Red Window

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by cliveh, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Why do so many film cameras have a red window at the back to read the film number when the film is panchromatic? Would not a dark green window make better sense?
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Red windows were initially used with orthochromatic film.

    I would guess that when panchromatic film became common, the windows stayed red because of tradition.

    The colours of the film backing numbers may also have been designed with red windows in mind.

    I'm not sure that green windows would be any better - panchromatic film is just as sensitive to green as it is to red.
     
  3. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I've seen green and a few cameras had both green and red windows. Seems a bit pointless really - any light leakage inside the camera would fog a modern film.
     
  4. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    The thickness of the backing paper prevents any problems, but best to keep the window covered and to avoid bright sunlight when winding on the film.
     
  5. Clay2

    Clay2 Member

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    Yes, I have seen green windows as well as red.

    Best regards,

    /Clay
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Many later windows had little covers that prevented light leaks and that were only to be opened during film advance.

    However, the other side of the story is that roll films had a heavy black paper backing that prevented light leaks. Of course, this became useless when film speeds passed about ISO 100.

    PE
     
  7. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    And pointless when 220 hit the streets.. no backing paper after the first frame up to next to last frame or so.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Oh yeah, but you forgot that 220 cameras had no windows AFAIK. :D

    PE
     
  9. jun

    jun Member

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    I frequently use Portra 800 (120) for my camera, made in 1954 (Bessa II with an incredible optics), which has a ruby window and a cover.
    If you properly use it (close the cover within about 10 second or less after winding) I never had any problem even under direct sun light hitting the ruby window directly.
    However, if I forget to close the cover under bright sunlight (say 3 hours or so), the film get exposed from the back of the film.
    I see the exposed round spot just the size of ruby window on the film.
    This means that the backing paper did not fully stop the light.

    But I can't blame the film for this, this is just the wrong way to use the camera (leave the cover open esp. with the high speed film).
    However when I shoot in the studio, I frequently just leave the cover open, so I can advance the film quickly and I know the low level of light will never fog the film.

    Note that I did a proper modification to prevent light leaks (well, some of those old cameras are not light tight compared to the today's film cameras, in those days ASA 50 was standard, for color it was about ASA 10).
    You should notice that for some old camera like this, opening the cover will not only illuminate the back of the film, but also the light can seep into the camera, resulting to expose the film not only from the back of the film.
    My simple modification will prevent that, but you can't avoid hitting the light to the backing paper, unless you can see the numbers even you close the cover!:tongue:
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Surprisingly some new cameras have no filter at all just a slider to cover the aperture. However they do have better pressure plates and light sealing around the window area inside the camera to prevent fogging. I've not had an issue and I mainly use 400 EI film in my 617 camera in Turkey where exposures are typically close the maxinum a meter will read, so I regularly shoot hand held 1/125 or even 1/250th @ f22 :D

    Should add that I've had no problems with backing papers from Kodak (TMY), Ilford (Delta 400 & HP5) or Foma (Fomapan 200) with the 617, however I have had problems seeing the numbers through the red filter on a pre WWII Inkonta - almost impossible.

    Ian
     
  11. analog what is that?

    analog what is that? Member

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    Try that with Shanghai GP3................:whistling:
     
  12. MacReady

    MacReady Member

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    I recently bought a 30's Zeiss super Ikonta with two red windows with no door like the later models. They look pretty tired so I've covered them in blu tack now it has film in it, not ideal!

    My question is, what's the use of the first film window? the windows are on the same level and the camera only does 6x4.5. I've wound on so that the '1' came up in the second window, is that correct?

    I haven't managed to use it properly yet as you can tell.
     
  13. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    When Kodak made the old Box Brownie which I have, I don't think they envisaged that a user would buy anything but Kodak films. (We might have no choice but to use film from China before too long.....).
     
  14. jun

    jun Member

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    MacReady,

    I am not an expert in classic camera, and have no experience with 2 ruby window camera (Pre WW II) so it may be better to consult who knows better about this, but I can help you to give you a basic idea.

    1. You first wind the film to get the first number "1" to the "First" window.
    2. Expose (first shot).
    3. Then you wind the film to get the first number "1" to the "Second" window.
    4. Expose (second shot).
    5. Then you wind the film to get the second number "2" to the "First" window.
    6. Expose (third shot).
    7. And so on.

    You have to figure out which window is the First one and the Second one by your self (looking at the camera and/or by unwinding scrap film).

    I bet you know but normally, you need some work to do for old classic cameras.

    Note that in the very early days of 120 film, there was only 6x9 markings on the back paper (which was the orginal format for Brownie 2 box camera in 1901).

    I don't know when actualy the 6x6 and 6x4.5 markings was added to the 120 type film.

    That was a problem for Rollei when they first introduced their very early original Rolleiflex camera, since that camera only accept type 117 film that had a 6x6 markings.
    At that time, 117 film was unpopular film.
    Rollei found to solve the problem by adopting a auto-stop mechanism into their TLR, and allowed it to accept 120 type film that was readily available, and that helped the Rollei cameras to get popular.

    After that some camera manufacturer requested film maker to add 6x6 markings on the 120 film (I have heard it was Zeiss IIRC), and then 6x6 marking was added to type 120 film.

    I don't know nothing about when or how the 6 x 4.5 marking was added to 120 type film.

    APUG Antiques and Collecting forum may be a better place to discuss about these queries.

    Well, you have to be pleased by fact that even today such companies like Kodak and Fuji are still making 120 type color films that can be used for very old cameras.

    Actually, Fuji has recently decreased the price of the 120 format Pro160NS color negative film in the Japanese market (about 20% lower price than before) without any official notice from Fuji.
     
  15. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    A lot of cameras came with two red windows, one on top of the other, I have several, and they are either one for 6/9 and one for 6/6with two masks in the film plane for the 6/6, or one for 6/6 with one for 645, again with masks in the film plane, over the years the masks get lost, unless they are hinged, for the 6/6 option on 6/6 645 cameras use the top window for 6/6 and lower for 645, and for 6/9 6/6 the 6/6 window is the top window.
    Richard
     
  16. MacReady

    MacReady Member

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    I should have added a picture to begin with, would have made this easier! Thanks for the information Jun, it led to me searching about 117 film where I found this

    It needs a test roll through to see if it even works properly anyway so I will see what happens when I develop it. The body is in a state but I've cleaned the rangefinder and the shutter appears to fire correctly so we shall see!

    Thanks for the help.

    20120205_102952.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2012
  17. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    I have the same Super Ikonta. Modern 120 film has three rows of numbers printed on the backing paper: 1-8 for 6x9, 1-12 for 6x6, and 1-16 for 6x4.5. The windows on your camera are at the level where they show the 1-8 row of numbers. The way to use the camera is to wind it until #1 appears in the first window and take the first shot. For the second shot, wind until #1 appears in the second window. Repeat for #'s 2 through 8.

    You have a great little camera. Enjoy it.
     
  18. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    To address the green window question: the only reason you "can" use a green filter when developing by inspection is that our eyes are most sensitive to green, so it minimizes the time needed to inspect it, which should be very short indeed. It has nothing to do with the film's spectral response.
     
  19. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    And the mightiest of them all, the Foth Derby, sometimes has two of each. Oh, the luxury!

    J


     
  20. elekm

    elekm Member

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    For this 6x4.5 camera, you'll see frame numbers 1-8, although the camera takes 16 photos.

    Essentially, you get 2 photos per frame number (2x8).

    Wind until "1" appears in the first window. Take your photo. Wind until "1" appears in the second window. Take your photo. Wind until "2" appears in the first window. Take your photos and so on.

    Some (but not all) of the 6x9 cameras would accept a mask in the film chamber that allowed you to take 6x4.5 photos. For Zeiss Ikon cameras, the 6x9 camera will accept the mask if there are two windows. If there is just one window, then this is a 6x9 camera only.