Spent the past 3 days developing about 5 metric tons of color film.
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…
…and the Awesomeness that is the Skylab Camera, the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Look at this crazy sky! (This is one of Travis’ pics, obviously):
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.
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.