1930’s Kodak 4x5

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by pcassity, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. I have acquired a Kodak 4x5 camera made in the 30’s. It takes Kodak ss616 film. Does anyone know if film for this camera and is available and is there anyplace that would develop the film i was able find it?
  2. If you do a Google search for "Kodak ss616 film" you will find a number of sites on this format. Of real interest to you would be "www.photrio" where several ideas of converting to readily available 120 film are posted. Aloha, Bill
  3. As far as I know, there hasn't been any 616 film made in at least 20 years if not longer. I just sold three rolls on Ebay that expired in the 70s and 80s.

    As Bill says, there are ways to shoot 120 film in them.

    I've shot 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film in my 116/616 folders, but more as a curiosity than as an actual practical thing. That requires loading and unloading in total darkness, and I also taped over the ruby window from inside. I keep that size sheet film on hand since I have a miniature Crown Graphic that gets used occasionally-I'd not suggest going out and buying a box just to try a folder.
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

  5. Central Camera in Chicago may still be carrying the re-spooled 116 and 616 film, they no longer have a detailed website, but you can call and ask.

    But don't invest in film (it will be at least $30 a roll) until you're certain the bellows are light-tight, and that the shutter is working correctly.
  6. VP116 is easily available for under $10 on ebay, and most often works just fine.
    (If you aren't in a big hurry, that is.)

    VP616 is a little harder to find.

    But the title says 4x5, which would be closer to 122.
  7. One cheap and quick way to check out an old camera, for which film is not available, is to use photo paper, cut to size. If you are already set up to do wet darkroom work. If you don't do darkroom work, then buying paper, chemicals, a safe light and setting up a space than can be light tight would probably be too much cost and trouble.
    When I get an old camera, especially one film is no longer available for, or too expensive to buy, I use photo paper, as a negative, to check for light leaks and focus.
  8. If the camera takes 616 film, then it's nowhere near 4"x5".

    It should be possible to fit a reducing plate into the frame to allow 120 film to be used. Then you've got yourself a cheap 'panoramic' medium format camera. But not a 5"x4".
  9. I have wondered why 122 film, which is close to 4x5, didn't become more popular.

    I have a few rolls, and a camera to use them in, though I haven't checked it for light leaks yet.
  10. 122 was pretty popular, Kodak kept making VP122 until 1973. 116/616 made it into the late 1970's, there's even Kodacolor II in those sizes. But 122 was a lot more expensive per exposure than 116/616. In the "roll film era," I'd say 116/616 was the most popular, as it made a reasonably large contact print. 120/620 and 127 were for the more budget-minded, and 122 was for the well-off.

    The shift to enlargement printing made 116, 616, and 122 drift into obsolescence. For example, the original Kodacolor prints were all enlarged, and all from the same width spool of paper.

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