|Jiffy Kodak V.P., a "vest pocket"|
camera for 127 film
image by Gareth Payne (Image rights)
|image by driesvandenelzen (Image rights)|
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.
|120 film compared to 127|
image by Dries van den Elzen (Image rights)
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. 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 Mahn; the company has no relation to Franke & Heidecke, makers of Rolleiflex cameras, but has licensed the name. Their black-and-white film, Retro 80S, is an Agfa aerial-photography film. Mahn also sells a colour negative 127 film under the Macocolor brand; this now appears to be limited to old 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.