disk-type negatives

saypointJuly 28, 2010

I have some old negatives that are in "disk" form. It is a circular disk approx. 2 5/8 inches in diameter, with the negatives arranged in a circle around the perimeter, like petals on a daisy. The negatives themselves are each about 3/8 inch wide x about 7/8 inch tall. The negatives are in sleeves labeled fotomat, and the sleeves are in a protective cardboard cover labeled kodak.

A local photo processing shop said they were not able to make prints from these.

Any idea what I have and how the negatives can be printed? I have never seen the photos from these, but I believe them to be mostly of a grandmother who died long before I was born, and I'd love to see these pictures.



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Hi Jo;

What you have is "Disc Film", which was first introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1982 and intended solely for inexpensive "Point & Shoot" cameras for the consumer market.

After Kodak introduced the format the film was also made by a couple other companies such and FUJI film company and Fuji also packaged the film under a number of generic or proprietary store brands.

The film never caught on as a big seller because the tiny 8mm x 11mm negatives required a special 6 element lens for making the final prints, but most print & return processors continued to use cheaper 3element enlarging lenses, which resulted is a substantial loss in image quality. As a rule 5x7 was considered about the largest prints that could be made from that film format without a significant amount of grain and loss of image quality.

It should be noted that at about the same time as this format came on the market nearly all the film & camera makers were making very good quality 35mm point & shoot cameras for about the same price and most major camera makers were beginning to introduce simple point & shoot digitals.

I ran a search for Kodak disc film and found a Wikipedia site that fully explains it. At the bottom of the Wikipedia page they list four labs that were still processing that type of film as of 2008, but you would have to check if they can still process it.

Here is the web address for the Wikipedia site:


I can also think of another alternative, although I am not sure how you would locate someone with the equipment.

I have an old Asahi Pentax Auto Bellows with a slide duplicator that I use on my Pentax DSLR's. With that I can copy both B&W and color negatives to digital negatives, then I have a computer program that will make positive prints from the digital negatives.

The whole technique is fairly easy providing you have the equipment, but I am not certain how you would locate someone in your area that has a Bellows and slide duplicator.

I am sure you might find a professional photographer in your area that has the necessary equipment but I would be afraid to venture a guess what they might charge for the service.

I would suggest you see if there is an active photography club in your community or perhaps photography classes at the local high school or community college. you may be able to find someone in one of those sources who has access to the equipment and would be willing to work with you on your project solely as a learning experience.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:32PM
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Thanks so much for the info. After posting, I did a web search (duh) and found some info on these disks. I guess I thought they were a real oddity when the local photo shop didn't know what to do with them.

1982 means they're not my grandmother, since she died in 1942 or thereabouts. I did get a price of $24 per disk to scan and upload them to a disk, but now that there is the possiblility the pics may be of that uncle I didn't like or those cousins I haven't heard from in 40 years, $75 plus s&h for 3 disks seems like a lot of money, LOL.

At least I now know how to learn what's on the darn things.
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 8:37AM
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Here's an idea for you...
Why don't you look at the negatives using a magnifying glass (I am familiar with these old disk negatives and know they are really tiny!). Look at the individual frames while holding them up to a piece of white paper that's taped to a window. Do this during the daytime and you've made yourself a basic magnifying light box.

Perhaps you'll be able to make out the individuals in the frames even though the images are inverted. That way you can get an idea of whether or not you want to even bother going through all of the hassle and cost.

Another idea is as follows, but it takes a bit of techie know-how. If you have a digital camera - even a basic point & shoot - that has a good macro function you might try this. Macro mode (the icon looks like a tulip) allows you to get the lens very close to the subject. Tape the paper to the window, tape the negative disk to the window and then take macro shots of each negative frame. You may need a tripod to keep the focus.

Next, you can try home-processing your images using Photoshop or any photo editing program that allows you to invert the negative images so that they become positives, crop, rotate and clean-up. You could do all of this for free and then take the files to your local photo printer and have them printed for around 20 cents per image.

While this trick will work, the image quality won't be anything to write home about! Sound like a plan?

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Digital Photography Tips & Lessons, Free Images, DSLR Cameras

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:26AM
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