Loading 35mm film in a 126 cartidge

Flex the cartridge a few times to crack the seams.

To get the thing started flex in one direction...

To get the thing started flex in one direction…

... and then the other.

… and then the other.

Most of the edges come apart pretty easily but there are some “welds”. The top (label right side up) is the hardest part. The back (label side) overlaps the inside by about 5mm and there is a glue weld inside the overlap. You might get lucky, you might have to use a knife or razor blade, or, like my first one, you might mangle it. It’s still usable, I just have to use more tape to seal it.

Most of the cartridges I have are marked where the glue has melted the seams together.

Most of the cartridges I have are marked where the glue has melted the seams together.

The bottom has less overlap but it's glued inside as well.

The bottom has less overlap but it’s glued inside as well.

The take-up spool side is edge glued and came apart pretty cleanly.

The take-up spool side is edge glued and came apart pretty cleanly (note the cat hair from my curious assistant).

The supply side has a very small overlap and mostly came apart.  The crooked part is where I tried to get a razor blade in the seam.

The supply side has a very small overlap and mostly came apart. The crooked part is where I tried to get a razor blade in the seam.

The old film will be really curly. I saved it for testing frame spacing and used a piece of the paper as fixed film backing.

The image area is well defined.  The film will be a little too far from the lens unless...

The image area is well defined. The film will be a little too far from the lens unless…

Most of the articles I’ve read skip this part. You can go without but the focus will be a little off. A lot of Instamatics had pretty soft focus from cheap plastic lenses. It depends — do you want to embrace the Lomo-style effects or try to take a “good” photograph?

... you use some backing paper.  This is vintage 126 paper but you can cut down 120 backing paper or use anything black that's the right thickness.

… you use some backing paper. This is vintage 126 paper but you can cut down 120 backing paper or use anything black that’s the right thickness.

After smoothing the tape and giving the cartridge a good dusting, it’s time to get things ready to go into the dark. I use a changing bag but anywhere you can work in total darkness is fine.

The small spool is from a roll of dog poo bags.

The small spool is from a roll of dog poo bags.

I haven’t seen other articles where the supply side was put onto a spool. It made it a lot easier for me to get it rolled properly.

Tape the film count window on the cartridge and the camera.

Tape the film count window on the cartridge and the camera.

    My dark bag checklist:

  1. camera
  2. cartridge front and back
  3. spools
  4. 35mm film in the cartridge
  5. scissors
  6. four precut pieces of studio tape attached in order to a small ruler

Go slow, turn off your phone, and give the cat some snacks. You want to be able to do this by feel without distraction.

    The in-the-dark sequence from my written notes:

  1. cut the 35mm leader
  2. tape film to supply spool
  3. wind film and cut from 35mm cart.
  4. tape film to take-up spool
  5. assemble and close 126 cartridge
  6. tape take-up side of 126 cart.
  7. tape supply side of 126 cart.
  8. put the film in the camera and close the back

I decided to cut the 35mm leader in the bag so I could pull enough to make it easy to tape to the supply spool without exposing a couple of frames. The tape pieces were pre-measured for taping to the spools and holding the ends of the cartridge together. I felt for the short spool pieces and went left to right along the ruler so I got the right piece for each step. Because the cartridge was somewhat mangled, I decided to tape the camera back light-tight instead. The top and bottom edges of the cartridge would be a pretty precise tape job in the dark bag.

After pulling the camera out of the bag, I used more studio tape on the seams of the camera back.

I’ll do another, shorter, post about actually using this kludge in the camera.

52 Cameras: Week 52 part 2 – Kodak Instamatic 77x

This is the end-ish of the 52 Cameras Project. I’ll still be posting but I won’t hold to anything near a camera a week. A lot of cameras need TLC, I have a documentary photography class coming up in October, and a lot of projects need a push to get into production.


Not bad for a camera that was low-end 37 years ago. I’ll do a post about reloading 35mm film into a 126 cartridge later. I only had time to use the 35mm adapter in the scanner. The image overlaps the lower sprocket holes on 35mm film.

Scanned with the CanoScan 9000f at 4800 DPI using Image Capture.app and resized to 15% for upload. No idea why, but the Canon software overexposed everything.

Walking downtown we heard a dog barking.  Who thinks to look UP when a dog barks?

Walking downtown we heard a dog barking. Who thinks to look UP when a dog barks?

My sweetie rockin' Cher bangs and her cool VONA shirt.

My sweetie rockin’ Cher bangs and her cool VONA shirt.

Sunflowers at the co-op.

Sunflowers at the co-op.

Statue on the patio at India Palace in Santa Fe.

Statue on the patio at India Palace in Santa Fe.

52 Cameras: Week 51 part 2 – Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 524/16

Fresh Kodak Ektar 100 film.

There is a dent in the camera back that went through to the pressure plate. It doesn’t affect the focus much but you can tell the edge where it is pushed closer to the lens. All speeds are the camera setting but “ish”. I know the shutter is slow but not by how much.

Dead budgie -- f/5.6 at 1/300.

Dead budgie — f/5.6 at 1/300.

Desert willow at Sandia -- f/3.5 at 1/300.

Desert willow at Sandia — f/3.5 at 1/300.

Sandia Mountain foothills.  I think it's some kind of sage -- f/11 at 1/100.

Sandia Mountain foothills. I think it’s some kind of sage — f/11 at 1/100.

Pond at Sandia golf course --  f/11 at 1/50.

Pond at Sandia golf course — f/11 at 1/50.

Overcast with intermittent rain so it was a blue day but either the film or the scanner added more blue. Maybe both. Surfing for info, the film is bluish but can be corrected with a UV filter or by using a scan profile for Ektar.

I’ll post about the ongoing restoration in a couple of weeks.

52 Cameras: Week 50 part 2 — Nikon Coolpix AW100

This post is a bit of a cheat — none of the images are from the past week. I just haven’t shot anything that interesting this week compared to the hundreds of good images this camera has provided.

25 May 2013 -- The Royalty at Neon Desert Music Festival. ISO 125, f/4.8 at 1/60 sec.

25 May 2013 — The Royalty at Neon Desert Music Festival. ISO 125, f/4.8 at 1/60 sec.

22 June 2013 -- The Albuquerque Isotopes' mascot, Orbit. ISO 400, f/4.8 at  1/250.

22 June 2013 — The Albuquerque Isotopes’ mascot, Orbit. ISO 400, f/4.8 at 1/250.

17 August 2013 -- Sheep on Mt. Shavano.  ISO 400, f/4.8 at 1/250 with polarizing filter.

17 August 2013 — Sheep on Mt. Shavano. ISO 400, f/4.8 at 1/250 with polarizing filter.

4 July 2014 -- And they call it Puppy Loooove.  ISO 125, f/4.2 at 1/125.

4 July 2014 — And they call it Puppy Loooove. ISO 125, f/4.2 at 1/125.

15 July 2014 -- Lightning through the screen (fireworks mode).  ISO 125, f/7.8 at 4 sec.

15 July 2014 — Lightning through the screen (fireworks mode). ISO 125, f/7.8 at 4 sec.

26 July 2014 -- Cabezon from NM 14.  ISO 400, f/4.8 at 1/6.

26 July 2014 — Cabezon from NM 14. ISO 400, f/4.8 at 1/6.

27 July 2014 -- delicious pollen (macro mode 100% crop).  ISO 125, f/3.9 at 1/640.

27 July 2014 — delicious pollen (macro mode 100% crop). ISO 125, f/3.9 at 1/640.

More examples from this camera:

Training for Shasta — Atalaya, 25 May 2014

Training for Shasta — Santa Fe Baldy attempt, 26 May 2014

I never made it to Shasta. We had a family emergency the day before my flight. Unless it pulls a Mt. Saint Helens, it’ll be there next year.

52 Cameras: Week 49 part 2 — Canon EOS 1 HS

Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to run another roll through this camera. With a little luck I can get caught up this week and get back on track.

Expired Walgreens color print film, ISO 400. I got it in a lot of expired film with no packaging so I don’t know how expired. Processing and scanning by The Camera Shop of Santa Fe.

Using a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro at f/2.8.  Sweet lens, I wish it worked on the 60D.

Using a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro at f/2.8. Sweet lens, I wish it worked on the 60D.

This 50mm is the original, made from 1990-1998. It was replaced by the EX lens which was replaced by the EX DG in 2004.

Sigma AF 70-300mm f4-5.6 DL Macro.  Macro only works at 300mm so it's not real bright.

Sigma AF 70-300mm f4-5.6 DL Macro. Macro only works at 300mm so it’s not real bright.

I shot a couple using a Canon 35-80mm f/4-5.6. It’s an OK walking around lens but the shots weren’t anything special.

Sigma 70-300mm.  There are now a couple of places in NM to get the delicious Kenyan beer, Tusker.

Sigma 70-300mm. There are now a couple of places in NM to get the delicious Kenyan beer, Tusker.

Sigma 50mm at f/8.  The Ghia I had was a Flintstone-mobile -- you could see the road through the rusted floorboards.

Sigma 50mm at f/8. The Ghia I had was a Flintstone-mobile — you could see the road through the rusted floorboards.

52 Cameras: Week 49 part 1 — Canon EOS 1 HS

Late again. I always forget some important specs: Shutter speed from 30 seconds to 1/8000. 100% coverage in the viewfinder. 8 AA batteries (it’s not a light camera). Mirror lockup. Custom functions — everything from setting what dial does what to leaving the film leader out after rewind. In its day, this was the cat’s pajamas for people making a living with a camera.

52 Cameras: Week 48 part 2 — Minolta XE-7

Some specs I didn’t mention: Shutter speeds are from 1/1000 to 4 seconds, the shutter uses vertically traveling metal blades, and there is an eyepiece shutter built in so no stray light gets in during long exposures. It uses two common LR or SR44 batteries and there is a battery check lever and light on the left side of the body (photographer’s POV). Film speeds manually set from ISO 16-2500.

This grab from the manual shows the viewfinder layout. The aperture isn’t a display per se, but a reflection of the number at the top of the lens.

I couldn't get a decent picture of the viewfinder.

I couldn’t get a decent picture of the viewfinder.

On to the photos. Fujicolor 200 film.

He did a beautiful version of Neil Young's

He did a beautiful version of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”. 50mm, f/5.6 @ 1/125 (I think).

50mm, f1/8, didn't write down the shutter.  Beautiful bokeh!

50mm, f1/8, didn’t write down the shutter. Beautiful bokeh!

The perils and benefits of learning my way around a camera. I left the double exposure switch part way engaged so the film slipped. The super shallow DoF of the 135mm lens and the dark overcast morning made it work.

Accidental double-exposure.  I think that's my hand.  135mm lens, f/2.8

Accidental double-exposure. I think that’s my hand. 135mm lens, f/2.8

Daisies.  135mm, f/2.8 @ 1/30.  Without a tripod, it looks like a Polaroid.

Daisies. 135mm, f/2.8 @ 1/30. Without a tripod, it looks like a Polaroid.

Sandia Man Cave.  50mm.  f/8 at 1/500.  Sunny but overcast is tough.  To get her right, the sky is blown out.

Sandia Man Cave. 50mm. f/8 at 1/500. Sunny but overcast is tough. To get her right, the sky is blown out.