Using the Ansco Readyflash Part1: Spooling 620 Film
There are a lot of sites with instructions for paring down 120 spools instead of re-spooling. Give it a whirl if you don’t mind risking a roll. A couple of examples:
One warning if you decide to go this route: The 620 film slot and the corresponding piece in the camera that turns it are smaller. Make sure the adapted roll is smooth on the ends and rotates freely. Otherwise, the bit inside the camera may rotate inside the slot of the film spool and break it. Filing the end of the spool makes it even weaker. See my experience using a 120 spool in a Rover (Diana) camera.
Using the Ansco Readyflash Part2: Loading & Shooting
Film Photography Project 620 film goodies: https://filmphotographystore.com/collections/all/620-film
For lending me the camera — Thanks Dave!
Amazing collection of Kodak catalogs at Kodakcollector.com.
A clarification: The camera could be as late as 1934. The catalog years overlap — 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35. The 34-35 catalog is the first one to show the “Action Front” push button bed release. The 32-33 catalog is the only one that explicitly states the camera is available in black or brown but I don’t know if later model years had the color choice. If it is from 33-34, the doublet was the low-end lens with an f/6.3 or f/4.5 anastigmat as an upgrade and a Diodak shutter option which added 1/10 second to the speeds of the Kodon.
The scalloping at the top of the next image is from re-spooling the film. I didn’t have it perfectly parallel to the 620 spool rim so the film & paper came off at an angle and wrinkled.
Taken with the tape and poster board seals. Still leaked.
That’s it for posted images taken with this camera. About the kludges follows.
Getting the cardboard between the bellows and the folding front was a challenge. Good view of the aperture setting: U.S. 8=f/11, 16=f/16, 32=f/22, 64=f/32.
The back is 6 X 9cm and the front is sized to let the Instax frame slide in.
I still got light leaks between the top and body. I tried yet more tape before giving up and shrouding the whole thing with my dark bag.
I don’t have a proper darkroom so here’s the process. I taped up the Instax film box to use as a transfer station.
- Put the film in the box.
- The box and camera go into the dark bag. Remove the film, remove one frame from the cartridge, insert it in the holder in the camera, and put the cartridge back in the box.
- Meter, carefully take the camera out of the bag, and shroud everything but the lens and shutter trigger.
- Take the shot and put the camera back in the bag.
- Take the frame out of the holder, slide it back in the Instax cartridge, and put the cartridge in the light-tight box.
- Put the Instax camera in the bag, load the cartridge, take it out, cover the lens, and shoot it to run the print through the Instax rollers.
I got turned around a couple of times and loaded the Instax frame with the image side towards the lens. I burned through most of a box of 10 prints to get two OK images but it was still a lot cheaper and faster than using negative film (re-spool, reload, process) for each iteration.
Not much for images — the shutter still sticks. Here’s the disassembly/attempted repair experiment.
It’s pretty easy to get inside to the shutter. The first tear-down was more thorough — I removed the insert that goes from the back of the shutter to the film plane and disassembled the viewfinder. There are two screws inside the light-tight chamber.
I completely removed the VF during the cleaning tear-down to get to the lens and mirror. The VF hood is a pain to get back in its slot so don’t do it unless you have to.
Holding the triangle down with a small drill bit, the shutter worked at the instantaneous setting every time. Bending the selector seemed to work but it isn’t reliable. I’ll go inside again and report back here.
I’m still trying to find my Photoshop Elements disk. It’s in a box somewhere. In the meantime, I’ve been using GIMP. The workflow is really different but it’s growing on me.
I have a few shots from disassembling the camera to clean it. I’ll combine those with photos of the 2nd tear-down to fix the shutter and post here. Hopefully followed by another roll of images.
Not much for images — the shutter still sticks. A couple of images and the disassembly/attempted repair experiment.
It’s really pushing the limits of the lens to get 6X9cm images. Some vignetting and distortion but a nice effect overall.
The lens takes the image right to the edge — you can see the edge marking “SGPFF” at the bottom.
Update 31 January 2019: This camera is for sale at my Etsy shop.
I forgot to include a couple of things in the video. The Rover has 3 focus settings, 4-6 feet, 6-12 feet, and 12 feet to infinity. It also has a bulb setting. Bulb is a bit of a challenge since it has no cable release and no tripod socket.
I only got six shots on the first roll before the film jammed. A couple of examples are in the video.
Expired Kodak Ektar 100 film. Processed by The Camera Shop of Santa Fe and scanned on a CanoScan 9000f at 2400DPI.
Kodak Tri-X 400 developed in HC-110 and Ilford rapid fix. Scanned on a CanoScan 9000f at 2400DPI.
This camera found a new home at my Etsy shop:
The Lomo film (expired in 2012) is better than I expected and the old lens is sharper than I expected. Processing and contact print by Visions Photo Lab. Scanned as black and white at 4800DPI on the CanoScan 9000f using the Canon Scan Gear software. Some of the images are cropped — I like to scan a little larger than the image in case I have to straighten. A little bit of dust and cat hair cleanup in Photoshop but no other edits.
This camera found a new home at my Etsy shop:
This camera is in surprisingly good shape. All it needed was a good cleaning and a little glue on the case where the felt was coming away from the leather.
I usually have a couple of cameras (or several) going at once since the first test frequently goes jelly-side down. I had four going at once and they all came out so I have some time to do repairs and scanning.