Kodak Disc film cameras

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by DirkDynamo, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. DirkDynamo

    DirkDynamo Member

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    I recently found a Kodak Disc film camera. i had no idea what it was - I've never even heard of disc film... only sheets and rolls. I found a little bit of information on it but not much. Does anyone know anything about this kind of camera? Are there any collectors of this sort out there? Is this film still produced/ are enlargements made like from other standard film types?

    thank you
     
  2. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Disk film is no longer produced.
     
  3. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Ahhh - disk cameras.

    That was one of Kodak's "Eureka moments", when they introduced a strange new product that was supposed to be the next big thing. (kind of like Instamatic of APS). They used disks of film in a sealed cartridge with a sliding dark slide that the camera pulled back during exposure.

    The quality was quite poor, as the frame was about the same size as with 110. The film is no longer produced and there's no easy way to make it.

    You can process the film yourself if you do C-41, as that was all that was ever produced. Very few labs still process it. C-22 in the UK does it still, as does Rocky Mountain photo, but it's really expensive. As to prints, they both do it as well. It's about $30 once you account for shipping and all.

    I'm not aware of any collectors of these cameras. They weren't really that great (IMHO).

    I had one, and it was nice and compact for point and shoot, but ...

    I can scan a print or two if you'd like to see how they look.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I was present at a meeting when the then president of EK introduced it by taking one out of his shirt pocket and waving it around. I bought one for each of our kids and they loved them, as they were so small, but I thought that the pictures were very unsharp and grainy.

    I remember how secret it was at first. No one saw anything related to it. Then, when I got on the 'inside' of one of those secret projects, I was given a special brown gate pass. I waved it at the guard and my briefcase could not be searched so as to preserve the secret of the camera or film I was carrying in and out for testing at home.

    PE
     
  5. Gatsby1923

    Gatsby1923 Member

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    Awe disk film, my first camera (around 1985) was a disk camera. Oh the memories. Though the format kind of sucked (very small). it is an interesting side note... I think it only had 15 exposures per disk and was pretty expensive. then again when your 6 every thing is expensive.

    Dave M
     
  6. DirkDynamo

    DirkDynamo Member

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    does anyone know how much they cost new?

    the film must have been expensive- i doubt any film at all's been run through this camera here. i guess this is one of those instances of history people try to gloss over - it is relatively insignificant to photography today, a failed product launch- but its really interesting to see what big companies thought the consumer would buy back then.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Actually, quite a few cameras and a lot of film were sold. Unfortunately, it was short lived. They have little value today. Keep it 100 years or so, and it will be worth something.

    PE
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Actually, disc film is the smallest film format to see wide use, at 8.2x10.6 mm. Even Minox is 8x11. 110 is 2.5 times bigger at 13x17, yet the cameras are often smaller (and better). Frankly, I thought disc cameras were a bad idea when introduced and nothing has ever caused me to rethink that. Even the guys who collect subminiature cameras have little good to say http://www.subclub.org/shop/disc.htm. And if you ever put two 15 exposure discs next to a 36 exposure Minox cartridge, the idea really looks silly - talk about wasted space!
     
  9. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I remember the cameras were criticized for having batteries that couldn't be replaced. They were lithium cells soldered down to the electronic board. Kodak told people this was no big deal, because they would last 5 - 10 years. There were of course a number of complaints from people who had empty batteries after like half a year or so of moderate use. Kodak had to replace their cameras... I think only the top of the line models had replaceable batteries.

    On a side note, lithium batteries were a rather new introduction to consumer electronics back then.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you have an irish setter, they love to eat disk cameras.
    someone in my family got one for xmas way back when,
    and the irish setter ate it "just out of the box" :smile:

    oh there a sub mini forums out there like http://www.subclub.org/
    they might be able to give you a lead on people who collect that sort of thing.

    good luck!
    john
     
  11. DBP

    DBP Member

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    According to Kodak Service Pamphlet AA-13, list prices ranged from $45 to $143. Current value is probably in the dollar per pound range - I passed up some free ones a few years back.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My parents had one. I think the idea of film in a small disk that looked something like a 3-1/2" floppy (introduced 1984) must have seemed really slick and modern at the time.
     
  13. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I remember the "multimedia" slide show they made during Photokina that year to introduce and promote Kodak Disc. It was impressive. IIRC they used something like 300 computer controlled Kodak carousel slide projectors to project the show on about 100 adjacent screens arranged overhead in a half circle.
     
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  15. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I vaguely recall seeing a Web page or Usenet news discussion about cutting up sheet film to make something that'd be suitable for use in a disc camera. I don't recall anything useful about this, though, so if you want to actually use your camera, all I can suggest is that you do a Web search. It's conceivable you'll find some tips on how to do it.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The up side of the disk film was that it didn't suffer from the problems with "complexity" inherent with 35mm (some customers just couldn't handle that loading and rewinding process). It also didn't have the film flatness problems that 126 and to a certain extent 110 suffered from.

    IIRC it also was the first format that provided for data collection in addition to image capture.

    The most important advantage of it, however, was that in order to make it work, a lot of work was done to maximize film resolution, and to minimize grain. We have all benefited from that work.
     
  17. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    My mother had a disk camera for a while. She loved it because it could tuck away in a small purse. But the frames were about the size of a 16mm movie frame and the results were disappointing (to use the kindest word). From halfway across the room I could tell which pictures were hers and which were my dad's, shot with an AE-1. The disk camera shots made the earliest cellphone cameras look good!

    DaveT
     
  18. Zen

    Zen Member

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    Ah wonderful disc cameras! I owned a couple as a child in the 80's - probably that which got me started in photography!
     
  19. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I have the one that my parents had at home in a drawer. I still have an exposed neg disc with it too. I don't know what happened to the rest. They are probably at their house somewhere.
     
  20. Terence

    Terence Member

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    As an aside, it must have been high-tech. Tom Clancy mentions the use of a modified one for spying in one of his books. I think it was "The Hunt for Red October."

    Nifty technology, but everyone else has said, the negs were just tooooo small. Of course, I say that about 35mm now.
     
  21. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Dogs also like TV remote controls because, I believe, they are crunchy. I've often thought that they should make these things out of plastic that tastes bad. Maybe then the dogs wouldn't eat them.
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yes, this was one of the first films to use the most advanced Kodak technology in color films. It was then applied to the other size films, both professional and consumer and let to a big improvement in grain and sharpness.

    And, the batteries were a problem, IIRC.

    PE
     
  23. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Was simplicity the only upside of the Disc film? I never understood what plus-value the customer would get with those, compared to Instamatic. For snapshots, film flatness is an afterthought at best. Or maybe it was just a silly attempt at building a better mousetrap. They could have improved Instamatic cartridges instead.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak wanted to market a pocket sized camera. That was the point of the CEO pulling it out of his shirt pocket in the first public demo to Kodak workers. It was to be a major selling point, and the film format was to have nearly 35 mm quality. The film was very good, but did not achieve that latter goal. The results were very poor IMHO, but my kids loved their cameras.
     
  25. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    Disc cameras. My first professional shooting job was to photograph Kodak disc cameras. I worked for a production company right next to the State St. office in Rochester, NY. I thought they were pretty cool looking, and at that time (1983) they were gaining popularity in the retail market. A lot of my family member had one. I was using a Canon F1 by that time.
     
  26. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    As a "plate of shrimp" sort of comment (that's a Repo Man reference, if you don't get it), I dropped into my local Salvation Army today to see if they had any interesting bargain cameras (they didn't). They did have a single box of disc film, but no camera to go with it. I didn't check the expiration date or price.