I have owned and used many different types of medium format cameras (TLR, SLR, folder, rigid body rangefinder), and I enjoy all of them for different reasons. But this article is specifically about medium format folders, which provide a large negative in a compact and travel friendly form factor. Sometimes they are not much bigger or heavier than a 35mm rangefinder, while producing almost six times the film area.
Some of us know Kodachrome from the iconic Afghan Girl photo by National Geographic’s Steve McCurry. Some of us might even have watched the 2017 movie of the same name, about an estranged son trying to develop the last few rolls of exposed Kodachrome from his late father. Some of us, lucky enough, might have even shot, developed and marvelled at those glorious Kodachrome slides on a light table or through a projector.
But Kodachrome is no more: Kodak stopped its production in 2009, while Dwayne’s (the last lab that processed Kodachrome, and featured in the movie) ran out of K-14 chemistry in 2010. So it became more a memory of the past, like many other discontinued film stocks. But Kodachrome holds a special place in many photographer’s hearts, a nostalgic milestone in the photographic journey.
Then I found 6 rolls of Kodachrome.
Recently I acquired some expired B&W film. I have heard about this film before, but never tried. It was the Kodak Plus-X in 4×5 sheets, which expired in 1981. Plus-x was an ISO 125 general purpose fine grain film, much loved by photographers but unfortunately discontinued in 2011. I guess the available equivalent might be Ilford FP4+?