127 Shoot-out!

Spent the past 3 days developing about 5 metric tons of color film.

What remains

That’s just some of the shrapnel from Day One. I used the Unicolor kit, as planned, and mixed up a third of it. I think I’ve used the color chems as much as possible before they’re completely cashed. I was able to process:
1 roll of 116 (which didn’t have any images on it, but at least the film developed)
3 rolls of 120
15 rolls of 35 mm/126
3 rolls of 127
2 sheets of 4×5 film

So, that’s a pretty good haul for 666 ml of chems. Admittedly, some of the rolls (like the 116) was old found film – I developed 3 rolls of process C-22 stuff, and of those rolls, only one came out with any sort of images detectable on them (I haven’t scanned them in yet). I had several rolls of 126 where I was able to pick up really faint, grainy images. But that’s not where I want to go today. today, I want to talk about two of my 127 cameras, the Brownie Reflex…

Brownie Reflex

…and the Awesomeness that is the Skylab Camera, the Revere Eye-Matic.

Revere Eye-Matic

I got the Brownie Reflex in the same ebay auction that had the Polaroid 230 in it. It was in pretty bad shape – there was mold and crap all over the inside of the viewing lens, but really, it only took me a few minutes to break down the camera and clean it up. After that, the viewing lens was bright and clear, and it was good to go. So, I loaded it up with some Efke 127 film and took it out for a test drive.

I thought I had loaded the camera up with regular Efke, but instead, like a doofus, I accidentally used one of the rolls of infrared Efke Travis had gotten me for Christmas. FAIL! So, I shot the whole roll of 820 speed Efke without a filter. As a result, everything came out really overexposed. I wound up scanning everything in as color, and then desaturating in Photoshop. I’d rather have dark skies than blown-out everything.

Actually, I wound up liking some of the pics quite a bit.

Bridge o' Dreams

Creepy barn

I find myself pairing together pictures from side by side frames with 127 film more than I do with any other format of film. Sometimes the images just seem to like to cuddle up next to each other.

Abandoned furnace thingy

I brought another roll of film along on Brownie Reflex Day – I grabbed a roll of Kodacolor 200 film that I had gotten off of ebay. This expired in November of 1989, so I was really curious what sort of color weirdness I would get with it, or if I would even get images at all. Turns out 20 year old water-damaged British film worked all right!

I did little, if any, color correcting because I liked the way the original scans looked.

Chew Mail Pouch

No trespassing

Field and tree

Not too sure why this roll of film seemed to be way more light leaky than the Efke. Anyway, very pleased with the results of the 20 year old film. I think I’ve got 2 more rolls of this stuff to use; I’ll probably take one to Washington DC.

I’ve had the Revere Eye-Matic since last summer. I bought it on ebay for $7 or $8, I think, and got it because it came with 3 rolls of 127 film (Process E-2 unfortunately). The camera is absolutely hilarious. It is large and heavy, and could easily kill someone if tossed at a skull. I found this advert on Flickr about it – turns out this camera cost about $133 at the time it was made (1959-60).

It’s a rangefinder, which I’m still getting used to. When it came, the camera was set on frame number 3 (there’s no red window in this baby, just an automatic film advance), so I worked on the assumption that there was a roll of film inside. I finished up the roll, and sure enough, the camera was actually loaded with film – more of the process E-2 stuff. So, I haven’t developed that yet (I am going to attempt that, just not today). The Eye-matic just sat around after that, sad and lonely, until Travis jokingly suggested that we stick it in his backpack when we go hiking to help him get used to having weight in it. Once he said that, I was all, “Oh hey! I’ve got the spliced 127 Portra film ready to go!” I stuck a roll in the Eye-matic and we went out in the front yard to take pictures.

I made Travis try the camera. It just freaked him out, so I think he shot one or two frames and gave it back to me.

Travis HATES this camera

I finished up the roll and developed it that evening. Now, I’m not sure if the subsequent weirdness as far as the color goes comes from my not having the chems at the correct temperature, but I suspect that was the case. I really half-ass color developing. I figure it’s supposed to be fun, so I don’t stress out trying to get a perfect 102 degrees. As long as I’m getting any image, I’m happy. But in this case, I was thrilled, because my other experience with Portra NC160 was really disappointing – the colors were just bland and normal. I have a ton of that film, too, and was all bummed out about it. Developing Portra in black and white chems was an improvement, but apparently developing it in cold/exhausted color chems does weirdness, too.

Pensive Wee

Look at this crazy sky! (This is one of Travis’ pics, obviously):

Me before the impending apocalypse

I also got a weird light leak or something on one of the frames. I have no idea how, though – the rest of the film was fine.

Watch out for light leaks!

Maybe something happened to the film when I was splicing it. It’s possible it got exposed by a static spark or something.

Anyway, as far as rangefinders go, this one is pretty easy to use, at least to me. I also like the weird circular refraction you get when things are out of focus, like in the above picture. The Yashica 44 does that, too, and I think it’s neat.

I’ll be selling the Brownie Reflex on ebay probably in a few days. It’s a good little camera, but I have other 127s I like and will probably use more. I’m hanging onto the Eye-matic, though. It makes me laugh just looking at it. I’d love to take it someplace like Wright-Patterson and take a bunch of airplane pictures with it. It has that early 60s retro-future “Explore! Adventure! SPACE!” feeling to it.

Trial and error

Savoy, sabattier

I am now awash with color chems. I made my Freestyle order a while ago and got 3 different color chemical sets. There’s an E-6 kit, which I won’t be getting into until after I get back from DC (Travis and I are going to Washington DC next month – hooray!), the Arista C-41 liquid kit that I got last time, and a Unicolor C-41 powder kit. The Unicolor kit makes 2 liters of color chems, so I think I’m going to try mixing a third of that up – that should give me about 666 ml of chems, which is about perfect to develop two 35mm rolls of film at once. Oh, I also got some Flexicolor C-41 developer/replenisher off of ebay. Not too sure exactly how I’m going to use that, but since it’s the color developer that tends to go funky, not the Blix, I figured it was a good investment for just $3.50.

Anyway, barring any unforeseen calamity, I should be giving color developing a go tomorrow. Which is good, because I have a gigantic backlog of color film that needs to be developed (including some old Kodacolor II 127 and 126 film – process C-41, though!). We put a telephoto lens on our spare Canon AE-1 and have had film in that constantly. We keep it in the dining room to take pictures of the birds at the birdfeeders. We’re geeks. Since we were shooting so much with that camera and I wasn’t doing any color processing at the time, we got a roll developed at CVS to see how the lens was working.


AE-1 Crocii

Setting aside CVS’ shitty processing, the lens and camera seem to be working just fine. I was concerned that we needed to replace the battery since the one it has in it has been in there for years (this AE-1 used to be my dad’s), but it’s all good. The lens has a slight wonkiness to it that I like. Kind of tilt-shifty.

Been messing around with pinhole cameras.

Ominous spring

That was a picture from some TMax I taped to 126 backing paper and used in the 126 pinhole cam. I got series image overlap and can’t really understand why. Oh well.

The photo at the top of this post is from the Hannakube pinhole camera. It looks all funky because I tried to get the Sabattier effect by exposing it to light midway through the developing process. It probably could have gone better.

Since I’m getting ready to develop a bunch of color film, I popped one of the sheets of Kodak Edupe Ektachrome 4×5 film into the Hannakube and took a picture with it. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, since I have no idea how to use the Edupe film actually as film. I did about a 1-2 second exposure. Anyway, I’ll try to develop that tomorrow (cross-processing) to see if I got anything on the film.

I finally tried out my film cutter today. I got this a few weeks ago off of ebay. It’s set up to trim 120 film down to 127 sized. Using it was not exactly graceful.

Oh, the humanity!

I was trimming a roll of Kodak Portra 160NC 220. I wound up with two rolls of 127 film, plus some extra that I just wound up exposing to light since I didn’t have another roll of 127 backing paper and spool accessible. Oh well. Now I know for future reference. Here’s how the cutter works:

Film trimming

It’s pretty simple. The trick is to not press down to hard on the top, lest you tear the film/paper. All in all, a worthwhile investment.

Yashica love

Meeting of the Yashicas

So much to tell!

First of all, I’m mad in love with the Yashica C. I want to make out with it. Right now, it and the mint green Savoy are my two favorite cameras. I developed the first roll of film I had taken with the Yashica C the other day and was thrilled with the results.


The above was the first pic I took with the Yashica C. For it being inside, taken at 1/30 sec, I didn’t think it would come out at all. But look at Wee’s little face! She’s wonderfully in focus! Hooray!

Taken through the window:

Ice by Yashica

And taken outside:


Love this camera. It’s easy to use, makes great photos, and I feel semi-competent when it’s in my hands.

I got my other Yashica earlier this week. This was the one from the Yoshica camer auction. It came shipped with the viewfinder hood flipped up. I was all, “What the?” until I examined the top of the camera more closely. Turns out that the center of the viewfinder (the part flips down so that you can use the viewfinder as a sportfinder) was jammed down and wouldn’t flip back up. 20 minutes later and some disassembley, I had resolved the matter. I only managed to lose one screw, too!

Amazingly, despite the poor cosmetic shape of the camera, it actually seems to function okay. The front part of it feels like it’s going to fall off at any second, but I can’t find any more screws to tighten on it, so I guess I’ll just live with it. Loaded it up with Efke 100 127 film and took it out for a test drive.

I mucked up the first third of the roll because I didn’t realize how to properly set the film advance. When I finally figured it out, I must have accidentally exposed the first chunk of film somehow. Oh well. The rest of the pics turned out okay. There seems to be a light leak along one edge, but nothing catastrophic.

Toby is lost

I’m not quite as comfortable with this camera as I am with the Yashica C. I think some of that comes from taking pictures of a different subject, though. The dogs were outside, and kept running around, and my brain couldn’t calculate shutter and aperture and focus that fast.

Bela panting

I thought at first that the electric eye light meter (the “LM” part of the 44LM) didn’t work, but I think I saw the sensor move around when I took it outside. There are all sorts of shutter/aperture/film speed calculators on the camera, but I didn’t have the patience to actually work with any of them. I think this will be a good little camera though, especially for subjects that stay still and don’t wander off.

End of the fence

Have a bunch of misc. camera news, but maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow. Am tired. Here’s a teaser photo, though.

Polaroid Land Camera 230

A series of spectacular FAILs!

The Kowa eats film

I promised you FAIL potential, and boy, do I deliver! Where to start?

The first place would probably be with the Kowa film eating disaster. In September Travis inherited a Kowa H 35mm camera that had belonged to his grandfather. We found it in the closet of his grandmother’s condo, still loaded with film (I think it was on frame 4 or 5 at the time).


The Kowa is a Japanese camera, and is what Travis’ grandfather used to shoot carousel after carousel of family slides. So, it has a history and a lot of sentimental value, in addition to being nifty in its own right.

We’ve had the camera since September, but haven’t really played with it much – I’m more into roll film rather than 35mm, but we both wanted to see how the camera shot and what kind of film was inside, so we took it with us the other day when we went out shooting pics. Travis was shooting with it, and noticed the film advance being really funky after a while. I said it was possible that the cold weather might be causing it to bind up, so he put it away.

When we got home, I tried opening it up (it took me a while to figure out how to do it – turns out there’s a sneaky mini-latch that pops open the back) in a dark bag to see if I could free the film. My thought was that I would be able to shove it back into its cartridge most of the way until I was ready to develop it. Once I got the camera open in the dark bag, though, I felt all kind of badness – namely, the mess seen at the top of the post.

I had to keep my hands in the bag, so Travis got my film developing tank and a spool ready for me in the bathtub (where I do all of my film loading, of course!) and after I was in the dark, I was able to cut off the bad chunk of film, and wind the rest onto a developing reel. It’s now sitting in the spare tank I have.

It’s sitting there because, although I had every intention on doing a big batch of color developing, it turns out my color chems that I had mixed up have gone bad, leading to FAIL #2. Fortunately, though, the roll of film I wasted in order to test this was a roll of junk 35mm that we ran back through the Kowa. It was just shots taken around the house, but once I ran it through the developer and Blix, I saw that absolutely no development had taken place.

It wasn’t exactly a big surprise that my chems were muck, considering I had mixed them up in September. I had hoped, however, that I would be able to reuse them, like alspix did. I think I had left too much air in the bottles, though, and that’s what killed it.

I loaded yet another roll of spare color 35mm into the Kowa, and Travis shot that up yesterday. That’s going to be my test roll for tomorrow. I’m planning on mixing up the other half of the color chems I have and just developing a veritable buttload of color film all at once. That is, of course, if the unmixed color chems haven’t gone rubbish on me as well. That’s what the test roll is for, I guess. I’m starting to wonder if the Kowa has a curse on it, though.

So, since my plans on color developing yesterday were trash, I decided to develop the three rolls of black and white I had shot on New Year’s Eve. There were from the Uniflex pinhole, the Savoy, and the Falcon Mini. I started with the roll that was in the Uniflex pinhole, and discovered FAIL #3

Uniflex pinhole

The Uniflex was a FAIL of sorts already, as I had bought it in an eBay auction where the seller claimed it was in “Fine condition!” only to have it arrive and find out that its shutter was bunk. Trust me, I left an appropriately sternly worded negative feedback. Anyway, as it would have cost me more money than I spent on the auction to return it, I tired to make the best of a bad situation by gutting the Uniflex, removing its lenses and other random parts, and then putting it back together as a pinhole. The film advance still worked fine, there’s a nice big viewfinder, and the camera is heavy like a brick, which is nice for those long pinhole exposures.

I don’t have a shutter on this camera – instead, I’m just using the cap of a plastic 35mm film can as a lens cap/shutter thingy. It’s a little tricky in order to smoothly remove and replace it within a few seconds. The whole time I was shooting with the camera, I was concerned that I was way overexposing the images.

I kind of stopped worrying about that once I dropped the Uniflex pinhole down the side of railroad tracks onto stone in 20 degree weather, though. That sucked. Amazingly, the thing held together and life moved on.

Once I developed the film, I found out that I had other things to worry about besides overexposing. True, every image (and there were only 4 or 5 that could be made into anything recognizable using Photoshop) was severely overexposed, but part of that wasn’t just my fault.

1st shot with the Uniflex Pinhole

See the lines? I think I’ve got a light leak along the bottom edge of the camera. I’m pretty sure the lines form from when I advance the film – turn and then stop. Light gets exposed onto the film. Turn and then stop. Repeat.

My first thought to solve this is to seal that bottom edge with electrical tape once I have the camera loaded with another roll of film. I’ll see what that does. I’m also going to drop down from TMax 100 to my Ilford Pan F. The Ilford stuff is ASA 50, and very likely expired, so it should be a bit slower than the first roll. I’ll probably still overexpose, but maybe not quite so badly. Freestyle sells several films that are ASA 25, so I might have to try a few rolls next time I place an order.

My other thought with the Uniflex Pinhole is to try a filter with it. I got a pack of cheapy little plastic filters (presumably for a Brownie Hawkeye) at a flea market in Muncie. I’ve used the red one in the Hawkeye with a roll of Ilford SFX infrared film and it worked pretty well. I’ve got a pale orange one (and a yellow, green, and clear one, too), that I’m thinking about taping to the inside of the pinhole. Is it still a pinhole if I use a filter? My theory is that the filter would give me a little additional time to make my exposures, and also give me slightly more contrasty daylight skies.

The Uniflex wasn’t a complete FAIL, though. I’m pretty happy with the actual pinhole I made for it.


Things look relatively sharp and in focus. The diagonal streaks in the above photo, by the way, is from a train going by. This was maybe a 30 second exposure? I’m not sure. It’s all a blur.

The last semi-FAIL I had is with my beloved Falcon Mini.

On the road, with lines

I realized that something inside the camera is causing lines to sctratch across the film. The first roll had this on it, too, I just didn’t realize it until I saw how this roll turned out. I’ll have to see what can be done about this.

I removed the most obnoxious line from this diptych:

Water Tower Diptych

And finally, in happier news, I can report that the Savoy is awesome.

Abandoned building

I ran a roll of expired Ektachrome through it yesterday at the park. If my color chems work, hopefully I’ll be able to see the results of it tomorrow.

Falcon Miniature

Falcon Miniature

This is the first 127 camera I acquired. Last summer I won an eBay auction for two old folding bellows Brownie cameras (the Autographic 1 Jr. and the Autographic 2A). The seller threw in three other cameras along with them as a bonus, which was nice. The Falcon was one of the three and suddenly I had a 127 camera.

I liked the way it looked, but it was pretty funky – the glass in the viewfinder is gone, so composing a picture is pretty much blind, the shutter was sticky, the lens was dirty, and one of the spool cradles didn’t want to move to allow me to put in more film. I was able to fix most of the problems except for the missing glass, and since Travis hooked me up with a bunch of Efke 100 127 film for Christmas, I was finally able to shoot some pictures with it.

The inside of the Falcon is pretty nifty (and, of course, I forgot to get a picture of it). There’s a little compartment inside to tuck away an extra roll of film. The camera, instead of taking 10 or 12 square photos, has the set up where there are two red windows on the back of the camera – you advance the film until the number appears in the first window, take a picture, advance the film again until the same number appears in the second window, and then take your second picture. With the Falcon, the result of the means you get 2 slightly overlapping images, and if you don’t tilt the camera, they’re both vertical.

I loaded up the camera before we left for Christmas, and shot a roll of film while we were in Indiana. Developed it a few days ago and was absolutely tickled with what I got.

Grovertown hotspot

Where to start? First of all, I knew, from reading Marcy’s review of it that the images would overlap. I just didn’t anticipate that they would overlap in perfect little pairs.

Travis diptych

Secondly, the film was kind of warped or loose in the camera, I guess. See the waviness along the top edge of the photo, and the way the road is distorted? I’m not sure what was going on inside the Falcon to cause this, but it’s neat.

I’m also not sure if it’s the film distortion or something to do with the lens that’s causing the weirdness of image/loss of sharpness along the edges of the photo. Altogether, the final result is goofy – it’s the most pinhole-esque of any non-pinhole camera I’ve shot with.

This is the only single frame I got from the roll (because I accidentally advanced too far).


The film, too, is a joy. I had not used Efke before, but was quite pleased with the contrast I got. I took this picture on an overcast day but still got cloud definition.


I also got some misc. funk on the bottom edge of some of the negatives. That may have been my error, though – I was loading the negatives onto developing spools that were damp.

The Efke film also cracks me up by the huge frame numbers they run along the bottom edge of the film. What is up with that? They’re gigantic!

After seeing how the first roll of film came out, I’m now crazy about this camera, so much so that I immediately re-loaded it up with film and took it out again yesterday. It’s great as a snapshot camera. It fits in my coat pocket (barely, but I can get it in there). I was thrilled with how it shot from a moving vehicle (you can see from the image on the right above that it was taken from a moving car). Finally, it just looks cool. It’s a hoot to use. This camera and I, we’re going to have many good times together.

Film. I gots it.

Christmas film bonanza

I’ve been relatively good for a few months, photography-wise, in terms of not buying a bunch of stuff. That all went to hell recently, though. But there were bargains to be had! And I am weak!

The Christmas photography splurge started a few days before Christmas. Since Travis and I spend the holidays travelling, we opened up our presents to each other early. And, since he is awesome, he got me 15 rolls of Efke 127 film. As far as I know, there are only 2 manufacturers of 127 film left – Efke, which makes black and white film, and Solaris, which makes color. Travis got me 10 rolls of regular Efke, and 5 rolls of infrared. I’m excited about the infrared, but I’m going to have to rig a red filter to use on one of the 127 cameras I have. I just won two eBay auctions that come with red filters (I’m back on the eBay, too, but I’m trying to be reasonable with it), so I’m hoping I can make something work.

Travis also got me a new scanner! It’s an Epson Perfection V500, and can be used to scan in medium format film and slides, etc. I was very excited to get it, because it meant that I was now able to scan in my color negatives and actually have them turning out looking like actual color pictures. My other scanner just kind of rolled over and died when I tried to convince it to do that. Here’s the difference in image quality. Old scanner:

Cleveland Cliffs 'C'

New scanner:

Cleveland Cliffs in yellow

I got the yellow tint because I started scanning in my black and white film as color. I like the tinting. 🙂 I’ve gotten some really weird colors because of it – this was a picture that was really dark, and when I scanned it in as color, I got the apocalypse:

Get out the Geiger counters!

So, that’s fun. Here’s an example of the color I get from a regular color negative. This was film I developed from a C-41 kit Freestyle sells:


Yay! Color!

The new scanner has some issues. It crashes every so often, but less so now that I started using alternate software with it. I can deal with it crashing, what I couldn’t deal with was a speck of something that was stuck to the underside of the scanning glass. I noticed it after I had scanned in about 10 images. There was no way for us to clean it, and no way to avoid it being in every single rectangular medium format image. We figured that we were going to have to send the scanned back, but before we did it, I wanted to use it as much as possible. I spend about 8 hours straight scanning in square 120 negatives (I could work around the speck with the square format negs), and somewhere along the way, the speck either fell off or was burned off from the heat of the scanning light. So, it’s fine now and I don’t have to send it back. Yay for persistence, I guess.

Travis’ Mom and Bob hooked me up with some film for Christmas because they’re awesome. They got me a pack of 50 4″ x 5″ TMax 100 sheet film, and 5 boxes of expired 400TX film. Now I have enough sheet film where I can experiment with it without freaking out about wasting film. Hannakube, here I come!

Travis and I went to some antique malls after Christmas, and I got some new camera junk, but I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of it yet, so I’ll just skip straight to the Mighty Film Haul. Travis, his mom, and I stopped at a flea market on Saturday. We didn’t really see anything worthwhile at first, and then suddenly I was distracted by a bin of disposable cameras. I didn’t hear Travis at first, but he was across the aisle from me, yelling at me to come over since he had found bin after bin of film. A feeding frenzy ensued, and $87 later, I left with buckets of 35mm film, a handful of rolls of Advantix (since I have an old APS camera), 2 rolls of 110, a disposable camera (800 speed, sans-flash – I have plans for this that involve tearing it apart), and 12 packs of Polaroid film. I bought all of the Polaroid I could find there. Also grabbed all of the 35mm Elitechrome that they had – I loves me some slide film. Got some black and white film that’s C-41 processed, since I haven’t tried doing anything with that. Thought I might process some C-41, and then process a roll in black and white chemistry to see the difference.

Weird films

Most of the film I got expired between 2005-2008, although there’s at least a roll that is still good through next July. I got some faster films, too – 400 and 800 speed stuff. No immediate plans for that. It’s nice, though, because now if I want to check and see if my color chemistry is still good, I can shoot a roll of color 35mm really quick and use that as a tester without screwing up any of my “good” film.

And, to top it all off, I happened to stumble across an auction on eBay for expired (2003 and 2005) 120 slide film just after it was posted. The Buy it Now price was under $20, and the lot included 24 rolls, so I grabbed it. I only have 2 or 3 rolls of 120 slide film left, and I love the stuff. It’s my favorite thing to develop. There’s something about how the negatives look all milky and murky when they first come out of the developer, and then clear up as they dry that just seems like magic to me. So cool.

Like I said, I picked up some other photographic weirdness that I’ll be sharing in the next day or so. Including a Polaroid 35mm Instant developing machine for Polaroid film. Now I can finally shoot the two rolls of Polaroid 35mm film I have! I just hope my developer hasn’t gone all squicky…