#1 – New55 is History, Now What?

We had to stop because the pod supplier dropped out.

The cessation of regular production of New55 PN is laid out here in Bob Crowley’s Dec 13th ’17 blog post, where Bob highlighted the project’s achievements and lessons learned.

For background, the “Pod Crisis” originated in summer-2017. It was very inconveniently timed during a crowdfunding campaign which had to be cancelled. The contemporaneous account is in the announcement made then on Kickstarter.

New55 is over. Famous Format (http://famousformat.com) will have what remains of stocks beginning mid-January. Monobath will be available then, too.

I would like to do a book. What do you think?

New55 PN is a historic process now — like Kodachrome. As if timed by fate, I’ve been invited to speak at the Photographic Historical Society of New England — Sunday, January 7th (my birthday), at the Woman’s Club Workshop in Newton Highlands, 1:30 pm. PHSNE’s regular meetings like this are open to the public. I have the brilliant instant 4×5 work of the New55 community of photographers to share and will cover the historical context of instant film as well as New55’s particular journey of innovation from 2010 through 2017.

Please share your thoughts here about New55 PN. What did you like? What didn’t you like?

-Sam Hiser

9 Comments on “#1 – New55 is History, Now What?”

  1. I was fortunate enough to get one lonely bottle of R5. Not knowing really what to expect, I was beyond amazed at how well it worked. I used it for 35mm and 120. Played around with temperatures and times and got what I felt was exactly what I wanted, not from a monobath, but from a developer..PERIOD! With some finessing, the contrast was on point, the streaking was very minimal, and super easy to do.

    I can’t wait to be able to get this again, even tho I can make it myself at home, I would prefer getting it directly from the supplier so I know that I’m getting the same chemistry everytime.

  2. This is sad news indeed! R5 monobath was the first (and to present, only) film developer I’ve used, and I found it easy to use, and gave results I liked. Is there any plan to continue production of R5 (since it obviously doesn’t need pods), or will it be entirely gone, once the initial stock here is gone?

    Perhaps I had better grab a pack of New55 once the remainder is available, so I don’t miss my chance on trying that!

    Thank you,

    • Jeremy – R5 is being discontinued but its replacement, an evolution for room-temperature development, will be available here. Stay tuned.

      • That’s great to hear! The temperature requirement, while not overly difficult, was certainly the most complicated part of the process, at least to me.

  3. The dark sleeve was difficult to use, and I ruined a couple. But, it did get my 4×5 out of the closet and on the tripod. I started using my medium format cameras again. I’ve found my 4×5 carriers, and I’ve got a new tank on order. So I think the experiment, in the long run, was good for me. Still have a five pack which i’ll Use up eventually, right after I finish souping 5 rolls of 120. Hate to see it go, I thought it was worthwhile.

    • Fel – We understood that New55 PN influenced many people to enter large format photography; glad you were one of them. A number of new 4×5 camera manufacturers entered the field after 2014, too.

  4. Very disappointed this project was unable to maintain. If it was a pod problem, is there any way I could see if some other company could produce these?

    So noble an effort in the interest of film…and now? Hopefully someone or group will keep this alive!

    Please update me on developments. I plan to teach a class this Summer in film photography and would like to pass on some positive thoughts!

    • Sam Wonderly – We would need to control the machine for production and that control would afford the missing testing capability for trying different sizes, dimensions and fill volume characteristics going forward. Having specified a new Vertical Form Fill Seal machine, we now know what we need, the special features that are crucial for our material, and ball-park cost ($80-100K). Just as we took the Receiver Sheet coating process in-house with success in 2015, I would not go forward being subject to outside pod manufacturing control.

  5. Pingback: New 55 is dead (and more). | Shattered Light

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