View Full Version : Odd BW negs sizes - identifying film type

07-19-2010, 02:09 PM
I have come into a collection of old family B&W negatives from around 1925 to probably 1945 and I am trying to ID the likely film/camera formats or any other info. 35/120 is about where my format for film neg knowledge ends at the moment. Any thoughts would be welcome.

1 - neg mounted in a cardboard slide mount "Eastmount, Craftsman Guild, Hollywood, CA". The neg looks like 1/2 frame 35mm w. teeth on. No info on the film from samples.

2 - neg 8.2 x 11 cm (3 3/16 x 4 3/8 in) outside, image appx. 7.6 x 10 cm (3 x 3 15/16). Almost all have a thin, 1-2mm) strip along one of the short sides that appears to be largely undeveloped and some look like there may have been some type of adhesive there, which makes me think they were single sheets. A small percentage of these negs have numbers and a smaller percentage have "kodak safety" or "kodak safety film"--so some are nitrate free. The vast majority have no physical markings, but some have a small hole or nip taken out of one of the short edges, and a clip mark from drying is often visible. The images are not always centered or square, which also makes me think they were single sheets--to what?.
I have others of a similar size that were clearly hand cut to size

3 - a small number of 6.9 x 12 cm (2 11/16 x 4 11/16) w/ the images largely 6.2 x 10.6 cm (2 7/16 x 4 3/16). No markings of any find.

Cheers, -Fields

07-19-2010, 02:17 PM
Have you seen this chart?:


07-19-2010, 06:19 PM
Indeed, I had looked at the table hoping to find an easy answer. The two larger negative sizes I have aren't an exact match for anything. #2 seems likely to be form of quarter-plate, but the size is sill off a bit, so I am looking for suggestions.

The first negative type is clearly a half frame 35mm, maybe from a Kochmann Korelle which would fit the time, or a _____? The mounting into the cardboard holder is interesting and I don't know whether that has any significance other than it was a convenient storage/projection mechanism, given that there were 1/2 frame neg holders for the enlarger, I would imagine that they were not used in the darkroom like that.

Cheers, -Fields

Sirius Glass
07-19-2010, 07:27 PM
2 - neg 8.2 x 11 cm (3 3/16 x 4 3/8 in) outside, image appx. 7.6 x 10 cm (3 x 3 15/16).

That is 3 1/4" x 4 1/4" also known as quarter plate.


08-19-2010, 04:11 PM
Fields: The sheets with the undeveloped strip were quite possibly 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 pack film, and the mix of edge markings suggests the late 1940s or early 1950s. That format, in film pack rather than roll, in turn suggests either a field-type view camera or something from the Graflex family. (It's been a long time, but I think the extra 1/8 on the long dimension is to allow a full 4-1/4 field beyond the adhesive.)

Having just sorted through a lot of old film from the same period, I can vouch for the fact that any 35mm film base that has turned a deep yellowish brown is likely to be nitrate, unless it is clearly marked "safety film". Some of the Kodak Super-XX film that I have is acetate, but not marked "safety", and the Ansco stock is apparently all nitrate. There are a few unopened rolls of Ansco with the date "1949" on the box, and since a car in some of the frames has 1949 license plates, I suspect that the date is that of manufacture, as opposed to expiration.

From the reading that I have done in the last few days, it appears that all roll film is non-nitrate, regardless of date. (I'm curious as to why this would be so.)

The Wikipedia chart is a real resource, but it seems to have been built from industry-standardized "formats" rather than by working forward from a list of cameras. I was delighted to find that three rolls of negatives that I have match one and only one format---121--which was discontinued in 1941. The images are of postwar Occupied Japan, which fits, but I wish I knew what camera would have made them.

I applaud your efforts, and hope that you make some effort to preserve the images, preferably by making silver-gelatin prints. Historians of the future will probably lament the twenty-year void in pictorial history that spans the adoption of digital through the appearance of a practical, archival digital storage method.