This is the most recent film format, and the last to date, introduced by Kodak after developing it in collaboration with some of the leading camera manufacturers and it is universally known as APS (Advanced Photo System). Introduced in 1996, it tried to respond to new market trends which required a miniaturisation of equipment without affecting image quality and greater use of electronic facilities, requirements not easy to be implemented on existing 135. The ultimate goal was to replace the 135 format and led the effort to create a series of new cameras and lenses, with advanced featuresmerged with all the benefits of 35 mm photography.
The system has definitely evolved and represents a remarkable technological breakthrough in the field of analog photography but was smothered by a part from the mass of users reluctant to abandon their 135 kits and the other by the rise of digital photography, which contained most of the innovations presented as exclusive of APS.
Basically, this is a stillborn system.
The film is enclosed in a plastic cartridge in which it remains also after processing; the emulsion support encompasses a strip of magnetic material on which can be recorded different information related to single shot, such as:
- shutter speed
- camera orientation
- flash status
- date and time
- text to be printed on the back of the picture (!)
- number of prints (!)
- print format
Additional information can be recorded on the media depending on the camera model that you use and also processing lab can also record information. Of ticular interest for amateurs was the ability to remove the partially exposed film from camera and then recharge it afterwards: APS camera was then to read the magnetic stripe information to automatically reposition the film to the first unexposed frame; this feature allowed user to moveat any time between different films o without wasting fresh film.
APS formats are marked by initials which are well-known today as the sensors of the amateur-semipro range DSLRs use the same nomenclature:
Cameras and Films
As mentioned above the combined efforts of large producers led to the production of different cameras and SLR systems for the new format, among which are worthy of mention the Nikon Pronea line SLRs and the compact Minolta Vectis. Any large and small manufacturer showed up in their product range a series of APS which today can be purchased at very reasonable prices on the used market or as stock funds. The only film which is still produced, and readily available in supermarkets, is the Kodak Advantix (C41), while many laboratories still provide the development service. In some large chains of photography, there are still stocks of APS film Fujifilm brand.
Unlike cameras, however, the cost of film and developing are uneconomic compared to any of the available formats.
Using the 240 APS today
The survival of 240 APS format is linked to the desire to keep film production and development laboratories, and now Kodak seems to be not interested at all in it Being a format with which you cannot easily work in the darkroom, you will not see great possibilities for future use.