The hoped-for revival of German photographic chemistry manufacturer Tetenal has taken a major step forward with the release of new ‘one shot’ developer kits under the new Magic Box brand.
The employee-based initiative to save Tetenal sees a workforce of more than 40 people (previously 200) striving to carry on Tetenal’s pivotal role in analog photography and develop new direct-to-user products – such as the Magic Box range.
Tetenal 1847 has announced the introduction of new Magic Box developer kits for processing C-41 and E6 film and RA-4 prints. Initially rolled out to German-speaking markets only (although it’s uncertain how that will work in a globalised markertplace), the kits are being presented as an option for photographers who want to trial colour film and paper development without a large investment. The kits cost somewhere around the equivalent of $25 and are available from German retailers such as Fotoimpex, Foto Brenner and Nordfoto.
Each Magic Box comes with enough chemistry to develop a single roll of 35mm 36-exposure or 120 roll film (C-41 or E6) or 18 sheets of 8×10-inch colour photo paper (although it’s apparently possible to eke out the chemicals for two or three rolls)
It’s interesting to note that Tetenal used to sell a similar set of kits in the 1990s for photojournalists using portable daylight tanks.
According to the company, the next new product from Tetenal 1847’s factory will be photochemistry in tablet form.
Magic Box is the first product from “NEW TETENAL”, now officially going under the name of “TETENAL 1847” since February 2019’s management buy out. The company, which once employed ~200 members of staff from sales and marketing to warehousing, chemists and scientists now employs approximately 40 people and under the guidance of Carsten Gehring and Stefania Grimme, is investigating a move to new factory premises from its current aged location.
That volume of a single roll of film for the C-41 and E-6 Magic Boxes may seem absurd to most existing home developers reading this who are more used to TETENAL’s 1L and 2.5L COLORTEC options (capable of developing 15 and 40 rolls respectively), so I should clarify that these are not for you.
The intended target market for these new products are those who are new to colour negative or slide film processing, and to darkroom colour printing. They are also intended as tester options for low-volume colour film shooters and printers interested in developing 1-2 rolls when the mood strikes. Film shooters slightly longer in the tooth may remember similar TETENAL products in the 1980s and 90s aimed at field-based photojournalists – it’s the same concept pointed in a different direction.
All three Magic Boxes – not visible on the Tetenal 1847 online store at the time of writing – are available through German resellers such as FOTOIMPEX, Foto Brenner, macodirect and NORDFOTO.
Average pricing (including sales tax) is as follows:
TETENAL Magic Box RA-4: €14.95
TETENAL Magic-Box E6: €15.95
TETENAL Magic-Box C-41: €12.95
Interestingly, the Magic Box solution is not a new one – TETENAL previously sold such kits in the 1990s aimed at photojournalists who needed fast turnaround times and would develop film using portable daylight tanks such as the Rondinax. While this market may no longer exist in any meaningful sense today, it’s reasonable to assume that some enterprising photographers will be packing one or two of these kits along with a LAB BOX for some in-the-field film development fun.
Read on for the official English press release and pay attention to an interesting point of note: the explicit mention of the company’s next project, film developer in tablet form, first shared here on EMULSIVE on May 20th 2019.