Why did Kodak kill off Instamatic for Pocket Instamatic?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marc_rochkind, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Philip Greespun himself, in an article here on photo.net:

    http://www.photo.net/equipment/aps/

    tells the story thusly:

    "Every ten years or so, Kodak decides that 35mm film is too good for consumers. They do a survey and find that
    '97% of pictures never get enlarged beyond 4x6'. They conclude from this that the enormous 24x36mm swatch of film
    they've been selling you is excessive. Wouldn't you rather have half the image area? You'll barely notice the
    reduction in quality in a 4x6 print. And guess what, they'll charge you the same amount of money for film &
    processing despite the fact that they only have to use half the materials.

    "Kodak tried it in the 1970s with 110 cartridges. Image quality sucked so consumers rejected it. I've heard that
    the main reason for the bad quality was the lack of a pressure plate to keep the film flat."

    Indeed, looking at the Feb. 1975 issue of Popular Photography, I see an ad in the back listing 126 and 110 film
    for exactly the same prices, which would have made 110 much more profitable for Kodak, as Greenspun says.

    But, my understanding is that in 1972, when 110 was introduced, Kodak was still doing fine with Instamatic, and
    the film type had a lot of potential. Kodak itself had introduced an the Instamatic Reflex SLR in 1968 and Rollei
    introduced its SL126 in the same year. Since there was no end to the development of 35mm film cameras, I see only
    one reason why 126 cameras couldn't have also developed: the film flatness problem. And maybe that could have
    been solved, too.

    But 110 wasn't a solution to the flatness problem, as Greenspun says in his 2nd paragraph, above.

    Here are some not necessarily mutually exclusive reasons I've thought of for Kodak to go ahead and effectively
    kill off 126 with the introduction of 110:

    1. They really didn't make any money from cameras, especially Instamatics, so if people who wanted a 35mm-sized
    negative or slide just used 35mm, it made no difference to Kodak.

    2. Those that really just couldn't use 35mm, even with easy-loading systems like Canon's QL, could use the new 110.

    3. A whole lot of people might use 110 (turned out to be true), and that film would be much more profitable. (See
    above for why.)

    4. They really did think the loss in quality didn't matter, and the fact that it did was a huge failure for Kodak.

    5. For the market they were selling into, they thought even the smallest-possible Instamatics were too big to be
    pocketable. And pocketable was the key to getting more film exposed and processed.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts as to the relative importance of my #1 through #5, as well as any additions
    you can make. To keep the conversation focused, I request that you please keep the subject away from Disc, APS,
    and digital, unless such a reference is essential to your point.

    (Briefly, in my opinion, Disc was an utter fiasco and APS was terrific, but I did recently discover that, in the
    very same 1996 issue of Popular Science that introduced APS, Kodak itself ran an ad for a digital camera. So APS was
    terminal before it was born.)
     
  2. Well, as being one who lived through that process, sold cameras, and owned cameras, here is a thought or two:
    Kodak never really meant to make any money on the cameras; they wanted the processing business and that means volume is king. The 110 format was mechanically like the 126, so it did not solve the flatness issue; its intent was an easy-to-load, easy-to-carry, and cheap cameras. They were all of that, never mind the photo quality, which people didn't seem to mind.
    I had a Kodak Instamatic Reflex camera with a wonderful Schneider f/1,9 Xenon lens. It gave crisp and snappy clear images on the 126 film and the then-available Ektachrome 64 slides were grand. The whole 126 Instamatic line was foisted off on the public with the implication that the public was, on average, too stupid or too lazy to load a 35mm camera properly. Besides, most 35mm cameras were expensive and expensive costs volume. Back then, there were only metal-mechanical 35mm cameras like Zeiss, Leica, and Nikon. As a kid, I had an Ansco Regent (still have it). I paid $50.00 for it, used, in 1956. When the Instamatics came along, you could buy one for, IIRC, less than $20.00. They even had a plethora of graduated price levels, so that one could buy a crappy camera for more money, if one wanted.
    Prior to the advent of the 126 format, the only other options were 127, 120, and 620. I remember that film in the really old sizes, e.g. 116, was available quite late, but Kodak had run the course with variations, ad nauseam, on those sizes. It really has been a continual series of downsized cameras as film quality allowed smaller negative sizes.
    In the 1950s, Tri-X was a whole different film than it is now and grain was a real problem. By the time the smaller negative formats hit, films had improved to where small negatives were viable. Well, O.K., I know that does not account for the crappy cameras and crappy lenses, but that is the progression.
    Somewhere along in there, probably with the Instamatics, Kodak went to moulded plastic lenses instead of glass. That really didn't help much. When the dealers and the public found out about the cheap plastic lenses, there was some B.S. propaganda spread to cover it over. Some people even bought the nonsense and there was , for a short while, a step in the price-step progression where one could get a glass-lensed camera. What this overlooks is that many of the manufacturers of cheap cameras had, for a long time, perfected the art of making a relatively cheap, barely-passable, glass lenses and that some of the better plastic lenses were their equal, just cheaper to manufacture.
    Hoe that helps.
     
  3. Thanks, George!
     
  4. There's something wrong with Reason #1.<br>Kodak made incredibly large heaps of money selling Instamatic. It was their single biggest commercial succes in the photography market. They sold over 70 millions (70,000,000 !) 126 Instamatic cameras in the 1960s. You can imagine how many films went through these thingies (the average 35 mm film user went through 4 films a year. Instamatics users used double that per year).<br><br>A huge part of what made 126 Instamatics a hit was the relative ease of use, compared to the box cameras of the time. "Project 13" was also known as "Easy load", and people who didn't like loading 35 mm film would have had (and indeed had) a feast using the Instamatic cartridge.<br>So Reason #2 does not appear right either.<br><br>Which also takes care of Reason #3.<br><br>Reason #4 sounds right.<br><br>Reason #5 is a bit too far fetched.<br><br>The return of the Instamatic, the Disc camera, in the 1980s was an attempt to turn bad times into good ones by redoing what they had done so well before. Though they sold 25,000,000 of these thingies, it failed to match the 126 Instamatic. In large part because consumer 35 mm film and especially consumer 35 mm cameras had been moving along towards being better too (easy to use, full automatic, AF P&Ss). Those 35 mm P&Ss held more promise, and Kodak's (though no longer a camera made by Kodak) VR35 took over. In part too because the photofinishing industry liked 35 mm film more than disc too.<br>But i think it likely that the gap between 35 mm (and 126 Instamatic) quality and Pocket Instamatic quality already was a bit too much back ten too. So Reason #4 has my vote.
     
  5. Maybe the loss of quality issue was intended to prepare the public for the crappy digital images that would come out of the first of the crappy digital cameras. These crappy digital cameras were in the works for a long time, which gave them ample time to prepare the public for the "Real Loss". Those first digitals were really really bad, and they knew it, but how do you convince the public to buy that kind of crap unless they were already used to "good enough" or even "poor" quality. I think it was all planned long before the digitals hit the market.
     
  6. A friend of my Dad, now long since retired from Great Yellow Father, was in the manufacturing design group in Rochester. He had said numerous times that the hurdle of 126 Kodapak cameras and films was that the technology at the time couldn't reliably position the film at the gate within a reasonable level of tolerance AND keep it flat. Mass-production stamping of parts for the cameras and plastic injection molding for the Kodapak cartridges was just a case of bad tolerances on top of worse.
    If you have an old low-end Instamatic and an old cartridge, stick it in the camera and feel the play along the lens longitudinal axis. Now close the film door and you'll still feel some play.
    Attempts to produce a top end series (the 700, 701,704, 800, 801 and 804) gave the user better optics (Ektanar) and a rangefinder on the 800 series. The German-manufactured models (250 and 500) gave you Schneider glass and were surprisingly sharp. Had Tri-X been a readily-available option at the time, perhaps the extra 2 stops could have helped.
    I have a 500 and it can go full manual with pushed Tri-X, but haven't really done anything with it for almost 40 years.
    Similar things happened in the auto industry, with the "all-new" 2.8 liter V-6 in the 1974 Mustang II Mach I. Block was from Brazil, heads from France, valves and guides from Mexico and all the other gizmos from USA. Ran perfectly for 12,107 miles until it seized just out of warranty. Every step in the manufacturing process was working to a different set of tolerances apparently.
     
  7. Good historic résumés, one and all. From my in-lab experiences, I'd agree that Kodak were never interested in camera sales, other than as a medium to stimulate the sale of film, as their profit was in film and processing supplies. Kodak produced a few quality 126 cameras to maintain a presence in the marketplace, but they were few and far between. We found that there was also a distinct consumer preference for rectangular prints, and at the same price a 6 x4 inch print looked far better value than the 4x4 inch print from the 126 format. The 110 format produced much the same print size as 35mm though the quality was generally lousy, but it always amazed me how many customers were delighted with their results. 127 format hung in there for quite some time after 126 came on the market, and some of the high-end 127 cameras produced great quality.
    Disc was laughable, with some of the worst BS marketing I've ever seen, with photolabs being encouraged to invest in expensive processing components. We resisted and outsourced the very few Discs we'd get for processing. But it was the Great Age of Miniaturization, and this contributed to the demise of 126, with both 110 and Disk being much smaller cameras, "pocket-able and purse-able". Soon the small 35mm plastic P&S cameras made their appearance, and dominated the market from then on, with the APS format sounding the Swan Song of consumer film. Often overlooked, APS could have been a great success had it not been for the Digital Revolution, with some of the most beautiful little cameras I've encountered being produced in this format.
    I have a few very nice 126 cameras, and I'd love to find a few cassettes of 126 film so I could try them out. Ferrania, the last producers of 126, quit production a few years ago, and the stuff in now as rare as the proverbial Hens' Teeth....
     
  8. Very interesting. My dad and I kept up with camera development through his subcription to Popular Photography. By the time Tri-X did become available there were few cameras that could take advantage of it. Cameras that couldn't utilize the faster films exposed at E.I. 64 to accomadate the Kodachrome-X and Ektachrome-X. Kodacolor-X (then an ASA 80 film) would simply be exposed at E.I. 64 without a problem. Verichrome Pan, though, was definitely overexposed by a full stop. I had an Instamatic 124 and when I learned to develop film I would cut the time a bit for less grain. High Speed Ektachrome cartridges had a notch to key in an E.I. of 160 for proper exposure. Tri-X cartridges had the same notch so it was also exposed at E.I. 160. I'm sure there were ways to compensate or possibly some people just pulled the film a bit in processing.
    A similar scheme went into 110 cartridges. E.I. 64 for slides and film latitude carried the ISO 80 (later ISO 100) Kodacolor II and ISO 125 Verichrome Pan. When Kodacolor 400 became available, the cartridges were notched for an E.I. 250 rating rather than the full 400. This presumably made for a bit less grain since the Kodacolor 400 of that day was much grainer than 400 print film today.
    A note about 127- In the late 1950's one photo magazine (sorry don't rememeber which one) was touting 127 as "the format of the future."
     
  9. 110 cameras are smaller. That's it. Kodak figured if they could introduce a film format to make the camera small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or a ladies' purse, the result would be more pictures, which would require more film, which would mean more money for Kodak. The smaller size didn't matter when it came to picture quality.
    As Cliff and Rick have already stated, the vast majority of people are satisfied with picture quality that would horrify us photo.net members. The difference today is that most of those crappy pictures are taken with cellphones, with the rest being digital p&s cameras.
    The whole "film flatness issue" is an internet myth, repeated ad infinitum until it's come to be accepted as fact. Yes, many 126 cameras were indifferently designed and assembled, but I have a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126 which takes excellent photos and has no issue with film flatness. Again, for most cameras, and most (snapshot) photographers, flatness didn't make any difference in a poorly composed, under/overexposed picture of Aunt Martha standing next to her Hupmobile.
     
  10. The 110 cameras were easier to take with you, and the goal of that was to convince the consumer to do that and take more (profitable) pictures.
    Also, remember that the norm at the time was 3x3 inch prints from 126, and 3x5 inch prints from 110. With quarter inch white margins. It wasn't until the 1990's that 4x6 inch borderless prints became the new normal.
    Also, as a positive, remember that 110 is the reason Kodak invested in C-41 film (Kodacolor II) to replace C-22. Without that motivation, we might well still be trapped in C-22 processing. The independent labs sued Kodak (antitrust) over C-41, and it's why they didn't do a better job with E-6, didn't use CD6 (color developer 6) in it. The changes in E-6 were restricted by the threats of that lawsuit. (CD6 only got used in K14.)
     
  11. @Q.G.: "Kodak made incredibly large heaps of money selling Instamatic. It was their single biggest commercial succes in the photography market. They sold over 70 millions (70,000,000 !) 126 Instamatic cameras in the 1960s. You can imagine how many films went through these thingies (the average 35 mm film user went through 4 films a year. Instamatics users used double that per year)."

    I'm trying to tease out of the great Instamatic success in terms of sales two elusive pieces, which the others here have shed some light on: (1) Were those 70 million sales profitable enough, considering Kodak's needed investment in camera R&D, tooling, labor, shipping, etc., etc., and (2) separating camera sales from film sales. Shick gave away the razor to sell the blades, Apple gives away the tunes to sell the devices, and so on. I'm trying to understand what Kodak's balance or lack of it was.

    The trick of slicing the film in half and keeping the price the same (as Greenspun has pointed out) seems very compelling...
     
  12. (2) separating camera sales from film sales​
    Well, in regards to that point, Kodak was never interested in making money from the sales of film cameras. I have and use a Kodak Chevron, which is an excellent medium format rangefinder, with construction and finish to rival almost any camera of its day...but it was designed to take 620 film, a proprietary Kodak size. The whole point of designing and marketing that camera (like any Kodak camera) was to sell more film.
     
  13. Well, it's been fun to get through this one. One person wrote that Tri-X was not readily available in 126, but I shot the stuff many times. It is probable that local dealers simply did not carry it. It had a drawback and that was that the Instamatics, including my Reflex, only had limited (then) ASA capability. The people who shot Tri-X relied on its ability to be shot within the ASA limits of the camera and still yield a usable image with commercial procissing.
    You had better believe that Kodak made a bunch of money on the Instamatic line, an incredible amount. Still, Kodak's, main interest was in the processing where they (at the time) had scant competition. It was not long, however, until others caught on and more of them offered competition.
     
  14. Kodak built and sold cameras since they were called Kodak. And they certainly did so to earn a penny or two. Make no mistake!<br><br>And don't forget that back then there were many different film formats (as many almost as there were cameras).
     
  15. This feeling of 35mm not being likely to "last" is something that went back to the early days of the film size at Kodak, as discussed at some length in Glass, Brass, & Chrome: The American 35mm Miniature Camera by K.C. Lahue and J.A. Bailey.
    The Retina was made in Germany and it took a while for Kodak to make a 35mm camera in the US. Even then they tried 828, and the later cartridge systems, which Lahue and Bailey interpret as a symptom of their lack of faith in getting sharp pictures out of such a small negative/slide.
     
  16. One subject not mentioned and of interest is the after effect of "dead" formats. For instance, Kodak introduced 828 film, made a line of cameras, supported them for a while, then quit. Now, the question is, how much does it cost Kodak to continue supporting a discontinued film size years after it is over? I recall finding 122 film in 1974 in the close out bin of a local camera shop in Utica. Certainly 122 cameras, particularly the Kodak 3A, had been discontinued since around 1950. I suppose as long as the machinery is in place and has been already paid for (written off the books) and the sales demand is there it goes on.
    As for 126, that was a time when we were not photo savvy. We had our bottom of the line Instamatic and were happy with it. Never noticed the photos as being unsharp. We thought it was great that technology had finally invented an instant loading camera. In fact we upgraded to a Yashica Instamatic with the 2.8 lens and did note the enlargements were "soft" but it might be camera shake or poor focusing that were to blame. When I did get a bit more into cameras I was interested in getting a 126 SLR. I think I wanted the Ricoh 126C Flex. Eventually I knew enough to not want an Instamatic anything anymore. Ironically, I have two Kodak Instamatic Reflexes now both given to me and I did find a Ricoh 126. Awful build quality that Ricoh. The 110 Kodak we did eventually get gave fuzzy photos and we used it only once. The Minolta 110 (440E) was better but not much.
    Kodak might be gauled to know my auntie still took the Instamatic we gifted her with (Sears/Ricoh F2.8 Automatic) to the drug store to have the guy load it for her.
     
  17. This has been an excellent thread. I've especially appreciated the astute historical, marketing and engineering insights. I worked in photo retail for K-Mart in the seventies and saw much of what has been described here.
     
  18. In my collection I have a number of 126 and 110 cameras. The best 126 camera I have is a Minolta Autopak 700. It looks just like a 35mm rangefinder and has a perfectly good lens. It's hard to think of just how expensive that Minolta was when it was introduced. Not long ago I bought a Nikon F90X in excellent condition for $27. For the person who was inclined to use 126 film a camera like the Autopak 700 or Instamatic Reflex was just too expensive. These cameras were mostly curiosities and sold in small numbers. By about 1972 there were many 35mm SLR cameras with relatively easy loading and a more reasonable price than an Instamatic Reflex. These included the Minolta SRT 100, Konica Autoreflex A, Canon TL/QL, Pentax SP 500 etc.
    There were many good 110 cameras even if some were expensive. I have the Trimlite 48 with the excellent 26mm (?) f/2.7 lens and RF focusing, the Pentax Auto 110 with both 18mm lenses, the 24 and the 50, the Minolta 110 zoom SLR , the Canon 110 ED and a host of other bar shaped 110 cameras. I do not find that film flatness is a problem in any of my 110 cameras. In general I find the construction of the better 110 cameras to be better than that of the better 126 cameras. With the 126 format you had a lot of poorly made equipment combined with poor processing and poor shooting technique. Just pressing the shutter button gently improved most 126 shots with the less expensive cameras. With the 110 format the poor results were more often the fault of processing than of the equipment or how it was used. I learned from the pre-110 days of using my Minolta 16 PS that good quality can come from small formats but it will only exist if great care is taken. When it is working properly, a camera like the Yashicamat 124G I bought in High School beats the pants off of all 126 and 110 cameras and most 35mm ones too. I would still like to have some Ektar 100 to shoot in my Trimlite 48 (if the battery is still good).
    The Disk (disc?) format was bad from the beginning but research on improved film for it eventualy helped users of other formats. When APS came out I had no interest in it but years later when the equipment became cheap I bought some and had fun with it. I especially like the 20-60 ix Nikkor on a Promea S. I also have a 6i but it is more complicated to use than it needs to be. The zoom lenses for the Pronea cameras are all very slow so I compensated for that by usng 800 speed film while it was available. You could do a lot with the APS format with a little patience. High processing costs did not help the format. If 110 processing had been better it would have made an even more sensible replacement for the 126 format. The tremendous depth of field offered by the short lenses helped more people get sharp photos even with fixed focus cameras.
     
  19. The same marketing techniques exist today, particularly in the field of domestic inkjet printers. I'm always amused, in a disgruntled sort of way, that I can buy a competent printer for $99 and a black ink refill cartridge costs me $35....While I'm sure Kodak made money out of camera sales, I suspect it pales into insignificance when compared to the profits from film and processing.
     
  20. yes very good thread. The orphan film sizes is a very sad thing for some of us.
    Thoughts on how to make a hack to still use these old cameras always has some problem.
    aps- forget it it will die and the cameras will be tossed.
    the 126 and 110 are close behind in obsolescence.
    at least 126 is 35mm wide and the prong is the only problem.
    the 620/120 616/116 is was a pure scam.
    I have a few offballs on m,y collection but try to stay with 35mm
    as it will be the last to go away.
     
  21. Remember the strange battery that Kodak 110 cameras took? K size or whatever it was called? In the '70s I dumped my 110 for a half-frame 35mm. Not quite as pocketable, but way better results.
     
  22. And the photo magazines sometimes built up these new formats leading many to be disappointed after trying them. For example, in 1972 one magazine had an article with a title somewhat like this: Will 110 kill 35mm? (Sorry don't remember exact title). Similar comparisons were made between APS and 35mm.
     
  23. As a former camera seller like George, I have a slightly different take on the camera/film market of the 1970s. The Instamatic and Pocket Instamatic lines of cameras, film and processing were just an extension of the 127/120/620 box camera lineage for the family snapshooter. The 35mm shooter was in a class by himself, and it wasn't a very big one until Canon introduced the AE-1 and began a heavy TV advertising campaign. Pentax, Olympus, Nikon, Minolta and Konica all followed suit with easy-to-use, heavily advertised automatic 35mm cameras. Consumers (family snapshooters) no longer believed the 35mm camera to be too technically sophisticated for their casual use.
    In the United States, 35mm cameras began selling at 10 times, 20 times, 100 times more than their pre-AE-1, pre-TV advertising rates. The sales increases were astounding. No longer was 35mm only for the sophisticated serious hobbyist. Everyone could own 35mm cameras and get great shots. Who needs Instamatic? And that's the way I saw it.
     
  24. And now we have cameras (ha ha) in cell phones. I laugh but I admit to being somewhat hooked. Image quality isn't the only reason for popularity.
     
  25. In the last 2 or 3 weeks, I have purchased 2 126 cameras, and an 8x10 (and, of course, 15+ 35mms). The 126s are a top-of-the-line Kodak Retina Reflex and an Argus (Instant Load 270), that fairly scream quality and design. The 8x10 is wood, beat-up, has a mis-matched back and a broken rear extension. I post more photos here than anywhere else, at 700 dpi (!). Which one of the 3 do you think I'm keeping?
    I understand, and I'm sure Kodak's marketing department understood, that I am not the profitable photo gear purchaser. The fact that I have bought more cameras in the last year than most people do in their lifetimes notwithstanding, I haven't bought my cameras at a drug-store, a Wal-Mart, or a big box electronics store. Nor do I buy supplies at retail outlets. My opinion is irrelevant to a marketer, regardless of what I may or may not know about picture quality and materials, and no matter how much money I spend. My brother, who couldn't take a decent picture if his life depended on it, has bought into every generation of p&s film camera, followed by a dozen or so digitals in the last few years. They market to him, not to me. What will he buy? Whatever is 'in', whatever has a shiny package and promises to fix his lack of talent, whatever was in the in-flight magazine or on Oprah or wherever the hell people follow trends.
    I'm guessing he's already put his money down for a Lytro.
     
  26. The way people typically held the 110 film cameras while shooting made camera shake almost automatic.
     
  27. Will wrote: "...As a former camera seller like George, I have a slightly different take on the camera/film market of the 1970s. The Instamatic and Pocket Instamatic lines of cameras, film and processing were just an extension of the 127/120/620 box camera lineage for the family snapshooter. The 35mm shooter was in a class by himself, and it wasn't a very big one until Canon introduced the AE-1 and began a heavy TV advertising campaign. Pentax, Olympus, Nikon, Minolta and Konica all followed suit with easy-to-use, heavily advertised automatic 35mm cameras. Consumers (family snapshooters) no longer believed the 35mm camera to be too technically sophisticated for their casual use."
    Yes, I can agree with most of that. However, I am sure, by what you say, that your market and mine were very different. My market sold mostly the low-end stuff. While that was going on, my bother-in-law bought a Minolta SRT101 and I lusted after an SLR like his. I had my Agfa folder and that was going to be my only decent 35mm camera until the 80s, when I bought a Canon F1-N. The 1970s Instamatic Reflex took a lot of pictures, though.
     
  28. Yeah, I see your point. But I wasn't talking about your market or my market -- rather just trying to generalize the U.S. market in macro from the eyes of a 1970s Pentax sales rep. I loved my Instamatic Reflex, by the way.
     
  29. I've always figured that one of the reasons for making formats smaller (e.g. 110 and disc) is because a smaller format uses a shorter focal length lens, making it easier to combine fixed focus and reasonable depth of field with relatively fast speeds at cheap cost.
     
  30. Thanks Marc R for starting the thread, and others for your contributions.

    (I should have subscribed to this thread much earlier.)
     
  31. I have worked for Fuji TruColor processing and as a contract rep for Kodak in the past, and have been shooting the old cameras for the past year. My thinking is that Kodak liked to come up with a new film size fairly regularly in an attempt to shake off the competition, and to sell more cameras. They had several film sizes going in the 1950s to early 60s. People did love that 110 for its compactness. Until just last year Walmart carried 110 film even though they hated it. I hated processing & printing it too, but people kept sending in just enough rolls to keep it going. I have a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash and DuaFlex III. The prices Kodak charged for these well styled "toy cameras" was pretty high at the time. These things really weren't much different inside than the cameras they made in the teens and 20s. Few customers really cared about anything beyond a 3x5 print. I sometimes had to print an 8x10 from a 110 (LOL!) and customers were shocked at how bad they looked! A small print hides a lot of blur. I do think it's sad that film such as 116 and a few others that were even earlier aren't available as there are some very substantial cameras made for those sizes. The junky cameras of the 60s and 70s though aren't good performers. They were made for styling. Take a look at a Kodak DuaFlex sometime--they were styled to look like an expensive TLR, but in reality they worked the same as a box camera from the 20s. Do not underestimate the importance to Kodak of introducing new film sizes as a way to pump up both film and camera sales to the general public. They could also sell new processing machines (major money) to film processing centers. I was there when they installed APS volume processors at Fuji TruColor and the cost of those things were just obscene! Not sure the place I worked ever recovered that cost either as digital was hot on its heels. The place has been gone for over 8 years now, but once did 8,000 to 20,000 rolls per night.
    Kent in SD
     
  32. As a lad in the 80's I used a 110 camera and looking back at those prints now they range from 'just about all acceptable' to 'downright terrible'. I blamed the 110 film and small negative area however my recent 110 project where I used top of the range 110's from Canon, Kodak and Minolta yeilded some of the crispest photos I have taken - and I had a really nice 20" print made from my Kodak Trimlite 48. This print displays fine detail and edge to edge sharpness and is a delight to see.
     
  33. Never had to bother with 110 or 126 when they were at their peak but bought a couple of 110 cameras late;y, mainly because they can be reloaded. The Rollie cameras are top quality stuff with excellent lenses and I checked that the spring on the back pushes the cartridge forward onto the film gate. I have been quite amazed at the detail in long distance shots even with el cheapo C-41 film.The Auto Pentax and Minolta Zoom are in the same category.
    From time to time I see unperforated 35mm discussed and it would seem a keen user could reload them, too.
    Kodak really were notorious for introducing a 'new' film and expecting other manufacturers to follow suit - and they did. Usually with a better product. The sad story is Kodak then abandoned the format and went on to something else leaving the field for others to pick up. This has finally come back to bite them. Nobody trusts them any more.
    I often wonder if the Vest Pocket was intended to go the same way? 127 with 16 on predated the 35mm and kept on for for many years. I have a couple of 127s here. The baby 4x4 is the most popular. Only 12 on, but fun, anyway, but did Kodak actually think it would 'take off' so? I suspect not.
    I picked up a Kodak 110 plastic camera for $2 the other day and probably paid too much for it but will play with it using slit film or whatever and just have some innocent fun. Can't expect much for all that money! :) Would a piece of foam push that cart firmly onto the gate?
    I also use 16mm reloads in 110 cassettes - you just have to know the workarounds to use it in certain cameras. 126 is a whole different beast unless you can accept the perf holes.
    Thanks for a fascinating thread, one and all.
     
  34. Never had to bother with 110 or 126 when they were at their peak but bought a couple of 110 cameras lately, mainly because they can be reloaded. The Rollie cameras are top quality stuff with excellent lenses and I checked that the spring on the back pushes the cartridge forward onto the film gate. I have been quite amazed at the detail in long distance shots even with el cheapo C-41 film.The Auto Pentax and Minolta Zoom are in the same category.
    From time to time I see unperforated 35mm discussed and it would seem a keen 126 user could reload them, too?
    Kodak really were notorious for introducing a 'new' film and expecting other manufacturers to follow suit - and they did. Usually with a better product. The sad story is Kodak then abandoned the format and went on to something else leaving the field for others to continue. This formula has finally come back to bite them. Nobody trusts them any more.
    I often wonder if the Vest Pocket was intended to go the same way? 127 with 16 on predated the 35mm with almost the same film area and it kept on for for many years. I have a couple of 127s here. The baby 4x4 is the most popular. Only 12 on, and fun anyway, but did Kodak actually think 127 would 'take off' so spectacularly? I suspect not.
    I picked up a Kodak 110 plastic camera for $2 the other day and probably paid too much for it but will play with it using slit film or whatever and just have some innocent fun. Can't expect much for all that money! :) Would a piece of foam push that cart firmly onto the gate? Easy to experiment.
    I also use 16mm reloads in 110 cassettes, as it's the same width and you just have to know the workarounds to use it in certain cameras. 126 is a whole different beast unless you can accept the perf holes.
    Thanks for a fascinating thread, one and all.
     
  35. A 126 instamatic wasn't a bother, Murray. Compared to the Agfa Clacks, the Baby Brownies and other 'box' cameras that were still very much in use at the time, it was a refreshing new thing that made a lot of difference. The image quality those other amateur cameras produced wasn't that great. And many offered even less control over exposure than the Instamatics did.<br>They were easy to use and produced good photographs. Hence their unparalled success.
     
  36. Oh yes, QG. There have been all sorts of cameras foist on the public, but we still keep them alive for no reason at all except it's fun. I've got my own lemons here, don't worry. A Bencini 127 looks great but the results aren't too great to match the looks. A Baby Brownie for old time's sake. An Agfa Rapid x 2 (now there's an orphan) You get the picture. Hey - it's all about enjoying yourself and not getting too serious.
     
  37. Call me cynical if you wish but I believe the purpose of introducing a new film format (as it is with audio recording formats) is to get you to buy new equipment. I'd be surprised if Kodak didn't make a mile-high pile of money off those cheap little cameras. Cheap to buy = even cheaper to make.
     
  38. For reloaders I have heard the Kodak 110 cameras needed the single sprocket hole to stop the film advance but the Minoltas didn't need that to stop advancing.
    Aside from that, if anyone knows where to unload 5 yellow Minolta underwater 110s, let me know.
     

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