The film expired in 1969, but I’ve gotten good images from VP stock even older than that. Still, I thought I’d have to cancel this week’s vintage camera post and write up the iPhone camera – which, under the guise of sundry Hipstamatic “lenses” and “films,” I’ve been using more than any other camera lately. The lab returned my film without printing anything, and held up to sunlight I couldn’t argue with their judgement of what looked like black frames. But upon further examination, there were trace images on about half of the eight-exposure roll, and my Epson 4990 scanner did the rest. One of these scans seems to explain why the negatives look so dark (which, inverted, means the film is too bright, and was seriously over-exposed).
The black horizontal bands near the top of the frame look like ghosts from the film’s backing paper. I think I should have taped up the frame window in the back of the camera. This is the back of the Kodak Bantam.
The numbers line up with a window in the back of the camera, and depending where that window is placed you get the frame alignments for square or rectangular pictures, whichever the camera is made for. On the above roll, for instance, you can get 16 square frames, 12 4×5 (I think?) frames, and 8 6×9 frames. The plastic windows that reveal these numbers can let in light even under the best of circumstances, and when the red plastic fades, as I think it did in the Bantam, you’re pretty much shooting naked. Next time I’ll remember to tape up the frame window, as I do with my Holgas and, pictured below, my moldy Brownie, about which I’ll write more soon:
Anyway, I could only recognize one image on this roll of fogged film, and not coincidentally, it was one I shot on an overcast day, near dusk. It’s the C&O canal in Georgetown: