While Polaroid tries to break into the amateur point-and-shoot market with its new OneFilm, an ASA 200 color negative print film, Eastman Kodak continues to introduce more special films for special purposes.
Kodak's new Ektar 25 and Ektar 1000 films, introduced last fall in Germany, should now be available at your photo dealer. I've tried both films and am absolutely delighted with the results. Ektar 25 is extremely fine-grained, excellent for those times you may want to make huge blowups of your pictures. Ektar 1000 has a very fine grain for such a fast film. I used it recently to stalk deer with an 800mm lens on a monopod.But don't run out to buy either film unless you make sure that it will work in your camera. These films are for advanced amateurs with cameras that will work with such films. Most inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras will only work in the ASA 100 to ASA 400 range.
Has Kodak forgotten the average point-and-shooter? Not by a long shot!
The company is currently introducing another new Ektar film, with an ASA of 125, that will work in any point-and-shoot camera.
Also for the point-and-shooter is a new Kodak camera, the top-of-the-line S1100XL. It will accept films from ASA 25 to ASA 1000, and features a 16-zone automatic focusing system that enables users to take photos without positioning the subject in the center of the viewfinder.
This camera is obviously designed for the amateur who doesn't want to worry about anything other than pointing the camera and pressing the shutter button. Everything is automatic, including setting the ASA for any DX-coded film, focusing from 20 inches to infinity, winding and rewinding. It also has automatic flash, fill-flash and flash defeat.
With a suggested list of $259.95, it is worth checking out.
Also from Kodak are two new cameras aimed at specialized markets. For the outdoorsman, there is the Explorer. It's resistant to dust, sand and water (it floats!), and has built-in flash among its many features. With a suggested list of $169.95, it's a great alternative to risking a more expensive camera and lens where inclement weather and water accidents might be encountered.
Other new Kodak cameras that should now be at your dealer include: the S500AF, which looks and feels like the S1100XL but doesn't have quite as many features and, at $189.95 list, isn't as expensive; a new Breeze camera, with a white design for the fashion-conscious; the Winner, a 110 camera; and an updated version of the throwaway Fling 35mm camera.
Also currently being introduced in New York are two Kodacolor Gold films: 400 and 1600. These are improved negative color print films that join the Gold line, which already includes ASA 100 and 200 films.
Kodak is obviously taking photography seriously, offering a host of new films and cameras to a broad range of users. Professionals and serious amateurs will be delighted with the selection of films offered.
But the average point-and-shooter may only become confused by the many films available. If you feel confused, don't. Just continue to use a medium-speed, ASA 200 film.