Hello everybody! EM and I are hoping that you’ve had a wonderful 2021 and can’t wait to steer the annual EMULSIVE Santa back into a familiar lane. True to tradition, we’re here to give you (new and old-timers) a quick, up-to-date guide on how to make the perfect EMULSIVE Santa gift.
As the rules state, your 2021 EMULSIVE Santa gift should be at least $20 USD, but we all know and celebrate how wild and generous some swaps can be. While that is always part of the magic, it’s much more appreciated when partners really prepare something thoughtful and not necessarily expensive. A lot of participants really put their heart into this, and every year we urge everyone to participate in the swap’s spirit.
So, here’s a quick Christmas 2021 shopping guide that will hopefully point you in the right direction on where, and what to shop for. I’ve picked 35-ish obvious, smaller, niche, and lesser-known film, film camera, and related accessories, supplies and stocks for you to browse.
Note: None of the links below generate any kind of affiliate revenue/kickbacks but purchasing from them will of course, benefit the store owners directly.
Let’s get started with some fundamental choices:
As usual, the Community’s favourite ubiquitous film brands are universal: ILFORD, Kodak, Lomography, Fujifilm, Foma Bohemia, Rollei, and Cinestill.
With those out of the way (no offence intended), I wanted to focus in on some favourite niche and specialist film brands that are consistently on the top of many wishlists.
- Japan Camera Hunter JCH Streetpan 400 — while Bellamy’s film is now quite accessible at most of the online sellers mentioned above, we’d still love it if you can support him directly at japancamerahunter.com.
- Dubblefilm and their fantastic collection of wildly popular tinted films has steadily rose in popularity.
- Street Candy ATM 400 is ISO 400 film that was originally made for suveillance — think ATMs and Speed Cameras.
- Kosmo Foto — whether it’s Kosmo Foto Mono or Agent Shadow films
- Santa Rae 1000 — described as “a 1000 speed black & white film released in 2019. Used by Santa and his elves for surveillance, its now available for human photographers.” I think you need to send your partner a bushel of this film.
- Revolog Films — Revolog and its sci-fi aesthetic has been a staple brand in experimental pre-exposed film.
For ease of access and shopping convenience, here are the best all-around online neighborhood film stores that cater to our community:
Australia and New Zealand:
You might be interested in...
- australiananalog.com.au (Australia)
- decisivemoment.com.au (Australia)
- theblackandwhitebox.co.nz (New Zealand)
- decisivemoment.com.au (New Zealand)
- kamerastore.com (Finland)
- ateliers-marinette.fr (France)
- nationphoto.com (France)
- macodirect.de (Germany)
- fotoimpex.com (Germany)
- ars-imago.com (Italy)
- wonderfoto.ru (Russia)
- carmencita.com (Spain)
Hong Kong and the surrounds:
Putting aside the staples of the swap, it’s always highly encouraged to elevate your present with something unpredictable. Here are some personal favorites surprises, which I think every film enthusiast will love.
Film photography t-shirts, pins and accessories
- #ShittyCameraChallenge Tees — If you’re not a member of the shitty camera cult… you’re missing out!
- Mike Padua’s Shoot Film Co. — Home to the OG PhotoMemo journal and home to a cool collection of nerdy accessories from Tshirts to hoodies to pins to patches, a one-stop-shop if you want to fill your parcel will all film photography knick knacks.
- EMULSIVE Tees — Oi! Can never go wrong with EM’s personal designs and every penny goes into supporting our beloved Overlord’s website (the one you’re reading right now).
- Sweet As Photos’ Quick Reference Cards — Something too useful… even for professionals. Would make a great gift for someone like me who can never hold down basic concepts.
- Official Exclusive — a site well known for their film photography pins but recently has branched out to other cool stuff!
- Japan Camera Hunter’s tees & film cases — BUY ORIGINAL! JCH’s Film Cases is always on top of my own wishlist but Bellamy has also added some classy looking leather cases too!
- Photogenic Supply Co — OMG have you seen their 35mm pint glasses? I hope my partner sees this because I would like some ahahahahha this site is also filled with awesome unique goods that are dedicated to film photography. A MUST visit.
- Cameradactyl’s Butter Camera Grips — colorful, fun, and just about every film photographer will appreciate it. Just make sure to anonymously ask what your partner shoots with!
- Gordy’s camera straps — timeless and underrated. Gordy’s is well known amongst long time street photographers, one of the very few “strap” businesses that allows you to personalize every detail.
- Due North camera straps — “Classics never go out of style”, totes agree! Simple, modern, well-made and no fuss. The kind that makes it easy for a photographer to trust in the quality of the goods.
- Hyperion camera straps — I love the rope aesthetics recently and Hyperion allows you to personalize your own color combos! If you can’t decide, how about a gift card for your partner instead?
Pinhole and 3D printed cameras
Maybe you want to make your partner extra specially happy this year (or you know… something for yourself). The lockdown has seen the rise of pinhole photography globally. While the system is pretty easy especially if you’re able to 3D print or are creative enough (I’m not) to construct one at home, there are a few notable handmade ones in the market. Albeit of the pricey side, we wanted to some of the best brands forward who have been a great support to our community.
- Ondu Pinhole — Elvis and his team has dominated the pinhole market with one successful Kickstarter after the other. It has come to the point where I just close my eyes and confidently back up any camera they make. Great folks too who are very proud of their craft.
- Reality so Subtle — a premier and with a strong following among pinhole enthusiasts, James Guerin still hand makes every single camera purchased. A true master of precision and durability.
- Vermeer Cameras — There is something otherworldly about Vermeer pinhole cameras. Cezary’s elegant (but also kinda steampunk) creations always makes people stop and stare. I enjoy mine very much and the man IS so easy to speak to and patient when you ask about his work.
- Nopo Pinhole — I don’t know any other adjectives to describe Nopo cameras. Absolutely gorgeous wooden works of art with an aesthetic that sings of taste in design.
- Dora Goodman Dora Goodman is synonymous with 3D printed cameras. Over the past years she has really built a fantastic ecosystem that is accessible to many film photographers who love to build and tinker. Most of us can only gape in awe! Her adorable Scura pinhole was featured right here on EMULSIVE.
- Cameradactyl Pinholio — Inspired by the Afghan box cameras, the tiny yet mighty self developing pinhole camera by Cameradactyl. Measures a mere 2 1/4″ square, you don’t need a big shipping box to create maximum impact Best Secret Santa partner of the year with this one.
Alternative experiences and publications
- Solarcan — slow, long exposure photography meet solargraphy, it’s not just cool but it really embodies how photography can be applied in many artistic and educational ways. Both enjoyed by the young and old too!
- Camera Film Photo — Vishal Soniji and his team at Camera Film Photo produced an advent calendar every single film photographer needs. It is LITERALLY a prepacked Secret Santa present ahahah! Pre-order now!!!
- Bergger Cyanotype kit — another alternative photography process that skyrocketed during the pandemic. This is a great present to encourage someone to try something new at home.
- ILFORD Simplicity Starter kit — I included Ilford’s Simplicity Starter Kit because it’s a fantastic present to push someone to finally go into processing their own BW photos at home. Affordable and complete, it arms the recipient with enough chemistry to process a few film rolls (… that you can probably also include in your gift)
- Domestika / Pinhole — an online courses on how to make your own Pinhole Camera.
- Film Washi — Lomig Perrotin is one innovative mad scientist for the Washi Film. This for me is the perfect present for someone always on the lookout for new experiences in film photography. As the name connotes, WASHI. It’s paper.
- Valoi x pixl-latr DSLR film scanning kit — Traditional film scanners are dead, long don’t know what to market this aha live film scanning…! This kit combines the best properties of community’s most inexpensive film digitisation tools into one that takes the best of both worlds.
- Let’s Explore Magazine — “Exploration is curiosity put into action”… film photography hits this mantra square on. If you want to feed your partner with a visually inspiring magazine that also triumphs with amazing storytelling, THIS is THE magazine.
- British Journal of Photography — How about a digital subscription to “the world’s oldest and most influential photography title.” to ensure that your partner has access to an entire year of inspiration?
- The Royal Photographic Society – A membership to the RPS – an educational charity committed to bringing photography to everyone – gives the recipient access to unparalleled resources in photography (including workshops). I think this is a fantastic gift to someone who is continuously trying to further his/her education in photography.
- Silvergrain Classics — The first modern, truly global film photography magazine, Silvergrain Classics is available in physical stores and online. You’ll see a link on the bottom right of every single page of EMULSIVE!
- Chroma Camera — Created by Liverpool’s Steve Lloyd, Chroma Camera stated as a single 4×5 field camera and has grown to become a complete ecosystem of large, medium and now, 35mm format cameras. Steve also partnered with J Lane’s dry plates to create the Chromagraphica dry plate and sheet film holder.
The list we shared is just to inspire you. There’s no obligation to buy from the links above, or to compete with anyone’s presents in the event. The most important thing is to be considerate and gift in the spirit of EMULSIVE Secret Santa.
It’s always a must to look into your partner’s wishlist on Elfster (AND make a reasonable wishlist of your own). We hope that this article provides you with the direction you need to start putting together a badass package! Have any other tips for the community? LET US KNOW!
Share your knowledge, story or project
The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.