120 vs 220 Film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jazzmechanic, May 16, 2005.

  1. jazzmechanic

    jazzmechanic Member

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    I am shooting a lot of 120mm film at the moment but was wondering if 220mm film is also being used by anyone. I know you get more exposures and it is more expensive to buy and develop. Just thinking.

    Thanks
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    The problem with 220 is that no body makes it any more, other than that it's great to use.
     
  3. biloko

    biloko Member

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    I prefer using 220... but, if I don't make special order, usually find 120 only...
    Basically, I prefer 220 first because it's just loading 1/2 less... and my experience is that most of the (destructive) issues happen with loading/unloading. Taking really care once is far easier than doing it twice...
    I have also read that 220 film gets a better position on the film holder due to the absence of back paper.
    Third... but, that's absolutely personal... I love waiting. Guessing in my mind each and every photography of my rollfilm. Or I would have bought a digital camera...
     
  4. skahde

    skahde Member

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  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I use 220 in colour. None of the B&W films I like are available in 220.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    B&H lists TXP, PXP, and a good variety of color neg and transparency films from Agfa, Fuji, and Kodak as in-stock in 220.
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Kodak does; Portra and Ultra color films, a few Ektachromes, Tri-X in b/w and a 400 in chromogenic. Fuji makes C-41 and E-6 films as well.


     
  8. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Subscriber

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    I like 220 when I know i'm going to go thru film. It is like a roll of 35mm film. If I'm not shooting alot I like the 120 better.
     
  9. claytume

    claytume Member

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    220 is great if you shoot panoramics as shots per roll get into low numbers with 120. Also some cameras wont reliably drive 120 film through due to slippage between backing paper and film. These are rotation cameras like the Roundshot.

    Even better than 220 is 70mm if you can get a back and film to suit, variety here is even worse than 220.

    Clayton
     
  10. agfa100

    agfa100 Member

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    120 vs 220

    I tend to use 220 in my 6x7 camera, but 120 is fine in my 6 x 4.5. But it is cheaper to buy 120 over 220, you will find 120 film on special but the only time I have gotten good deals on 220 is when it's short dated... But I sure like to load the camera less... I can usually pick up two rolls of 120 for less then one roll of 220, but one of the labs I use is a little less for 220 e-6 then 2 rolls of 120 e-6. So I guess it all comes out the same in the wash.....
     
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I'll be the odd-man-out...I prefer 120. I like having a limited number of shots in the camera in case the mood to switch films strikes me. Also, a number of my cameras are old folders that use red windows for film advance; 220's definately a non-starter for those.

    I'm in the middle of building a 6x18 panoramic camera...I imagine I'll wish I had 220 for that one. :smile:

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  12. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    For commercial work I usually shoot 220 for conveniance reasons. But for the B/W stuff Delta 100 does not come in 220 plus I'd prefer to process 120 over 220. Easier to handle.
     
  13. CraigK

    CraigK Member

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    I've used a heap of 120 and 220 over the years. I like em both: 120 because it will hang in my film dryer without hitting bottom and 220 because I get 20 shots to the roll in my Mamiya7.

    But:

    120 can run out too fast....only 10 shots

    220 sometimes ends up rather losely rolled after shooting, causing some light leaks at the edge of the film. I used to think this was just a quirk of my Mamiya 7 but it has happened in my Pentax 6x7 and my RB67 as well. I have never lost a shot completely because of it but I have had quite a few frames that show dark edges due to light leak fogging.

    Anyone else have this problem?
     
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  15. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    220 is very important to me, especially when I head to Europe with 50 to 60 rolls of 220, compared to 100 to 120 rolls of 120 film. I still have a freezer full of Ilford FP4, but when that runs out, I hope Kodak is still spooling Plus-X in 220.

    Ilford 220 is prone to winding loose, compared to Kodak. A few years ago I noticed that the slitting of the paper leaders formed a subtile edge ripple, which may have prevented a good tight wind, especially at start-up. Anyway, that's history now...

    When I change film out in bright sunlight, I carry a small patch of dark cloth which I drape over the camera to subdue the light. On super important occasions, I'll carry some aluminum foil to wrap the rolls.

    In the darkroom, I develop a 4 reel stack of 220 in large acrylic cylinders. In an evening I can do 4 or 5 batches, which is the equivalent of 16 or 20 rolls a night. Let's see you do that with 120.
     
  16. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    "220 sometimes ends up rather losely rolled after shooting, causing some light leaks at the edge of the film"

    Its a common problem with 220 in many cameras and my Mamiya 7 and Bronicas have all suffered this although its not usual for the fogging to extend into the image itself. I find I can control/largely eliminate this problem by tugging on the end of the roll before fastening it down; being more careful to load/unload in deep shadow; and keeping used films in their foil sleeves at the bottom of my bag to stop strong sunlight light hitting the exposed roll. I don't know which one of these is most effective but I know the combination works pretty well.
     
  17. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I've had the problem with light leaks as well; both my Bronica and an old Mamiya. A friend who used to work at a pro lab told me it's a common problem; eith not enough paper to completely cover the film or it isn't wrapped too tighly.



     
  18. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I mostly use medium format for air photography and only use 220, simply because it is so hard to change roll films in a very cramped light aircraft cockpit, so the less often I have to do it the better. My Pentax 67II gets 21 frames on 220 and only 10 on 120, so it slightly more than doubles the frames between changes. There is plenty of colour film still available, but I am rather stuck with B&W for archival reasons. I always used to use Delta 400, but all I can get now is Tri-X. There is no problem getting it (I got 150 rolls last week), but it is rated as slightly slower (320) and is noticably more grainy (our work needs all the resolution it can get) and I wish Ilford would re-start 220 production. The film is slightly more expensive per frame, but processing is not.

    My wife only uses 120 because she likes the ability to change film type more often without wasting frames.

    David.
     
  19. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    The problem is camera dependent. I used to get serious fogging all time with my Mamiya RZ ProII with the 220 back. Never had the problem with my Fuji 690 or Contax 645 (ironic since the Contax back doesn't seem nearly as "over engineered" as the much more massive RZ back).
     
  20. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I have the similar RB67 and have never had trouble with 220 backs and I have had it since the mid 1980s. There might be a fault with yours.

    David.
     
  21. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I think that's what I ment to say.
     
  22. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Point taken. I no longer have the camera to check. My main point is that there is nothing inherent about the design of 220 film that will cause light leaks.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  23. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    "My main point is that there is nothing inherent about the design of 220 film that will cause light leaks."

    I don't agree with that. 220 doesn't have backing paper and its strange that on my several Bronica 120 backs I never see leaks but on two (serviced) 220 backs I do. Equally I have had this issue on my Mamiya 7ii with 220 but never with 120. I think you'll find there's a lot of people with similar experience. I do think though that the issue can be minimised with careful management. I do not think that in general terms the ingress of light into the roll takes place inside the camera.
     
  24. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it does require more care and that care is required because the film lacks the added protection of the backing paper. A loose 120 is less likely to leak than a loose 220.
     
  25. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Well, I can't argue with that... :smile: I still think that a back or camera that creates the loose 220 roll is a deficient design; it not the fault of the film format. Both my Contax and Fuji produce rolls that are as tight as a drum.

    Edit: and let's add that the superior film flatness of 220 against the pressure plate is very helpful when you are shooting at a wide aperture.
     
  26. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Defective back or photographer... In my experience I think I have been mostly at fault when the roll is loose. If the roll isn't tight when loaded it isn't likely to be tight when you unload it -- but then that is pretty obvious.