Loitering with a box camera and some Retro 400s

This old Agfa box camera has been on my shelf for ages, I put a roll of film through it once as I was attracted by the 6×9 film format and the fact that it took 120 film and not 620. The results were uninspiring to say the least.


So a few weeks ago I thought I’d take a look inside, clean it up a little and maybe replace the light seals. Seals were replaced, somewhat clumsily and the lens was cleaned with some alcohol (not Old Peculiar).

I got looking at some old Belair Sprocket shots I made some years back and so I thought, why not – let’s jam some 35mm in there and see what happens.

So, with a spare roll of film kept for playing around I marked off the number of “turns” needed to advance the film so I got no overlaps. 2 1/2 turns as it worked out, so far so good. The 35mm cassette was wedged in place with some foam packing and the leader taped to the empty 120 take up spool. To be certain I taped up the camera to ensure my dodgy light seals didn’t let me down.

Oh – forgot to mention the film. For 35mm these days my go to is normally Eastman Double X (5222) movie film, but for this I used the rather nice Retro 400s which I bulk load onto empty 35mm cassettes. With these old cameras the shutter speed is usually around 1/60 of a second so 400 speed film helps – HP5 would be perfect due to its forgiving nature.


Now the beauty of this particular box camera is its huge level of sophistication….it boasts shutter speeds of 1/50th and 1/100th and, two aperture settings, F11 and f16 – how cool is that?

With 1/50 and f8 selected and a steady hand I loitered around Doncaster station on my way home from a business trip.

Next problem – I wanted to hold the camera at waist level for sneaky “from the hip” shots so before setting out I glued a cold shoe bubble on the side of the camera…

IMG_2169 (1)

Now I could hold the camera at waist level and know it’s horizontal, and of course no one gave me a second glance.

I developed the film in ID11 1+1 as is my usual dilution, for 9.5 mins

Here are the 5 frames scanned on an Epson V500 using the Lomography Digitizer to get those sprockets – the lens is a tad soft and not much is all that sharp but I had fun,

Doncaster #1

Doncaster #2

Doncaster #3

Doncaster #4a Doncaster #5


  1. I think your subject was too modern for the camera.
    You need something older and maybe without human interference?
    What scanner is that? I don’t have one for film at the moment, and would love one with the capacity for sprocket hole scans.


    1. Damn this is a late reply even by my standards.
      Thanks for commenting Toby.
      I have only ever had an Epson V500 with the Lomography Digitizer

      Thanks for the lovely zine!



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