One thing that has really caught my interest in the past few years are the old Kodak 620 film cameras and the 8mm and Super 8mm cameras. I go to antique malls to scope out some of these old cameras, but I also shop around on the web for them. I currently have two Kodak 620 film cameras. One is 1940s-50s Kodak Brownie Target Six-20. It is a very clean and mechanically sound camera. The viewfinders were a little hazy and dirty, but I managed to clean them up and now I can actually see through them. I have not loaded or shot any pictures out of this camera, but I hope to soon. The other camera I have is a Kodak Duaflex III from the 1950s. This one is also in very good condition and works very well. I have loaded this camera twice and have had 24 pictures developed from it. The pictures turned out fairly decent for an old camera. The only downside with these cameras is that the film is discontinued…sort of. The difference, from what I understand, is that the 620 and 120 cameras had different spool sizes. The film is the same, but the spool size is different. The film I get for the camera has been taken from a 120 spool and spooled onto a 620 spool, which jacks the price up. I go through a company called B&H located in New York. They have color and black and white, but I prefer black and white. The great thing about the film is that you can send it out to be developed through any chain store that provides those services. It takes about 2 weeks and $10, but it is pretty easy.
My other adventure in old film is with the motion picture cameras. I was a little quick to jump on this before doing enough research and I got invested in some 8mm equipment, which was replaced with Super 8mm in the mid 1960s. So, once again I was in a hobby that was hard to get the equipment for. I found an awesome Kodak Brownie Movie Camera II. I found the camera on ebay for a low price and in amazing condition. It was in the original box with the instructions and a comment card that you could send back to Kodak. All of this was in mint condition, and there was even film loaded in it! I had to do some serious digging to find some film for this camera though. I found two places out in California that sold and developed the film. They both had a package deal where you could buy the film with developing for $30. The two places that I found were Yale Film and Video and Spectra Film and Video. I went with Yale, but both have similar prices and services. I got some 8mm film ( 8mm and Super 8 are completely different…they will not interchange in these cameras) and loaded my camera, which is tricky and can lead to troubles which happened to my second batch of film, but more on that later. I made the unfortunate mistake, because I grew up in the digital age, of opening my camera half way through the spool! BIG MISTAKE! When I had the film developed there were burn marks in the film.
I have to send my 8mm film out to California to get developed. Once the films is developed, you need a movie projector to view it, unless you have it converted onto a DVD. I found a projector at an antique mall nearby. It was marked at $40 but the lady sold it to me for $15 just to get rid of it. GREAT DEAL! It is a Keystone Model D projector from the 1950s. It has a rewind feature, speed adjustment and a way to stop the film for a freeze frame. This unit works great for showing the film I have. After seeing that my hobby was working I attempted to shoot another spool of film. With 8mm cameras you had to re-spool the camera after you shot the first half. When I re-spooled it something went crazy after I had closed the camera. When I thought I had finished my whole roll and tried to take it out it was unrolled and jammed in the inside of my camera. It was all exposed to light when I was trying to get it out of the camera. I was very disappointed because I had some neat action shots of our tractors on there. That is the chance you take with filming in this format.
Here is the clip from my first and only 8mm film reel shot with my Kodak Brownie Movie Camera II. I put a digital camera next to the projector while I was watching it and uploaded it to my computer. There is no sound on these old movies. When you see the picture cutting in and out that is the part of the film that was exposed to light when I decided to open my camera halfway through the spool.