126 film

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I have an older camera that I took to Robert Waxman and inquired about the necessary film. The clerk told me that it took 126 film, a square negative. Is this correct (an existing size)? I've been looking on the internet for suppliers of uncommon film and I have found nothing but 127. Is it really 127? or is that a whole different catagory? And what does the number stand for?

-- Mark Carlson (carlsonm@stolaf.edu), August 10, 1999


126 film was also called Kodak Instamatic, as I recall. It was packaged in a plastic cartridge. The stock was about the same width as 35mm without the perfs, and made a square negative. 127 was a paper backed roll film much like 120, but narrower. It used to make what were called Super Slides about 2" square or a little less. As far as I know both are obsolete and no longer made.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), August 11, 1999.

True enough, 126 film was the "Kodapak" cartridge film used by the original 1960s Kodak Instamatics - it was actually unperforated 35mm stock with a paper backing in the plastic cartridge, producing 28x28mm negatives. (As an interesting aside, it evolved out of Kodak's earlier, eventually unsuccessful attempt at using unperforated 35mm stock with a paper backing for the mass market - 828 rollfilm!) This format is absolutely dead and obsolete, and to my knowledge, there's no entrepeneur out there reloading old cartridges.

127 rollfilm, on the other hand, which produced a roughly 4x4cm (or 1- 5/8 inch square) negative in most cameras that used it, is not quite dead yet. B/W film is still being made by Efke in Zagreb, and is available from B&H, Freestyle, etc. And I belive there's color stock or two in 127 available from Film For Classics in upstate New York (check their website if you're curious.)

Of the two formats, 127 is by far the more significant in a user (vs. historical) sense. There are still loads of wonderful Baby Rolleis, Yashica 44s, and other well-made, good-lensed cameras floating around on the used marked that use 127 film. And that 4x4 negative is considerably bigger than a 35mm negative: for their small size (I have a Yashica 44, and it's a beautifully made, almost subminiature TLR that fits the hand much more easily than a 120 TLR) these cameras can produce stunning results with modern films...

Anyway, if it's a 126 camera it's just a collectible, but if it's a 127 camera it may be worth getting some of that Efke film and trying it out!

-- Michael Goldfarb (mgoldfar@mobius-inc.com), August 11, 1999.

Here's information from Kodak's web site. You can do a search for 126 to come up with this information.

Q: Where can I find 110 or 126 film? Does Kodak still make it? A: Although black-and-white and slide film is no longer manufactured due to low demand, you'll be pleased to know we still manufacture 110- and 126-size films for color prints. Most photographic retailers don't stock it on a regular basis, but they can order it for you. For dealer locations or for more information on Kodak film and products, call Kodak .

Here's the URL to this specific Kodak page: http://www.kodak.com/cluster/global/en/service/faqs/faq0055.shtml

I hope this helps.

-- James Wolfe (jameswolfe@jps.net), August 11, 1999.

The 126 format is dead; one story I heard was that they never conquered the film flatness issue, though there were a few high end cameras made for 126. Anyway, my brain might be playing tricks, but I'm almost sure I saw some 126 film last week at WalMart. It was probably Fuji, but I'm not sure. Try a search with Fuji, or call the nearest WalMart to see if they carry it. I remember because I looked at it and said "Gee I thought you couldn't get that anymore."

-- Conrad Hoffman (choffman@rpa.net), August 11, 1999.

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