1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

1920s film speeds

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by steveandthedogs, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I was just looking at Dad's old Kodak No2 and started wondering what typical film speeds were back then, given the fairly slow shutter speeds and small apertures.

    I tend to use 80-125 depending on what is in the fridge, but would that have been typical?

    Anyone old enough to remember?

    S
     
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Not me! :D

    From the "Modern Encyclopedia of Photography" (published in the 1930s) and employing some rough arithmetic: it looks like 32 ISO was considered an everyday exterior film and 80 ISO was pretty much the speed king at the time. There were films like Gevaert Superchrom that could hit 1400 ISO but these seem to have been expensive and aimed at niche markets like police or spies. ;)
     
  3. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    You sure about that?

    Sorry...

    Yes, I thought it might have been somewhere around there.

    Thanks for that, Andrew. Carry on with PanF and R80s then. Or is anything slower and easily available? Hmmm.

    S
     
  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    If I get a mo (ha ha) I'll see whether my 1920's Kodak catalogue gives any information on film speeds that can be calibrated against a modern standard. If they do give any speeds, I suspect they'll be in H&D, which I don't think convert very well to anything else.

    There's always Rollei Ortho 25 - being ortho, probably a lot more like period emulsions than modern panchromatic films.

    Adrian
     
  5. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Forgotten that one.

    At the price, I can understand why!

    R80s it is then!

    S
     
  6. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    TBH I've only used it once, as I could respool it onto 118 backing paper under a safelight.

    80S should be fine - I use 100 with box cameras, assumed shutter speed about 1/30th.

    Adrian
     
  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    This page ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_speed ) can help with that. There's a big table labelled "Table 1. Comparison of various film speed scales" which doesn't have H&D but there's also an illustration of an old conversion table in the section "Historic ASA and DIN conversion". Using both you can work it out.

    I think. :confused:
     
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  8. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    ...assuming the catalogue says more than fast or slow, of course!

    Adrian
     
  9. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Righty ho, I've persued my library, and can offer the following:

    The Kodak catalogue (1927) offers: "Kodak Cut Film is made in two speeds - Regular and Super Speed. The Regular Speed is that of an extra rapid plate. The Super Speed grade has an extremely fast emulsion and should be used when very rapid exposures are to be given or lighting conditions are poor" I've checked to see if speeds are given for plates, but it only has cut film as a plate replacement.

    "Picture-making with the Nos. 2 and 2A Folding Autographic Brownies" (If your Dad's is Autographic I'm happy to post this one to you) makes no mention of film speed at all.

    My box of Kodak 118 film, develop by Decembre* 1953, has no mention of film speed on the box - just the name, Verichrome Pan.

    My 1915 "The Ensign Handbook of Photography" finally has some genuine bona fide info in it! It has an ad for Barnet's Plates as follows:

    Super Speed Ortho 400 H&D (all speeds are in Hurter and Driffield), Self-Screen Ortho 300, Red Seal 350, Special Rapid 275, Extra Rapid 225, Medium 100, Ordinary 50, Extra Rapid Ortho 225, Medium Ortho 100.

    EDIT: Comparing the table on Wonkypedia with my Weston Euromaster, Super Speed appears to be approximately ISO 16, while Ordinary is off the bottom of the scale on the meter, but would be around ISO 1 (no missing digits there!).

    The Ensign handbook also contains this spiffingly understated comment:
    [​IMG]Ensign Handbook 3 by gray1720, on Flickr

    Any help?

    Adrian

    *It was made in France
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  10. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    It may be worth having a glance at Project Gutenberg.
    I came across a couple of Kodak books from the early 20th century
    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/33034/33034-h/33034-h.htm
    which have a price list and description of their equipment.

    They may have some books on there about film speeds etc, but you would need to figure out what to search for.
     
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  11. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Well, thank you for that gentlemen! I wondered at first whether H&D had been superseded by the 20's, but it seems not. Looks a bit of a bugger to work out though.

    From Andrew's table H&D 400 looks to be about ISO 12 and the "Ordinary 50" about 1.6!

    It must have been a real joy trying to take pictures at that speed. I think I'll stick to ISO 50 as a minimum.

    Love the comment about "unsettled conditions". Wonder what the men at the front thought of that.

    Adrian - it is indeed an Autographic complete with good case [with his name and address inside] and the all-important stylus. As soon as I can get some Autographic film, I shall make use of it rather than relying on GPS.
    Kidding, just kidding!

    Your offer of the instruction booklet is very kind -I would be happy to take you up on it.

    S
     
  12. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I'll check the catflap. Steve, and send it ASAP.

    No, that's not a non-sequitur, I'm pretty sure the cardboard box blocking the catflap in the back passage came from you and has your address on.

    Adrian
     
  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Star boy!

    S
     
  14. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    It'll be in the post in a few minutes - collection has, I think, gone so hopefully you'll have it Tuesday.

    Adrian
     
  15. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Thanks Adrian!

    At last, I’ll be able to use it!

    Kidding, it was the first “proper” camera I used, though at the time I has no clue about times/aperture, anything.

    S
     
  16. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    We are coming to Hen Llys n the spring, we must met up for a shandy at some point when I am not trying to yomp up Tryfan.

    Adrian
     
  17. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Sounds good!

    S

    Ps Tryfan? You’re on your own...
     
  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Yes, not sure I can persuade the Mrs either... she's not so keen on scranbly stuff, and I gather that Tryfan and Bristly Ridge are nowt but.

    Adrian
     
  19. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    It's been a long time, but yes, largely scrambly

    You will need to start about 5am, or you will find parking somewhat tricky.

    Hen Llys [Old Court] - where's that?

    S
     
  20. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    If I could get someone other than the Mrs (who prefers to see sunrise from the other side), I could get up for 5am!

    Hen Llys is the Holiday Property Bond property in the middle of the effing great golf course behind Beaumaris - up the road behind the old dustcart factory / flying boat base and turn left, I think (long time since I've been there). Last time we were there I got the impression we were the only group not there for golf...

    Adrian
     

Share This Page