Imperial Flash Mark XII Test Roll

Imperial Flash Mark XIIWhen I first bought this camera from the antique mall some eight years ago, I didn’t own any other 620 cameras — and even if I’d had an extra couple of 620 spools handy, it hadn’t even occurred to me to try respooling 120 film onto a 620 spool. I managed to run two rolls of 35mm through the camera to try some sprocket photography, but couldn’t quite get the film plane flat. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I now have enough extra 620 spools to run a real test roll through this cute little camera.

It’s a box camera: there are no settings. Not only that, but my particular camera is missing the rear element on the viewfinder, so the image is teeny tiny and only really usable as a guesstimate unless I squint reeeeally hard.

Other fun features of this camera that I discovered upon seeing the test roll: First, there’s something stuck in the camera (I assume) that’s causing a black triangle shape to appear in the bottom right of almost all the images. (Edit: I’d applied some gaffer’s tape inside the camera to eliminate some emulsion scratches on my sprocket photography rolls, and that was coming off. Mystery solved!) Second, I have what some would consider an enviably kitschy mint green light leak in the bottom center of nearly every image. I’m not keen on it myself, especially since the camera actually makes some decent, otherwise usable images with vignetting and blur at the edges.


The focus seems to be about 8 feet to infinity; I knew better than to try anything closer than that, so I only have one or two images with foregrounds that are noticeably out of focus.


It exposed well in direct sunshine, but when the sun went behind the clouds, things became a little underexposed. Of course, indoors is a big nope, even with what would seem to be bright sunshine streaming in.




I tried taking my standard photo out the boss’s window to check guesstimate the focal length (i.e. how much of the PNC building can I see in the photo), and I discovered that this camera does not deal well with photographing through windows. I don’t normally do any processing to test-roll photos, but this one I had to adjust levels like crazy to get the image looking anything like normal.


There was only one photo on the roll that I was impressed enough with to do any “real” tweaking in post. I just really liked how this one came out, so I cloned out the annoying black shadow mark and did some leveling and other minor adjustments.

Hotel and Clouds

Assuming I can get the black shadow mark to go away, and assuming I can mitigate or eliminate that green light leak, this may become one of my favorite box cameras, despite the crappy viewfinder. I might even seek out some different colors of the Imperial Flash Mark XII, as well — I wonder if different colors of camera produce different colored light leaks?

I deem this camera pretty awesome for what it is. A+ would use again.

One thought on “Imperial Flash Mark XII Test Roll

  1. Hi! (I apologize if my english is hard to understand(??) I’m from Chile and my mother language is spanish so…i’m not so good with english)

    I’m so glad I found this blog! is full of useful information about the Imperial Flash Mark XII! I got mine a few years ago but just now I decided to give it a try but here no one knows anything about the camera! it was really hard to find some information! And this blog just gave me something I can use now 😀

    Thank you!

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