Kodak Instamatic 100

Kodak Instamatic 100

The Kodak Instamatic 100 was released in the USA in March, 1963. With it’s sibling Instamatic 50 it accompanied  the launch of the 126 film cartridge. The Instamatic 100 features a 43 mm lens with fixed aperture f/11 and fixed focus. A 3rd-party kit from Kaligar provided an auxiliary wide angle and telephoto lens plus the corresponding viewfinder (see photo above).

The mechanical leaf shutter of the Instamatic 100 has a shutter speed of 1/90 sec. which is increased to 1/40 sec. when the flash is popped up. The flash uses AG-1 peanut bulbs and is powered by two AAA batteries. Production of the Instamatic 100 ended in 1966.

Like lots of other film formats, 126 cartridges are no longer available. Ferrania as the last remaining producer stopped it’s machines in 2007. This makes it a little bit of a challenge to shoot with instamatic cameras these days. But that’s also part of the fun with those old cameras: to get them working today. I was fortunate enough to get my grips on two used 126 cartridges. So I  just had to figure a way to refill the cartridges with film.

The film in a 126 cartridge is 35 mm wide but unlike cine film is just perforated on the upper side with one  hole per frame. Similar to 120 film there is a paper carrier shielding the actual film from light. So my first attempt was to tape 135 film to the paper carrier. This is not too complicated as long as you own a film changing bag  or a room in complete darkness. The refilled cartridge kind of worked in camera. Unfortunately the 135 film’s perforation does not suite the transport mechanism of the Instamatic very well, and after 5 shots the film advance lever got stuck.

So using 135 film was not the way to go. I had to tailor 126 film out of 120 or 127 rollfilm. Therefore I converted an old Holga body into a “device” to perforate 120 film one hole any 40 mm. Afterwards I cut the film role to the width of 35 mm and after some spooling and respooling in the changing bag I ended up with a 126 cartridge filled with brand-new Kodak 100 T-MAX.  Here is one complete frame from the first test roll.

The actual 29 x 28 mm image frame of the 126 cartridge was masked by the lab to 26.5 x 26.5 mm for printing. So I did the same in my digital “lab”.

The next photo was taken using the Kaligar auxiliary wide angle lens mentioned above.

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5 thoughts on “Kodak Instamatic 100

    1. Jim, it indeed is surprising what quality you get out of this little box. Therefore I’ll take the effort to tailor more126 cartridges for more instamatic photos …

    1. giorgio, actually you can’t do anything wrong, just push the Kaligar telephoto or wide-angle adapter onto the lens ring of the Instamatic 100. If it does not fit you might have the wrong adapter, Kaligar offered them for various Instamatic types. Does it say “for Instamatic 50 100 150” on the adapter?

      1. hello,adapter is written for instamatic 50 100 150, I tried to press but does not enter….this weekend when I get back in town I will try again and let you know. thank you very much for helping!

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