Finally, finally!!!! a day with a tiny bit of sun and brightness and I just happened to have camera fully loaded and ready to try. This is the very smart looking Kodak Duaflex which was available in the UK between 1949-1955.
Mine is in pretty good condition considering the age. It has a 75 mm Kodet lens with a fixed aperture of f15. I would guess the shutter speed is about 1/50th or less. There is an option for bulb setting, but that is it really. I have seen a few posts on instagram or blogs about attaching a digital camera to the enormous viewfinder. My example is a little dirty, but still very bright and clear. I might be tempted to clean it and try this type of photography. The square shape of the camera means this type of photography might not be too tricky…now I am even more tempted, but I think I will wait for the spring and longer, brighter days.
As for this camera in its current state, I like it. I liked using it, I like how it looks and I love how the shots came out. They have a definite look to them, a real tapering off of sharpness. I used mine at a local park during a few minutes of sun.
I am definitely going to try this camera again, maybe some portraits to really show off the bizarre focusing effect.
Here are a couple of the images quickly processed using the Snapseed app on my android phone.
This camera came as part of a job lot and it meant, finally, I had a clean instamatic. One that seemed to work perfectly, one that I might be able to use the Fakmatic in with relative ease. Having previously tried the adapter and failed, I had given it away. I cheekily asked the receiver if there was a possibility of getting it back and voila, another chance for the 3D printed device. There are other ways of using instamatic cameras, like reusing an old cartridge or adapting a 35mm roll as in this video but I really wanted to use the fakmatic.
This instamatic was manufactured from 1968 to 1973 and accepted 126 cartridge film. It has a fixed-focus lens and a two-speed shutter – 1/40sec and 1/80 sec. You select the speeds with the weather symbols on the front of the camera. The aperture is set at f11 for the 43mm lens.
If you watched the fakmatic video you will hear that you have to take a photo, then expose another photo while covering the lens in that pattern. That way you avoid getting overlapped images.
I seem to say this all the time recently, but the weather here has been awful. I managed to use the film ready for home developing over a few days. It was hard to know when the film was finished as I could not hear any squeaking and there were no numbers to check. So once I thought I had taken enough shots I put the cartridge in a light tight bag and felt for the sprockets of the film. I could still feel them, that mean there was still film left. So I took a few more shots, then I repeated the process. The next time I could not feel the sprockets meaning the film was finished.
There were some overlaps, and the beginning of the film was fogged where I loaded it into the camera. One side of the film had the image over the sprockets, but I didn’t scan those to include them.
I kept the camera set to cloudy which meant an exposure of 1/40th at f11. Mostly the exposure is ok, I over developed the film as I though the conditions meant they might be underexposed.
The results look very soft in terms of focusing. They remind me of something from a pinhole camera. All in all I did not enjoy using the camera and I am not keen on the results. I doubt I will be using an instamatic again. Though I have to change my opinion of the fakmatic, that worked really well.
I bought two rolls of this film ages ago and since then the weather has been absolutely rubbish, dark, grey, and wet. Which, as it turned out, was perfect for reducing the contrast of this very contrasty film. So Washi S, you can read all about the film and its history here. That blog also includes some sample shots. And there is a data sheet here, with some shooting tips.
I decided to put my first roll in my Canon IV SB2 because it had an f1.4 lens and I have only used it once since getting it CLA’d. That is a shame and a tragedy in camera terms. I took it for a wet walk around Dalton Bank Nature Reserve to see some rural graffiti and into Leeds for some “lines”.
Once finally finished, I developed the film in Kodak D76. I have to say the processed film is one of the clearest I have ever seen. I think I am so used to Fomapan with the blue tint, I have forgotten what other films look like. Anyway, here are some of my results.
As you can see, the film is indeed very contrasty. VERY. I think it works well for the lines and patterns, but not so well for run of the mill shots. The blacks are very black and the whites are so white they are sometimes blown out. There are very few grey or mid tones. I love it, but for the next roll I will choose when to use it very carefully, maybe stick to lines, patterns, or architecture.
I think I will also choose a camera with a built in light meter to compare the results.
My local Pound store has started selling the Geek 10 exposure colour film for £2 a roll.
Though it is only £2, the 10 exposures, then paying for development means it doesn’t actually end up being very economical as Kosmofoto points out. But what if you could develop it as a black and white film? Would that make it a cheap film to test cameras? At the very least, it would make a good experiment.
So, a little more about the film, in case you want to use it as a regular colour film. The ten exposures is literally that. I managed to get 9 out of mine once I had loaded it. To get ten you would have to be very careful while loading, or load in the dark. The cassette feels very cheap, a plastic affair that is tricky to open in order to process the film. I had to rip mine apart. The naff cassette also seemed to hinder the movement of the film through the camera and initially thought I had misloaded it. I found using a film picker impossible, hence the ripping apart option. The actual film inside is rebranded Fujifilm C200, here is another great blog with details about that.
I did some research about cross processing colour film as black and white and there are a few articles online. On the whole I didn’t find anything really substantial about using the developing chemicals I had. I have recently been using Kodak D-76 after switching from ilfosol 3. I did find one chat thread that way down said try a development time of 8 minutes at 20 degrees. But most things I read said don’t do it or it was a waste of time.
So ignoring all the naysayers I went for these development details.
Chemicals used: Kodak d-76 at full strength 1:0 Temperature: 21 degrees Development Time: 8 minutes (with stop=30 secs, fixer=5 minutes)
Of course the emulsion is on a very orangy base that will affect scanning, but was there an actual image to scan after developing? YES!
The film was quite dark due to the plastic film base, but it scanned quite well considering. The initial scans were quite flat, but I processed all 9 exposures through the Snapseed phone app. To be fair, recently the weather has been rainy and dark so even a “real” film would have struggled.
Some of the shots came out quite well, others were underexposed. Overall, they weren’t so bad. What if I took the film out on a bright day and overexposed the film? The next test? Once the weather changes I will try that and update the post. Either way it was not a complete loss, at £2 a roll it is another option.
This is my favourite Brownie so far. It was produced from 1958-1960 so had a very small production run compared to the others. Just look at it…
This brownie has so many things going for it that distinguish it from the other Brownies I have tried.
It is very easy to clean the viewfinders and mirrors, just pop off the front.
The said viewfinders are nice and big, and once cleaned, very bright.
It has a choice of three speeds which are stated on the camera, no guessing. The choices are 1/40th 1/80th and B. With a set f11 aperture.
The 1/80th speed is quicker than most Brownies which are usually around 1/50th.
There is a built in close-up lens for subjects 5-10ft away.
There is a built in filter for brighter days or faster films.
Both of those filters are labeled on the pull out tabs.
There is a guide to settings on the camera. Though it is for Kodak film from the time. It is useful to know Tri-X is rated 200 ISO, Veri-Pan is 125 ISO and Pan X 32 ISO.
The skin is good quality and can be glued back in place unlike the paper-ish covered versions.
You can take multiple exposures.
There is a flash slot if you happen to have a flash and bulbs.
It is Brown, it really is a ‘Brownie’ hence the ’emphatic’ use of quotation marks.
It uses 620 film so I respooled a roll of Fomapan. Which I have to say is turning all my chemicals bright blue, I wonder if the dye affects the potency of the developer etc. Anyway, I took the camera to my local town when I went to find a pair of wellies. There has been a lot of rain lately, lots of places in Yorkshire are flooded. So I thought wellies might be useful. Unfortunately, there was only one shop selling them and no wide ones, I have fat calves…due to a motorbike accident honest 😦 All that is beside the point. Here is my test roll.
Dark, contrasty and moody, just as I like them.
I used the close up filter on the lettered flag stones. I am just over five foot tall, so I put the camera on my head and used the closeup filter.
This Brownie is one of the few I have decided to keep from the box of 60+ I gained recently. My decision was based on the fact I could take the front off and clean the lens, mirrors, and viewfinders. That made it very easy to use. Also, this version has a close-up lens built-in. Although, close up, means between 3-7 feet so not really close. The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of a tripod socket. With the long exposures of Brownies, there is always chance of camera shake. I find this especially true in regards to the button press versions. On the plus, there was a flash attachments and I do have the flash, but alas no bulbs.
I put in a roll of respooled Fomapan 100 and went on a short walk to use the 8 shots of 6×9.
I loved using this camera, it was simple and just worked. There is surprisingly very little camera shake and it is sharper than any toy camera I have tried. I like the look of the resulting photos. If you are looking for a brownie, then this one is a reliable choice. As mentioned it is easy to clean and very well built. Of course being about 75 years old makes that all depend on previous owners….oh what it might have seen.
A while ago I was given some infrared film. It had expired, but had been kept in a freezer or a fridge since it was produced.
I read up on using it and checkout out some sample photos. Mainly I saw landscapes so decided that was my focus too. This website gives even more details on what to expect and how to use it. It also mentions that the felt on the opening of the cassette is not infrared tight so the warnings on the box and tub are important to follow.
DO NOT OPEN THE TUB OUT OF A DARK BAG. That means you have to load the camera inside the bag. The article also mentions a filter. So before I did anything I ordered an infrared filter on eBay. I got a cheap one as I only had one roll of film. You can use the film without a filter but what is the point of that, it would end up looking like a regular black and white film. I won’t go into lots of technical details, you can do the research too or read the blogs I have already linked to.
I decided to use my Minolta XG2 for the test for these reasons: 1. I knew it worked 2. The lens had an IR diamond on it. 3. The light meter was through the lens.
I set the camera to 100asa and attached the filter. Even though I could not see through the filter, the camera often chose a surprisingly shorter exposure than I expected. It was not short enough that I felt I could do without a tripod, so I took a mini tripod on a walk around Dewsbury Country Park. I only took a few shots as I decided to use some of the roll as a development test as I didn’t really know if it would work or if I could develop it.
Here are a few shots from that first test. I developed it in Ilfosol 3 for 10 minutes at 20 degrees.
To focus I removed the filter and reattached it carefully after. You have to turn the lens a little to the right as IR needs a different focus point than regular light. The other blogs will explain that more clearly. Anyway, the results were interesting. So I took the rest of the roll to another park, where the camera jammed due to a long exposure issue. I only managed a few more shots there before returning home to deal with the camera.
I fixed the camera with the method mentioned in this post. At this point I almost gave up on the film as it was a little awkward to use. The whole “keep in the dark” issue meant I could not just take out the film to look at the camera closely. But with only having one roll I persevered, but was looking forward to finishing it.
Once sorted I decided to finish the roll with a different filter to see what would happen. I chose a regular red one. Here are some results.
As you can see, especially with the path photo, you lose some of the IR effects with a red filter. The image is slightly sharper, but where is the fun in that.
I don’t think I will try it again though it was interesting. Afterwards, the giver of this roll gave me 11 more rolls which I will be selling on eBay if you are interested. Or you can send me a message if you would like to buy a roll.
As you may know I recently purchased a whole heap of box cameras. I am slowly going through them, cleaning and sorting them. I picked out two to try first, I wanted to chose something slightly different to the two brownies I have tried before.
This little camera looked markedly different from all the others in the box so it was first on my list to try. I think I should have used a banana for scale.
First produced in 1957 it was not on sale in the general market and was obtained by collecting coupons from various promotional deals. I found this out through this amazing Brownie resource. This website is the fountain of all Brownie related knowledge, though it does not give the aperture or speed on the camera page, both are set as there is no scope to change anything. Looking further into the website I found this explanation of all technical details. Using that information I could estimate f11 and 1/50th which was confirmed on this blog. That blog also tells you how to clean this camera. Luckily for me, my example was one of the few in the box that was in great condition. Oh and you can take multiple exposures as the shutter is not connected to the wind on mechanism.
Due to the number of cameras I received and the price of film, I wanted to try a few of the cameras in the cheapest way possible. Sometimes that makes the act of trying them more interesting for me. For this one it meant making a 127 film from a 35mm film with an adapted 120 backing paper. I have tried 35mm in a 127 camera before, but I have not adapted or created a new backing paper before. For the last try, I had already used a new 127 film and reused that roll. I left that backing paper in Japan, but luckily there were many 127 spools and a used 127 roll in one of the boxes. As it was my only one I wanted to preserve it for as long as possible. That was the main reason for trying to make a new backing paper from one of the many, cheaper 120 rolls papers in my possession.
So here is how to do that. As you can see in the photo below, an easy way to line things up is by using paper clips. The 120 roll is much longer than 127 so you can easily make the new end sections. Then cut, it doesn’t have to be precise. Test it by rolling it onto the spool without the film. This way you will see if it fits without damaging the film. On mine I found some sections slightly too big by millimetres but that didn’t affect the final results, a roll on a spool.
Next, before adding the film, I wrote the numbers on the new paper.
And then, tape the end of the 35mm film to the new paper so you can line it up as straight as possible, put two small pieces of sellotape on the back of your hand. You will need these pieces of tape once you put everything in the dark bag. One for the roll, one for the paper.
Before putting everything in a dark bag attach the end of the new 127 paper to the 127 spool and start to roll it as tight as possible until you get passed the end of the exposed film. Now with everything inside the dark bag, keep rolling the paper and releasing the 35mm film, keeping it as tight as possible without touching the film. Once you are close, but not at the end of the paper, cut and tape the end of the film to the paper with the tape you put on your hand. The other piece of tape is to keep the roll paper nice and tight when you removed it from the dark bag.
And finally load it in the camera of your choice, for me the Bullet, at your leisure.
I used my camera on a rainy walk to the bus station. There are just 8 shots so it didn’t take long. I developed it in Ilfosol 3 when I got home.
This time I managed to scan the sprockets by using a 120 mask and some tape. The long sides did curl up a little, but I sacrificed a little sharpness for the sake of saving my scanner plate from sticky residue.
I love the results and really liked the camera. It is the only one from the box that would actually fit into my pocket. Making the 127 roll was easy and cheaper than buying 127 film. I just had to remember to align the image in the center of the viewfinder as the results would not be square. There are other 127 cameras in the box so I will use this system again, unless I get some 127 film for Xmas 🙂