Best 120 box camera?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by EASmithV, May 26, 2012.

  1. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I have a Kodak Brownie Six-20, and it's a fun little toy, but it can't take 120 film, and I'm tired of re-spooling. I tried loading a 120 roll, and it ripped the last 2 frames and creased the third to last frame, as it somehow got really tight towards the end.

    So, I know that there are box cameras out there which take 120, and are built to a higher quality than the Brownie, perhaps even better aperture options or even some kind of rudimentary scale focusing device?

    Also, I'm not talking about some kind of hard-to-find prototype. Ideally, something I can pick up for less than $50 ($30 would be even better).

    The ripped film gave me some interesting developing artifacts, but honestly, I'm still annoyed by it.
     
  2. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    120 box camera; a Rolleiflex comes to mind. But, finding 1 for $30 might be a bit difficult. I have a Spartacus (sp?) 120 box camera I've used from time to time; a tlr bakelite with 4 aperatures and 2-shutter speeds and a plastic lens that is rather soft. But on a tripod using some b&w in the ASA 10-25 range yields some really nice period looking photos and I enjoyed the results sometimes better than when using either the Rollei or Bronica with their sharper more contrasty lenses.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    agfa shurshot ( on ebay now )

    mayfair made a beautiful box with a portrait diopter ( on ebay now )

    if you make a shim of cardboard you can use a kodak 1A and regular old 120 film instead of 116 film

    just go to ebay and type in "box camera" + "116 film" or just "box camera" and you will find them ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2012
  4. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    Inside the Brownie I think there's a little tab that interferes with the larger 120 spool. Get rid of the tab and 120 works fine.


    Kent in SD
     
  5. toolbox

    toolbox Member

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    After talking with a guy who said you can fit a 120 spool in a Brownie Hawkeye I tried it...you can put it in, but because the pins that it's supposed to ride on are a smaller diameter than for 120 it tends to drag on the camera instead of smoothly rotating. I used a 620 spool for takeup and tried it out...the takeup spool kept popping out of place because I was putting a ton of force on it trying to get the film spool to turn. It did fit, but wasn't going to function. I respooled it on a 620 spool and it worked fine. or as much as I shoot with it, respooling isn't a big deal. I also have an Ansco Sureflash that belonged to my mom when she was a kid. Takes 120 and shoots fine. Pictures look about the same as what comes out of a Brownie. Build quality is somewhere between cardboard and plastic, but it's lasted this long so it must be reasonably tough...
     
  6. erikg

    erikg Member

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    I've got a brownie box camera that was made for 120. Interested? I think I paid 40.00 for it in an apug fundraiser a while back.
     
  7. AlbertZeroK

    AlbertZeroK Member

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    Yeah my hawkeye from hawkeyemods.com used standard 120 but requires a 620 take up spool, which works well for me.
     
  8. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I don't know about "best", but I have a lot of fun with my Agfa Synchro Box, and my JEM JR. I think they were about $10 each.
     
  10. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Instead of respooling, have you tried trimming the flanges with scissors? That usually works for me and I find it easier and quicker than respooling.
    As for a 120 box camera, try the Ansco Shur-Flash. They take 120 natively.
     
  11. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I use Kodak Brownie Hawkeyes and I dont have a problem using 120 film with a 620 take up spool. From what I have learned browsing the internet, the older models usually accept 120 better than the later models. Apparently the later models have a tab that prevents 120 reels unless you bend it or cut it off.

    Also, I don't know if its a true 'box' camera or not, but I greatly enjoy the German made Certo Phot. It's a steel body, and has a single speed shutter with bulb mode. I have two of them now and I like them just as much as I do the Hawkeyes. They are 120 ready so no modifications are needed.
     
  12. bestbefore1978

    bestbefore1978 Member

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    The Kodak Brownie Cresta range is 120 format, cheap and fun to use. The plastic lens is nothing to write home about but it does have a built in yellow and close-up (5ft) filter.
    6x6 format

    I also have an old Coronet Ambassador which takes 120 as standard - 6x9 with instant/time shutter and oddly a built in green filter
     
  13. Denverdad

    Denverdad Subscriber

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    I'll second the nomination! The Tengor has a reputation as the box camera and is an excellent performer, at least if you add the "...for a box camera" qualifyer. The lens is an AR-coated achromat (cemented doublet), unlike the single meniscus found in most box cameras. This results in surprisingly good optical performance, especially considering that it is 6x9 format (getting reasonable sharpness in the corners can be challenging with lesser lenses). As you can see in the link Shawn provided, the camera has three aperture settings. Although these are all small, they are perfectly appropriate for a box camera, and provide sufficient flexibility for daylight conditions. The three-focus settings work well also. The mechanism is not scale-focus per-se, but rather works by bringing auxillary lenses into place to achieve closer focus. It also has several other features not always found on box cameras - tripod bush, a selector for instantaneous or time modes, and a cable release socket.

    Jeff
     
  14. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The Tengor is undoubtably the best box camera - but I'm not sure of the attraction of a good box camera. The pictures don't have any of the quirkiness of a Holga or fuzz of a Brownie I'm not sure I see the point. Prices have been driven up as the camera is now collectible.

    There is an old black cardboard-box Brownie #2 that takes 120 film. Even has an aperture adjustment and takes time exposures.
     
  15. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    OK, I'll add a vote to the candidate Box Tengor. The later ones especially are pretty good (well, it's all relative).

    Here's an example out of mine:
    [​IMG]
    It's Dead Jim
     
  16. Denverdad

    Denverdad Subscriber

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    I hear what you're saying, and it is a fair point that the Tengor produces images which are perhaps somewhat "ordinary" compared to the character of images produced by more typical box cameras. Personally, I like different cameras for different reasons, and I find that if an older camera doesn't have some particular quality, some qurkiness, something that makes it stand out - at least on an intellectual level, if not in terms of the images produced or how it is used - then I tend to be less interested. But for me, the fun of the Tengor is precisely that it IS "just" a box camera, and yet can produce high quality images! I really like the idea of showing people pictures that for all practical purposes might have been produced by any modern digital camera, and then revealing that the camera used was actually a 60 year old film camera. ...and "just" a box camera, at that! I am probably a bit strange, but I do get a kick out of that. :tongue:

    As for the climbing prices in recent years, that is my experience too. It seems to be a general trend for most older cameras, at least the medium format ones that I am interested in anyway.

    Jeff
     
  17. OliMonster

    OliMonster Member

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    Agfa Clack. Haven't seen any photos from mine yet, got a couple of rolls I need to process, but it looks great!