A discontinued look of Sapa with APS film by Minh Nghia

A discontinued look of Sapa with APS film

by Minh Nghia – Blog is HERE

Today we will be looking at something that is going to be forgotten.

In 1996, Kodak introduced APS film (Advanced Photo System) with smaller size than the popular 35mm: 25.1 x 16.7 mm vs 24 × 36 mm. The crop factor is about 1.44x. It has some advance features like recording aspect ratio, the date and time that the photograph was taken, exposure data such as shutter speed and aperture setting, more or less like EXIF in digital files. Most interestingly, the film comes with 3 image formats: Classic 3:2, High-Definition 16:9 and Panorama 3:1.


Nonetheless, APS has been discontinued completely in 2011, mainly because of economic reasons (film production/developing cost). Rarely you hear people talking about it, even in film community.

Below are some pictures that I got from a trip to Sapa (highland in Vietnam) on a roll of expired Kodak Advantix 400 APS film using the Canon ELPH LT. It is a very small size Point-n-Shoot (PnS) camera using APS film that I got from my Dad. Some specs of the forgotten camera: fix lens 23mm f4.8 (equivalent to 35mm field of view for full-frame), 1-point autofocus, Program meter, 1/650 – 1/2 sec and weight only 120 grams.

There are only 25 exposures in one roll and that’s all I have for the trip. My favorite setting is High Definition 16:9 ratio, not only the image is more “panorama” but the viewfinder changes as well. That makes a whole difference of how I compose the image – horizontally. The camera is extremely light and small so that I can bring it with me everywhere. Knowing its limitation (fix aperture), I don’t expect much of “creamy bokeh” or alike, but the image quality for landscape shots is quite impressive. Lastly, it feels much enjoyable and special for each shutter count since I was capturing a beautiful landscape of Vietnam – my homeland, on something old & expired with a “discontinued” look. The reddish look with a bit of vignette on foggy days in Sapa becomes a part of my memory.









  1. There was one other 35mm film (width) format, called ‘Rapid’, and developed by Agfa … Kodak refused to support that, though it had it’s merits, as it was a cassette without any spool, so you could bulk-load 35mm film into it, without the faffing around opening the can, attaching film to a spool, and then closing the cassette back up …. because the film, was pulled by the sprockets, from one cassette to the other. The format certainly lasted longer than APS did!

    Probably the most dreadful ‘dog’ (and unsuccessful) of all film formats, was the Kodak Disc. Think it barely lasted on the market, for 2 years!

  2. Thanks everyone… glad you like the pictures.

    Well, it’s a re-visit to APS film rather than to cry out for its extinct. The cost versus performance is just too high.. Anyway, it is the unique shooting experience that counts, for the small size & panorama viewfinder. I still have 3 rolls and it seems that I shoot one every year 😀

  3. Fantastic captures.

    APS film was way too expensive to develop for small shop developers who needed to pay $6figure to get a developing machine which they couldnt afford, the film itself cost more than 35mm, and the cameras needed extra motor mechanism (to roll the film from inside the closed film canister) which made the cameras more prone to breakdown.

    Along with kodak disc, Kodak aps was best consigned to history.

    Kodak just lost the pulse gradually from 80’s onwards.

  4. First off the good- fantastic composition. The photographer obviously has the eye.

    Now the bad. Wonder why this format has died? Grainy unsharp low comtrast flat results.
    Sure now, in this context, they are appreciated but at the time it was what killed it. Easy loading can only go so far.

    I can only imagine how great these shots would have been with decent equipment.
    Yeah this was a fun post but dont get carried away and look for an old APS camera. 35mm cameras like the Olympus Stylus/Mjiu were almost as small but oh so better.
    The photographer is what/who rocks here.

  5. Wow. I got that exact camera in 1998 (I think) and one of my favorite shots ever was taken with it–the panoramic shot was perfect for the World Trade Center. Had no idea they made the film as recently as 2011…I think I still have the camera and would love to shoot it again just for fun–the thing is so small and light, as you noted, that it was the perfect pocket camera.

    Love your shots and how the expired film actually adds a lot to them–well done!

  6. One of the things I love to read about is oddball, discontinued, or unusual things. Stuff like this. I’m glad you sent this in, because I love the photos and also learning about something I have never heard of before.

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