22 March 2009

Brownie diary (3)

I'm aware that this is in danger of getting very nerdy.

So ... if you'd like to see the first roll of "proper" photographs from my Brownie, click here for an album or a slide show.

If not, feel free to surf onward to somewhere else.

If you venture below the line, be warned that you will sink up to your waist in minutiae of interest only to people who want to use obsolete childhood artefacts in making pictures the hard way...

I am still keen to find a 620 spool, but have discovered ways to get around its absence.

First, it's possible to make a spool, using very thin wood dowel as the spindle and disks cut from thin plastic as the ends.

Second, if you have the patience you can grind down an empty 120 spool by working it against glass paper on a flat surface. A bit of dowel once again aligns the centre.

Finally, you can do without the feed spool altogether if you work entirely in the dark. Unroll the 120 film from its spool, carefully rewind it again, place the result in the Brownie's feed chamber and thread it round to the take up spool (you do need that one) and close the camera. Now you can turn the light on, and the whole thing works.

Whichever method you use, the rewinding of the film after removing it from the 120 spool is the difficult bit. The loose end of the film has to be held exactly in position against the backing paper until rewound, or you will get wrinkles which cause nightmarish problems.

In my batch of 120 film, at least, the necessary eight numbers, aligned with the red window for accurately winding on film between frames, are missing. Since it seems better to wind on too much than too little, I only got six frames on the roll.