Convert your Polaroid to 120 roll film and enjoy it

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by minhnguyen9113, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. Many Polaroid lovers e-mail me about converting a Polaroid to MF roll film and
    I decide to post it up to offer them a start-point. But be careful you do it
    yourself and safety first.
    1) Drill a 1/4 inch hole at the right film chamber, get a 1/4 inch bolt, 1 1/2
    inches long make a winding shaft by grinding to made it tip fit the hole of 120
    roll film, get a 1/4 inch knob from home depot or surplus store, make an adapter
    by two ends from the old roll film.
    2) At the left chamber make a film holder bracket or just shim both side to
    prevent the roll film bouncing.
    3) Drill a 7/16 hole in the pressure plate and cover by a clear red plastic or
    4) Prevent light leak from the back by black cloth or velvet..., very careful.
    I still make mistake some time but better now.
    <img src="">
    <img src="">
    <img src="">
    <img src="">
    You can make masks for different formats. Here are some pictures of the
    Polaroids and some taken by Polaroids in 6x12 format
  2. I have done this exact mod to mine and it works very well. I did some research before I modified mine and other people were drilling through the top for the winder which makes no sense at all.
    I have a label on the bottom of mine which gives the amount of rotation needed between frames.

    I used the spool holding mechanism from a defunct Agfa Isolette for the supply spool.

    6 x 12 is a bit optimistic. It's closer to 6 x 10 - but still worth doing though.

  3. Scroll down here a bit for a picture and a bit further down for more detail:

  4. Nice work, great pictures ! What I want to see though is someone converting an SX-70 to 120 roll film :) I reckon there's jussst enough space in a 600 film pack for a roll of film if the battery was taken out and the camera powered externally.
  5. Minh's The Man.
  6. What model Polaroid are you working with?
  7. Well done Minh!
  8. Eddie... this conversion will work with pretty much ANY of the roll-film Polaroid cameras except the Model 80... it CAN be done to the Model 80 as well but that requires some grinding of rivets down in the body. Just to encourage more...
    <img src="" width=600>
    This is a crop from a 6x12cm neg... probably about a 5x6cm section. This is from a Model 150. It also looks really cool when its strapped to your side... sorta reminds me of the scientific equipment Mr. Spock used to carry on away missions... Mr. Spock I aint:
    <img src="">
  9. Who is that handsome guy ?

    Thanks for looking at this gentlemen. Minh
  10. I have a PL 250 that works fine with PL pack film. PL Film is really too expensive. Can that model be converted and how do we bypass the exposure meter or do we just use 120 film that is ISO campatable like 100 ISO and simply use the internal metering system? I'm guessing that's a good way to go. This sound very interesting.

    Patrick, your photos are wonderful.

    Minh, thank you.
  11. It's not practical to convert a Polaroid 250 to MF roll film, because there's no room for the film, you have to add-on a roll film back, expensive and looks ugly. If you want an automatic Polaroid, the 900 is an excellent choice. Here are couple pictures taken by Polaroid 900 in electric-eye mode and 6x6 format.
    <img src="">
    <img src="">
    <img src="">
  12. rdm


    has anyone thought about using 70mm roll film in these??
  13. rdm


    all thes photos are beautifull by the way
  14. Steve,

    I am currently converting a polaroid 150 to roll film. You said in your post that "I have a label on the bottom of mine which gives the amount of rotation needed between frames." Could you please share that information with us?

  15. Chris
    If you go to link I posted earlier and scroll down to nearly the end, there is a picture of the label.
    I wind the film on with the back on until the start mark/arrow reaches the winder end of the film gate.
    Wind on 5.25 turns to the first frame.<BR>
    2.75 turns to the second frame.<BR>
    2.5 turns to the third frame.<BR>
    2.25 turns to the fourth frame.<BR>
    2.25 turns to the fifth frame><BR>
    2 turns to the sixth frame.
  16. I meant back open, not back on!
  17. Steve,

    Thanks for the quick response. I was able to pull up the Jpeg but I couldn't enlarge it enough to see the label clearly. I am currently modding two polaroid 150's. One for packfilm and one for roll film. Your pics are just incredible. I will try to have both cameras up and running by the end of the weekend if all goes well.

  18. Steve, How large is the mask that you made? How large are the photos you are taking? I thought that more pictures could result from a single roll of film.

  19. Steve,

    Sorry to bother you. I found the information I was seeking from other posts. I am fashioning the film carrier for inside the camera and the 6x12 mask for my negatives. Hopefully, I can show you the results shortly. I got a great buy on porta 160 220mm film. I am going to compensate for the lack of paper backing by attaching some paper to the pressure plate to ensure good registration without excess tension or scratching of my film. Wish me luck!!!!

  20. rdm


    can eather of you tell me where you get the winding knobs? or what you use to make them?
  21. I got the winding knob at an electrical surplus store and a winding shaft made from a 1/4 bolt
  22. This is a great idea, thanks for sharing it! I have a Polaroid 800 that I'd like to modify to take 120/220 but would like to know if Minh or anyone else has some more detailed photos of the process. I tried following the link that Steve Smith referenced but it no longer exists. Thanks.
  23. Looking for a little more detail, just picked up a Polaroid 900 from goodwill for $8 and I want to convert it.
  24. rdm


    Hey if you had the 800 i would say , yea go ahead and do a 120 roll film conversion. Actually i would say do you 70mm film conversion like i did because you get just about the full image frame and don't have to make a mask. Now the 800 had a better lens front standard i feel, for many reasons. First Because its set up for electronic flash sync and easier to tap into that for a flash shoe. Its easier to adjust the EV setting. Another reason is that it's Lighter.
    However with a 900 you should definitely do the 4x5 conversion, because its got the view finder that wont get in the way of the 4x5 back, and 4x5s can accept a 120 or 220 roll film backs and 70mm roll film backs, as well as , of-course, the 4x5 magazines which you can use on occasion if your not really into large format. But it allows you the opportunity to try if you ever wanted and the image captured on the 4x5 film, from the cameras lens would cover a little wider than what you see in the finders frame lines. So in short it would be a much more versatile camera As a 4x5, and when you have more money later on you can add a better front lens on to it that has more control..
    I wish i could find another 900 at a thrift store like you did. I kinda messed up my 900 a little doing a 4x5 conversion. Not my fault , lets just say my 6yo niece should learn when she comes to visit, not to try to take things apart that are on my work bench. My sister wouldn't let me talk to her to explain why i got upset at what she broke. As she and my sister told me " it was an old piece of junk , that i got at a flea market anyway." My sister wont get me another, but offered me the 15 dollars i spent. I want another one and Yet i cant find one without spending a lot with shipping. I do have another 800 untouched.
    Anyway I'm sorry i Digressed.. oh yea .. Conversions.. DO the 4x5. A little more work but easier than all the holes you have to drill and winding mechanisms you need to create (easy to make mistakes there) for 120. IMHO
  25. rdm


    hey Michael Calanan , I am sorry i didn't address your question, do you still need help ? are you still following this thread?
  26. I am still following this and was going to respond. I do have an 800 and wanted to convert it to packfilm but when I found this thread on using 120 it really piqued my interest. Later I found that some folks were converting them to 4x5, e.g. by Four Designs, but they're no longer offering that service.
    To clarify, were you me with an 800 would you avoid a 4x5 conversion and stick with medium format rollfilm?
    Also, does anyone have the info that Steve Smith referenced (link) - it no longer exists.
  27. Also, does anyone have the info that Steve Smith referenced (link) - it no longer exists.​
    F295.ORG had a re-organisation a while ago and this was moved so the links don't work. What was it that you wanted to see?
    I have managed to find some of my original posts:
    And this one from someone else:
  28. rdm


    well honestly i was thinking about this, I found instructions on a hack that's super cheep and lets you use 4x5 dark slide holders, but you cant attach other backs like a normal 4x5 camera. Now if you want just want a inexpensive 4x5 camera and have the pictures and some info that i saved and ill give you the pictures i saved , as his site is not up anymore. I didn't already have 4x5 film holders so i was starting a 0 point , so it was either one or the other, and since the 4x4 requires resetting the focus and it was my 1st conversion , i decided on a roll film conversion. Now the main reason wasn't that it didn't require me to reset the focus, it was that i had 3 cans of 70mm film, 50 feet each already in the fridge, and the 70mm film took up almost all the image area anyway. But if you want to do 120 i have found a site a while back when i started, that had detailed info on such a conversion that some guy, who used Lego's for the conversion, did.
  29. rdm


    hey Michael , let me know what you decide on dooing, because im curious. Also, i just recently found a video on youtube where someone converted a 110b (winch has the 900 finder) to a 4x5 but the way he did it it could be done with the double window finders too , it looks interesting that i am going to try doing this conversion to my highlander 150 starting tomorrow, since i only have one more week off.
  30. Just (sorta) finished a similar 120 conversion on a Land 850. I previously tried running 35mm through just to check the lens and shutter, with passable results.
    I used a 1/2" pvc cap turned down to 1" OD and .725 length on the wood lathe to make the top spacer for the takeup side, (with part cut out to clear the hump of the original roll guide) and two 3/4" caps cut to 1/2" and whatever was left to make spacers to keep the supply reel centered. Still need to make a knob, as I currently just have the bolt head hanging out there and a small wrench to wind the film with.
    More 120 and a battery for the meter ordered from Adorama yesterday, so we'll see how this thing can do.
  31. First attempt with the 850 had some success. Hopefully, it'll be even better with the light meter working, as I'm terrible at guessing light levels, especially on cloudy days. Tri-X 320, dev in well-used TMax.
  32. rdm


    That's a nice thing about the Electric eye of the 850 and the900, The automatic exposure, but it also lets you set the EV manually. I like the aspect ratio of your photo there. I also like the subject. Very nice. Can you tell me how you kept count of the frame spacing , or did you too do the oll approximate by counting the number of turns on the wind. You should post a pic of that badboy too
    Also what size bolt head did you use, i may have a solution for you
  33. I used Steve's counts, as posted above. As for the knob, I got fancy over the weekend and made one from a steel disc; I swapped the bolt for a piece of allthread, drilled and tapped the disc almost all the way through so the allthread would bottom out in the hole, then milled a flat on one side to make it easy to count turns. Since it will only be turned to the right, (tightening the disc on the rod) loosening should never be an issue.
  34. rdm


    Very fancy indeed, now i really want to see a picture of it :) I wish i had access to a lathe or milling machine to make parts i want.
    I just found a hardware store in a small nearby village that was chock full of little knobs and screws and such. They had a box of new old style radio knobs (looked like the old Bakelite knobs) They were out of the 1.25 inch but the 5/8 inch one looked cool but too tiny to get a good grope for me so i asked them to order me the big one and they said in about 2 weeks. This store find is exciting to me since all the hardware store's i grew up with in the area went out of business since the Home Depo and Lowes moved into the area. I can never find the little things i need any more.
  35. Actually, the only thing that the machinery really made a serious difference in was drilling the hole right in the center of the disc and getting the PVC to the right size. Tapping it was still done by hand, and the flat could have been done easily, if slowly, with a file.
    The PVC turning could be done on a drill press in a pinch, or even with a hand drill in a vise.
    The PVC pieces just sit in the camera, and are kept in place by the 120 spools when it's loaded, so the only permanent modification to the camera is the hole for the winding shaft. I may have to alter the leaf spring on the door, though, as it causes a lot of extra friction by pressing against the spool rim.
  36. rdm


    That looks nice .. I wish i had a drill press.
    BUT i just found out that the school I'm going to has re-opened the Manufacturing program and there is a machine shop open again. It was closed during renovations before i started which is why i never knew about it . I asked the Professor whose head of the program if i can use a drill press one day and he said sure what ever i need as long as hes there.
    Now i gotta think of what else i need to make. I only have a couple months before i graduate.
  37. Dan, do you have that first conversion website. Going to attempt Hack
  38. just bought a 900 going to convert it to 120.......... just got to wait for it to be delivered!
  39. rdm


    way-to-go Russ, I'm sure you will have fun. I made my 800 use 616 spools, because that's 70mm film and it uses the entire frame of the Polaroids original image chamber. I figured that i could just use spacers if i want to shoot 120; just like all the other people that shoot 120 in 616 film cameras do. Because if i made it just for the 120 rolls i couldn't use the occasional (70mm) 616 film when I want to . This way i have the best of both worlds :)
    Christiaan, what do you mean ? what website?
  40. Thanks.. Dan
    The camera has not arrived yet due to the UK, Bank Holiday! I've not used 616 film although i've got loads of 120 in the fridge. I'm putting together a couple of books to sell on Blurb. One of analogue pictures using various film stocks and then one just jusing different Polaroid film stock. They should be up soon-ish! Can't wait to get the camera, i've already got all the bits for the conversion. The wife says a room full of cameras is way too many and why do I need more...... ! I don't think see undertands you can't have too many cameras, but one wife is way too many!
  41. rdm


    Well using 616 roll film is just like using 120, except you cant just buy it and get it developed anywhere as easily as 120 film. But if you already have a ton of 120 in your fridge i guess it makes sense for you to just go for the 120. I probably would do the same.
    Seventy millimeters wide, 616 film produced 2 1/2 in. × 4 1/4 in. negatives on a 616 roll of eight frames.

    the Polaroid 40 series roll film cameras produce an Actual image area: 2 7/8" x 3 3/4" (7.2 x 9.5 cm)

    120 roll film has an image of 2 1/4 inches (56mm) in the vertical.
    So by setting it up for 616, i can get an extra quarter inch in the vertical which is really close to the view finders frame. So since i have a supply of two, one hundred foot rolls of portra 400 color film in the fridge, and I am about to get two more one hundred foot rolls for 40 dollars, its the best set up for me. And when i run out i can just use spacers and put in 120.

    Another thing someone can do without any tools is load sheets of 4x5 film in a dark bag to take pictures. I am thinking about doing that in my 95a.
  42. rdm


    Got the camera Yet Russ?
  43. lots of good info here about the 850/900 series Polaroids. I recently obtained a 900 with a roll of sealed film that was dated 1967. Put the film in this morning, set the selector to "manual" and "EV16" and took a shot of my 2001 Monte Carlo in the driveway.
    Much to my surprise the film works. It's 3000 speed film. The first shot in the roll was curled and the developer stuck to the picture, but next one should be better. I wish they just made the OEM roll film for these cameras ! I'd never convert one then.
    The lens quality is very good as you can see small detail in trees, stones, etc.[​IMG]
  44. rdm


    Don't forget to use a print coater on the pictures after you peal them apart. I hope there was one with your film, but if not let me know. I still have a couple from Polaroid cameras i got , but never any film i could use. with them. Also if i wer you i would wait about 2 minutes before pealing apart the picture. Might develop better and you expose the image a little longer i would say that the old 3000 speed film would preform more like 1600 or even 800 speed film now.
    Also remember that in the 900's there was a battery for the automatic exposure control. You may want to check and clean the battery compartment and put in a fresh battery if you want to use that function.
  45. yes good advice, old film may prefer more time and more exposure as well. There was print coating with the camera and I did coat it.

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