Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to Old School, Redux

I'm glad that my order from Freestyle Photo arrived yesterday, before I saw Monda's post about the BARPs now available on eBay. The last thing I need now is another temptation. As it was, though, FedEx beat the internets on this one, and my film and fixer are in. My mad-scientist fantasies are almost complete!

DIY developing stash
(late-night photo taken when giddy from bulk-loading all the film)

As predicted, I was able to get about 20 rolls of film from the 100' spool, and only goofed up twice. Once I failed to place the film over the little sprocket wheels that run the counter, and once at the end of the spool when I pulled the end of the film all the way into the canister. (It was only about 10 frames, not worth retrieving.) Assuming no colossal light-leaks in the loader, or foul-ups in my process, I should be set for film for a while.

Next order of business is the camera. As you certainly know, I have no shortage of the silly things. I'm still going to pull out dad's old Minolta to shoot some of this up, but I've decided to use one of my "inheritance cameras" for the first roll, my grandfather's old Rollei 35. Here it is, presented next to one of my bulk-loaded rolls for scale:

Rollei 35

My love of the macro lens doesn't do this thing justice. Lying flat on its back, the camera will easily fit within the bounds of a 3x5 card, with space around the edges. It's that tiny. I recall getting this camera around the same time I got the Minolta, when my grandfather was still alive but starting to fade due to the effects of Alzheimer's. I do know that I never really asked him about it or using it, and am only now beginning to appreciate the quality of this tiny little camera. It is supposedly the smallest mechanical full-frame 35mm camera ever made, and I used it for a while, though I tended to favor the SLR, despite its heft and noise. By comparison, this little Rollei is nearly silent, and very pocketable -- the lens retracts into the body -- and just plain elegant. I know that my grandfather also bulk-rolled his film, as I've got at least one vintage metal Kodak can sitting around from his estate, and though he tended to prefer medium-format over 35mm, I'd like to think that all this experimenting is guiding me into his footsteps.


Elizabeth H. said...

I'll have you know I dreamed I bought an old camera and was desperately trying to find someone to teach me how to develop film at home.

This is all your fault. Utterly and entirely.

And I'm going to pretend I don't know Dad has a pretty good old camera and used to do his own developing.

Monda said...

See, all that is written indelibly in your DNA. I love that.

The word verification is "headplat." Yikes.

mpclemens said...

Elizabeth, it's really easy to do, and a lot of fun. And this is the perfect time to get into film, as everyone is dumping their old equipment. I found my bulk loader, two stainless-steel reels and a tank at the thrift store for a total of $5. That little bottle of fixer cost about the same, and the caffenol ingredients are a trip to the local store.

Do it. Your dad would likely be *thrilled* to see his old camera in use again.

Strikethru said...

I thought the jar of coffee was a jar of Nutella.

So, the coffee is to keep you up late at night fooling with retro hobbies, and not literally for developing film... right?

mpclemens said...

Mmmm... Nutella...

Er, sorry. No, the coffee really is for film (and paper) development:

instant coffee + sodium carbonate + vitamin C powder = developer

No joke!