It’s safe now to say that film is anything but dead. More so now than ever, it seems photographers young and old are looking to get back to the days of darkrooms.
Recently, we shared with you the Filmomat, a completely automated film processing machine created from scratch.
Today, we have for you a less automated, but equally as interesting contraption. It’s called the SP–445 and it’s a compact and portable 4×5 film processing system.
Currently being funded on Kickstarter, the SP–445 is the brainchild of Timothy Gilbert, a film photographer with a master’s degree in engineering whose spent the past thirty years working in design and product development.
The lightbulb moment behind the SP–445 came from Gilbert’s struggle to find a simple and affordable film processing unit for sheet film – a passion reignited when his 15-year-old daughter began to shoot film on his old Crown Graphic.
The key to its size is its clever design, which uses an easy to load film holder that can securely develop up to four 4×5 sheets in only 16oz (475ml) of chemicals. Shaped something like a thin pitcher, the SP–445 features a handful of components that serve a dual purpose.
For example, the lip where you fill up the SP–445 also serves as the pouring spout when you’re finished with chemicals and rinsing. Likewise, the locking lid also features a built-in plunger, which lets you agitate the chemicals to ensure even distribution across your sheet film.
The best part of all is the price. The goal was to sell the SP–445 for under $100. From the looks of it, the team behind it has achieved that goal, with an expected retail price of ‘around $80-$90.’
If you fund it on Kickstarter though, you’ll be able to pick an entire SP–445 system up for $47 (plus shipping) – a steal considering how much other, less efficient options cost. The goal is to have the first models produced by March 2016.
The SP–445 has already gathered 50% of its $27,000 goal—more than enough to ensure the product will be funded with its remaining 33 days.
For more information and to secure yourself an SP–445 or two, head on over to the Kickstarter campaign.