We Need New, Modern Innovations to Revitalize Analog Photography

I became interested in analog photography during high school. I later rediscovered the film process that I had taken for granted since I had spent my teenage years taking unlimited photos on my digital camera and smartphone. My hobby morphed into curiosity at university where I conducted a simple experiment with classmates. We all spent […]

We Need New, Modern Innovations to Revitalize Analog Photography

I became interested in analog photography during high school. I later rediscovered the film process that I had taken for granted since I had spent my teenage years taking unlimited photos on my digital camera and smartphone.

My hobby morphed into curiosity at university where I conducted a simple experiment with classmates. We all spent a day in the city together. One participant had a roll of film to shoot on my 35mm camera, while the other participant used their smartphone to take snapshots throughout the day.

Once the film was developed, they answered a survey.

We found that the smartphone participant enjoyed the quantity and quality of photos that could be taken with the smartphone and the ability to capture the perfect shot. However, the digital participant scored far lower in terms of appreciation for individual photos compared with the analog participant. The analog participant emphasized the enjoyment of getting the photos developed and the excitement of seeing how they turned out.

I share their enthusiasm for the film process and I believe that is the main reason why there is still such a determined community of film lovers. In a previous editorial titled , I propose that innovation, sharing information, and collaborating with like-minded people is critical to reinvigorating the analog photography industry.

Whether we produce a YouTube channel, create a new method for developing film, or design a new camera model, when taken together these three elements mitigate risk and wasted resources, and improve our chances at success.

My goal is to develop a brand-new analog camera model. Through information-sharing, I have learned the difficulties that are attached to such a project. So far, I have an idea and I am always meeting like-minded people who are interested in helping me realize success. However, I am firmly planted at square one. To develop a camera model that people love, I need to learn what we all want.

I mentioned in that earlier editorial that there are finite, quality analog camera models up for grabs, and — as resilient as they are — it is a matter of time before they begin showing their age. I believe there is enough interest in analog photography to reinvigorate the industry and potentially keep it alive for future generations to enjoy, and innovating new takes on analog photography is a major important step.

If you are interested, you can have your say in this 5-minute survey that I have developed to edge me closer to my goal.

A massive thanks to the people who have responded so far. Once I have received enough responses, I will share findings in a future article so everyone can benefit and get innovating.


About the author: Benjamin Santamaria is a marketing and communications officer for YMCA Australia. He studied communication at university, focusing his postgraduate research on how young people interact and identify with podcast hosts. Ben has a keen interest in analog photography and aspires to contribute to the reinvigoration of the analog photography market.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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How to Make Custom Waterhouse Stops for Antique Lenses

For those who shoot with antique lenses but are missing Waterhouse stops, photographer Markus Hofstätter has put together a tutorial that shows a couple of ways that shooters can create their own. Older vintage lenses, such as Petzval ones, that don’t have an iris diaphragm instead use a set of what are called Waterhouse stops […]

How to Make Custom Waterhouse Stops for Antique Lenses

For those who shoot with antique lenses but are missing Waterhouse stops, photographer Markus Hofstätter has put together a tutorial that shows a couple of ways that shooters can create their own.

Older vintage lenses, such as Petzval ones, that don’t have an iris diaphragm instead use a set of what are called Waterhouse stops instead. Named after 19th-century astronomer and photographer John Waterhouse, the component has a set aperture that controls the entry of light into a camera in the same manner that modern-day lenses do with a built-in iris diaphragm that has blades. The difference is that Waterhouse stops are manually inserted in slots in the lens barrel.

Hofstätter regularly works with antique photographic equipment and often makes wet-plate portraits for his clients. He is also no stranger to the limitations that decades-old gear possesses, especially if that equipment is the subject of damage or has missing components — a regular occurrence when buying second-hand gear in auctions and antique stores. As an example of how common this is, Hofstätter recently shared how he repaired and brought back to life a 50-year old Linhof tripod. In a similar manner, his latest video shows how to make Waterhouse stops at home.

For those who already have an existing Waterhouse stop but want to add additional apertures, Hofstätter demonstrates how to measure the length and diameter of the inner circle and then how to calculate the diameter for the missing f-stops. The existing Waterhouse stop then gets scanned and opened in an image processing software to be selected, such as with the Selection Brush tool in Affinity Photo, and painted black.

After that, Hofstätter opens a new document, copies the selected stop, and creates differently sized circles that represent the calculated f-stops, which can then be printed and cut. If there is no existing example of the Waterhouse stop on hand, Hofstätter recommends finding someone who can trace an existing one and send its measurements. The rest of the process follows mostly the same steps.

To take it up a notch, Hofstätter shows how he also used the Morphi app to create a 3D copy of the object and then prepared it with ideaMaker, a 3D slicer software, to get it printed. Last but not least, he applied the finishing touches like the precise cutting of edges and the application of a coat of paint. He even created a carrying box for them.

For those who don’t want to take on a project like this, Hofstätter offers a service where photographers can order them. Currently, Dallmeyer 2B and 3b Waterhouse stops are available but for other requests, he recommends getting in touch via his website.


Image credits: All images by Markus Hofstätter and used with permission.

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