Kodak Bantam with a Surprise Inside

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by va3uxb, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. I came across a Kodak Bantam at a price I couldn't pass up, so I nabbed it. It's the first 828 camera in my collection, and I still can't get over how cute it is.
    From my research, I believe it is one of the original models introduced in 1935. It has the Kodak Anastigmat f/6.3 lens, with a 53mm focal length, and the rigid finder. The bellows are in good condition and do not appear to have any holes. The shutter works and is nice and snappy in both Instant and Time settings. And the aperture is selectable between f/6.3 and f/11. The viewfinder needs to be cleaned but that is the only thing that appears to be wanting.
    The best part though was the camera came with a roll of Verichrome Pan in it! It was already wound past the last exposure, so I finished winding it up, in order to process it. I had one major snag though - I fumbled the film when taking it out, and it partially unwound, so sadly the last frame-and-a-half were light-struck.
    I was able to get six usable images off the roll. Processed for 11:30 in T-Max 1:4 at 70degF after a 10 minute presoak. My T-Max is about 2 years old and I don't know how many rolls it's seen, all I know is it's very weak so I'm pushing the exposure times longer than normal... guesswork and hand-waving.
    The first two images were almost identical. #1 was better-framed but blurred, #2 was sharp. It's a house, possibly the photographer's new home, or maybe his first home. It was special enough to take two pictures of it.
  2. This looks like a bright sunny day in a park somewhere...
  3. Still in the park. The woman has her back to the photographer, so I don't think she's with him. Maybe he came alone?
    All I can read on the sign is Pony Ride...
  4. A big impressive tree? Impressive enough to use 12.5% of his film on it.
  5. I have no idea what time-period these pictures are from. The roll of film next to the camera in the first image at the top of the thread is the one that these came from - old Verichrome Pan.
    The last good frame. I think this is the same park, the same day. I can't make out the name on the paddlewheeler. There's also a peddal-boat and a canoe in the image. Looks like an interesting place.
  6. I love these found films. Yours seem to be from another era and a piece of history with it. Lovely looking camera.
  7. Nice find and skillful handling of found film. Except for slitting 120 film I think the only source for 828 is unperforated bulk. I
    think Portra NC 160 was the last I heard of. Of course you could save the paper backing from the VP and load up with
    35mm if you don't mind sprocket holes at top and bottom of picture area. Again, great post and thanks.
  8. Thanks for posting; I too love these old Found Films. After looking at the photos, my girlfriend is guessing the 1950s for the photos. She bases that guess on the brick home that looks like one of zillions built post-war, plus the woman's checkerboard dress. I countered that I'm not sure that dress was *ever* in style, but I wasn't alive in the 1950s, and she was, so I lost that argument.
  9. That looks to be a fine copy of the Bantam, Stephanie. I'm a sucker for anything with a hint of Art Deco about it, and the Bantam is a subtle example of the period. Found films I'm not too sure about; I guess I've had dozens come my way and I've never processed them. To me it's a little prurient, like finding a packet of letters at the local landfill, or a CF card on a cafe table; would I take them home a open them up? So far, I've not been tempted. Most of the images from "Found" films that I've looked at are aesthetically uninteresting, and lack any real sociological or historical significance because of the lack of any accompanying information. After all, if I really want to see images of The Way We Were, legitimate archives are only a couple of mouse clicks away. Photographs of unknown places and people, usually dull in the extreme, are of little interest to me. I'd rather run a film through the camera, to discover what I can do with it...
    However, having said that, you've made a a fine job of presenting the images and creating an interesting post. Many thanks.
  10. Thanks for all the comments!
    I've ordered a couple rolls of 828 from B&H, as I do plan on using the camera myself. I'd reload it with regular 35mm (the sprocket holes don't bother me) but the backing paper from the VP was partially torn. It looked like it was torn when the camera was originally loaded, the film just prior to the first frame has a 'contact print' of the rip, probably from light in the green window.
    Rick, I understand what you are saying about found films - there is certainly a bit of voyeurism involved... a glimpse into the memories of a stranger. For me, it's a matter of curiosity, and mainly just leads me to more questions - who took the pictures, why, and why were they left in the camera and never processed.
    I have a slightly different take on the analogies you presented - I wouldn't pull letters out of the landfill, and if I found a CF card at a cafe, I'd turn it in to their lost&found. If I purchased a second-hand CF card though, I'd certainly look and see if there was anything on it, out of curiosity. And then I'd erase it. Indeed, I have had this happen in the past: I bought a used memory card and was shocked to discover it contained a database of sensitive medical information collected during some drug trials. And then I securely-formatted the card.
    Back on topic though - the camera is in excellent condition and I've just finished giving the lens and viewfinder a good cleaning. So once I receive the film from B&H, I'll just be waiting for some nice weather so I can put this nice old camera back to work!
  11. Memories of a stranger. That memories do mine present. Perhaps watching the stranger's past I look for my own past. Or one that I never knew but sensed beforehand.
    Why didn't the stranger end the roll of film or not processed it?
    What can I see in the frames that could be developer of the motives?
    Was he or she alone? Another of billion of histories.
    Curiosity? Need to solve the mistery? Alteration because a person could disappear without a logical reasons leaving hanging things? The death may be involved?
    Thanks for sharing.

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