Why does 127 film still exist?

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I'm just asking as a curiosity, and I did in fact ask for a Yashica 44 for Christmas, but why is 127 film still available on the market? It doesn't seem like it was ever a really popular format, yet it's more readily available than 220 film, patterson reels
Maybe some avid 127 fans could explain this to me.
 

Theo Sulphate

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127 was extremely popular, probably from the late 1940's through the introduction of the Kodak Instamatic (126 format, 1963).

Cameras were still a relatively expensive item for most families and they tended not to upgrade until needed. For example, I used 127 format throughout my teenage years, until somehow I was given an Instamatic in the early 1970's. I didn't use 35mm until 1971.

So, I remember many people using 127 through the 1960's. Eventually the convenience of the 126 cartridge caused many people to upgrade. I am speaking of ordinary people and their families - not photo hobbyists. Just as with film, it was the average consumer who controlled the market.
 

MattKing

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I think a fair amount of the 127 available is actually 120 that has been cut down in small batches.
With the exception of the need for 127 spools, I would say that it is a lot easier to convert the materials involved in 120 for use in 127 than it is to come up with a profitable way to deal with the leaders and trailers needed for 220.
My first camera, given to me for my 8th birthday - one of millions that used 127:
Kodak_Brownie_Starmite_II.jpg
By the way, the 127 super slides look great when projected in a standard 35mm projector.
 

Pentode

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127 was extremely popular, probably from the late 1940's through the introduction of the Kodak Instamatic (126 format, 1963).

Cameras were still a relatively expensive item for most families and they tended not to upgrade until needed. For example, I used 127 format throughout my teenage years, until somehow I was given an Instamatic in the early 1970's. I didn't use 35mm until 1971.

So, I remember many people using 127 through the 1960's. Eventually the convenience of the 126 cartridge caused many people to upgrade. I am speaking of ordinary people and their families - not photo hobbyists. Just as with film, it was the average consumer who controlled the market.

To expound on that, many of the cameras made for 127 were simple, inexpensive and solidly built. As a result, there were a lot made and a lot of them are still floating around - and many of them still work.
 

ic-racer

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127 is easier to manufacture than 220. Essentially 127 is cut-down 120, whereas 220 was a totally different product. The first roll of film I ever processed was 127.
 

Truzi

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My first camera was a 127 Brownie - my grandfather gave it to me when I said I wanted a camera. It was my mother's when she was a kid.

I think a lot of people enjoy these cameras, and perhaps enjoy the nostalga. MattKing's comment on ease to convert is probably a big factor for 127. I'm sure many would use 126 and other formats if they were freshly available (I would).
 

Born2Late

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My first camera was a 127. It went to that great camera shop in the sky when my younger brother tripped and fell on it playing "Army" nearly 60 years ago. Had it survived the battle, I would probably still have it and want to use it.

Folks like me is why there is still some demand.
 

Sirius Glass

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Because there is still a small demand for 127 film.
 

guangong

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As a little kid, my first camera was a Donald Duck camera with one shutter speed that took 127 film. Even with only one shutter speed, Verichrome produced some useable prints from local drug store.
 

Born2Late

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As a little kid, my first camera was a Donald Duck camera with one shutter speed that took 127 film. Even with only one shutter speed, Verichrome produced some useable prints from local drug store.
Verichrome was good stuff, wish it was still around.
 
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I think a fair amount of the 127 available is actually 120 that has been cut down in small batches.
With the exception of the need for 127 spools, I would say that it is a lot easier to convert the materials involved in 120 for use in 127 than it is to come up with a profitable way to deal with the leaders and trailers needed for 220.
My first camera, given to me for my 8th birthday - one of millions that used 127:
View attachment 213465
By the way, the 127 super slides look great when projected in a standard 35mm projector.
HEY! Where did you find my camera? :happy:

That was indeed my first also. I replaced it with an Instamatic 404 in the late 60’s. It had a spring driven motor drive that advanced the film and the flash cube, I thought I was stylin’.
 

Truzi

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My father had a Kodak 414 with the clockwork advance. Some plastic piece inside broke (a plastic "pin" that holds the end of a spring unrelated to the motor) but I intend to fix it. I've already punched index holes in unperforated 35mm, loaded it into a 126 cassette and used it in my grandmother's Minolta Autopak. These old cameras are fun, and take decent pictures.

I still have to dig out my 127 camera, but I'm happy to know I can easily get film for it and not have to do anything special to use it.
 

GRHazelton

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I have a Komaflex S which I bought new in the mid 60s. It is a leaf shutter single lens reflex with automatic film stop and a good f2.8 lens. Slides from it were impressive and easily projected with a 35mm machine. If 127 were readily available and cheaper than the few offerings I'd treat it to a CLA and once again enjoy it.
 

Pentode

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I have a Komaflex S which I bought new in the mid 60s. It is a leaf shutter single lens reflex with automatic film stop and a good f2.8 lens. Slides from it were impressive and easily projected with a 35mm machine. If 127 were readily available and cheaper than the few offerings I'd treat it to a CLA and once again enjoy it.
I think the Komaflexes are incredibly cool but I’ve never seen one in person that was actually working.
 

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127 was created to make for a small folding camera originally, so it is bth shorter and even a bit thinner that 620.

Zillons of 620 and 127 box camera were made. 620 is exactly like 120 except on a smaller spool, so it is not difficult to use 120 in a 620 camera, sometimes just by loading the 120 into the camera and using a 620 take up spool, other times by rerolling to a 620 spool in the darkroom.

127 is a touch smaller and so it does take more owrk to convert at home.

127 has three "Normal" formats - 6X 4.5 (8 exp) 4.5 X 4.5 (12exp) and by reusing frame numbers a few cameras will do 3X 4.5 Note that the biggest 127 format is equal to the smallest 120 format.

4.5 by 4.5 is (or at least was) of Great interest, as it is about the largest format that can be mounted in a 2X2 Inch (5 X 5 cm) slide mount. these were called "SUPERSLIDES" and were probably the Justification for the 4X4 127 TLR cameras like the Sawyers. (Topcon)

so yes their are a few reasons for ongoing interest.
 

Pieter12

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Back to the original question, is there really enough demand for 127 film vs 220 film? It would seem not to me. There are plenty more 120 (and presumably 220) cameras still being used than 127. At Freestyle, I see 2 films listed in 127 vs. 63 for 120.
 

Oren Grad

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127 film isn't "still" available. For a long time it was essentially unavailable. Over the past few years it has become available once again, intermittently, in small batches. So far as I know nobody is producing 127 in large volumes by cutting directly from master rolls. Rather, it appears to be cottage-industry refinishing of film initially cut to 120 width (61mm). So far I'm not aware of anybody ordering 46mm film in large volume during the annual Ilford special order period to repackage and sell, nor of anyone else running a coating line who is cutting directly to 46mm. I'd be happy to be corrected on that if anyone has documented information to the contrary.

220 is a different story. As Simon Galley explained in detail here some years back, Harman's 220 finishing machine wore out and it was not economically viable to replace it. Kodak and Fuji concluded demand was no longer sufficient. A major constraint on residual demand for 220 is that all or virtually all medium format cameras can still be used with 120 film, so it's not as if the disappearance of 220 has orphaned many cameras.
 
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Theo Sulphate

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One of the 127 cameras I used as a kid, found in my storage unit earlier this summer and now on display in my camera room:

IMAG10065-1m.jpg

I do plan to use it in regular rotation with the rest of my cameras.
 
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Back to the original question, is there really enough demand for 127 film vs 220 film? It would seem not to me. There are plenty more 120 (and presumably 220) cameras still being used than 127. At Freestyle, I see 2 films listed in 127 vs. 63 for 120.
Maybe I wasn't clear what I meant with my 220 statement-
I realize it's the end of the road for 220, yet freestyle has 127 readily available for purchase. I know no places except ebay that have fresh 220 rolls for sale.

127 is the only format available I don't fully understand why, 135 and 120 have become the standard, Large formats have insanely high quality, 110 is a fun little niche thing, 220 is on its way out, but 127, even reading these responses, I still don't quite have a definitive idea of why. But, I'm hoping to shoot some when the weather turns.
 

cmacd123

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127 film isn't "still" available. Rather, it appears to be cottage-industry refinishing of film initially cut to 120 width (61mm). So far I'm not aware of anybody ordering 46mm film in large volume during the annual Ilford special order period to repackage and sell, nor of anyone else running a coating line who is cutting directly to 46mm. I'd be happy to be corrected on that if anyone has documented information to the contrary.

Frugal Photographer, one of the cottage folks does list HP5 which I would have to assume came from the special Ilford run.
 

Oren Grad

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Frugal Photographer, one of the cottage folks does list HP5 which I would have to assume came from the special Ilford run.

Ah, very nice, as he's been one of the most important sources for 127. I wrote to him before the most recent Ilford special order period suggesting that he look into it. Possibly he heard from others as well. Glad to see he's picked up on it!
 

Oren Grad

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127 is the only format available I don't fully understand why, 135 and 120 have become the standard, Large formats have insanely high quality, 110 is a fun little niche thing, 220 is on its way out, but 127, even reading these responses, I still don't quite have a definitive idea of why. But, I'm hoping to shoot some when the weather turns.

It's not just 127. An outfit called Film for Classics has been spooling a variety of old roll formats on and off for many years. You can currently get not just FFC-spooled 127 but also 620 and 828 from stock at B&H. FFC also offers 116, 616 and 122 from time to time:

http://filmforclassics.com/products/
 

Arklatexian

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I'm just asking as a curiosity, and I did in fact ask for a Yashica 44 for Christmas, but why is 127 film still available on the market? It doesn't seem like it was ever a really popular format, yet it's more readily available than 220 film, patterson reels
Maybe some avid 127 fans could explain this to me.
While I can't answer your question except to say the answer must be because people are still buying it. As to its past popularity, at one time it was quite popular. Before World War 2. Rollei made a real Rolleiflex (black). that took 127. After WW2, they came out with another "baby" Rollei (gray), which also took 127. In the 1930s and 40s, Kodak sold several cameras that took that size film. My first camera (bought at a drugstore for 75 cents, new in a box) came with a roll of 127 Verichrome B&W. That was the first roll of film that I developed. Before that there were "folding" cameras in 127. Yes, it was a popular size film.....Regards!
 
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