Need help on vintage film formats

I’m looking for the name of the consumer photography format that was popular mid-1950s to late-1960s. 3.5" x 3.5" square, usually with the month/year stamped on one edge. Originally crinkly edge, later just square.

I don’t see it in this list of film formats:

Was this a format, or was it Kodak’s developing / marketing scheme for several formats?

My sister had a Brownie camera, which to the best of my recollection looked exactly like this:

The film image was definitely square but it was not as big as 3.5 square. It was more like 2 inches. There were 12 shots to a roll. So it would seem to be 117 in your list. But I know they made the film much after 1949 as that was the year of my birth. So maybe it was one of the 120 styles. Or the end dates on the list are wrong.

I have a box of pics my Mother took in the late 50s early 60s that are about inches square, and with crinkly edges. Is was a Kodak camera. Don’t know the style. It used a square light cube for a flash. I loved that smell.

I think you’re not talking about a film size, but rather about a common print size.

Like this?

If the latter, I have many of them in a box somewhere up in the attic. As I recall, most/all of them came back from the lab in red cardboard envelopes. I’ll look tonight and see what identifying info is on them.

Are we talking about negatives, transparencies, or prints? A picture of these photos would be very helpful.

My god! Someone wrote a whole thesis about the rise of popularity of deckled-edge prints in the 50s.

This is the sort of thing I didn’t know I needed, but will now be poring over this evening.

Perhaps I am confusing formats with print styles. The printed image is 3.25 x 3.25 on 3.5 x 3.5 paper. I took B&W pictures of this style late 1960s into early 1970s.

I believe those 3.25’’ square prints are enlargements from 6x6cm or 4x4cm negatives on 120 or 127 rollfilm. Do you remember loading film on a spool, with a paper backing?

Kodak Instamatic (126) negatives were also square so would produce square prints.

I took 126, as I had one of those Kodak cartridge cameras. I’m curating a pile of family photos that go back to early 1950s in this “square” style. The developer would date the photos, but it was often one or more months after the photos were taken. I have Xmas photos dated Feb for example.

I’m trying to figure out what people “call” these. My file name is 3.5" x 3.5", which isn’t really very elegant.

If they were 3.25 x 3.25 prints from 3.25 x 3.25 negs, they were probably contact printed, since they aren’t enlarged at all. I think this was pretty common from the time of the 120 format’s introduction in 1901 (according to that Wikipedia page) into the 1950s or '60s, since contact printing is much simpler and quicker than using an enlarger.

6x6 negatives are only 2.25’’ square. I don’t think there is a common square film size that would be 3.25’‘x3.25’’ (or larger) for the time period in question.

But the OP has clarified we are likely talking about 126 Instamatic.


[Emily Litella]Never mind.[/EL]

620 film.

My dad’s really old camera took square pictures on 35mm film. I have negatives and some slides from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

IIRC old Brownies and some pro cameras used 120 film which was 2.25" square. (Although there were some that took rectangular pictures, 2.25x3.5 IIRC. Or was that 620?) The film came on metal or plastic spools with a paper backing so the image numbers (printed on the back of the paper) could be seen through a little window on the back to assure you had wound the film forward just right. 120 was also popular for those twin-lens cameras, and the large negative made it easier to get printable news photos etc.

3.5" square prints are the logical version of 3.5x5 rectangular prints when printing from square negatives. Remember all this material - especially color - was expensive back then so smaller was cheaper. I think I have some of those prints from the 60’s.

120 film is currently used in three negative formats: 6cm x 6cm square (e.g. Hasselblad), 6cm x 4.5cm rectangular (e.g. Mamiya 645), and 6cm x 7cm rectangular (e.g. Mamiya RB67). You get different numbers of exposures per roll depending on the format of you camera. 620 is just a double-length roll of 120, but I have never used it (you actually need a different film back to use 620 instead of 120) and haven’t seen it in a while.

This reminds me, I’ve got about a dozen rolls of 120 waiting for me to develop once I get around to mixing up some chemicals…

620 is the same as 120 except for the diameter of the spool, 220 is the double length of 120. Shot lots of Veracolor 120 and 220 in my Mamiya C330 when I was a wedding photographer.

From the Wiki: The 620 format was introduced by Kodak in 1931 as an intended alternative to 120. Although mostly used by Kodak cameras, it became very popular. The 620 format is essentially the same film on a thinner and narrower all-metal spool (the 120 spool core was made of wood at that time)

The Instamatic 126 format was introduced in the mid '60s and I thought the question was about '50s to late 60s in 3.5 x 3.5

I’d go for 120 or 620 roll film myself.

I have Instamatic prints from the 60s and 70s that came back from the printer in 3.5 x 3.5 with a thin plain white border with the month abbreviation and year stamped on the bottom edge. I’m sure the date is from the printer, not the film.

It’s also used in 6x8, 6x9 (Fuji GX680, Fuji GSW690), but it depends on what you mean by “currently.” Those cameras are still in use, and you can buy them out there on the secondary market, but I believe they’ve all been discontinued. Fuji even made a digital back for the GX680 until 2008! (Looks like the GX680 lasted the longest. Looks like the last revision was sold in 2007). There’s even 6x17 cameras like the Fuji GX617 (You get 4 pics per roll on 120, and 8 for 220 fiilm.)