Not much to show. The rest of the not-too-destroyed-by-light-leaks images are in the video.
This image was in the video but this is before I cropped & cleaned up. There’s a head in the upper left. He noticed I was shooting a film camera and we talked a bit. His name’s Siddho and he’s a photographer in Santa Fe.
A shout out to Bob for giving me the film. He’s the same guy who lent me his Nikon FM.
Update 1 March 2019
Trying to date a print I found with the camera, I looked up the date codes on the back of the positives. The film is not as old as I thought. It’s Type 667, the successor to the 107C film referenced below. Using the documents from the Phound Photo entry, the B&W film with manufacturing code E1V142801H is:
Made after 1996 (from the format of the code).
E=made in May.
1=2001 (the first 1 year after 1996).
V=made at the Vale of Leven plant in Scotland.
14=identifies it was made on machine #14.
28=shift A on 10th of month.
01=component change (I have no idea what this means).
H=Type 667 film (coaterless, 10 frames per pack).
End of Update 1 March 2019
I got another pack film camera, a 100 with the Zeiss rangefinder from a 250. It had a pack of Polaroid Type 107 3000 B&W film in it. I pulled one on the very long odds that the developing pods might be good. Nope, dry as a bone. I put a battery in the camera and tried the shutter and it seems to work fine.
I pulled the shutter test frame out of the camera in a dark bag and tried developing it. I’d read somewhere that you could develop the negatives from pack film but I’d never seen an example or tried it. On one Flickr discussion group, someone suggested you could treat it like old Kodak Panatomic-X. So, I had to dig for developing info about one extinct film (according to Wikipedia, Panatomic-X hasn’t been made since 1987) so I could try it on another extinct film.
The instructions I got with the 107 film in the camera call for coating the prints. The coater-less version, 107C, came out in 1978. I don’t know if Polaroid kept making 107 after 107C came out but even 107C hasn’t been made since 1998. If I’d realized it was that old I might have saved a frame. Probably not, the first thing people do when looking at an old camera in a thrift shop is to open it. Any way, the instructions I found called for HC-110 dilution B (1+31) at 68F for 4.5 minutes.
I don’t have any normal tanks that can develop large format negatives. The Polaroid image (excluding the border) is 7.3 X 9.5cm. In one of those “buy the lot to get the one thing you want” purchases, I got a Cibachrome color processing drum (PDF manual). It was made to do prints without using a series of open trays. Cibachrome was an awesome process, direct to positive, full color prints. Sadly, I learned about it too late. It too is an extinct product.
This is the shutter test shot. Developed in HC-110, dilution H (1+63) at 68F for 9 minutes. I frequently use half the concentration for twice the time. It’s a little gentler on old negatives (old paper negative in this case) and it helps to have a little time leeway. The results are pretty similar to HC-110 B. This was a go/no-go test so getting anything was the goal.
No idea what it is but it’s not my target, the kitchen lights. I tried bleaching the negative but all I did was take off some of the emulsion.
I had nothing but variables: an unknown film, shot in an unknown camera, developed with an unknown process. I know, I’ll use a different camera I haven’t tested!
I pulled the remaining three frames out of the film pack and put them into a light tight box. Wrangling a Polaroid and a box in a small changing bag is an exercise in patience. Once that was done, I removed the extra paper, developing pods, and positives, leaving just the negatives emulsion side up (I think) in the box. The next magic act was getting a negative out of the box and into the test camera, a Kodak Autographic No. 3A (1918-27) which is nearly as big as the Polaroid.
I shot a test and then psyched myself out that I didn’t have the emulsion facing the subject. Just to be sure, I put the beast back in the dark bag, turned the film over and shot it again. I shot the same subject so I still don’t know if I had it right the first time.
My meter app doesn’t have ISO 3000 so I guesstimated that the film would have lost some speed and used 2500. I used the fastest shutter on the old Kodak, 1/100 second and f/16. That was really fortunate since the aperture on the camera is labeled in US (Universal System) units not f-stops. I have a screen grab of an old table comparing aperture systems somewhere. At least I didn’t have to stop everything and find it because I remembered that f-stops and US cross each other at 16
I was getting impatient so I used HC-110 B for 4.5 minutes this time. The framing is terrible but the blobs of dark on the negative are definitely the kitchen lights.
Did I prove anything? Yeah sort of. I know old Polaroid negatives will produce an image. Is it useful information? Probably not to anyone but me but that was the point. Photography forums (fora?) are as bad as Apple discussion groups. There’s always some snarky little bitch who says, “Why waste time? Just go buy X”. That misses the point. I want to know. I already know I can go buy something — there’s no challenge in that.
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.