Pakolor ~ The Manual of the Miniature Camera

Paul Godfrey writes "My friend Jim Fisk who is secretary of Great Yarmouth & District Photographic Society, loaned me a copy of “The Manual of The Miniature Camera” by T.L.J. Bentley. This seems to have been published around 1950 as it features the Series One Ilford Advocate and the MPP Microcord Mk 1. Certain chapters are written by guest authors such as Eric Hosking FRPS (Wild Bird Photography) and R.G.Lewis FRPS (Travel Photography With A Miniature Camera) among many others.

In order to 'fit' with this book still referring to the Series One Advocate camera, and at the same time recognising that Pakolor was first announced around mid-1952, the following extract is believed to date to the earliest times of Pakolor, shortly after it first appeared in 1952.

Both Pakolor film and paper are made by coating four layers upon each other, the total thickness being not much more than that of the single coating on ordinary paper or film. Three of the layers are of colour-image forming emulsions, while the fourth is a filter layer to screen the two beneath it from blue light. A material of this type is called 'monopack'.

As it is a negative-positive process, the negative obtained is doubly negative, for not only are the whites black and the blacks white, but the colours appear reversed into their complementary colours, i.e., reds are green, greens are red, blues are yellow and yellows are blue. In the printing of the negative, the reversal which necessarily takes place of both gradation and colour reproduces the original picture in both colour and form.

Pakolor film is available in the following forms for the miniaturist (in 1952, 'miniaturist' meant anyone using a camera taking pictures on roll or 35mm film i.e. not plates or cut film. Within a decade the term became applied almost exclusively to 35mm camera users):
Roll Films - 3½"x2½" (8 exposures) (or 12 or 16 on smaller formats).
35mm film for miniature cameras - cassettes (20 exposures); refills are obtainable.

Type D Film - The colour balance of this film is adjusted to daylight (average colour temperature 5,700 to 6,000° Kelvin) and can also be used for daylight light sources such as carbon arc-lamps, flash-bulbs with blue coating, electronic flashlight, daylight fluorescent lamps, etc.
Type A Film - The colour balance of this material is adjusted for use in photoflood and half-watt light and with similar light sources (3,000 to 3,400° Kelvin), i.e. flash-bulbs with yellow coating. Clear flash-bulbs with a colour temperature of 3,800° Kelvin can be used too, as the slight deviation from the correct colour balance can be adjusted in printing.

Speed and Exposure - When using Pakolor colour film, correct exposure is essential if the negative printing and enlarging is to be carried out simply and successfully. Incorrect exposure does not, however, necessarily mean failure, and should the negative be incorrectly exposed, or out of colour balance, a good print may often still be made from it by using the appropriate correction filter.

Pakolor films have a speed of:

Weston - 10 to 12

ASA - 12 to 16

DIN - 13° to 14°

ASA log - 22° to 23°

Scheiner - 23° to 24°

Neither type of film necessitates the use of filters, provided of course that each type is used for its appropriate light-source. It is not advisable to mix different forms of illumination, i.e. daylight with photoflood light.

It is important to avoid harsh contrasts in illumination. The effect of colour pictures is based on the natural colour rendering and not on the reproduction of light and shade as in black-and white photography. On the contrary, with excessive contrasts, colours in shadow lose their brilliancy and good colour effects cannot be obtained. The main light-source should always be behind the camera and this is true for shots in sunlight as well as with photoflood lamps. 'Against-the-light' effects should not be attempted by the inexperienced.

Processing - Pakolor chemicals and paper will be supplied to enable the photographer to carry out his own processing. The processing of the film with the special chemicals comprises the same number of steps, apart from one additional rinsing, as the processing of black and white. The three Pakolor preparations required are: Negative Developer; Stop Bath; and Bleach-Fix Bath.

Pakolor paper is supplied in two types: Type T and Type C, for use with tungsten and cold-cathode illumination respectively. It should be mentioned that excellent black-and-white prints can be obtained from" Pakolor " colour negatives.

Further details of the process can be obtained from the distributors, Associated British-Pathe Ltd.


The advert alongside is taken from the same Manual of the Miniature Camera as the above Pakolor information.

This page last updated: 15th April 2011