620 film vs 120 film

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by dee_stefan, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Any idea why 620 and 120 films aren't interchangeable in cameras? The spools look so
    similiar in size. Thanks. ~Dee
  2. They look so close dont they! the spools of 120 and 220 are slightly larger than the 620. It might be becuase the older ones were usually metal and the newer 120/220 are plastic. Are you trying to fit a 120 spool into a 620 spot? If that is the case in the past with my left over 120 spools is grind them down on a belt sander until they fit. You need to be careful so that they dont melt or anything like that. Then i would take the film into the darkroom and re-roll the 120 onto the altered spools... i had to do it in the light a couple of times before I could do it in the dark.

    i must say that i've had success with this and it was worth all of the work sanding and re-rolling to use the camera I wanted.

    try it out and see what you think.
  3. 620 (and 616) were marketing ploys by eastan kodak to sell film that would only fit kodak cameras.

    a few other manufacturers did make 620 cameras.

    the difference is that 620 has a smaller diameter spool and thinner flanges.

    the film and backing paper is the same.

    roll film is taped to the backing paper only at the start , just before exposure #1. and must be re-roller. but after it is rolled as if it is passed thru a camera, then you roll it back on a 620 spool to create a NEW roll of 620 film.
    if a 620 camera will accept 120 new full spools, you don't need this step. Just you will need a few extra 620 spools to temporarily take up the film in the camera amd store until you can reroll before sending to the lab.

    Labs don't care and you will loose y our 620 spools!.

    roll film is taped to the backing paper at the #1 leading end, the trailing end is loose to allow the film to be rolled properly..

    some 620 cameras will accept 120 spools for the new full roll of film.
    example: some kodak brownie hawkeyes will take a fresh 120 spool, but later models are designed so they will NOT. a purpose - made bump
    in the fim chamber prevents a 120 spool from being loaded.
    some suggest using pliers to flatten the bump.

    NEVER let the photo finisher get his or her hands on your 620 spools!
    you may never see them again and will have to search and pay for new 620 spools.

    It is a meaningless gesture to them and they likely do not care a bit!
    SO after exposing the film is a classic,
    , re-roll the film back to 120 spools and give the common 120 spool to the lab.

    look for old camerras so you can get a few empty 620 spools for at least take up spools. you may have to spens the BIG bucks for a few rolls of "rare" 620 spools. the old ones are better as they are thin metal and not plastic.

    enjoy your old camera. 100 speed film is fine and i was told vermont color develops color roll film.
  4. I have only used 120 spools to take the place of 620s on two cameras. An Argus 40 and a Brownie Hawkeye Flash.
    On both I put a plastic bushing in the center hole as the slot is quite a bit larger in the 120 spool. I have used small plastic straws, ends off of 'Sta-Con' electrical connecters or short pieces of plastic heat shrink tubing. It keeps the spools centered on the smaller 620 pins in the camera. Without something in there it tends to bind, making it hard to advance the film.
    I still use the metal 620 spools for the take-up side, I take my film to a lab and they are kind enough to return them to me.
    On the Brownie its pretty simple, put the bushings into the ends of the spool and load it into the camera.
    The Argus 40 is a more involved, I put the roll of film into a quarter coin roll paper, tape it firm with the ends of the spools showing, then with my pocket knife I trim off the shoulder of the plastic spool. No matter how you do it as long as you remove the shoulder.-----Works fine for me.
  5. 620 was purposely brought out in the 1930's by Kodak. It was a way to gain income thru film sales and processing, bringing out another format. Razor blade makers, ink jet printer makers (cartridges) , slr camera makers (lens mount), drug makers (non generic pills) purposely create different, non generic things to create a higher return on investment. extremely low cost or even free 620 cameras were made during the great depression. 620 was a very sucessfull format, even used with the Military Medalist camera. Once there was MIL spec 620 rolls of film. To a purist there should be only one film size. one razor blade type, one ink cartridge, one shoe style, one single song for teenagers. :)
  6. Originaly 120 came with wooden spools, and was an amateur format, ie the "Brownie Format"; for the Kodak Brownie camera. The earlier 117 and 105 sizes had the same film size, but abit different bobbins as they called them then. The boxes for the early Brownie cameras had the childrens elf like creations, since the format was for kids, children. Palmer Cox of Canada was the illustrator of the Brownie character for the kids 120 format camera boxes. Long ago folks use to just ask for Brownie film, which meant the first the kids 120 films, then later 620 films. Palmer Cox lived from 1840 to 1924, and wrote the kids cartoons Brownie before 1900.
  7. Rolling 620 onto the 120 spools has worked well for me. I like to simply feed 35mm into cameras that use obsolete film. Cut film or paper can work as well if a person would like to experiment.
  8. Mark Messerly wrote "Rolling 620 onto the 120 spools has worked well for me."

    Eh? Wot? Doesn't one do it the other way 'round, 120 film on to 620 spools?

    And if you meant what you wrote, where can we get 620 film?
  9. Sorry, transposed the numbers.
  10. 120 film is an old size from the days when film spools had wooden shafts with metal flanges (which needed bulkier cameras). 116 film spools also had wooden shafts. Kodak made the new sizes (620 and 616) all metal which allowed smaller diameter shafts and more compact cameras.
  11. If you google "122 film size" you find a reterence to a site that lists all Kodak film sizes.
  12. I was quite surprised to discover that B&H actually stocks 620: Tmax, Tri-X, Velvia 100F,
    and a couple of others.
  13. I sent a 620 film in for processing a while ago - when returned there were two 620 spools in the envelope! A nice touch from the lab I thought.
  14. Except perhaps, for the guy who didn't get his empty Six-20 spool back.


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