Film. Again. (Last lap of the Chase Challenge)


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Film. Again. (Last lap of the Chase Challenge)

11 Sep 2020 9:31AM   Views : 235 Unique : 132


While I was off having fun with video and a horse on Wednesday, the postie was dropping off my two rolls of 127 film at home. 127 used to be a popular size, bigger than 35mm frames, but a lot smaller than 120 roll film. When I was young, both Ilford and Kodak produced film in the format, with a different formulation from the more popular emulsions. Selochrome Pan (Ilford) and Verichrome Pan were, from memory, thicker and possibly more robust, and were designed to tolerate a good deal of abuse in terms of exposure than FP4 and Plus-X.

The most accessible 127 film, a few years back, was sold by Jessops under their own brand name Ė it was EfKe film from Czechoslovakia. The company closed the factory 8 years ago, and I think Jessops had discontinued their rebranding some time before that. I developed my last roll of this fairly recently, having left it in a Vest Pocket Kodak camera for several years.


But thereís only one game in town now, and itís called Rera Pan. Made in Japan, it costs around £15 a roll delivered, so itís not cheap by any means. There are a very limited number of niche suppliers in the UK Ė not even my friends at Ag Photographic stock it.

It comes in a plastic tube, and the spool is also plastic, rather than the traditional metal. A feature of 127 spools is that thereís a central spindle protruding from the ends, with a slot in it Ė this is what engages with the cameraís winding mechanism. Metal spools are slotted at both ends, while the Rera Pan spindles are only slotted one end. I wonder if they are made on a 3-D printerÖ


But what about the results? They definitely have a sort of charm (or maybe Iím thinking of the effort and cost of achieving them?) Real softening at the corners, but surprising sharpness in the middle of the image, and a good way out. You pay good money for the software to get the kind of vignette effect that the Hawkeye gives as standard, too.

And the viewfinding arrangements arenít as inaccurate as you might expect. I put a bit of effort into centring my eye in the finder, and framed tightly on the bridge in the shot below. Thereís maybe not much margin for error, in the sense that some cameras give you much more of the scene than you think youíre getting, but if you are careful, itís fine.

A 35-minute walk on the Great Barr Estate (with the sound of the M6 in the background much of the way) gave me eight images, and Iíll account the exercise a success. I like the Hawkeye much more, for instance, than the plastic Diana I wrote about early in the year: that was flamboyant and promised more than it could deliver. The Hawkeye offers little, and delivers quite a lot.



dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
11 Sep 2020 9:38AM
Spot the difference between an old-style 127 spool (left) and the Rera Pan version. Next to that is the plastic container that the roll of film comes in, proudly announcing that the product is ASSAMBLED IN JAPAN..
jacomes Plus
5 26 16 Portugal
11 Sep 2020 10:04AM
Pretty good results, John
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
11 Sep 2020 11:24AM
Thanks, James! It was fun.
chase Plus
15 1.8k 441 England
11 Sep 2020 11:56AM
Well Mr D. what cracking results from your challenge, I really am impressed with your work here, especially with the amount of detail you have captured, nothing seems overdone or over exposed either, nice bit of contrast going on...fab !
I doubt these little cameras were ever used by the experts in their day, so nice to put one in the hands of an up to date expert, thank you.
An extra jam/cream scone for you Wink

Did you have to do much to the images in the darkroom etc or are these 'as was' ?

The slots are a different size Wink
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
11 Sep 2020 12:02PM
I've done minimal cropping and levelling, because the film wasn't square in the scanner. I also used the Levels tool - scans always lack deep black, it seems. But that's all - tweaking the shadows and midtone pointers until it looked right...

Exposures were varied, but then the light level varied... This one was rescued with the backlight compensation control in the scanner, as the negative was rather thin.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 695 England
11 Sep 2020 2:08PM
A successful outing then. I particularly like the bridge shot.
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
11 Sep 2020 3:13PM
My favourite is the one with the man and his dogs heading off down the hill: any time in the last 70 years or so.
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
11 Sep 2020 6:43PM
So it's a time machine as well...Smile awesome.
10/10 for effort John. I don't think i'll be trading my Nikon in for a hawkeye though.
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
11 Sep 2020 9:14PM
Now, I haven't yet got my hands on an Ilford Tardis, but...

And I know there was something called a Mick-O-Matic - a 126 cartridge in the back of the head, lens in the nose, and the shutter release was Mickey's right ear...

Robert51 11 7 106 United Kingdom
12 Sep 2020 8:16AM
I think your right about the soft charm as the bridge shot shows. It also shows why today we are always looking for these types of film looks to add to our images.
pablophotographer 9 1.7k 383
13 Sep 2020 12:26AM
Excellent job dudler

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