Vintage Films from the early '40s still made today

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by karl_borowski, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. Hey everyone. THis is kind of a continuation to a thread I posted earlier
    about suitable supplies for a pre-Pearl Harbor's Day reenactment I am doing. I
    wanted to expound upon my wish to do everything in a vintage manner; I hate
    digital photography. I bought my own lab so I wouldn't have to deal with 300
    dpi prints, so therefore I'd never shoot it to begin with, as I don't own one
    of the cameras, but I want to go fevery detail as nearly as possible to what it
    was like back then. Socks, underwear, and film even I want to be what they had
    back then. Does anyone want to further expound upon either how insane I am or
    how compulsive this idea is? ;-) Anyway, I would like to know if anyone knows
    of specific emulsions that are unchanged or changed very little since then> I
    obviously cannot get nitrate bases or flashbulbs actually manufactured at that
    time, but I know I can get flashbulbs that are identical to those of the time
    and film that has gone very nearly unchanged since then> I really hate Kodak
    and it's decision to stop B&W paper, and they've changed all the emulsions even
    if the names "Plus-X" and "Tri-X" are still with us, so I'm looking for
    something European maybe. Has ADOX been around since before WWII? I believe
    I've seen their film somewhere. Any others?



    P.S. ANyone know where I can rent a vintage car? ;-)
  2. Probably the Efke films...asa 25 or 50...will be the most like what was made at that time. They are available at JandC. Also, don't gloss over good ol' Kodachrome 64.
  3. While Adox has made film since the 1860's, the current Adox (Efke) films were introduced in 1952. That is probably about as close as you can get unless there are older-style Russian films available (possibly old Zeisss emulsions confiscated in 1945, but that is highly speculative).
  4. It never ceases to amaze that with all the real time tragedy going on in the world today anyone would wish to re-enact an outrage that occurred more than a half century ago! It would have been ridiculous to re-enact the battle of Gettysburg while WW2 was demanding all our nation's resources, and equally so to re-enact WW2 events while WW3 is in its beginnings. Rather we should focus all resources attempting to solve current problems that can and may destroy civilization as we know it - - - Get real!
  5. Gettysburg was a German POW camp during WW2.
  6. The couple of Germans who escaped were caught at Pickett's Charge.
  7. Karl-

    I have one roll of Ansco Plenachrome left- 120(1946).I shot one roll ,and it's really in pretty good shape.Base fog was minimal,contrast was a little low,which might have been my fault.It's ortho,so I developed by inspection which I had not done before,so I might have pulled it too soon.

    If you want to give it a shot,just to add to the insanity---ping me with your addy,and I'll drop it in the mail.
  8. I'm staying out of the re-enactment/living history is good/bad discussion...(Though I'm leaving for Normandy tomorrow morning for the Back to the Bocage tour with 160 others, so you can guess my position on the whole deal)

    Karl, if you do find proper film, but the packaging is not to your liking, there are printable labels/boxes available online. Just look for reproduction paperwork. A few of the living history guys have recreated a lot of official war-time documents and packaging material that you can buy or print out yourself.

    I've got a few PDF-files to reproduce Kodak film boxes. I'm not at my home computer at the moment though.

    Good luck,


    p.s. I'm taking my Argus C-3, Kodak Retina II and Zeiss Ikon Nettar with me in Normandy, and enough film for 300+ photos. I'll be sure to post a few here.
  9. German immigrants were about 10% of the Union forces during Civil War.
  10. Union General Carl Schurz, who was born in Germany , with the 26th Wisconsin, was at Pickets charge in 1863.
  11. Agfa Isopan F was still manufactured in the 1970s, but I don't know whether it was the same emulsion sold with this designator in the 1940s. Also, probably not many german films were sold in US in the 1940s...

    I think it would be the best to check for images of old film boxes and print a template, then fold your own box. Concerning the films I agree that the Efke films will come pretty close. Processed in an old-style developer, like R9 made by Calbe of Germany (said to be made according to the pre-war formula of Rodinal) should yield nice results.
  12. I remember buying Gevaert film in the early 40's because it was the only supplier of 00 size film fo a Univex camera I owned ($0.19 for the camera, in those days). I just googled Gevaert and saw a package was sold on EBay last week.
  13. You Hate digital. You HATE Kodak. Not really insane, but you've got problems, fellow. Get help.
  14. You could try some J&C Classic Pan 200, Fortepan 200, or Berger BRF 200. I've heard these emulsions have a look similar to Kodak's old Super XX film. I've tried these films and they are grainy, but since I don't have any Super XX to compare them too, I could say whether or not these films really resemble it.
  15. gib


    Kelly I thought the percentage of Germans in the Union Army was even higher than that.

    I have been reading a Lincoln biography and the campaign considerations prior to his election and conflicting demands of abolitionists, immigrants and the Know Nothings (who wanted to lengthen the time it took for immigrants like the Germans to become citizens)... Republican Party was a real swirling mass of factions at the time it was born.

    A few years ago I witnessed a war of 1812 reenactment, lots of musket firing, and "wounded". It was very strange. I havent been to another. I think if I was to go to one it would be a non-warfare type, perhaps like the Spring Rendezvous, Mountain Men gathering.
  16. Having participated in the real thing and seen horrors no one should be subjected to it is difficult to see why anyone would wish to re-enact scenes that they cannot truly replicate and if they could it would be more horrendous than the first occurence. Yes, we can learn from the errors of the past, but it is folly to "harmlessly (?)" replay the scenario. Better study to cope with those horrors that are portending. -- Portending, hell -- they are already in progress!
  17. Efke (Croatian) films are now being sold by JandC under the ADOX name. part of a re-
    branding / marketing realignment, but it's the same old film, in speeds ASA 25, 50,
    and 100, and in 35mm, 120, and sheet film formats. Both Efke and Adox at one time
    or another were part of Agfa, i believe. in any case the emulsions have an Agfa

    i have used this film (in all speeds) with nice results.

    but, frankly, a roll of modern Plus-X or Tri-X shot through a 1940 era lens like a
    Zeiss Sonnar or Leica Summar will look more "vintage and authentic" than a roll of
    Efke/Adox shot through a modern lens. Of course you can shoot your vintage style
    film through a vintage lens. It's just that the lens is a bigger part of the equation than
    the film stock emulsion.

    Tri-X wasn't introduced until the 1950s anyway, originally at ASA 200. but the
    "Double-XX" movie film, which you can buy and roll your own 35mm film from, is
    another Kodak film with a long heritage. Nobody was making nitrate film by the
    Second World War. "Safety" film came in during the 1930s.

    Getting flashbulbs is easy enough.

    As for paper, the FORTE papers should come close to what you might like. ILFORD is
    now the standard fiber B+W paper now that Kodak and Agfa are both gone. It is a
    fairly modern looking paper but the warmtone version may work for you.
  18. WJ, I lived in a USA town after WW2 that was mostly German, the towns people called themselves "Swiss" for many decades! :)
  19. Dan, not only are you an arrogant ass regardless of what I initially posted about, but apparantly your English isn't very good. FYI wiseguy, this is to honor my late maternal grandfather, who was shot in the leg at Wheeler Field when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I honor him and the ultimate sacrifice so many others on his base and in Pearl made that day. I'm not dressing up like a Nazi and visiting synagogues, or firing fake guns or other puerile reenactments. War IS a horrible thing. I've been trying for some time to get the funds together to go over to Iraq to document on film what terrible things are going on over there. I'm not afraid of war, but I do know that it is an evil thing. As for WWIII, I don't know about that. You are probably on the side of Israel in any case since you are obviously a bleeding-heart liberal. In any case, I find great fault with Israel's hurling weapons and killing Lebanese civilians. I have a lot of friends whose parents adn friends are under fire over there right now because Israel is too arrogant, stupid, or haughty to have just invaded southern Lebanon in the first place. Enough said to you. Don't post here again since you can't read.

    Don, thanks for the kind offer. I would indeed like that roll if you are willing to part with it. I'll PM you at a more orthodox hour tomorrow afternoon.

    Rick, you wouldn't happen to know where i could get either real boxes or really high res scans of old boxes. I think it'd be quite difficult to make a convincing box from a PDF printout.

    Bill, I hate Kodak's MANAGEMENT, and their recent decisions, but I still love their color films, and good old Tri-X & Kodachrome if they bother to keep making it. I know it's a crazy love-hate relationship. My friends who have worked for the big-K have similar contrary opinions of the company though, so I don't feel that I am THAT crazy ;-)

    Can anyone give me a yes no vote as to whether getting together on the eve of Pearl Harbor's day, dressing up in period attire, and paying tribute to those that paid their lives on that terrible day is glorifying war or a foolish thing to do "in the shadow of WWIII"?


  20. Well, if you're asking for opinions...

    If you think it is important, do it. The US is supposedly a free country, right? Plenty of people died to make it so.

    But if it were me, as the grandson of an Australian WW2 veteran, and as someone who has served on a peacekeeping operation (as an adviser, not a soldier, but I still worked hard and was shot at), I kind of think that spending the money on a donation to some charity that helps the victims of war would be a more fitting and lasting tribute to the memory of someone who had served/suffered in a previous war. There are certainly plenty of innocent children around the world right now who could use the help. Or veteran's groups if you prefer.

    Just my opinion, seeing as you asked.
  21. Dear Karl: I am of the same generation as your grandfather and I honor his sacrifice. However I fail to understand how my protest could be construed to relect the opposite when it was that respect which occasioned my protest. Having experienced the horrors that you so vehemently deplore I can only hope that today's generations will be spared the agony. Unfortunately it would appear that history may repeat itself with more uncertain outcome. Regards, Dan
  22. That was a very courteous reply, Dan, especially given the message that required it.
  23. Just to clarify a perhaps minor point: Kodachrome 64 was a post war product. During WWII Kodachrome had two different emulsions. Daylight Kodachrome had a Weston speed of 8, and Indoor Kodachrome had a Weston speed of 12. I used hundreds of rolls of this beautiful original Kodachrome while in high school during the war. The surviving slides are still beautiful.
  24. Dan, I apollogize for tearing into you like that. Your first post really rubbed me the wrong
    way though. IDK, maybe I will organize this event into some sort of fund-raiser for WWII
    vets eventually. For now it is too small, maybe 6-10 people will attend it this year. It is
    not like Civil War reenactment. I saw an episode of "The New Outer Limits" once where
    reenacctors went back to the Civil War and learned how the soldiers had been so
    traumatized that they had forgotten what they had started fighting for. I'm sure that all
    wars engender that feeling. I do not glorify war. The gathering's purpose is to draw
    attention to WWII and how the surviving veterans aren't given nearly as much attention on
    Pearl Harbor Day anymore. I'm 20, and everyone that does this is young too because we
    want to call attention to the almost inconceivable hardships that those then-young men
    and women went through for their country. I hope that you do not see anything wrong
    with that. In terms of WWIII, I hope not. There's no way of knowing for sure whether this
    crisis in Lebanon & Israel will continue, but I doubt it. I really wish that I could be there
    though, because network news does not do justice to the horrors of war. The clean,
    sensored, sanitized images streamed over the airwaves do little to arouse the attentions of
    an inattentive world audience, and that is a shame. While I probably should contribute
    more to peace efforts and organizations, I simply don't have the money for it. I am
    working hard to put a documentary on the middle east together, but that type of project
    will require at least 30K dollar for the film, travel, and crew.

  25. Tri-x was introduced in the early 1940's in sheet film. Its even listed in the Kodak books in the 1940's. Its the film some of us got cheap or free after WW2 in our 4H club "photo club". ROLL FILM TRI-X was what came out in the 1950's. Kodaks so dumb and stupid it doesnt even know its own history, and often lists the birth of tri-x as 1954, the same year trix the breakfast food came out. The notch code for tri-x sheet was once 3 notches, dah, what tri-x stands for.
  26. I'm similarly perplexed Kelly. I forget whether or not it was available in roll film, but I know
    for certain that it was around in '47 in sheet film. Of course, it isn't the same as what they
    have today. I think for some reason it was only rated at 200 then, and that is after the war,
    when speeds of films supposedly dropped because there was some short of silver rationing
    for the military. I also know that Kodachrome was restricted to military usage during the war
    as well. I'd probably be content with B&W since I'm sure teh price of a roll of Kodachrome
    would have been astronomical in '41. The navy was not using 35mm for anything other than
    movies, ID pictures, and Kodachrome (due to cost) as of '47, so I'm sure things were similar
    before the start.
  27. Thanks, Karl! - - - One thing we can agree on . . . Sherman was right!
  28. I think your cause is noble and I think it's very cool. You should definitely do it. Doing as much as possible with period materials is an interesting angle. I look forward to seeing the results.

    The "bleeding-heart liberal" comment was a little much, though. I don't know why it gets thrown around as an insult so much, especially between the Rio Grande and the 49th parallel. In Canada, the Liberals are a centrist party; the Democrats are right of centre. In any event, if I am a bleeding-heart liberal I wear the badge proudly. War is horrible and should be avoided whenever possible.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant - I abhor when that phrase is tossed as an insult. I think your photographic ideas here are extremely cool and if I lived physically closer, I'd risk coming to show you that liberals are good! Really, can a guy who has as much cool camera stuff as I have be bad? :)
  29. I think there are a lot of connotations and denotations associated with words like "conservative" and "liberal". Obviously, north of the border, liberal means something very very different than conservative. I don't think anyone is really all one or all the other. To me, "bleeding-heart liberals" are those that blindly support any change, bad or good. A photographic equivalent of this would be someone that blindly embraced earlier digital cameras solely because they were "new" and "different". I think blind devotion to change, along with a blind devotion to "justice" no matter how badly that that change interferes with the status quo, is a bad thing. For instance, a lot of liberals here accuse me of being an anti-semite for condemning the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. They forget that years ago Britain, the US, and other western countries basically came to Palestine and told those who had been living there for 1000 years, that they had to get out and give to land to the new state of Israel. No wonder the entire Arab world wants Israel gone (although I don't approve of their terrorism either)! Now, with that in mind, I do not have a problem with gay unions, civil rights, affirmative action, or even nationalized healthcare and environmental reform, but if any of those things are done in such a way to upset our society, displace businesses, cause more money to leave the country, then they have to be done slowly enough so as to minimize damage. I guess I am a conservative with some liberal leanings in terms of environment and societal causes.


  30. Dan... With all due respect, get off your damn high horse and cut the people that are trying to honor WWII vets some slack. Heaven knows there are precious few people that seem to remember our history anymore.

    Probably about time to drop off your camera gear at a scrap metal drive, and give up the wasteful hobby of photography.
  31. Belated comments (that no one will probably ever read!):
    It never ceases to amaze that with all the real time tragedy going on in the world today anyone would wish to re-enact an outrage that occurred more than a half century ago! It would have been ridiculous to re-enact the battle of Gettysburg while WW2 was demanding all our nation's resources, and equally so to re-enact WW2 events while WW3 is in its beginnings. Rather we should focus all resources attempting to solve current problems that can and may destroy civilization as we know it - - - Get real!
    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
    --George Santayana
    I think for some reason it was only rated at 200 then, and that is after the war, when speeds of films supposedly dropped because there was some short of silver rationing for the military.
    Nope. B&W film speeds were basically doubled across the board, it was in either '59 or '60 (I forget which year, it's been a while). No changes were made to the emulsions. The powers that be decided that there was enough of a "safety factor" (in terms of sufficient exposure) due to more accurate equipment and so forth, to allow the use of one stop less exposure. To this day, many folks continue to use the old speeds, which is to say they give one stop "overexposure" (set the meter to half of the "official" film speed), and perhaps 10 to 20 percent less development. This gives richer images with much smoother gradation, resulting in pictures that will sometimes look like they were shot on a larger format than actually used.
    Britain, the US, and other western countries basically came to Palestine and told those who had been living there for 1000 years, that they had to get out and give to land to the new state of Israel. No wonder the entire Arab world wants Israel gone
    A bit of a highly-charged overly-simplified and less than accurate explanation (and one that has more than a few echoes of cold-war agitprop as its origin).
    It's apparently easy to forget who it was that lived there for SEVERAL thousand years prior to the folks you reference above. I mean, c'mon, think about it -- Bethlehem is a "Palestinian" town? (And that's just one of several examples.)
    Then too, it's apparently easy to forget that the Jews bought land from the Arabs, who chose to sell it. And, as to the generally proferred trump card, the "refugees", it's also apparently easy to forget that the REASON they became "refugees" was because the surrounding Arab nations told them to skedaddle, so that they could attack the Jews (and, as with "The Mufti", promising them the land (that many of them had recently SOLD to the Jews) once the victory was at hand -- contingent of course on them booking out of Dodge).
    Since that point, the "refugees" have made a handy propaganda-pawn for those who have an agenda that boils down to "Jews in the sea." The "two-nation solution", funny thing -- the area began with a "two-nation solution" -- the two nations were called "Israel" and "Jordan". But, now, it's no longer sufficient for half (the far smaller "half") to belong to the Jews. They now have to give up half of their remaining "half" too. Keep it up, and, well, it's simple math, isn't it.
    Much of the grief in that region can be directly traced to two key players in the WWII and post-WWII timeframe -- the Germans (the Nazis were real tight with "The Mufti of Jerusalem", promising him lots of goodies if he'd help with "the final solution") -- and, the Soviets, who, in standard Marxist/Leninist doctrine, saw the middle-east as an ideal cauldron for "continuous revolution" (and a means to keep causing lots of grief for "the west").
    But, I digress (as well as veer off-topic). The mere fact that I needed to give the above concise explanations (for stuff that should be taught in the schools) is vindication of Santayana's axiom.

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