Why I use Film Soup (and you should to).

I sent seven films to Reatha at film soup over the weekend, having finished the last two films during a long walk with Robyn. Who is teaching me to switch off the automation on my DSLRs and mirrorless as well as the film cameras, where everything is manual.

The photos include: the Vienna trip, shots of birds at the gardens, and of my grandkids. Not all are for distribution. But it takes weeks to get the shots back, and this is because Reatha is meticulous about quality, and there is only one of her.

Particularly with E6 — as far as I know, she’s the only person who continues to do a good job with slide film. She is also relentlessly honest, and encouraging. But there is only one of her.

Eventually I will start developing my own black and white and scanning and printing the same. But until I have a darkroom set up, and for the more complex stuff, I continue to use Reatha.

And so should you. You can buy a good Nikon Autofocus SLR — or better, a rangefinder — for less than a baseline mirrorless camera. The lenses are cheap. It is far easier to travel with a few rolls of film and a couple of lenses and a rangefinder than with a DSLR. But you will have to be patient at the other end.

These were taken with a rangefinder — Leica M6 with Voightlander 35 mm lens. And they are the last of the summer films that worked.

St Kilda, Sunset, Ektar.

This is what happens when I have to cool down from an argument. I go somewhere by myself. In this case, St Kilda beach, on a cold spring evening, as the sun set.

C41 (Kodak Ektar) film: Mamiya 7 with 54 mm lens: processed and scanned by Reatha at Film Soup.

This is a very big file.

I have set the picture here as a featured image with the real file below because I need to warn you all. This is a 15.8 MB 2000×2000 png, cropped and shrunk from a .tiff file. I would not click on it unless you want it as a wallpaper.

Portra160_ 3

While I am at it, Reatha’s kickstarter has been mentioned in the local photo magazine, D-photo.

When Marvin died, I thought all was lost. How would I ever afford to fix or replace him. Film Soup is run on the smell of an oily rag and even that gets low at times. When I told my community of Soupies what had happened the response was immediate and overwhelming. People were calling and messaging me to tell me that they would support Marvin and I to get up and running again. It was my clients who decided I should crowd-fund and got in behind me. I spent a lot of time in tears that day just so overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of people.

I researched all of the crowd funding options and I chose Kickstarter in the end simply because it was the most recognised and I knew there was a strong community of film photographers worldwide who would be likely to show support for what we are doing as well. I wasn’t wrong.


Really we need more than to fix Marvin, we need a new and reliable machine. Marvin is very old and it is almost impossible to get parts any more. CatLABS, who are the Jobo dealers in Chicago, have been fantastic helping me to figure out the best replacements for him. We came up with two options, a semi automatic CPP3 which is small, simple and easy to maintain but can handle the same workload as Marvin and is doing well in other boutique labs around the world. Or a factory refurbished ATL 2200, which would be refurbished for me by the Jobo factory in Germany. The fully automatic ATL 2200 is a more modern version of Marvin and would be the ultimate machine for us. There is however a significant price difference between the two machines.

It was a very hard decision to decide where to set my first goal. Originally I was going to go straight for the $8500, which would get us a new machine and allow me to fix Marvin, but I wasn’t completely confident I would make it that far. If you don’t meet your first funding goal with Kickstarter then you don’t get anything. My clients had let me know that they would be willing to put prints up for auction and help me to raise funds in other ways too. So the idea was to go for the lower goal and hopefully any shortfall could be met by other fundraising with my clients. Currently we are limping along with Starbug, which is a much smaller machine, so we hope any further fundraising will be unnecessary as the sooner we can get up and running with a new machine the better.

Reatha’s updates on her kickstarter are here. In the meantime, I’m wanting to shoot more film if I can get results like this.

Leica M6, Voightlander Color Skopar 21 mm f4 lens, scanned and processed kodak ektar by film soup, modified in Rawtherapee.


These shots were taken with the Fujica. Ektar film, developed and scanned at Film Soup by Reatha, and I have simply converted them to jpegs using Lightzone.

Ektar and a Mamiya.

THis is basically the second film that went through the Mamiya 7. I was shooting Ektar, which has a bit more tolerence for brutality, and using the wide angle lens, but without, obviously, any filters. On a very gray day, on signal hill.

All photos scanned and processed by Reatha Kenny at Film Soup, and then reduced in size and turned into pngs in Rawtherapee.