus.
Freestyle does carry Efke film is sizes I use, and thankfully they still have R100 in 127 format so my Brownie camerawill continueto be well fed, and 8x10 format PL25 is still available. The same deal applies to Kodak sheet film although I've sworn off Kodak 8x10---for at least the "duration."
But I didn't see any APHS or it's replacement! This is troubling. Perhaps it is still listed on their website---I don't know and I'll have to check it out when I'm done with this post.
Now that I've got the vital products covered I can return to the front of the catalog and proceed in an orderlyfashion. Freestyle is selling a bunch of designer Holgas and some special FX 35mm films from Rollei. Turn the page and there is kind of an interesting UV light source for contact printing, then there is some sort of product that makes a Holga into a digital camera Then I am informed that Fuji color paper is in stock and available(I didn't know there was a shortage! Could this have had some thing to do with the tsunami/earthquake?) and ends with a plug for cyanotype paper.
Now its back to the meat of the catalog!
Since digital isn't part of my photo world I speed through that section.
There are still plenty of darkroom thingamajigs and as always an excellent offering of photography books at excellent prices. Including dvds theres five whole pages of the stuff--including a3rd edition of the Darkroom Cookbook by Anchell, Shelter From The Storm by Kirk Gittings, and an interesting looking dvd on Andre Kertesz among many other offerings.
It is of course impossible to flip through a Freestyle catalog with getting a dose of Holga exposure--but this time there is something I'm actually tempted by---a 6x12cm pinhole panoramic Holga.
Well, thats my review of the latest Spring 2011 Freestyle Catalog.