No.3 ‘Out and about with an old film and even older camera’ – disaster!

A short time ago I featured my Kodak Baby Brownie – an unusual camera for me as I have it for its cute Art Deco design rather than as a useable classic. Nevertheless, I did want to see what it could do but there was a problem – it takes 127 film which is no longer readily available.

However, I managed to get hold of an unexposed Ilford Selochrome Pan 127 (160ASA box speed) with an expiry date in 1966 so waited for a reasonably bright day to put in the baby and try some shots. Saturday was such a day so out with a film produced about 50 years ago in a camera manufactured around 20 years earlier than that.

Despite the age and terrible treatment of the film, and not being flat on the scanner bed,  there is still enough clarity in the lettering on the notice board and Library sign to show that this little Baby would be able to produce decent pictures given a decent film

Despite the age and terrible treatment of the film, and not being flat on the scanner bed, there is still enough clarity in the lettering on the notice board and Library sign to show that this little Baby would be able to produce decent pictures given a decent film

All seemed to be going well until I had taken four shots then winding on became very difficult. I managed to get to the 7th but then it became impossible. I wondered if the film had become detached from the backing paper and was backing up  – in which case it was likely I’d have no pictures at all. Back home and into the changing bag I found this was not the problem; the reverse, the film seemed to be stuck to the backing paper and so couldn’t unwind from the roll. I loosened up with a finger, put things back together and took the remaining shot.

The backing paper as it came out of the changing bag

The backing paper as it came out of the changing bag

Black backing paper adhering to the film after development

Black backing paper adhering to the film after development

Back in the changing bag with the developing tank, trying to load the film into the spiral became a nightmare – I thought I would never manage it but eventually after 45 minutes I had it loaded – clearly with a lot of backing paper still adhering to the film but, relying on feel alone of course, it seemed to be only on the non-emulsion side so I figured I might still get some ‘snaps’.

This is the paper finally pulled off the wet developed film

This is the paper finally pulled off the wet developed film

I semi-stand developed for an hour in 100:1 RO9, two inversions at 30 minutes; out of the tank, the large amount of black paper adhering was obvious but there did seem to be some pictures. I left it in the final wetting agent bath for 15 minutes to try to ensure the paper was well soaked then unwound the film from the spiral and running it under the kitchen tap managed to get rid of most of the paper, gave it a rinse in the wetting agent again then hung it up overnight to dry.

High hopes before the troubles began, Baby and film

High hopes before the troubles began, Baby and film

This morning I could see that the film had been quite badly damaged mechanically in a couple of places due to my manipulations in the changing bag, there was also a tight curl along the length and definitely not flat across the width; but still I had hopes of some useable pictures.

I hadn’t thought about how I could put it in the scanner; I have no holder for a 127 film. I needed a piece of anti-Newton glass but don’t have it so finally put it in the Lomo Digitaliza 120 film holder; it didn’t hold it flat of course as it was only gripped at the two ends but it did enable me to do a scan.

I only bothered with one shot; I’ll try with the rest when I’ve got some glass to hold the film down flat in the scanner.

However, I was pleased to get some pictures and the one I have scanned has enough there to show that the Baby’s lens isn’t bad at all – the notice board lettering and the bit of the ‘Library’ sign showing show that despite it’s mini size and very simple design this little gem would be capable of producing decent shots with a good film.

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