Posts Tagged ‘lomo’
Kodak 44A and 44B 127 roll film cameras are great fun. The modest Kodak Brownie 44A was may peoples first camera in the 1960′s and early 1970′s. These cameras can be obtained on eBay for just 99p and sadly people are literally throwing them away in the false belief that 127 film is not available. These cameras are commonplace, cheap and the film is still available here. They can be modified for 35mm film too and take some interesting photos included exposed sprocket holes which can be printed for a good effect. For more creative fun they also take 32mm push on lens filters which appear often on eBay. Push on a yellow filter and shoot dramatic skys on Efke 127 film.
I now have several of these 44A cameras, all bought for just £0.99 each, so that I can shoot one on 35mm with sprocket holes, or another on 127 format just by selecting a different camera. Because they are so cheap, I can take them places I wouldn’t dare take a more expensive camera!.
The cameras in more detail…
Kodak Brownie 44A Camera
Solid metal/plastic camera with simple shutter (1/40th second) and two (or three on some models) aperture settings marked in expsoure value (EV) numbers. They are just a little smaller than F8 and F11, but since modern film has a wide latitude these cameras will work well in Sunny or Cloudy conditions when set to 13 and in dull and overcast or indoor when set to 12. You can also get a bulb flash attachment for some great vintage indoor flash photography if you can find bulbs.
- Very Cheap to buy
- Simple point and shoot fixed lens
- Works from sunny to overcast or bright indoor conditions
- 127 format (or 35mm see below)
- Plastic Dakon lens, yet still quite sharp
- Slight vignetting and astigmatism adds to the vintage effect
- Double exposure effects are possible
- hard wearing ever ready cover protects lens
Kodak Brownie 44B Camera
This is the daddy of the two cameras. This has a focussing lens, aperture stops of F16 / F11 and F8 and shutter speeds of 1/60th, 1/30th and B. This gives the camera a much wider range of exposure options including long exposures. The 44B camera features double exposure prevention so you wont be able to do “double takes”, but you will always avoid accidental double exposures!.
- Cheap to buy but less common
- Kodak Anaston focussing lens (3ft – infinity)
- Basic exposure control 1/60 to B and F8 to F16
- Works for all lighting conditions including long exposure
- 127 format (or 35mm see below)
- Slight vignetting and astigmatism adds to vintage effect
While these cameras are not rare or collectable in the antique sense, they are real classics that many people were brought up with and take pretty good pictures. Here is a picture I took on Dartmoor, UK with mine.
Kodak 44A Modification to use 35mm film
127 film is still available for these cameras in both black and white and colour, but I have found these cameras will also take 35mm film with a very simple modification. The camera is easily restored to 127 operation.
Before I go any further, I should point out that you will need a changing bag or dark room, or a makeshift dark box under your blanket, to remove the film and wind it back into the canister when it is finished. This only takes a few minutes but it must be done in total darkness.
The modification Process
1) Open the back, remove the two screws which hold the supply spool bracket. Remove the bracket and screws from the camera. You can keep these safe if you ever want to restore the camera to 127 use.
2) Tape over the frame number window on both sides of the camera back using two layers of tape each side.
3) Tape the bottom third of the viewfinder with a small piece of black insulating tape.
4) Mark the winder with a dot to help you count frame winding. A small piece of your black sticky tape can be used if you don’t want to permanently mark your camera.
That’s it, job done.
Loading the film.
The film canister is inserted near the bottom of the supply side. You’ll notice that the top of film sits nicely against a piece of plastic moulding. This conveniently holds the film canister in place. The film is then pulled across the bottom edge of the film gate and into the take up spool. Wind some film onto the spool so that it runs along the bottom edge of the camera. Don’t worry that the film goes slightly diagonal – it settles almost straight under tension. Shut the back. Wind the film on for two turns to take up tension.
From now on, wind one and a half turns for every frame that you take. A 24 exposure film will provide about 15 exposures. I have not tested with a 36 exposure film yet but I expect that you can reduce to one to one and a quarter turn after fifteen or so exposures to gain more frames per film, but one and a half turns will guarantee enough spacing between frames.
Film rewinding and removal
You will need a changing bag for this, or a cardboard box under your bed covers in a nearly darkened room, or a proper darkroom.
In the dark, open the back and remove the spool and the cassette together. The film will have wound on to the take up spool. Start winding the film back into the canister by hand. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take long. Once the film is fully wound in you can go into the light. The film is ready for processing.
Processing the film.
Ideally you should send the film for develop only at any lab, or process it yourself for later scanning. You can scan the whole negative and sprocket holes for an excellent effect, if you have a suitable scanner.
For a suitable processing lab click here
One thing you notice about these photo is that, because of the way the film sits over the gate, there is some unusual perspective (pincushion) distortion that can be used for artistic effect. For instance to add to or reverse the perspective distortion of buildings taken from below. As you can see on these test images the Kodak 44A produces quite a sharp and colourful image, even on Kodak Gold film on a dull day.
If you are into plastic cameras and Lomography, the “35mm” Brownie 44A may be a great fun camera for you to play with. You can play with the perspective distortion and try cross processing films too. I’ve only tested the modification so far and I have yet to shoot something for real. Soon I will publish some more photos taken with this camera in my Flickr stream.