Disc film

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Kodak disc film
Kodak disc camera
Cartridge of disc film
Comparison of Disc, 110, and 135 image size.

Disc film was a still-photography film format aimed at the consumer market, and introduced by Kodak in 1982.

The film was in the form of a flat disc, and was fully housed within a plastic cartridge. Each disc held fifteen 11 × 8 mm exposures, arranged around the outside of the disc, with the disc being rotated 24° between each image.

The system was primarily a consumer-oriented product, and most cameras were self-contained units with no expansion capability. The cameras were very simple to load and unload, and were generally completely automated. The cassette had a built-in dark slide to prevent stray light reaching the film when the disc was removed.

As the film was rotated on a disc instead of over a spool, the cassette was very thin, as were most of the cameras. The completely flat nature of the format also led to the (potential) advantage of greater sharpness over spool-based cassette formats (such as 110 and 126 film). Disc film has a very thick acetate base, comparable with 4×5" sheet film, which holds the film much flatter than the other formats.

Disc film did not prove hugely successful, mainly because the image on the negative was only 11 mm by 8 mm, leading to generally unacceptable grain and poor definition in the final prints. The film was intended to be printed with special 6-element lenses from Kodak, but many labs simply printed discs with standard 3-element lenses used for larger negative formats. The resulting prints often disappointed the consumer.

The film was officially discontinued by the last manufacturer, Kodak, on December 31, 1999, though the cameras had disappeared from the market long before then.

There were several different manufacturers of Disc film. Kodak produced films throughout the complete lifespan of the format, but 3M, Konica and Fuji also produced Disc film. While Kodak film was always eponymous, 3M and Konica made Disc film for many third parties, branded with the retailer's logo. As with most photographic film, for such white-label products the country of manufacture provides the best indication as to the actual manufacturer.

Kodak's newest ideas with sharp fine-grained negative film were always tested in Disc format first, typically being one or two generations ahead of the equivalent 135 films.[citation needed]

Film history[edit]

  • Fuji: Fujicolor HR series (1982–1995) and third party film. Manufactured in Japan.
  • 3M: HR film series (1982–1996) and third party film. Manufactured in Italy until the 1990s, then USA.
  • Konica: Konicacolor SR (c. 1983-86), SR-V (c. 1980s), SR-G (c. 1990-93). Also third party film. Manufactured in Japan.

Modern usage[edit]

There are still labs remaining in North America and the UK able to develop unprocessed disc film. Examples are as of March 2012:

Disc film is not available to purchase new due to the very complex design. No manufacturers remain, nor are any likely to recommence production.