The Kodak Roll Holders


The roll holder were introduced by Kodak since 1886 and placed in 1898 as retro-fitting operation to try to ensure buyers of cameras produced by the company in previous years the opportunity to work with the new films in roll; from Kodak catalogue (1886), the system could be applied to any camera to replace the original glass film holder or portalastra.

The Kodak roll holders contain negative material wound on spool can guarantee a rRoll_holder_mechanism_in_first_Kodak_cameraange up to 24 poses and were produced in several versions to accommodate the large number of cameras (and image formats) in use at the time.

The containment structure was made of mahogany and contained within it the voltage adjustment mechanisms (2 positions), advancement, frantura, as well as automatic spools and removable which contained spirals/o the negative material. A particular type of sensitive material that was used in the early days was the paper negative, which needed a final treatment, after the classic, transparent development through the application of "Translucine".

The first series of roll holder, without visible progress indicator, was manufactured in the following sizes:

  • 4 x 5
  • 4 1/2 x 7 1/2
  • 5 x 7
  • 5 x 8
  • 6 1/2 x 8 1/2
  • 8 x 10

Prices ranged from 12 to 24 USD depending on size; the second series, in addition to having a visible indicator of progress, was produced in a much greater number of formats:

  • 3 1/4 x 4 1/4
  • 4 x 5
  • 4 3/4 x 6 1/2
  • 4 1/2 x 7 1/2
  • 5 x 7
  • 5 x 7 1/2
  • 5 x 8
  • 6 1/2 x 8 1/2
  • 8 x 10
  • 10 x 12
  • 11 x 14
  • 14 x 17
  • 16 x 20
  • 18 x 22
  • 20 x 24
  • 25 x 30

In this case, the price range ranged from 12 to 85 USD, with all models larger than 11 x 14 that were produced only on request.

Over the years, with the introduction of new sensitive materials and new configurations by kodak, the Roll Holders have retained their function and guaranteed to operate cameras once discarded their original formats.

In particular, since 1898, kodak introduced some new formats in negative film roll were also widely used to upload the film holders, specifically:

  • 106 format: 3 1/2 x 3 1/2
  • 107 and 108 size: 3 1/4 x 4 1/4
  • 109 and 110 format: 4 x 5
  • Size: 111 3/4 4 x 6 1/2
  • 112 format: 5 x 7
  • 113 and 114 size: 4 3/4 x 3 1/2

The negative paper or film were designed and sold to be inserted with ease inside the holders (in this regard were also sold fuses replacement receivers in order to increase the autonomy) and ensured 24 poses for all sizes up to 11 x 14 or 12 poses for higher sizes. Single roll prices ranged from 0.75 to 20 USD and could be supplied, on request, rollers that can hold up to 36 or 48 poses. In fact, an extremely flexible system.

Use the roll holder now

Exist and are still operating several cameras ready for origin or after their purchase to use the roll holders; the mechanisms of the second or subsequent version, which contained several brass inserts and/or iron, are certainly more resilient than wood of the earliest versions, in particular as regards the regularity and constancy of the advances and the correct count of the poses. For smaller sizes is not particularly challenging the rehabilitation using 120 roll film, even if the image format is obviously larger than the whole width of the roll.

35 (00) format

Historical Background

The 35 (00) format is not well known even if we can consider it as the predecessor of the135 roll; the format was introduced in 1916 as a culmination of Kodak’s efforts in the progressive size reduction equipment for the benefit of a increasingly crowd of amateur photographers. The camera that accompanied the market introduction of the film still represents one of the smallest cameras ever produced by Kodak (and, certainly, the smallest box camera at all).

These characteristics allowed a wide spread between the new amateurs to the point that, by varying certain characteristics, the film format has accompanied the photographers from then until now.


The film used in Premo Cartridge 00 is cinematography-derived and the only external difference compared to modern 35mm is the absence of the perforations; also the cardboard box in which it was sold recalls very closely the modern 135. Film was wrapped on the spool and protected by backing paper according to the well-established practice of roll films from Kodak, and was inserted in the camera roll holder in way a very similar to modern medium format cameras. Each roll was capable of six 32x44mm frames, maybe a little few given the size of the frame but, it must be said that the rollr was extremely cheap compared to the rest of the products on the market.

The format was abandoned in 1933, several years after dismission of dedicated cameras and almost simultaneously with the introduction of today’s 135.

Cameras and Films

The only camera produced for the format was the Cartridge Premo No. 00, as said above a small and simple box camera which was offered at the popular price of 75 cents as proof of his vocation for the masses. It was an extremely simple camera with a two speeds shutter (1/60 sec or so and T), very compact in size (about 7.6 x 5 x 6.5 cm!) and built with reinforced cardboard leather finished. The only metal parts were in the film chamber structure, the control and the shutter cocking lever, while on the back there was the classic frame counter red window. The camera production lasted from 1916 to 1922 and sells were quite enough to convince Kodak to maintain production of the film format for another eleven years. To date the camera is quite popular often reaching prices in excess of € 100, the highest value for a simple box camera.

Regarding films the only producer was Kodak, which  as said exclusively used black and white and low sensitivity emulsion. There are no informations about any other manufacturers.

To view pictures of  camera and film, we recommend a visit to this online article .

Using 35 film today

Given the technical characteristics, it is rather simple to use today a 00 Premo by readjusting  for the purpose 135 or 120 film; the absence of any mechanism ensures that the 135 film perforations are not a barrier; it must be remembered, however, that given the height of 32mm the picture will include the sprocket holes. The backing paper shall be modeled on the measure but, the operation does not present any difficulty and as a guide you can read and use what we have proposed to refill 828 roll , remembering that for the 35-44mm is the length of the frame, 4mm in more than 828.

105 format

Historical Notes

In 1898, booming out to the masses of photography Kodak introduced its first folding camera: the Folding Pocket Kodak was designed to produce images in a format very close to today’s 6×9 (5.5 x8 cm) . Looking at the “pocket” included in the name, you can imagine what was the spirit that had led to the design and implementation of this new type of camera.

In addition to the new model was introduced, as was customary in those days, a new film format wrapped in roll for loading in the presence of light; with the subsequent numerical coding of 1913 this format will take the number 105 . Both the camera and its film were quite successful and this is one of the fundamental steps for the transformation of Kodak in the photographic industry giant who has then been almost a century; production was interrupted only in 1915 and are estimated to have sold more than 200,000 cameras.


As said it is a roll film which can provide 12 poses in the format 5.5 x 8 cm:  film was not perforated and had a width of 6 cm, wrapped around a spool initially built in wood and later metal of the same size as that adopted for the more recent 620 format; the film was then protected by a light-tight paper that allowed to handle it without special precautions.

Cameras and film

The format is closely related to one Kodak camera,  the lucky Folding Pocket which is the most important camera built for 105 format; with the emergence of new and even smaller roll film formats and more modern cameras that used them, the 105 roll underwent a rapid decline and was withdrawn from the market shortly after the Second World War, in 1949.  Were produced exclusively panchromatic B&W emulsions  by Kodak and to date there is no information of any other manufacturers.

Using the format 105 today

Despite the size of the source references at the beginning of the last century, if you had a camera that accepts 105 format, it could easily used even today; the size of the film allow to adapt a modern 120 film without any change  with the only foresight to provide for a filing of the ends of the spool to reduce the size up to coincide with those of 620 native spools. Alternatively, if available, you can wrap the 120 film directly onto a 105 or 620 spool.



117 Format

Historical Notes

In 1900 Kodak introduced the first camera with the Brownie name, the No. 1 and, as always, associated with it a newroll film format , later encoded with the number 117. It is a format that has remained, at least under that name rather not widespread, given the great harvest of news and developments in the field that were recorded at that time. The 117 format remained in production until 1949 with an average spread only in the United States. The camera associated withdrawn from the market in 1916 was rather a good spread with a little less than 370,000 pieces sold.


It is a day-loading film, then protected by a tight backing paper; in its standard form the single roll allowed to take six images in square format (6×6 cm). The film was coated on a support of a width of 6 cm and a length of about 42 cm and was wrapped around a wooden spool with a core size  virtually identical to 120 spool, while the flanges at the ends appear to be smaller . The loading inside the box camera was done quickly and the operation is the classic for spooled films, and then with the gradual shift, with each exposure, to a receiving spool in which the end the film was set to be sent to the service development.

Cameras and film

As often happened at that time, the format is mainly due to a single camera model, the No. 1 Brownie mentioned above; this is a fairly basic box camera, as might be expected, with a fixed meniscus lens and a rotary shutter with speed about 1/25 sec and B setting. The camera was designed for the rapid spread to massess and not to produce high-quality images: remember that at the time was a 6×6 considered an amateur format.

The 117 roll films were produced only by Kodak and only in black and white even though, according to some sources (to be verified yet), in the 40s were also introduced color emulsions in this format.

Use the 117 format today

The size of the 117 film is a great help for us to retrofit it with a 120 roll; having 117 original spools, you will notice, while winding film that it is longer than about 1 mm vs the 120 one: this can lead to leakage of light and it is recommended to handle the roll in low light. The only thing to do in order to operate would be to cut in lenght  the 120 film to about half of its actual size, in order  to respect the length of the original 117. If you do not have the spool, you can adapt the 120 one directly acting on the plastic flange dimensions to easily insert them inside the film compartment of the camera. An important note is to not expect images of outstanding quality.

Rollei RPX 25 – First Contact


Maco has recently introduced the new film at 25 ISO that would complement, together with ISO 100 and 400 presented a couple of years ago, the RPX family, now more than ever similar in content to the historic  Agfa Pan APX line. The official announcement has been followed by the spread of the early film stock, which now can  be found in  stores in  120 and 135 (36 exp and 100ft reel) sizes and the exchange of information has begun  in the forums and discussion groups about the characteristics and possibilities of exploiting this new emulsion.

The choice of Maco to introduce the Rollei RPX 25 has certainly aroused enthusiasm, also due to the fact that the newcomer goes to cover a hole left by the end of production of the Efke 25 (though the characteristics are different) and not filled with the Rollei PAN 25, generally not very popular, and it is expected a good spread between amateur photographers.

Rollei RPX 25 Package The new RPX is a pleasant surprise from the first sight of the pack, which is particularly carefully-made and different from those typical of Rollei, much closer to the packaging of Ilford and Kodak. The expiry date (January 2018 for this first batch) is stamped on the carton and on the aluminum, while inside of the card are present information for the development of the film, very useful due to the novelty, although some have remarkable similarities with those of Agfa APX 25. The initial development times proposed by Maco  are as follows (agitation or rotation, 20 ° C):

Developer Dilution Time (min)
Rollei SUPERGRAIN 1 +12 5
Rollei RLS 1 +4 12 (24 ° C)
Rodinal 1 +25 6
Rodinal 1 +50 11
Studional 1 +15 5:30
Studional 1 +31 7
Ilford ID-11 1 +1 8
Ilford PERCEPTOL 1 +1 10
Kodak D76 1 +1 8
Kodak XTol 1 +1 8
Kodak HC-110 B 5
Paterson FX39 1 +9 8
Tetenal Ultrafin + 1 +4 5

For this first contact I used Rodinal 1 +25, well-tested with the APX 25, particularly to see whether the promises of fine-grained, are met; shots were made with a camera Zenza Bronica ETRS (size 6×4, 5), while the exposure was always measured in the incident light (ambient or flash).

Without dwelling on the development stage, it is worth remembering that the media is pretty thin and when Rollei RPX25 exposed going to play the film to insert it into the spiral you have to pay attention and place it gently in order to avoid scratches; in addition, there must be a significant electrostatic component as at the time to separate the film from the backing paper  some spark have been developes, even though the operation was carried out with the utmost caution. In addition, the developed support dries very quickly and seems to avoid the dust!

At the end of the development has been noticed  how the emulsion is coated on a extremely transparent support like the one on which is coated, for those who have tried it, the Rollei CN200: this should facilitate scanning operations but can give help even during the traditional print process.

Il supporto decisamente trasparente

Il supporto decisamente trasparente

The drying roll seemed well developed with clear and legible writings on the edges, proof that the suggested time for the Rodinal is correct (seems obvious, but it is not always so ….); next step is verify what is the response of the scan, to be followed by the much more convincing chemical print.

The first thing that you would expect from a film of this type is that it accurately captures even minute details (providing the optical camera allows it), so the first two shots below have served for a first evaluation on this. Net of interpolations and conversions which can be performed by the scanning software , the observation of negative confirms that the detail captured in the nuances (for example in the cortex of the picture on the left) is really the top. This bodes well for getting large detailed prints even from a negative 6×4,5.
It’s important to remember, however, that this impression of detail is also helped by the contrast generated by the development in Rodinal 1 +25.

scan0002Batch Pict0012

Another important element to achieve high magnifications without deterioration of quality is, as mentioned at the beginning, the fineness of the grain; in this case, the chosen developer and dilution  are certainly not the best solution but, the film keeps largely the promises of the manufacturer and has a fine and extremely pleasant grain; magnification below is very illustrative of detail that you can keep:

RPX 25 ed esposimetro

Particolare dell'immagine precedente

Detail of the left image

The images were taken in ambient light, both indoors and outdoors (of course the gray, rainy day was not the best), or indoors with flash light, trying to assess roughly the exposure latitude: we tried to do some  over and underexposure of the same images. In both cases, it seems that two stops adjustments are too much (certainly in overexposure), and the impression is confirmed both by scanning and direct view of the negative but, the final verdict will be asked for to the enlarger . The two images below show the difference between a correct exposure and a two-stop longer:

Esposizione corretta

Correct exposure

Sovraesposizione 2 stop

2 stops over exposure

This imbalance does not occur if the exposure time becomes quite long, more than 10 seconds; this is probably due to the occurrence of a lack of reciprocity which, however, while the data are not yet available, we can assume that is analogous to what happened for the APX 25 (1.5 stops of variation for times longer than 10 sec), and the two images below would appear to confirm this:

Esposizione corretta

Correct exposure

Sovraesposizione con difetto di reciprocità

Over exposure with reciprocity fault

Untitled-2 The film behaviour appears to be correct when using the flash even in those cases where strong variations in brightness within the image are likely to render unreadable parts. A flash shot from the front and very close almost like in the photo on the left did not stop, in fact, the development of an extended tonal range, maintaining  legible details even in the brightest parts.

The range is, however, more extensive when not using the flash, and if you take into account the correction factor of reciprocity (and you have a good tripod!), long exposures do not represent an absolute problem.

Batch Pict0004Untitled-3

Ultimately, this first contact confirms that the Rollei RPX 25 is definitely a good news for the analogue photography community, lately a bit stressed out by the constant (or threatened) disappearance of products, and is presented as a film that can give satisfaction in a fairly large area, definitely larger than what would appear to suggest an emulsion just 25 ISO. These initial assessments need of further testing as soon as possible by chemical printing of these negatives and additional test with different developers (and also in the 135 format). Subsequent updates will be published as a continuation of these notes.

Batch Pict0005