Among the most attractive cameras produced by Kodak are surely the 30’s Bantam Bellows: stylish and compact with characteristics of all respect for the time of production, these cameras used film in 828 roll format, also called Bantam, a typical example of the ongoing effort operated by Kodak to reduce the size of the units and create new proprietary systems.
Having been the same Kodak practically the only producer of this film, at its disposal the Bantam series cameras have remained virtually unused inevitably and soon abandoned, but fortunately, however, the main feature of this format is to be a standard 35mm film, though without perforations, which allows to easily repurpose a 135 or cut to length film 120 . Unlike other adaptations of older formats, this is extremely simple and, therefore, who has a camera 828 has no justification for leaving it unused.
Being formed in the roll, the two basic elements (in addition to the film) are the spool and the protective backing paper; regard to the first, often it is still inside the camera or can be found quite easily online. The protective paper, however, is the hardest to find, unless you have a fully original roll but, also in this case, it can be easily overcome with modern materials. All you need is a normal backing paper from 120 film which will also allow you to have the numbers on the back ready. In fact, the spacing between the frames in 828 (which have dimensions 40x28mm) is a few millimeters less than that of the 6×4,5 frame in 120, so you can use the numbers of this format as a reference for frame advance, in front of a waste of a couple of centimeters of film.
In order to transform the 120 backing paper in 828 format we must first cut in length the paper: keeping it lying in front and taking as reference the number “1” for format 6×4,5 we’ll mark a line transverse to 72mm away towards left, which will be the starting point of the film.
From this line, there shall be spece on the left for about 18-20 cm in order to create a roll head sufficient to protect the film during the loading phase in the camera and then remaining part of the paper can be cut and removed. Moving then to the right, perform the same operations by reference to the number “8”, creating the line of the film and the tail end of the roller; consider 8 because the number of frames in the native format 828, but if you want the spool is able to contain film for 10 frames.
Once prepared the paper to the right length, we provide to reduce its width: as mentioned above, the width of the film 828 was exactly 35mm and this will be the size of our final backing paper. Draw the line cutting guide, remembering to measure from the edge of “high” in order to keep the numbers of the format 6×4,5. Once cut, it only remains to shape the ends to let them fit the slot of the receiving spool (help with this for the measure to be taken).
At this point we have a paper almost equal to native on, so we have to start feeding film reel by inserting into the trailer tail and wrapping until we reach the film finish line previously reported on paper, in correspondence with the start line of the film; then, we apply on the inside of the papera piece of adhesive tape, to which the film head will be joined.
From this moment on, must operate in the dark and start winding the chosen film, be it 135 or 120 cut, starting from the end point to get to the adhesive tape, with which the same will be fixed the paper; once finished to rewind the head of the paper we can get back to work on light to seal the roll, which is now ready for use.
Reloading the 828 roll does not require more than a couple of minutes if you have the paper available, while up to fifteen minutes are needed to prepare it from 120 native one.