I recently shot with an old Carlton 127 camera. The only film I had was a roll of new-old stock Kodacolor-X.
Kodacolor-X is process C-22 film, extinct except for a couple of specialty labs who mix their own chemicals from scratch. Since I shot the film (not a precious roll of family photos found in a relative’s attic), it’s not worth the price or the wait to send it off. I’ve read here and there about cross-processing old color print film in B&W chemicals and even had some success (-ish) with Kodachrome. Worth a shot so here’s what I did:
I used Kodak HC-110 developer at dilution H. H is an unofficial mix using 1 part developer concentrate to 63 parts water. That’s the US strength developer where dilution B is 1+31.
I used a Yankee plastic tank and lower reel that can adjust for 127 film. For 127, the tank takes 420mL of solution.
Everything was done at 20C/68F. I developed for 10 minutes agitating the first 15 seconds (about 10 inversions) and then 4 inversions every minute for the remainder of the time.
One minute stop bath, using Kodak Indicator Stop at 16mL/liter, inverting the first 15 seconds (10 inversions) and then letting it sit for the remainder of the time.
Ilford Rapid fixer mixed to normal film strength (1+4) for 5 minutes using the same agitation as the developer.
I rinsed using the Ilford method: fill tank & invert 5X; Re-fill & invert 10X; Re-fill & invert 20X. I gave it an extra 20X rinse with some Photo-Flo for good measure and hung it to dry.
The base is really dark orange but Kodacolor-X doesn’t have the nasty, black anti-halation layer that Kodachrome has, and it scanned OK. Boosting the gain on the scanner brings out the noise and grain, but not too bad for what I was working with. I used VueScan software. The Canon software won’t do negatives without the film holder but I don’t have a 127 holder.
I’ll try scanning again after trying a bleaching step, soaking the film in fixer with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) added.
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.
Information is pretty sparse for this film. I found a datasheet for “Recordak Micro-File Film Types 5455 & 7455” that seems to be the stuff.
Not knowing how to properly read a film datasheet yet, I searched around and found some info on Type 5069 and started there. If it’s similar, this film was originally rated for ~ ISO 25 (or less — specs for microfilm film are strange). Bracketing my first 24 exposure roll, this stuff is about ISO 6.
I used Kodak HC110 developer dilution ‘B’ at 68F for 6 minutes, agitating the 1st 30 seconds and then 5 seconds every 30 after that. Definitely too much agitation for this film. I got nasty over-development marks at the sprocket holes. Next time I’ll try a much weaker dilution, less agitation, and longer time. I’ve also read that highly dilute Rodinal works well and Photographer’s Formulary makes TD-3 for techpan films. I still have about 97 feet so it will be fun to experiment.
I used Canon Scan Gear for the first two and VueScan for the last one.
Once I learn what I’m doing with this film, I think it will turn out some great exposures.
I got about four reasonably well-exposed frames counting the found image in the video. The ones that are properly exposed are really saturated, particularly the blues. Ferrania is known for really saturated colors. This review of Scotch Color films from 1991 (PDF) says they’re really saturated and this camera-wiki article says Ferrania was sold under the Scotch brand. Conclusive? Not by a long shot. Strong evidence? I think so. Enough about the film, on to some photos.
I scanned at 2400DPI, which is low for tiny 110 negatives. The old film (1990-ish) was a gamble so I didn’t want to wait forever for little or no results.
What a coincidence, it’s Goober! I included it for a reason. Going back through frames I excluded, I found something interesting. This frame was cropped pretty tight on the scanner. The blacks coming out red are on the images where the scanner software cranked up the exposure. Apparently, 3 layers of dye + bright yellow backing = red.
The Canon Scan Gear driver doesn’t give a nice gradient. Selecting a larger area to find the frames (auto select is useless for 110) looks like the image below. Moving the frame lines in, at some point the software “finds” the frame and jumps to the higher exposure (image above).
I do manual versioning when I monkey with images. Sometimes I simplify file names before uploading. The honking file name of the image below gives an idea of the workflow. “Untitled-13b_crop_defuzz_BWurban_autoCont_1024”. “Untitled-” because I’m lazy and let PS name the imports — cameras get their own folders and multiple rolls get folders under that so I don’t need to care about the base file name. The “13” is the order they came off of the scanner and not the actual frame number. That’s something I should change. If I like a frame and want to re-scan at a higher resolution, I have to hold the negs up and find it instead of being able to go right to it in the sleeve. ‘B’ is the 2nd version of the scan. The “_crop” is to remove scanner margin. The software usually gets 35mm and 120 right so it’s not always there. If I crop again for aesthetics, there will be another “_crop”. “_defuzz” is the version after dust and cat hair cleanup. Canon’s FARE usually makes things worse so I don’t use it. “_BWurban” is convert to black & white using the “Urban/Snapshots” preset. “_autoCont” is PS’s automatic contrast correction. I tried a bunch of manual tweaks but I liked it better. Finally, “_1024” is resizing to 1024 on the longest side for upload. Frequently, I’ll use a percent instead and that looks like “_30pct”.
I’ve been meaning to talk about workflow and it’s a really simple camera so there wasn’t a lot to say about it. My Polaroid project has hit a big snag too so I needed to step away from it for a while. That’s the nice way of saying PROCRASTINATION!
Color correction on all of them for the old film and some dust cleanup in Photoshop.
I bought a Kodak Instamatic 104 as part of a camera lot and it came with a Kodachrome-64 cartridge. I had tried processing Kodachrome as black and white before but got nothing. I tried again using Kodak HC-110 and Ilford Rapid Fixer and the film had some retrievable images.
The camera itself isn’t any help dating these images. The Instamatic 104 was made from 1965 to 1968. Kodachrome 64 in 126 format was made from 1974 to 1993. That at least sets an early limit — the photos are from no earlier than 1974. Eastern Air Lines went out of business in 1991 so that more or less sets an upper date limit. Going by hair and clothing styles, I’d guess late 70s or early 80s.
Processing Kodachrome as black and white creates really dense negatives, even after removing the anti-halation layer. I didn’t have to do anything special to get the remjet off — a pre-wash did most of the work and an extra-thorough rinse at the end did the rest. The negatives are also really orange which is why the digitally inverted negatives are blue.
My scanner couldn’t transmit enough light through the negatives to get anything useful. Even normal use of a slide projector wasn’t bright enough. I ended up putting individual negatives in a slide frame (Kodachrome is also really thick and really curly) and taping it over the front of the slide projector lens. I used macro mode on the Nikon AW100 to photograph the negatives. I shot at an angle so the pattern of the bulb didn’t show through and de-skewed in Photoshop. The light wasn’t consistent across the frame so there is some vignetting, showing as a lighter halo when the images were inverted.
I found a couple of articles about bleaching the negatives using C-41 bleach or fixer with ascorbic acid. I’ll try that when I can and add results here.
All except running water rinses at 20C/68F. Yankee tank with 2 adjustable reels using just the lower reel. Any 35mm setup will work. 126 is the same width with different perforations.
For the pre-wash, I ball-parked 68F using my finger under the tap and ran water into the tank for 2 minutes. A lot of yellow water with black flecks came out at first. Drained and set the timer for developing.
Kodak HC-110 dilution H. H is an unofficial dilution. It’s 1/2 strength dilution B for twice the time. 1 part developer to 63 parts water. Instructions say to use at least 6mL of developer per roll so I used 6mL developer syrup and 378mL water to get the right ratio (total developer solution = 384mL). Continuous inversions for the first minute and then 15 seconds of inversions every 3 minutes for a total of 20 minutes. Drained and got more yellow liquid and black flecks.
Kodak Indicator stop bath mixed at a strength of 16mL/L (5-6mL for 340mL). 2 inversions and then sit for 1 minute. Drained pretty clear. I never reuse the stop so I don’t use the indicator. I’ll have to reuse some just so I know what the indicator color change looks like.
If I was going to reuse the fixer, I’d add a rinse here. I wasn’t so I didn’t.
Ilford Rapid Fixer mixed 1:4 (68mL fix + 272mL water for 340mL). Same inversions (agitation) as the developer for a total of 15 minutes. Drained pretty clear.
I sometimes use the temperature control bath water for rinsing if I’m sure I didn’t get any chemicals in it. It’s already at the right temperature. I filled the tank and inverted 5 times and emptied it. Refill, invert 10X, empty, and then the same with 20X inversions. I usually stop rinsing here but I was concerned about the remjet backing so I added ~3 minutes under running water to be sure.
After the rinse, I added a few drops of Kodak Photo-Flo, refilled the tank with water, inverted a few times to make it nice and foamy, drained, squeegeed with my fingers, and hung it to dry.
Exposure tweaks on the first two.
The “Capital C” Retina goes for a lot more $. It’s almost the same camera but it was the last of the folding Retinas. A put a couple of the differences in the video but I’ll list them here. The later IIIC has: 1) Single-range meter (no flip-up door); 2) Larger RF window; 3) Frame lines for lenses other than the 50mm. There are some small cosmetic differences to accommodate the listed changes but that’s it. If you’re a collector (believe me, I understand Gear Acquisition Syndrome, I have a bad case of GAS myself), go for it. If you want an all-mechanical classic to shoot with, don’t overlook the small-c Retina IIIc.
If I missed anything, drop me a note in the comments on Youtube.
Expired (unknown vintage) Kodak Ektachrome 100. I developed in Unicolor E6 which I’ve had way too long and this is the fifth roll from a quart kit. The first B&W developer keeps working as long as the development time is increased. There’s no time adjustment for the second color developer but the color keeps getting funkier. I have one roll left so I’m going to push my luck…
Scanned on a Canoscan 9000f at 2400 DPI.