Tag Archives: 120 film

Kodak Junior: Use 120 in your 620 camera

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Ghost Flower: still life

There were three models of this camera made between 1935 and 1939 selling for around £13.50. I’m not sure which model this is but it’s getting on for 80 years old and for it’s age it’s an amazing camera.

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Kodak Junior 620

Using this camera isn’t without it challenges. The major one is that it’s a 620 camera and 620 film is pretty much impossible to get a hold of. However, the only difference between 620 and 120 is the spool in which the film sits on; the hub of 620 spool is little narrower then a 120 film spool. Nevertheless, there are a number of pretty easy ‘hacks’ you can do to rectify this inconvenience. The method I used was introduced to me by the FilmPhotographyTube channel on YouTube which show you how to roll our own. This involves rolling your 120 film from the 120 spool onto a 620 spool [in a change bag]. This method is easier then it sounds and the dude on FilmPhotography channel explains it really well. You do however need two 620 spool and a changing bag to do this.

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Full body shot

On the day I wanted to shoot the only 120 film I had was colour negative ISO 100 which wasn’t ideal as I planned to take some Harry Callahan inspired abstract nature shots and develop the film myself with B&W chemistry. It was a bright overcast day which would raise some concerns if I was using a toy camera for example but this Kodak is surprisingly sophisticated. It’s has a choice of shutter speeds 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, Bulb and T setting. The T setting allows you to open the shutter on the first press of the release then close it on the second. This could be used manually trigger a flash in really low light. There are also a choice of apertures 6.2 – 22 and a focus ring which can be preset depending on how far away you are from your subject. There was no doubt in my mind that I’d get a decent exposure. To make sure I metered the light once [with a mobile phone app] and then just guessed the rest.

The photograph at the top of the page is the only inside photo I took inside which explains the slight under exposure. My close proximity to the subject possibly also explains the lack of focus as well. Nevertheless, I think this only adds to it dreamy ambiguous nature.

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Framing is a challenge

Obviously I didn’t get any where close to actualising my Callahan ambitions but I still like the photo’s that the Kodak captured. I don’t regret using colour negative film either as I think sepia colour cast this sit right with the camera.

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Logs: Depth

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Pine tree; looking up

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Winter Poplar

In conclusion I really enjoyed using this camera. Like all film cameras it slows our photography down and makes you visualise or imagine your intentions before you press the shutter taking into consideration the light condition, film speed, film type, post production etc. It’s really easy to use and incredible versatile camera although you would need faster film for shooting inside and a light meter is always handy.

This camera is for sale and available here

Bob

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LOST & FOUND

AGFA Box Camera

I was sorting through my camera collect in search of a camera to put some 120 film through and pulled this out, the AGFA Synchro Box [I think].

I was give this by a props master, who a friend of mine worked with, upon finding out I collected all kinds if photography… ‘tat’. I was grateful of the donation but not having a project or use for it at the time it sadly worked it’s way to the bottom of a box to be forgotten.

However, upon it’s rediscovery I found it contained a fully exposed film which I couldn’t resist but to have it developed. Now, I have considered it to be a little strange to have a film developed; origin unknown and that proceed to publish the photographs of complete strangers on the internet. But, it might be even stranger to just not do anything with them and although the results are incredibly underwhelming, who knows they may hold a hidden story..?

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I have no idea who these people are [or canine] nevertheless,  I do know the camera most probably originated from the North East [of England] and from the clothes people are wearing the photos where probably taken at some point in the 70’s. So, after 40 odd years sat in a camera the colours have come out quite nicely. It’s a shame that the photographer was a little too close in most of the shots and it would appear had their fingers over the lens in the photo of the dog.

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This discovery also got thinking how perfectly useful, relevant and exciting old cameras remain to be. Cameras such as this box camera pretty much have the same functionality of any more recently manufactured ‘lomo’ type camera and most people have said cameras sat around collecting dust.

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This has inspired me to start a new blog thread to find and use retired and forgotten cameras that in my humble opinion still have creative functionality and maybe hold a few surprises. By doing this I hope I might inspire some of my readers to search out old film cameras, ask parents, grandparents, neighbours to see if they have any forgotten film cameras hidden away. AGFA_11-sml

I already have a number of car-boot and e-bay bought cameras that I plan showcase here over the next few weeks and months. I will also do some detective work and maybe I’ll find out more about these photo’s

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Bob

pinbox

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SLIM-WIDE: a summer romance

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The slim-wide is modest and understated but a true backyard shooter. It’s the reincarnation of the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, which has a huge cult following but is now made by the guys at Superheadz.

At first it was quite easy to be underwhelmed by this modest little camera but is simplicity is what makes it so special; it does one job and it does it beautifully well. It partly to do with the lens which is pretty wide at 22mm, which considering fisheye lenses start at around 15mm and our own angle of view is somewhere between 35 – 50mm [relative to 35mm film] you can squeeze a lot in. It means that the angle of view is around 90 degrees or in other words, if you have your fingers to close to the lens then there’s a good chance your fingers will feature in the shot.

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However, the wide angle isn’t it’s only trick. The Vivitar was know for producing lens flare, sharp and vivid shorts and heavy vignetting. I think this reincarnation delivers on all three. This was my first roll of film through the slim wide and I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with the outcome. When put into perspective I don’t think a similar priced digital camera could produce shots anywhere as pleasing. It’s also important to bear in mind that like it’s contemporaries at Lomography there’s little quality control on these plastic lenses so each one will have it’s own personality. Some may give more lens flare and vignetting but I think this one’s hit it just about right.

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Nevertheless, I think I underestimated the wide angle slightly and I possibly could have got a little closer to my subjects. For example, with the photo below I possibly could have stood where the drain cover is and still got the building, phone boxes and bloke on the phone in shot. Or better still, just the guy and the phone boxes would have made a much better photo.

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I think this really highlights why I continue use and get excited to use cameras such as this. Primarily for the level of chance or imminent failure when using ‘toy’ cameras that often leads to many a happy accident. But secondly to reenforce the fundamentals of photography. Cameras with such limits of functionality [like the slim wide, if not all toy cameras] the strongest tool we have in our toy camera box is composition. Since there’s no way of influencing the exposure you just have to keep you eyes pealed for that killer moment, aim to be in the right place at the right time with the knowledge your slim-wide is instantly ready to go [as long as you’ve advance the roll!] I think that purity is something to embrace.

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Finally, I think it’s important to know what conditions the slim wide performs best in [same with all toy cameras] and thus play to it’s strengths. The slim wide is a true backyard shooter that loves the sun. So take it to the beach or to a festival. Don’t worry if you get sun lotion on it or spill a bit of beer over it and most of all encourage lens flare because that’s what it wants. So now you know it loves the sun and how wide the lens is so I implore you to use this to it’s full potential. If you’re after hipster status then you might find the slim wide a little underwhelming. But if you want to bring your photography back to basics then I think the slim wide is a great addition to your quiver.

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HAPPY ACCIDENT

Bob – pinbox

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GOLDEN HALF: roll one

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Yep, just another toy camera but this one makes me so very happy. It’s a half frame camera meaning it cuts a regular 35mm frame in half, so a 36 exposure film gives you 72 half frame photos.

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See full set here

It pays attention to the details; it looks cool, it’s small, the viewing frame is directly above the lens making framing adjustment a little easier and it’s got a hot shoe. However, best of all it’s got two apertures: f/11 for sunny days and f/8.5 for cloudy days. Although it only has the one fixed shutter speed [1/100th of a second] the two aperture settings give you that extra bit of tolerance to keep shooting in lower light conditions [EV12-13]. This means that if you’re using ISO 100 film you should potentially still get a decent exposure on overcast days and push a evening sunset shots with ISO 400. It coped well on a dull winters day [above] and produced some lovely colours.

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The start of a great night in Amsterdam

But the real charm of the camera is the dialogue and discourse that is generated by the two little half-frame photo’s per print. Having two shots of the same subject or moment offers up a conversation and if you happen to leave your camera a few weeks half way through a roll of film you may get some interesting conversations going on. A great example in black & white here from the dude on the bike.

This was my first roll through the Golden Half and there is plenty of scope for creativity and experiment now I know what it can do.

If you want to see more from the set just go here

Bob – pinbox

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