135 film (1934 – )

135 is a photographic film format, using a single-use cartridges of 35mm film. The designation was introduced by Kodak in 1934 for use in its Kodak Retina camera, and quickly grew in popularity, surpassing formats like 120, 126110 and APS and remains popular today despite digital photography. 35mm film was used in still photography before this time, but had to be loaded by the photographer into reusable cassettes in a darkroom.

135 cameras can be loaded in daylight as the film is contained in a light-tight metal cartridge. In most cameras, the film is wound onto a spool as the film is used and rewound into the cartridge once fully exposed, but in some cameras (particularly disposable models) the film is unwound fully to begin with and exposed in reverse order so there is no need to rewind at the end.

Negative size is 36mm x 24mm, and this size is still used by digital camera image sensors. The half-frame format (18mm x 24mm) had some success in the 1960s, and some cameras have used different negative sizes.

Colour and monochrome films, negative and positive have been produced, as well as specialist films such as those sensitive to infrared radiation. Generally, the number of exposures on a 135 film are 12, 24 or 36, although until about 1980, 20 exposure films were the only films generally available with less than 36 exposures. It is often possible to get a few more exposures on a film. Since the 1980s film cassettes have been marked with a DX encoding pattern so cameras can detect the film speed. (ISO).

By the 1970s, SLR and smaller compact 135 cameras proliferated, and automated processing and printing machines made developing easier and less expensive, so quality colour prints became available from supermarkets and chemists as well as camera shops, often in less than an hour.

Despite the popularity of digital photography, 135 SLRs, compact point-and-shoot cameras, and single-use cameras continue to be built and sold, and 135 film is still readily available.

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