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History of Kodak Roll Film Numbers

By Thom Bell -

Roll Films Starting with 101

 

It first became necessary to specify which Kodak roll film was required with the introduction of the No. 2 Kodak camera in 1889. As different models and sizes of cameras were introduced, the film boxes were marked with the names of the cameras that the roll would fit.

By 1908, this system had become difficult to use for ordering film. It was now necessary to specify the image size and the camera the film was to be used in as not all films for the same size pictures could be used interchangeably. To simplify this system it was decided that the daylight-loading roll films on flanged spools would be numbered in the order of introduction, starting with the first Kodak film of this type introduced with the No. 2 Bullet camera in 1895 as number 101.

This system was gradually phased in as new film boxes and camera instruction manuals were printed, but the numbers did not appear in Kodak price lists until 1913. By this time, numbers 101 through 129 were used. Numbers 106 through 114 were used for films spooled for Cartridge Roll Holders, which allowed roll film to be used with cameras designed to use glass plates. In 1916 one more number in this series was added: No. 130 for pictures 2-7/8 by 4-7/8 made with No. 2C Kodak cameras.

Some Kodak and Brownie folding cameras made from 1914 to the 1930's have a little door on the back which is marked "use Autographic film A-(number)". A-116 film, for example, was for the same size pictures as 116 film but instead of red and black duplex paper, the film was wound with a sheet of carbon paper and thin red paper. This film used in an Autographic Kodak camera allowed a brief message to be written on the film in the space between the pictures. Pressure of a stylus on the backing paper transferred the carbon to the red paper and light passing through these lines in the carbon paper would photograph the message onto the film.

When 620 and 616 films were designed in 1931, considerable thought was given to the numbering. These films were for the same picture sizes as 120 and 116 but the spool diameters were smaller to allow them into thinner cameras. The "6" was to indicate the number of pictures per roll but by the time this product had reached the market, the decision had been made to increase the number of pictures on this size and on sizes 120 and 116 to eight exposures so the "6" became meaningless.

In 1935, the Kodak Bantam cameras were introduced. The film for these cameras provided for eight exposures 28 x 40 mm, and the number 828 was chosen for this films.

Size 220 was introduced in 1965 and is twice the length of 120 size film although it uses the same spool. This film has only a paper leader and trailer for light protection and no paper behind the film. It is used with professional cameras which advance the film automatically instead of using a window on the back of the camera to position the film.

35mm:

In 1916, a very small box camera named the No. 00 Cartridge Premo camera was introduced using a No.35 roll film. This was numbered differently as it was not the same as the Eastman Non-Curling film supplied in the other roll film sizes but was apparently made from unperforated 35mm motion-picture film. In 1934 when 35mm film in cartridges were introduced with the Kodak Retina camera, number 135 was assigned to this product. This film size could also be used in the Contax and Leica cameras. Daylight-loading spools of film for these two cameras were also offered, and were numbered 235 and 435. In July 1952, a special length of film for 20 pairs of pictures made with 35mm stereo cameras was introduced and designated as 335.

Instamatic

In 1963 the Kodak Instamatic cameras were introduced. These used roll film in cartiridges from drop-in film loading. The image size is 28 x 28 mm, but slight masking is required in printing and slide mounting so the useable image is 26.5 x 26.5 mm. The number 126 was used, as the original roll film for this size had been discontinued in 1949.

For the Kodak Pocket Instamatic cameras introduced in 1972, a number lower than 126 was preferred, partly to indicate a smaller image than the 126 film. The number 110 was chosen because it could be said as "one ten" and was easy to remember.

Advantix

Kodaks latest film number 240 for the Advanced Photo System was introduced in 1996. Using the tradename ADVANTIX, it is the first film from Kodak to incorporate traditional silver halide technology and a transparent magnetic recording medium (IX - Information eXchange) allowing the following information to be recorded and exchanged with the photofinisher:

Camera Recorded Data (if enabled)

  • shutter speed and f/stop
  • date and time
  • flash-fire indication
  • backlight indication
  • artificial-illumination indication
  • scene brightness value
  • exposure bias setting
  • camera orientation (horizontal/vertical)
  • partially exposed roll (for mid-roll change)

Customer Recorded Data (if camera enabled)

  • C, H, or P print format which are typically printed in the following sizes
    • C: Classic 4"x6"
    • H: HDTV 4"x7"
    • P: Panoramic 4"x11-1/2"
  • number of prints of a frame to be made on the initial order
  • text for backprinting onto the photo
  • "Print This Frame Regardless" indication
  • "Do Not Print This Frame" indication

Advanced Photo System also allows data recording to be read by the Certified Photofinisher:

  • order tracking and pricing
  • order time in and time out
  • printer exposure and color data
  • reorder data
  • reprint format change
  • customer instructions for density and color
  • lab equipment ID for quality control
  • attention flag for inspection by quality control specialist
  • remake flag (with correction data)
  • statistical information for the lab


 

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