View Full Version : question about junk camera

08-01-2007, 05:57 PM
Okay, maybe this isn't exactly the right kind of project but you guys and gals know more than the people on any other boards I visit so I figured I'd try it here.

I saw a junker camera in an antique store yesterday that caught my eye. Alas, I did not purchase it... but I plan to go back if I hear some good news from you all.

I am pretty sure it's an Argus... it's a small boxy thing with a GIGANTIC film advance knob on the lefthand side, and a red shutter release lever on the right front, next to the lens. It had a setting dial on the front for color or b/w. I am pretty sure it said it took 127 film.
I'm trying my hardest to find a photo of this little guy but not having much luck!

Anywho... I kow 127 is larger than 35mm but I'm wondering if I can jam a 35mm cartridge in there. If not, has anyone ever tried unrolling a spool of 35mm film and using some sort of paper backing on it and rolling that up themselves into a jerry-spool? For some reason I have a REAL addiction to shoot pictures on this thing. And hopefully I can answer some of my own questions once I buy the thing. But I'm just exctied I guess.

Thanks in advance... and if it helps, I plan on converting it to pinhole! :)

08-02-2007, 04:30 AM
Thinking out loud here...

I know there were Argus TLR's that used 120 and maybe 620 film.

I know there were Rollei TLR's ("Baby Rollei?") that used 127 (44mmx44 mm).

I haven't personally seen an Argus 127 camera, but that doesn't carry alot of weight.

I have a 127 spool from the smallest Vest Pocket Kodak and it is the smallest spool I have seen, smaller flange diameter than 120 and 620, so I believe that would make it one of the most difficult (or impossible) cameras to put a 35 mm cartridge into because of how fat the 35mm cartridge is.

It's not the most efficient thing to do (understatement), but most if not all cameras would be agreeable to unrolling film and cutting it into pieces to be inserted one at a time. Or, if you can procure or make two spools that fit that camera you could fumble around in the dark and tape the 35mm film onto the spools with some sort of spacers (roughly 3/8 or 10 mm each) to center it. I would black out and red window and not worry about backing paper

Photo paper is another option. Single sheets inserted might be better suited for indoor work where you could change the single shots in a timely manner.

Doing all the above will probably take a lot of patience. If you have that, go for it.

Hopefully it is reasonably priced...because ir may have more potential for looking cool than being a 'user'.

One more thought - it may be worthwhile to trade off the aggravation potential for the cost of 127 film from somewhere like Film for Classics.

OK, it looks like there was an "Argus 127" model.

08-02-2007, 04:36 AM
pic stolen from eBay to show Argus 127 @ right - seems to match your description

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/dd09_1_3090.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/dd09_1_3090.jpg)

08-02-2007, 04:10 PM
Good detective work! That is the camera on the bottom right. I couldn't find a photo anywhere and I even checked ebay. Oh well.

Here's the deal... I'm not sure how many of you are toy camera nuts here but I tend to enjoy it. There's something kinda neat for a photographer to surrender to the camera and let it dictate what your photos will look like. It's kind of relaxing.
At the moment, I am without darkroom so I plan to use c-41 film in this thing to be developed at the one hour place. I've been looking it over and I don't think I will be able to get a 35mm cartidge to actually fit. I'm wondering if I have the ability to pop the top on my 35mm canisters, take the film out for use, and then get it back into the canister to take into the photo lab. All that would be done in complete darkness of course... but I was always a wiz at loading film in the dark so it shouldn't be that bad. Anybody have any suggestions on the best way to do that?

Here's a look at the inside of the camera... sorry about the quality, I'm at work using my cellphone...

You can see I've got the one spool that came with the camera on the left... I plan to use that as a takeup spool. Then I'm planning on removing the film from the canister in total darkness. Threading it into that spool by the leader, and just rolling the rest up neatly on the right side of the camera with the internal spool still attatched.
Then once I'm done shooting I should be able to roll the used film off the 127 spool and roll it back into a 35mm canister.
I plan on warning the 1hour people that the canister itself may not be light tight... just in case.

All in all I think this might work and might give me some nicely deformed photos... :) But does anyone have a good suggestion on opening my film canisters myself? I'd rather not have to buy one of the little "can openers" right now, even though it couldn't hurt to have one laying around. But anyway... I figured i'd see what you all think.

08-02-2007, 05:13 PM
I think I used a pair of fine-bladed wire cutters once, but had no intent of reusing it, even temporarily.

A used changing bag might be useful at some point if this is going to become a habit.

That's a cool OPEN camera layout. Certainly givs you a lot of access

I'm thinking a makeshift 35mm sized spool for feed would be a good solution.

Pull the 35 mm film out, rewind onto your homebrew 35mm spool, load into camera and takeup onto the 127 spool.

Keep the 127 spool in a changing bag until delivered to lab...

I have a vague idea where my 127 spool is. I don't need it.
A big IF is locating it. I'll let you know.

08-02-2007, 05:19 PM
That's sweet... but I understand the if!

It is pretty open inside there... I'm lacking just about 1/8 inch clearance on the right side and I would be able to just put a 35mm spool in there! I thought about trying to sand down the inside of the camera door with a dremmel, but I'm worried about light leaks. It depends on how much of a hassle my current plan will be, I might end up trying it.

08-02-2007, 06:34 PM
Maybe this is blasphemy, but how about using 127 film? These folks still list it:


and it's also available (backordered?) at the Frugal Photgrapher website:


Apparently Efke still makes it, so there may be other places that sell it.

08-02-2007, 10:41 PM
Check digitaltruth.com 's store too

08-03-2007, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all the help guys. I know they still sell 127 and all, I think even b and h photo has some that looks pretty nice... high silver content black and white. Does anybody know of a good place to have that developed by mail? I'm still without darkroom.

As far as my current scheme, I blacked out the film counter window last night and am going to try to shoot a roll through it this weekend.

A few things I learned... 1) you do NOT need to order that special tool to uncap a 35mm canister... a one dollar can opener worked just fine!!!
2) it's going to be a REAL pain recapping a standard 35mm cartridge in complete darkness!

And as far as the camera goes... for some reason it's scratching my negatives. I took apart a roll of film last night to test all my theories, and find out how many turns equal a full frame, and discovered that the camera is somehow scratching my film. It's pretty faint, and I'm not sure how big of an impact it will have on my photos but then again... that's half the fun of using these old plastic cameras I think... :)
I'll keep you all posted once I get my first roll back and thanks for all the help!

Jim Jones
08-03-2007, 07:38 PM
Rather than try to recap a cannister that was originally crimped, try to locate one of the older cannister with caps that snap off and on, or a new plastic cannister with a screw-on cap.

Scratches on the film will be conspicuous in prints made in a condenser enlarger. When scanned on a flatbed with a transparancy adaptor they may not be a serious problem. In your camera the film guides hold the film away from the ends of the film gate. Perhaps you can improvise a film guide that extends about 1/4 inch further into the film gate to keep 35mm film from scraping over the ends of the film gate.

Aquarium Dreams
08-20-2007, 03:19 AM
Shooting 35mm film on a 127 spool will make the photo go up through the sprocket holes. It's really neat. :) I do it with a Brownie Reflex Synchro, but instead of popping the top off the canister, I just pull the film out by the leader, then cut it, leaving a little bit of film sticking out the canister. Then after I've exposed the film, I use scotch tape to reattach the film to the bit sticking out of the canister. You can also buy reusable canisters for about sixty cents apiece.

08-21-2007, 02:04 AM
Blue Moon Camera and Machine in Portland Oregon will develop 127.


08-21-2007, 02:09 AM
Well, that's an interesting site.