So my first roll of 120mm film has been developed…

A couple of weeks ago I blogged here about some old cameras and an even older guidebook. Last weekend, despite the shutter not working at anything less than 1/50 second I took my Granddad’s Rolleicord to a historical reconstruction event at Caldicott Castle. The event had battle re-enactments ranging from the medieval knights to second world war troops.

So, loading the film under the duvet to avoid any light leaking and shutting my thumb in the door I manage to load the film. Then I make my first mistake and throw away the silver wrapper. Rookie error! I take my normal camera so I can use that as a light meter and so I can take digital photos in case I ruined the film ones. Plus there was no way on earth I was going to be able to reload the Rolleicord on the move! Very carefully I start taking photos…


Now I feel like a right fool admitting this but I was really shocked when they came out in colour! I had always thought that 120mm was only ever in black and white, all the photos I have seen in 120mm are black and white! So when the proof came out in colour… well lets say rookie error number 2!

I have to say though, I am pretty pleased with the results, and (apart from trying to line up the composition through a mirror image) the camera was surprisingly easy to operate. The event was a perfect time for a trial run – if anyone understands the fascination in getting old things working again its groups of battle re-enactmenters!


Out of the 11 photo’s I got out of the roll, the shutter jammed on 1, 2 are a bit rubbish but the others are in the keep pile for sure. All the photos posted here are unedited – straight off the CD I had the images scanned onto. I have to admit I felt guilty wrapping the exposed film in a black plastic bag and 2 meters of packing tape to protect it after throwing the wrapping away. Which is testament to 2 things – the first is that I feel more relaxed about imperfect film shots than digital, and the second that I knew I only had 11-12 shots on that camera. I took longer to compose, longer to get the settings right and longer to think about my shots than I ever have done with a digital shot. Longer than I have with a 36 roll of 35mm film as well!


Now I know I am now officially in love with the Rolleicord, even if it does make me feel a bit seasick trying to frame images! And I think I have more interesting photos, more considered images from those 11 than I did from the 200 I took with the canon. So thats my lesson. Treat every shot like I only have 5 left. Treat every series of images like its gonna cost £10 to get developed and scanned. The ability to take as many images as I would like with instant feedback is priceless. But every now and again maybe I need to put a price on my images.



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