Difference between revisions of "127 film"

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Revision as of 19:58, 16 April 2011

For cameras using 127, see the Category: 127 film.

The 127 film is a paper-backed rollfilm, 4.6cm wide, originally designed to take eight pictures in 4x6.5cm format. It was created by Kodak for their Vest Pocket model - hence 127 was often called Vest Pocket film. Many of the first generation of 127 film cameras were similar folders, and frequently inherited Vest Pocket or VP in their names - for example the Dolly Vest Pocket. See Category: 4x6.5.

In 1930, during the Great Depression, the camera makers tried to economize on the use of film, and cameras began to appear taking 16 exposures in 3x4cm format on the 127 film, the first one being the Zeiss Ikon Kolibri. See Category: 3x4. These cameras often used dual red windows, where a particular frame number on the film backing paper was advanced to appear first in one, then the other window.

In Japan, the 127 film was called "Vest film" (ベストフィルム; Besuto firumu) until approximately the 1950s, because the film was introduced for the Vest Pocket camera.

In the 1950s there was a short revival of the 127 film with cameras designed to take 12 exposures in 4x4cm format. Several firms produced high-quality cameras, primarily twin-lens reflexes, in this format. The film was available in color slide emulsions, and the resulting 4x4cm slides could be projected in a normal projector designed for 24x36mm slides. They were advertised as Superslide. Kodak made such a range of very basic cameras. Rollei made a more advanced Rolleiflex Baby camera until the beginning of the 1960s. Togudu and Yashica in Japan produced outstanding examples. See Category: 4x4.

After the 1960s, 127 film declined in popularity as camera manufacturers focused on 35mm. Kodak ended production of 127 in 1995 and other major manufacturers immediately followed.

Fotokemika in Croatia was an exception, and it is still making the highly-regarded "Efke" brand 127 black and white film R100 (this was originally an Adox film, licenced by Fotokemika in 1970[1]); an infra-red film IR820 has been made in 127 size, though it is not widely available.

In 2006, Bluefire in Canada began manufacturing 127 C-41 color print films which are made using film stock from major factories, which is machine-rolled onto custom-manufactured spools and backing paper.

Several films are marketed under the Rollei brand; in fact the film is made by or for the trading company Hans O. Mahn[2]; the company has no relation to Rollei/Franke & Heidecke, makers of Rolleiflex cameras, but has licensed the name. Their black-and-white film, Retro 80S, is an Agfa aerial-photography film. Other 127 film types have been introduced for novelty uses: an E6 colour reversal film is sold as 'Crossbird', the available information encouraging C41 'cross-processing', though 'Superslide' mounts are sold alongside it. 'Nightbird' is ISO 500-800 C41 negative film, but spooled 'back to front', giving unusual colour effects. Mahn also sells a normal colour negative 127 film, Macocolor UCN200, though this now appears to be limited to old, expired stock.

Dick Haviland, a retired Kodak executive, has for many years made 127 films by hand from salvaged spools and custom-printed backing paper, which he sells through major on-line retailers. It is expected that 127 will continue to be available from boutique manufacturers for many more years.


  1. Fotokemika History
  2. The Rollei Photo-Technik page for Rollei Film comprises only links to Mahn's websites.