Given the issues I had with the Fakmatic (light leaks, inability to track progress, requirement to wind multiple times), I decided to try my luck with some 126 cartridges and ordered up a few expired rolls.
A roll of 1975 expired Kodachrome X was first to arrive. I reclaimed the film, wound it onto a 120 spool, and shot it in the Yashica-Mat 124 with near-disastrous results. The Kodak cartridge was very difficult to pop open; I ended up tearing the plastic in a few spots. But it still seemed close enough to light tight, so I carefully spooled some Fomapan 200 into the Kodachrome backing paper, loaded the pack into the camera in a dark bag, and got to shooting.
I had some overlaps, and the film stuck a couple of times, but I had virtually no light leaks (again: I loaded the pack into the camera and retrieved it from the camera all in the dark), could track my progress and know when the roll was done, and winding (mostly) worked.
And, again, I just love the way the lens renders distant winter trees on Fomapan.
As usual, I started the roll at home and at a nearby park, and finished it in Farmers Branch, TX, on the north shore of Grapevine Lake. Seems like that’s about all we do these days. Good times, and still, but I need to get more creative in coming up with outings, I think.
Along with the many packs of 126, I bought a couple of dozen magic cube flashes and tried one out. It popped, and worked great, though 3 of 4 flashes were spent on my darling, adorable wife at home, and won’t be shared, so you’re stuck with a 2020 selfy.
As you can see (check the strip on the left), winding wasn’t perfect. The Agfamatic mostly found the holes in the paper, but got confused by the holes in the film several times. Also, too-close focus blur is far less pleasant than too-far bokeh. Oh well.
My darling wife is so photogenic, MashaAllah. Even when I fail to wind properly.
After this, I tried a cartridge from Focal Color 100. The cartridge was super easy to open, but I screwed up in spooling the film into the paper, it bound up partway through, and when I opened the back to try to free it up, the easy-open cartridge popped open, instantly ruining the whole roll of film.
I developed it anyway and ended up with a 3′ length of black film. Oh well. Mike Raso mentions the need to tape reloaded cartridges closed and after my success with the Kodachrome cartridge, and with my plan to load and unload the camera in the dark, I figured I didn’t need to bother.
Reminder to myself: follow instructions. You probably don’t know better than someone who has done this before.
Stay tuned: I have more long-expired film to burn (including some C-22 that will have to go b/w and some late 1970s Kodacolor II) and more packs to try to reload, and I’ll try again with the Focal cartridge, though given a torn sprocket hole in one part of the paper, I’ll probably use the Kodachrome backing paper, and I have other cameras to play with too, after a rather heavy round of camera purchases in the last half of 2020 (2 Holgas (120WPC and 120Pan), the new Lomography panoramic Belair with the Sutton-type lens, 5 cameras from my Dad, including the complete OM10 kit that I need to do far more with than take a quick walk…
We’ll see how it goes this year.