Imperial Herco toy camera 6×6 black and white photos
By Daniel J. SchneiderPosted:
I acquired the Imperial Herco at an antique mall for $8 in the summer of 2011. Long a fan of old things and already a photographer, I thought of it as a nice piece of brick-a-brack to display on my wall someplace. It’s like a cheap brownie knockoff, but it’s actually a very attractive little camera.
As my interest in film photography (beyond the take-it-to-MotoPhoto variety I knew when I was younger) I decided to test it with a roll of film.
The photo above are mostly just test shots, some from a walk with the dog in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and some from a drive to Conifer, Colorado, and over Guanella Pass in search of colorful Aspen trees as the turned for fall.
The first things I noticed after developing the film were that the emulsion was deeply scratched throughout the roll, and that the images are more and more distorted as they reach the edge of the frame. That the edges would be out of focus at the edge didn’t surprise me, and with a camera that originally sold for less than $3 (not very expensive even in 1954) even the distortion wasn’t a surprise. The degree of distortion, though, was. The scratches on the negatives are clearly from the cheaply-cast bakelite film path. I noticed several burrs when I first inspected it and was able to smooth them some with my thumbnail.
These shots were taken with Kodak T-Max 100, rerolled from 120 onto spare 620 spools, and developed in Ilford Ilfotec DD-X developer at 1+4.
Photoshopping included: Adjusting exposure with levels to compensate for over-exposed and under-developed film; minor use of Spot Healing Brush to eliminate the worst dust from the scanner bed. I did not attempt to repair the scratches in the negatives.