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Posted 2012.07.26 12.19 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I think people have gotten confused about what the word Impossible means.

A lot of times I get told this is impossible, that is impossible. I think the word is over-used. There’s a big difference between Impossible and Not Easy, or Not Worthwhile, or even just I didn’t think to try it yet.

Really, when people say Impossible, I just assume they mean that they either can’t figure it out, or haven’t even been arsed to try.

Today’s impossible thing was taking a 15 year old film disc, that I exposed a year ago, and processing it myself here at home.

For those of you who missed it, Disc cameras were a very short-lived thing that came up in the ’80s and died by the ’90s. It was a tiny format, smaller even than 110 film. The only thing going for it was that the cameras were flat and skinny, like two decks of cards side-by-side. Easily fitting in a pocket or handbag.

But the film was expensive and the quality was terrible, while 35mm P&S cameras got smaller and smaller but their quality remained acceptable (a 35mm neg is at least 6x larger than a disc negative.)

Anyhow, I had come across a couple un-used film discs, and had to give it a shot. I found myself a wonderfully horrible little disc camera, an Ansco VR-1, for which I paid 99 cents. The VR-1 is plastic, powered by springs, and used a Flipflash if you needed light. No exposure adjustments, no focus, it is amazingly light and cheap and plastic. I believe it is a re-branded Halina, just bearing the Ansco name on the outside. It is exactly the same as this camera here.

So the shots I took were simple snapshots, using a Konica ISO200 disc that had spent at least a decade gathering dust at the local Goodwill. That was the easy part. Today I did the “impossible” and processed it myself.

It wasn’t all that impossible actually. I just improvised a way to sit it inside my developing tank then used my worn out old C41 chemistry, happily ignoring the fact that disc film uses the “C41a” process (about which I could find no information.)

So what came out of it? Small, crappy, grainy, miscoloured pictures. Just like back in the 1980s!

Well actually mine are crappier and grainier but I attribute that to the film being 15 years past its best before date. I’ve had similar results from other old cheap film, like Sooters 126 colour film from the 90’s.

So what was the point of this whole grainy excercise? I just had to prove I could do it. Although I have two more unopened film discs, I can’t imagine any reason to try and use them.

What matters is that I now know that I could, if I really wanted to.

Why No 126 Film?

Posted 2011.07.30 19.45 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

The other night I was looking at my Rollei A26 and the half dozen 126 cartridges I’ve managed to hoard. After that handful of film…nothing. Since the last manufacturer ceased production in 2007, it’s become extremely rare and when you do find it, very expensive.

126 Film

Then I got thinking of The Impossible Project – IMHO a truly remarkable story. When Polaroid went away and stopped making film, millions of perfectly good instant cameras became useless. (You can see them all over eBay!) But this collection of people determined to resurrect Polaroid instant film, and they’ve actually done it!

So back to the 126 film cartridges. The Impossible Project really was impossible – they had to make not just film, but instant self-processing film. On the other hand, 126 film is basically just 35mm film in a special plastic case. It’s somewhat common practice now to respool 35mm film into 126 cartridges. I’ve done it myself.

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