Using 127 film

I have been looking to make some more use of 127 size film. Apart from the fact that it is difficult to get hold of it is a format that is worth looking at.
The main source of 127 film seems to be Rera Pan and it is available in asa 100 and 400 speeds but at the time of writing (19th September 2018) this blog everyone seems to be out of stock of both speeds. There is a supplier in the UK who on being supplied with a spool and some backing paper will put any film you like on a 127 format. That is worth giving some consideration to.
This has brought me today looking at other cameras that take 127 format film but most of them are designed to expose 4 x 4 images rather then the 4 x 6.5 images that the Kodak 127 cameras take. There are a few offerings. A number of Rolleiflex offerings which are a mite pricey for something that is not going to be main line. A number of Yashica 44 cameras are available and better priced. I have also come across a Bencini Comet.
The advantage of all these over the Kodak Brownie 127 is that you can control exposure settings – not automatically but I have not got beyond that stage with my other medium format cameras.
This is a subject I will come back to in time so if you are interested keep coming back to view progress.

Taking pictures with a Bencini Koroll 24

About 2 years ago I bought two boxes of assorted cameras at an auction. In the boxes were some interesting beasties.
Three Kodak Brownie 127 cameras (Model 1, Model 2 and Model 3). A Coronet Clipper (unfortunately there was a problem with one of the hinges so I sold this for repairs). A number of small compacts (which I moved on via Ebay). A number of 35mm models. But amongst all of this was an odd man – a Bencini Koroll 24.
Look them up on Google. It takes 120 roll film but you can get 24 images per roll. The images are 4.5 x 3 cm in size and are exposed portrait mode along the film. The image is of course half the area of the 127 format but is nearly twice the size of 35mm. The wind on takes a little thought. There are two red windows in the back of the camera. You use both of them. First you wind on until the frame number appears in the left hand window. Once exposed you wind the film on until the same number appears in the right hand window. You then wind on until the next number appears in the left hand window and repeat until all 24 frames are exposed.
I have only run one roll of film through this camera but it is loaded again for more work But I made a couple of mistakes when winding on film in that I over shot the window and then had to advance along missing a frame to avoid partial double exposures. This is something you could get used to doing properly.
There is a lot of discussion on various web fora about using this camera, many curious about how the images are exposed on the film. I hope I have been able to assist in clarifying this.
Down side of the camera is that it is fixed exposure. There is only a very small gap between the frames on the exposed film (about 1 or 2mm) so it does make it a bit tricky when cutting the film for storage and printing. I don’t know if I shall be keeping this for long. It is a curiosity. You may see it on Ebay one day soon.

Using the Fuji GW690 III

The most recent acquisition is a Fuji GW690 III (made about 1992 ish) after I fell in love with the 6 x 9 format negatives. I have now put three films through it and I am liking the results.
The problem I am having to deal with is an operator error. Having spent years with auto exposure, auto focus I keep having to remember to take a light reading and set the exposure accordingly, then remembering to make sure of the focus. The second issue is remembering when taking the light readings to check what film I have in the camera. As I am using the light meter for two different cameras (the Bronica being the other) and the Bronica being having two film backs loaded with different film I keep forgetting. This has also led me to having to think about recording the exposure settings etc (lens focal length (the Bronica having two lenses)) so I now have a notebook I take out with me.
Back to the camera. It is heavy to cart around but it is easy enough to use. Getting used to the Rangefinder focussing method. I normally find if I take it out of focus it helps to get back in with ease. If the subject is relatively in focus it is more difficult to see if it needs adjusting.
Of course getting only 8 frames per roll of film means having to make sure you have spare rolls of film with you but the negative you get is well worth the cost and the hassle of changing films during a shoot.
Overall impression. A good purchase. Glad I went for the model III rather than one of the earlier models.

Using a Box Brownie

I recently bought a Kodak Brownie 620 Model C on Ebay.
I have now exposed three rolls of film in it.
The first was very much experimental to check for light leaks etc. I have got a couple of usable images from it. Exposed on Ilford Delta 100.
The second film, again experimenting, was Ilford Delta 400. One image spoilt by a car going past at the wrong time. Seven other useful images of Australian vistas. I did get this wrong. I thought I had loaded the camera with 100 film and exposed everything in strong sunlight – defeating the object of loading with 400 film.
The third film was Ilford Delta 100. Again seven good images but one – a real experiment did not work. At 1:30 in the morning I was sitting outside with a very strong moon lit scene. Setting the camera to bulb setting I held the shutter open for 30 seconds. Nothing on the negative. Maybe it would have worked with 400 film. Who knows – I will try again.
All of this is getting me quite excited about 6 x 9 format photography. Look for more to come forward.

Updated 12-04-2018
writeaessay responded to this post saying ‘Cheers. An abundance of information!’

Just had a look at my camera and it would appear to be an early Model C – (made 1946-1953)
From what I can find out the focal length is 100mm and the aperture is fixed at f11. Two shutter modes. Shutter speed is about 1/40th of a second in ‘I’ mode (Instantaneous) and as long as you want in ‘B’ mode (Bulb).

A note on film. 620 film, the film type for this camera is no longer available but 620 and 120 film sizes are the same. The difference being the spool spindle size. You can get 620 spools on ebay and you can get hold of 120 film in many places. So buy yourself a couple of 620 spools and then in your dark room or using a dark bag re-spool the file onto the 620 spool. You must be careful not to let too much film un-spool before taking it up on the new spool or it might ruckle when re-spooling. You also need to be careful not to get fingerprints on the film. You might waste a film doing this, you will probably not waste two!