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1937 Kodak Vest Pocket 127

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Bought by my father in 1937 for his first voyage as a junior officer, it was passed on to me in 1956 when he upgraded to the Box Brownie.

Dad, 23 yrs, aboard the oil tanker 'Edwy R Brown', 1940

(a ship later sunk by a German pocket battleship)

My mother bought him the Brownie box camera because the pictures taken by this camera were 'so small'. She didn't understand (nor can she to this day) that the 'small' pictures they were getting was because they were being sold contact prints. (Why contact prints? Presumably so that no enlarger was needed. Contact prints were simple and cheap, whereas enlargements were labour intensive and expensive. It's hard for us to imagine how costly photography was in the '50's (or before) now that we're paying as little as 7p for a colour print. How the economics of photography have changed.)

Despite the smaller negative, this was the better camera, having a doublet lens as opposed to the Box's single meniscus lens. Very obvious now when photographs from it are scanned is that, despite twice the enlargement, it has better definition as well as almost no vignetting, whereas the box has both considerable vignetting and poor edge definition. Still, to this day, my mother thinks that the Box Brownie is the better camera - for which she paid 'a lot of money': 2 6s 5d (which included the 25% tax on a 'luxury item'), equivalent to 111 now.

my sisters and Teddy and me, 1955

The irony is that, by the '50's, he was a highly paid Trinity House pilot, so could easily have afforded any of the quality folding cameras, much less a simple Zeiss Nettar or Agfa Isolette. Unfortunately they were just not interested in photography and to spend 10-12 or so on a camera was unthinkable. (Although, to be fair, we must bear in mind that '10-12' was a professional wage at this time. An agricultural labourer's wage in 1956 was 7/1/- for a 47 hour week)

(pictures shown are the actual 127 contact prints: 2 1/2" x 1 5/8" when viewed on a 17" monitor)

 

click here to see photographs from
Dad's wartime voyages with his VP127 : 
sea breaking over bow of oil tanker in the North Atlantic in 1940

 

 

 

and now some pictures taken with it once it was mine:

 

The Queen visiting Rochester Cathedral, 1956

My first 'serious' photograph? I was 11 years old.

 

Due to it's waist level viewpoint I imagined at first that this was taken with the box camera. But no, the original is a 127 contact print, so I must have crouched down to shoot between two of her cadet force guard.

 

 

 

Aug '59  ~  Adirondacks tourist attraction

'Wyatt Earp' shooting apples

Timing took precedence over framing!

(framed correctly: shows how inaccurate a frame viewfinder could be - particularly when used in portrait format)

              

 

                     telescope on Whiteface Mtn summit - little girl looking down it       

 

August 1959  :  my sister Anne on Whiteface Mountain summit just north of Lake Placid

(a favourite picture of hers)

 

 

the Adirondack mountains, New York State Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mt lies north of Lake Placid - roughly at the 'e' of Saranac Lake the summit today showing that the telescope is still there
(photo 'borrowed' from Google Earth)

 

 

Anne on Whiteface summit: the original 620 contact print

 

 

 

Whiteface summit as it is today (photo by Adirondacks photographer Carl Heilman:  www.carlheilman.com)

 

 

This was taken by me in the mid-60's, location now forgotten. Romsey perhaps?

Click on it to see proof that the camera could produce an adequate 6"x9" print.

 

Kodak stopped producing 127 film in July 1995, with all but one manufacturer following suit shortly thereafter. That one was Efke of Croatia. In 2006 Bluefire Labs of Calgary began packaging colour print film from cut-down 120 stock and in 2009 Rollei introduced its 'Retro 80's' in 127 format. Seems there's still a lot of 127 cameras out there still in use!

www.camerapedia.org/wiki/127_film

www.onetwoseven.org.uk/articles/film/

Bluefire:  www.frugalphotographer.com/



         

            


to the Kodak Collection forward :  to Kodak Box Brownie model D
(the story continues)

 

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this page launched 8th Mar 2010  :   last modified 1st Oct 2011