828 format

828Historical Notes

The 828 format was introduced by Kodak immediately after the definition of the 135 format and strongly addressed to photo amateur market, and remained in production for around 50 years before being decommissioned without ever having reached a particular success, in 1985. Kodak intention was to provide a cost-effective alternative to 135 based on a new line of cameras with simplified mechanics and functions; Kodak continued to produce cameras for the 828 format until the mid 60’s, before focusing on the luckier Instamatic 126, while few other manufacturers are engaged in the creation of cameras for this type of film.

Technical characteristics

The film presents itself wrapped in protective paper roll as it happens in medium format rolls, while the dimensions are the same as 35 mm film; In contrast to this, however, the 828 does not have any perforation (apart a single one for frame check) and the film strip contains up to eight images, each with dimensions 40 x 28 mm. The image produced is therefore wider than the one produced by standard 135, guaranteeing a better quality close to 127 format, but the low number of available frames per roll represents a significant limit; the frame numbering is stated on the back paper for  vision and positioning through the red window on the back of the camera, while the earliest roller versions also had 8 perforations (one per frame) for advancement and automatic counting of poses. With the introduction of positive emulsions, it has also been produced a longer film strip able to contain up to 12 frames.

In the 60’s it was released (not by Kodak) 828 cartridge dedicated to the Traid Fotron camera that made the 828 format more similar to standard135 package.

Cameras and Films

The earliest cameras produced for the new format, named Bantam f/6.3 to f/12.5, were put on the market by Kodak in 1935; Bantam line remained the main dedicated to 828 and evolved from earlier models in finest folding remaining in production until the early 60’s. A second line of dedicated cameras were the Pony 828, more simple and inexpensive but of little commercial success; among the other constructors which played on 828 format the only production with some success for a short period was a folding camera by Coronet.

Kodak produced 828 format films in black & white, color negatives and, years after the 828 introduction, also Kodachrome II slides, while black & white emulsions were produced also by Ilford.

Using the 828 format today

Some Bantam cameras are easy to find on the second hand market although quotation, probably  due to poor knowledge of the format, are downright floating. If you have or you could get cheaply one of these cameras, the same can be used by retrofitting 120 or 135 film (in the latter case image will impress even the film sprockets due to the largest 828 frame size).

Some US sellers still deliver 828 film in its original form, but at rather high prices.

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