Found Film #3

Posted 2011.08.14 9.17 in Hobbies, Photography

In my travels last week, I happened upon some ‘junker’ cameras in a local thrift store. These were modern P&S dime-a-dozen types that I’d normally not give a second glance to. What did catch my eye though, was that one of them had a roll of film in it.

For a couple dollars, I thought what the heck – I bought the camera, to have a go at the film. Getting it home, I quickly figured out why the camera had been abandoned. The lens zooming mechanism was jammed, so when the camera was turned ‘on’ the lens would try to move to the active position, but would lock up then the little LCD screen would show “E” for error.

I fiddled with it for a bit, determined that it was ‘dead’ in this state, so put it in the darkbag. In there, I opened the back, and going by feel, I removed the 35mm can and then carefully pulled the exposed film off the take-up spool, and rewound it back into the cannister.

Still going by feel, I could tell that there wasn’t a lot of film on the take-up spool – the camera had jammed early in the roll. Not a good sign – that meant there wouldn’t be many pictures, if there were any at all.

Of course, it was also a possibility that someone had opened the back and ruined all the film, so regardless of how many frames were taken, there was a good chance all of them would be ruined anyhow. So, nothing to do but keep on going.

Processing was a snap and when it was done, I could see as I was hanging the film to dry that there were only a couple images at the very start of the roll. It looked like there may have been four or five frames taken before the camera failed. Unfortunately, someone had indeed opened the back, which flashed out a few inches of film from the fourth frame back. The first three frames survived, although with some discolouration from the back being opened.

As with previous found films, it’s fun to see what you find, and then a mystery to try and figure out what is going on. Obviously this one is much more current, probably within the last 5 or 10 years, so there isn’t an historic feel to it. Though it’s an interesting note that they had at least two film cameras with them – the one these pictures came from, and the one visible in two of the three pictures.

Anyhow, it really is a bit of an adventure, going through the process with the found film, seeing if you get images or not, and if you do, trying to guess what the people are up to.

The camera itself was kaput and not worth fixing – though I did get a good CR123A lithium camera battery out of it – new, those cost more than I paid for the camera. The film was Kodak Max 400, souped for 20 minutes in (stale, exhausted) C-41 chemistry at room temperature (78° F).

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