220 or it's later than you think

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Curt, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    This is not a rumor based thread. I was checking to see what's available in 220 roll film and found just a couple of color films out there. No b&w 220 at all but I never shot it that much anyway.

    Anyone have something I might have missed? I see the Kodak color films at Freestyle and B&H.

    Curt
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I wouldn't use a retailer as a specific guide to what products are manufactured. I would contact Kodak or Fuji directly.

    For some time, the only b.w 220 film was TXP. That was discontinued either last year or the year before.

    But, that being said, I wouldn't be at all surprised if 220 film disappeared in short order. It'd be a real shame IMO, but I don't think it is long for this world based on what people I know and people on this Website seem to shoot. I think 220 is better than 120 in almost every way, personally, and I don't see why more people do not shoot it.
     
  3. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    No 220 B&W on the market. Kodak discontinued the last TXP a while ago and Ilford doesn't have the machines to do it - you would assume it would be easy to do (just make it twice as long) but from a number of discussions, it is not easy at all. Different base, different type of paper and harder sell. So there is some colour and I think there is one-two slide films (don't quote me on that) but that is it. Look at the price for 220 only backs and they are a quarter what a similar 120 back sell for, for this very reason.
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Hell, I'd shoot 220 if I could get it, but no one makes it in B&W any more as you've found.
     
  5. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Not a different base. The paper's different in that it is only at the beginning and end.
    It's listed by Fuji and Kodak for most slide films, but I don't know if their websites are up to date on actual availability.
     
  6. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    220 Film is a different base....or at least it was from ILFORD

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  7. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Thanks, Simon.

    All the current Kodak and Fuji tech sheets I have seen, positive and negative film, have shown the same material and thickness for 120 and 220.
     
  8. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    The biggest problem I see with 220 roll film is that it can't be used with the much more common 120 backs. I have no idea what MF camera makers thought when they created this mess, small format cameras could use 12, 24 and 36 exposure film without any modification.

    By now it's a chicken and egg problem: nobody would buy a 220 film back on the off chance that one gets the film of choice for it and without such a back nobody will buy 220 film. Contrary to was was written here, 220 backs are not offered that much cheaper than 120 backs, at least not on keh or ffordes.
     
  9. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    That's because the film fits inside the canister, without no need to modify it except for length.
    There was no room on the spool for the longer rolls in medium format unless the full-length backing paper was omitted, creating a product which required different means to produce.

    Oh, really? For Bronica ETR series, KEH right now has a 220 Ei (Ei=latest) back in EX+ for $29, and a 120 Ei back in BGN for $69. They have a 220 Ei in BGN for $12.

    A back is 120 or 220 depending on which insert is in it. A 220 Ei insert, EX+, is $8. A much older 120 insert, BGN, is $21.

    I prefer 220, and am sorry to see it used so little.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bronica had the good sense to make a switchable 120/220 back during the era of the S,S2,S2a,EC,EC-TL, and there are some cameras with non-interchangeable backs that have this facility. I suppose it never became a norm because of the added mechanical complexity and maintenance required/risk of failure. Those Bronica 12/24 backs can be finicky, but fortunately they're cheap.
     
  11. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    We have good supplies of the new Portra 400 and 160 in 220 - but I believe these are the last films available in the format.

    It's encouraging Kodak saw fit to release the new Portra films in 220.

    Matt
     
  12. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I don't have a 220 back for my RB, or a 220 insert for the M645. However, non interchangeble back cameras, such as my C220 and Fuji 645 take both films by adjusting the pressure plate. Interesting how that worked. :cool:
     
  13. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    There must still be some wedding shooters, or something like that keeping 220 on the books at all.
     
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  15. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Don't discount camera compatability as a reason people don't shoot it. The remaining film user base for MF film is probably a lot of collectors (or collectors/sometime users). Most collector MF cameras don't take 220.
     
  16. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Other two notable cameras for their switchability between 120 and 220 are the Mamiya C-series and certain Rolleiflex models.

    My C330 shoots 220 at the flip of its pressure plate.
     
  17. guyjr

    guyjr Member

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    That's my thoughts on the matter as well. The only slide 220 I've seen for sale in the U.S. is Astia @ B&H, which is ironic because Astia itself is said to have been discontinued. So, my guess is that is just new old stock, and once it's gone, we will be left with just the two Kodak 220 products.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Now here's the $64,000 question - with all those 220 backs out there that will shortly become paperweights, it would seem there could be a market for converting them to take 120. But would it be economically feasible? I suspect the level of effort required would be not cost effective - you'd probably have to spend $250-300 in labor per back to convert them, and you could replace them with existing 120 backs for half that price in most cases.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah, with the general decline in use of medium format, I doubt there would be any incentive to convert 220 backs to 120, since there's plenty of 120 stuff around. Is there any camera that only takes 220? I think even the Linhof 220 had a switchable back.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I guess they'll just serve as parts donors to 120 backs for a very long time. Although I would think a lot of the 220 backs would be more worn out than the 120 backs because they would have been more likely to be used by working professionals.
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have one of those switchable Rolleiflexen, a 3.5F. It was the main selling point for me. I pretty much only shoot 120 in that camera when I am shooting b/w.

    My C220 was designed with the rotating pressure plate like you describe.

    But I also have a C33 that can take 220; not all of them could TMK. You have to remove the 120 back door and install a 220 back door. It is pretty simple to do, and luckily my camera came with both doors.
     
  22. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    The Mamiya 7ii has a revolving insert too.
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    ...and the Mamiya Press system backs, of course. The pressure plate comes off and you can flip it over for the other format. And you must flip the counter switch to 220 too, or else you lose half a roll.
     
  24. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    My Yashica Mat 124G door has a little plate that you slide up for 220 or down for 120. As well, my RZ 6x6 back has a similar feature for 220 film, where you twist and rotate the plate depending on 120 or 220 film. I still have 2 boxes of 220 TXP in my freezer which I love using.

    As a side note, is the biggest problem with using 120 film in a 220 back the film flatness or is there something else like spacing I am missing?
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The spacing can be off, so you can get fewer frames, but film flatness is generally not an issue, since the 220 pressure plate is closer to the film gate than a 120 one (no backing paper to add thickness). The extra thickness of the 120 film/paper just pushes the pressure plate back into its spring, so the film is still held flatly.

    Going the other way (220 in a 120 back), film flatness is not as good as it should be, and you only get to use half the roll (unless you can somehow reset the frame counter).
     
  26. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    So why aren't we buying 220 backs for cheap and putting 120 film through them?