In a previous post, I didn’t mention that my very first personal camera is the Kodak Instamatic 155x that Dad brought me during a summer camp in 1972. After six years of school and/or summer pics I made my debut in the Canon FD world, but sometimes insisted with 126’s, when they were still available – so naïve with their nice square frame. Wisely, I tried to save a couple of shells for possible refill, but actually I never decided to use them, and the 155x is still waiting on a shelf.
Last April, at the end of a short GAS relapse, I saw an almost perfect Instamatic 500, with clean collapsible Schneider Xenar 38/2.8 in Compur mount, reliable coupled Se meter, and even a fine chrome-reinforced case. I couldn’t resist and had to invest 15€ in a massive, almost unusable, 1965-born jewel.
So I spent other bit of money for a sealed 126, an Ilfocolor HR 100 expired in 1987 and possibly badly stored. Instead of simply opening the shell under a comfortable light, throwing away the film, I decided to use it @ 25 ISO, on the day we were touched by the Giro d’Italia.
I then developed it in C41 (risking my fingers in the dark, with a trusty cutter blade). It came out greenish black with some barely perceptible coloured shapes. Busy and disappointed, I left both the film and the exoskeleton alone.
Now on holiday, I’m betting on the refill experience. I loaded a strip of FP4+ to use it @ 200. The 500 has some erratic advancement problems (have a couple of ideas to fix them), but shows very good results, even with jammed frames. This crispy lens deserves a fresh vivid colour film.
Semi-sprocketed frames really don’t annoy me, and I hope that both the Square Sisters will soon be back in town.
And the old negative? I asked for a miracle, presenting the strips to The Silverfast Soul Of The Mighty V700, and a miracle happened. Blistered, foggy and faded, but – yes! – readable.
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