Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

SVEMA ASTRUM – Ukraine films

SVEMA ASTRUM – Ukraine films

I have discussed this brand, albeit briefly, in this article here. The film presented in that article was about the old one, produced by the Soviets during the 70 and 80’s in what was then the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine. Obviously, time changed and the Soviets are no more, and so’s the film they produced back then. I still have a dozen or so of the old film, which I shoot every now and then with mixed results.

That said, the old factory in Shostka is now active, repackaging/producing (no idea which) the new Svema films, in various emulsions and sensitivities under the ASTRUM brand: Micrat (copy film, low ASA), FN64 (ASA 32-50), Photo 100, Photo 200, Photo 400, plus some specialist film such as aerial, X-ray and such. While I am not really into the latter, I have acquired some 10 of each films aforementioned,(bar the 200 one), just to get an idea on what has changed, Svema wise, as it were.

First of all, let me say the service and communication with these guys were both excellent. Upon payment, the films were shipped same day with tracking number, and the air freight costs to Romania were negligible. That, plus the very reasonable cost of the film per roll made a really good purchase.

I had a pleasant surprise when opening the package, because the film comes now in plastic canisters, and not just wrapped in foil, like the old film. Understandable, as those time are gone, and I guess no one today would buy a film negative loose in a wrapping. So, a nice upgrade from the old days.

The films that I ordered from Astrum were of 4 types (10 film brick of each):

10 x Micrat copy film negative, 12-25 ASA

10 x FN64 film negative, 32-50 ASA

10 x Photo 100 film negative, 80-100 ASA

10 x Photo 400 film negative, 320-400 ASA

I was tempted to buy a brick of Photo 200 too, but I resisted. I still have a couple of 30m rolls of Fomapan 200, which I believe to be enough of this emulsion type. Of course, there is always need for film in my fridge, but for now I’m good. I was also somehow deflated by the news that they do not have any colour film available, which is something that I really wanted to try. I was more curious on what sort of stock they use for that.

However, one good news is that each film comes in a reusable plastic canister. How reusable remains to be seen, but it looks sturdy enough to reload a couple of films in it. at least. As prices for photo accessories such as reusable canisters is on the rise, I am assured of 40 such canisters to reuse at least a few times.

Looking forward to test a few rolls, really curious. We’ll talk about these films some more once I test these here.