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8 August 2022 - Harman Reusable Camera

It takes only a split second to ruin a partially complete roll of 35mm film. Lessons learned from using a Harman Reusable Camera with Kentmere Pan 400

The Harman Reusable Camera and Kentmere Pan 400 combination is a reusable plastic 35mm film camera with a built-in flash. The Kentmere and Ilford photography brands are owned by Harman Technology Ltd, a UK-based manufacturer of photographic materials. This introductory photography kit is sold with two Kentmere Pan 400 film cartridges, a battery, and a strap. The Kentmere Pan 400 is a budget B&W film similar to Ilford’s HP5 that has a reputation for delivering excellent results.

The plastic camera had a very flimsy feeling to it, so fragile that the camera comes with a warning that you can easily break it if you force rewind your film. I did not doubt that if I did, it would wreck the camera. This item is not returnable. There is a switch on the front to enable the built-in flash, a switch to open the film door, a push-button film release on the bottom, the film advance, and the shutter release. There are no other controls on the camera.

The lens is 31mm with a fixed aperture of f/10. The camera has a fixed shutter speed of 1120 sec at ISO 200 or ISO 400. The camera’s viewfinder has a field of view of 70%. This means that what you see inside the viewfinder will be about 30% less than what the camera captures, which is quite different. You can see my fingers in some frames.

I dropped the roll into the camera, exposed a few frames, then put the camera down and forgot about it. When I rediscovered the camera a few months later, I could not remember if I had loaded the roll or not. I hesitated by eventually opened the film door.

It takes only a split second to ruin a partially complete roll of 35mm film. I snapped the film door as quickly as possible, but the damage was already done. I completed exposing the remaining frames, but I knew that I had already ruined it. The scans that follow are what I was able to recover.

I won’t use this camera again. This was a lesson in sticking to tools that give me the information I need to succeed in film photography. If you are a photography student looking to dip the "toe" into film photography, I recommend buying an inexpensive used camera and lens kit on eBay. Since it has a fixed aperture and shutter speed, YOU WILL NOT learn the basics of photography from using this camera.

Item Description
lens 1 element
Lens focal length 31mm
Max/Min aperture f/10
Focusing Focus Free, 1m - infinity
Shutter Speed Shutter 1/120s
Film Format 135 Film (24x36mm) ISO 200 or 400
View Finder Field = 70%
Flash Built-in Flash Push Switch - 15s recycle time
Power source 1AAA – Alkaline Battery (included)
Weight 100 grams
Dimensions 114 (W) x 63 (H) x 35 (D) mm
Frame 14 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 15 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 16 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 21 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 17 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 18 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 19 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 20 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 22 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 23 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 24 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 30 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 31 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 32 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 33 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 34 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 35 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 36 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10
Frame 37 | 7 June, 2022 | Harman Reusable | Harman 31mm f/10

Kentmere Pan 400 at Palmer Square

Last month, I grabbed my Minolta XD-11 and Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens and drove to Palmer Square in downtown Princeton. Palmer Square is a public square and planned development across from Nassau Street and Princeton University that forms a collection of shops, restaurants, offices and (expensive) residential spaces. It's a mall.

Palmer Square is named for the original builder, Edgar Palmer, heir to the New Jersey Zinc fortune. Constructed between 1936 to 1939, the Square was created by architect Thomas Stapleton in the Colonial Revival style as the town's complement to Princeton University, which sits directly across Nassau Street from the Square. The construction of the mall was not without controversy. In 1929, the houses on Baker Street, which was the centre of the original African-American neighbourhood of Princeton, were moved to Birch Avenue; however, the financial challenges of the depression delayed construction of the Square until 1936. Plans to extend the Square past Hullfish Street were put on hold after the initial construction phase was completed and were not realised until the 1980s.

Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2

The original architect, Thomas Stapleton, used a variety of architectural styles borrowed from old Newport, Philadelphia, Annapolis and Williamstown. However, the plan of the Square is a mini-version of Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Nassau Street, the main road through the middle of Princeton, borders the southern part of Palmer Square. Hullfish Street connects the northern part of Palmer Square. Palmer Square East and Palmer Square West are the streets around and through the middle of the mall. There was a lot of construction on Palmer Square East, so I exposed a few frames on Palmer Square West.

Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2

Palmer Square has become the primary dining and shopping destination in downtown Princeton. One of my favourite coffee shops is Rojo's Roastery on Palmer Square West. Before the pandemic, the Winberie's Bar on Palmer Square Est was a favourite after meeting hangout for the Princeton Tech Meetup. Palmer Square has been one of my frequent subjects for photography throughout the 21 years I have lived in the area. When all the shops were closed during the global pandemic, it was effortless to photograph the shops and streets in and around Palmer Square. This has become challenging again as activities on the Square have returned to their pre-pandemic hustle and bustle.

Palmer Square (and surrounding streets) is host to many popular local events such as Jazz Feast and Communiversity.


This set of images is from a roll I exposed last month. The sky was overcast, but it was a bright morning. I wanted to finish the 36-exposure roll of Kentmere Pan 400 black and white 35mm film. This was my first time using this film stock. Each frame was exposed at box speed using my Minolta XD-11, set in aperture priority mode. After the negatives were returned from The Boutique Film lab, I scanned them using my Epson Perfection V600. I would typically have used VueScan, but there is some incompatibility between the VueScan software and the macOS Monterrey version of the scanner driver. The negatives were scanned using SilverFast SE Plus and the scanning workflow I learned from Matt Wright. I don't know the film resolution specifications for Kentmere Pan 400, but based on my study of other ISO 400 black and white 35mm film and what I learned from a blog post by [Jim Grey], I assumed it was around 60 lines/mm. I set my scanner to scan at 1600 pixels per inch resulting in 20MB files.

The scans have more grain than I expected from this 35mm film stock. Some photographers would be ok with this level of grain, but I'm not too fond of grain. I have become spoiled by how clean a high ISO image looks from a modern digital camera sensor. I think part of my disappointment is due to operator error. I am still struggling with properly exposing 35mm film. Some of the frames are overexposed in the highlights, and the shadows that attracted me are barely noticeable. I want to change my technique.

What technique do you use for exposing high ISO 35mm film?

Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2
Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2
Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2
23 March, 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2
Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2
Saturday 26 March 2022 • Minolta XD-11 • MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2