Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Feeding the 828 cameras

I took my Kodak Flash Bantam across town to the Nuclear Museum.  As usual I spent most of my time there admiring the small collection of aircraft behind the facility.  The three Cold War era bombers all have new paint jobs and look much as they would have while in service.

There is now a bomb casing under the wing of the B-29 which is the same as that used for the Fat Man A-bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

There are still a few B-52 bombers being flown today. The plane's maiden flight was made in 1952 and it is projected to remain in service for two more decades.

I have mostly just rolled a strip of 35mm film with no backing paper onto the little 828 metal reels that fit in the Flash Bantam.  With the frame counter window blocked, that has worked pretty well for the most part, but on this occasion I decided to try rerolling some 35mm film along with backing paper.

I have a strip of 838 backing paper which I salvaged from an old roll bought on ebay.  I used that as a template and cut out a strip for use from a saved 120 Acros roll.  I inked in the frame numerals along with some leading dots.  That gave me framing for eight exposure, just as in the original.

Scissoring out the backing paper was simple.  Getting the strip of film in place inside the dark bag requires some patience.  Usually, the beginning of the film strip is taped to the backing and the trailing "exposed" end is left free.  I found it helpful to tape the trailing end first to keep it in place and then inserted the tab in the spool and rolled the film and backing toward the "start" end.  I had to repeat this process a couple times as I got some buckling of the film when I tried to tape it at the "start" end.  I found it helpful to completely roll up the film onto the second reel and then unroll it back to apply the tape to avoid buckling.  Being able to see the frame numerals through the camera's back window was certainly nicer than guessing at the required number of winder turns.  However, having just eight exposure available seemed very limiting, and probably explains much of why the 828 format went away.

My 828 Cameras

Whatever method one chooses to get film into one of the 828 cameras the process is going to be a bit labor intensive.  Winding unbacked film onto an 828 reel lets me get 15 to 20 shots per load, but I have experienced a few instances of blockage and tearing.  The diameter of the 828 reels is very small, and tightly winding the stiff film strip creates a highly tensioned coil spring which can get out of hand.
    I'm thinking my next experiment with this format will be to use a hybrid method, taping a couple of inches of backing paper to the beginning and end of the film strip.  It seems like that would provide a more secure way to attach the film roll to the reels and maybe avoid some of the problems that come with using a completely unbacked film strip.

 More information about preparing film for use in 828 cameras:


Jim Grey said...

I admire your determination to keep these cameras of defunct film formats still producing images. I also enjoy following your experiments.

I enjoy the shot of the bomber's jet nacelles. I had no idea the B-52 was still in service.

I wonder what makes one plane stay in service for so long and another be in service such a relatively short time. When I met my first wife she was base photographer at an Air National Guard base. Her photo albums include lots of photos of the F-16s that flew in and out of that base -- and of the F-4s that preceded them. She said the F-4s were great aircraft and all the pilots were upset when they were decommissioned.

Mike said...

I'm no expert on the subject, but have always been interested in the idea of flight in all its forms. Wikipedia has a good page on the history of the B-52. The Nuclear Museum in Albuquerque has the B-29,B-47 and B-52 bombers. Also an F16, a F105D and an A-7.

JR Smith said...

I am only a private pilot, so I can only speculate...but I would assume that heavy bombers have a longer in-service life than fighter jets. The smaller fighter aircraft need to be on the forefront of technology while the bombers are more utilitarian. My two cents.