A #Jankuary short: A few frames with the Kodak 'Handle' and Instax Square instant film, 04 February 2024

A #Jankuary short: A few frames with the Kodak 'Handle' and Instax Square instant film, 04 February 2024

One of the favourite cameras of my unashamedly shitty camera collection is the Kodak Handle from 1977, an obsolete instant camera that used a rotary handle to eject the film instead of motorised rollers.

I originally got this unusual looking camera for the Shitty Camera Challenge: Instant Regret, which was a celebration of shitty instant cameras (which, let's face it, is all of them). It was produced from 1977 to around 1982, when Kodak tried to elbow its way into the lucrative instant photography market. The then dominant instant film company,  Polaroid, wasn't having any of that and promptly sued Kodak. After several years of litigation Polaroid won, and Kodak was forced to stop production of its instant film and cameras. So from the early 1980s there have been no films available for the many Kodak instant cameras that are knocking around.

Nowadays the Handle is a strange looking camera, but in the 1970s it really was a product of its time. It's a basic camera, with a big viewfinder above the large carrying handle built into the camera. The square protruding lens has a sliding shutter lever on the right hand side that gives a hugely satisfying 'clunk' when the shutter is activated. Below the lens is a lighten/darken dial to change exposure and on the front is a 'check battery' button that illuminates a red light on the top of the lens, which also lights when a photo is taken.

The Handle uses Kodak PR10/PR144 instant film, which is no longer available, and the hand crank is used to eject the film through the rollers for development. Luckily, when I obtained the camera there was an empty cassette inside, which was a great help in getting the camera working again. I made three plastic mounts out of an old folder, each of which hold a piece of Instax Square film, and also a dark slide so that I can load the cassette into the camera in (subdued) daylight.

The speed of Instax film is around ISO 800, whereas Kodak film, and hence the exposure of the camera, was around ISO 320. However, I found that if I set the exposure compensation of the Handle to 'darkest' I can get some nicely exposed images with Instax film.

Several months ago I had loaded three films in the Handle, which I had never got around to using. I've been tidying my camera collection and I was all set to pack the Handle away back in its box but thought I should use these frames first, and let's face it, the Handle and Jankuary are made for each other. I took the Handle to Oiã to photograph the street art. Two of the images were a bit of a bust, but the first image came out lovely.

I'd also  forgotten what a joy the Handle is to use, so instead of packing it away I've reloaded it with three more Instax Square films and am waiting for storm Karlota to pass us by so I can take it out again.

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#Jankuary, #Instax, #Instant, #Kodak, #Handle, #ShittyCameraChallenge, #Retro, #Vintage, #InstantRegret,

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