This week I found my best find yet for Found-Film – a set of medium format, colour slides in very good condition, which were taken sometime between 1958 and 1962.
I found them on eBay with a ‘buy it now’ price of £15 for a quantity of 110 slides, which is a fantastic bargain. The reason it was such a good price is that the seller had mistakenly listed them as 35mm rather than medium format slides. Now, to be fair, I didn’t just spot they were a bargain and bought them for that reason – I saw from the picture the seller had posted that they looked the wrong shape to be 35mm, and I assumed they were probably ‘super slides’.
Super slides are 127 format film fitted into a standard 35mm, 2-inch square slide mount which gives a bigger film area for a slide which still fits a standard slide projector. It was only when the box turned up that I realised that they are all 120 format, colour slides. The majority of them are 6x6cm and a few are 6×4.5cm which suggests they were probably taken on two different cameras.
Medium format Picture Quality
When I started to look at the pictures I was really impressed with the quality of the images. I think it’s generally thought in this age of digital photography that only digital cameras can produce good pictures – well these medium format images certainly dispel that theory. Some of the pictures are breathtakingly good quality like, for example, the picture show to the left here. This shows a man in a cafe who is having a portrait photograph taken by his companion and the clarity and colour is spectacularly good.
To emphasise how good medium format film can be, one of the pictures I found shows a war memorial in the centre of Milan, although when I first saw it I couldn’t easily find the location. That picture is shown below and over to the right of the picture is a man reading a newspaper. As an experiment, I tried scanning the man reading the newspaper to see if I could make out what it said. I didn’t really expect it to work but I was amazed to see how close to a readable paper I was able to get – if I had a good quality scanner, I wonder if I could produce a scan that would actually enable me to read the headlines?
This is a selection of the first of the pictures I’ve scanned from this collection – more will follow so if you are interested I would suggest either following found-film on twitter, where new images are shared, or regularly visit the site to see the latest images.