View Full Version : How wide is 125 film really? It's not what it says in the list.

02-20-2012, 11:27 PM
(Posted this question on another forum first, but they didn't know for sure, so I'm trying here.)

Background: I've been cutting down 105mm microfiche for some antique cameras that are in my collection. I recently acquired a Seneca 3A Box Scout. Someone had helpfully (?) painted on the bottom in silver "Use 122 Film". I tried a roll, but it's too narrow and falls into the film gate, also leaving part of the red window uncovered. (Not really a problem with slow ortho film, but still.) I have since found online an old Seneca catalog which listed this camera as using 125 film, which has the same image size as 122 but a longer spool. Seems that box cameras of a given image size used wider film than folders of the same image size, so 124 and 125 were the box-camera equivalent of 118 and 122 respectively.

So I looked up the spool sizes. There's one source which gives the actual length, which is claimed to be 3.992". Every other source on the net seems to be copied from this one (including the table on pikiwedia's Film Format page; I know this because I was the one who added it).

Using this datum, I made a pair of spools. This was simple enough to do: saw a 122 or 118 metal spool in half (I've got a couple extra of these), cut a piece of 7/16" dowel to the right length, cut a slot in it the long way with a slotting saw, drilled round holes at each end, filed a key slot over one of the holes, slide it into the core of the two halves of the cut spool, double-check the length and alignment, and glue it in place. I checked the length with a dial caliper, and it's exactly 3.992 just like the table says. Unfortunately, this turns out to be too long. Can't close the camera body with the spools in place, and the paper which I cut exactly to fit the spools is too wide for the film gate.

I took the dial caliper and measured the width between the rails where the film/paper has to go. I measured it at 3.912", not 3.992". Looked at the list, and that's exactly the length of a 103 spool . . .

So my question is, does anyone actually have a 125 spool that they can measure? Or is everyone who publishes these lists simply copying data which may have been entered incorrectly in the first place? Am I really the first person since 1985 to actually try to make and use 125 film? And most importantly, did 125 and 103 share a spool, like 122 and 124 do?

(I've got a 103 spool coming from eBuy, hopefully to deliver tomorrow, so I can check if it fits. If so, I can just use that size, but I'd like to know if it's correct first, just in case I ever have to make it for someone else who has a real 125 spool...)

02-22-2012, 10:16 PM
I have a roll of 125 film. It's sealed, but the box is exactly the same size as 122 (and 124). Tomorrow evening, I'll open it and measure the spool.
I do know that 122 film is exactly 3 5/8" wide (3.625 inches) and the longest roll was 10 exposures.
118 film is 85 mm wide and the longest roll was 12 exposures.

I'm surprised that you have a camera that uses 125 film. The only one I've ever seen is a Kodak 3B. It was some kind of fancy box camera.

02-23-2012, 06:24 PM
There aren't many in that size, true. The Seneca catalog that listed which films were for what cameras had a list of 22 different cameras using 122 film, but only six that use 125: this one (Seneca Box Scout #3A), the #3B Quick Focus Kodak (that's the box camera where the whole front moves in and out), the Stereo Brownie, the #3B Folding Hawk-Eye, the #6 Weno, and the Ansco #3A.

The spool is necessarily a little wider than the film, though, or it would get stuck. 122 spools are 3.715" long, or about 0.09" wider than 3-5/8".

02-23-2012, 09:06 PM
I measured the 125 spool and it is 3 15/16" (or about 100mm) long. It is about 3/16" longer than the 122 spool. I can't find my vernier caliper, so I can't give you a more accurate measurement.
I took photos of the spool and package. I'll post those a little later.

02-25-2012, 09:06 PM
Here are a few photos of the 125 film.4690646907469084690946910
I haven't posted photos on here before, so I hope this works.

05-02-2013, 12:26 PM
OK, so I found an older roll of 125 film on that auction site. I was the only bidder, so got it at $19.95. Band says develop before Sept. 1, 1912. Now I've used outdated film before, but this is ridiculous...

So, the spool. I posted above that I'd gotten a 103 spool, and it does in fact fit this camera. Now I received the 125-6 and guess what: Not only the spool the same size as 103 (meaning the table is wrong), it's apparently spooled on an actual 103 spool, which I measured right at 3.912". You can tell because the older spools were drilled right through, with the leader slot off-center so as not to go through the center hole, thereby to allow the removable winding key that the old Bullet #3's used to fit in there, and the end opposite the keyslot has three holes in a triangle for the old-style brass driver that the winding key screwed into.

Note that this is probably Kodak NC film; the Verichrome in the post above this one may have a totally different spool. I wonder if this was an early production run and they were trying to use up backstock of older spools.

(I forgot to mention to the seller that you can't send nitrate film through the mails. Nobody seems to have noticed, though. :whistling:

05-03-2013, 11:26 PM
The verichrome spool could very well be the same as a 103 spool. I don't have one to compare it with. When I measured that one, I couldn't find my caliper and used an old machinist ruler to measure it. 3 15/16" is 3.9375", the .0255" difference is less than 1/32" - well within the margin of error on my ruler.
I would have to guess that your older spool and this one are exactly the same.

05-07-2013, 01:24 PM
Thanks for that info. I wonder if your spool has the three holes on the end opposite the keyslot, though, or is just a plain metal spool like a longer 122.

I unspooled it today. Tried to load it into a Seneca Box Scout 3A (which is in actuality a 3B, but we won't mention that) and the film stock disintegrated, which isn't surprising given its age. I did notice that it's narrower than the paper at one end: looks like they loaded 122 stock into a slightly wider paper backing. No idea why they felt it necessary to do this: why not just build the camera to use 122 in the first place, and save having to make one more film size.

05-08-2013, 05:33 PM
The image size for 125 and 122 is the same. So, it makes sense that the film is the same size. As for the different size spools, it could be that Kodak introduced a film to fit a competitor's camera. Or maybe a competitor wanted to get into the postcard camera market. They then introduced the same film on a larger spool to make it proprietary. Postcard cameras were very popular.

05-11-2013, 08:45 PM
Did anyone notice that Ilford has listed HP5 in 3.5 inch x 50 feet in this year's release of ULF? I have 3 122 cameras that will be getting brand new film.

05-11-2013, 09:38 PM
I saw that Ilford is offering 122 film. I'm glad they are doing that. I intend on buying some. They have it listed as 3 1/4" which is the image size, not the film width. The actual film width is 3 5/8". I suspect they will correct that before production.

Last year, I made a jig to cut 122 film from wider stock. I have some 12" wide Tri-X and some 5" wide FP4+. It's a challenge to cut in the dark, but doable.

07-04-2013, 12:15 AM
I ordered one roll of the 122-size stuff. That sets me up for 130, 118, 122/124 and 103/125.