Wanting to shoot 120 in a 116 camera
As some of you know, I am the proud owner of an absolutely pristine 1917 Kodak Autographic 1A (not "junior") which takes 116 film. For starters, I would love to hear from anyone who may own, or is familiar with this model. What I am hoping to accomplish is to find a way that would allow me to shoot 120 film in this lovely old camera. I would think it should be capable of producing excellent photographs, as everything functions as new, the crystal-clear Anastigmat 130mm f7.7 lens doesn't have so much as have a scratch or speck of dust; the shutter is accurate, and the bellows are as perfect as the day it was made 95 years ago.
Has anyone successfully modified a camera like this (or similar to it) to accept 120 film, and if so, would you be willing to share your wisdom so that I can actually use this beauty, rather than simply admire it on display in my cabinet? I have done lots of online searching, and managed to find some mention of adapting 116 to 120, but I just wonder if it is worth the effort it might take. For instance, would 120 not be narrower than the 116, meaning that to avoid any "flapping" of the film, would I not have to find a way to rig a set of rails closer together to keep the film flat? Or perhaps I am way off base here?
I came across a photo somewhere, of a fellow who had simply inserted plastic wall anchors into the ends of a 120 spool to make it fit properly into the 116 bay. Sounds awfully easy; just wonder what else I may be up against? Of course, I would love to hear from all of you who may have some pointers for me, and would be very appreciative of any/all info you might be able to provide. Attached, is a photo of my Autographic 1A.
I've done the plastic wall anchor trick, on an old Ansco folder. It worked but the film wasn't wide enough to lay flat against the sides of the film gate, so the edges were a bit out of focus.
“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson
Yashica Lynx 14e, Nikon F3, and an assortment of homemade pinhole cameras...
There is a place that still makes & sells 116. It's about $30 per roll though.
Kent in SD
i used the wall anchor deal to put 120 into a Richard stereo camera that has a roll back .. worked very nicely, just allow for the edges being a bit short. At the lens size of that camera, probably f-8 or 11, you should have enough depth of focus to keep the whole picture sharp, or you could build a mask in the camera out of cardboard.
Only two of the problems; the smaller width of 120 and the location of the frame numbering on the backing paper. You could use it as a single shot with a piece of sheet film cut to size.
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~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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i have a kodak box ( 1A ) that takes 116 spools.
it had film in it so i have the paper that has the frame #s ... 7 / roll ...even thought
i have 2 spools ( misplaced now ) and have successfully rolled my own 116 spools, i have also just made cardboard
disks and slid them between 120 spool-ends and the prong that holds the film in place.
it worked OK ....
take an old paper from a used 120 film spool wind it in your camera sans film
and see how many winds it takes to go 7 frames ..
you might also consider cutting small strips of paper
and making paper negatives
good luck !
Thank-you everyone, for your thoughtful replies.
I just thought of something! My camera has 116 spools in it; in fact it actually has 116 film in it! So, (and please forgive my total lack of knowledge on this subject) is it possible to simply use the existing backing paper from this old 116 film, and re-spool some 120 onto the 116 spool? If this is possible, then the frame numbers should still align perfectly with the window, and everything would (should?) work just fine, correct?
Is there a knack to re-spooling film? I will have to Google this to see what I can learn; maybe can find a detailed tutorial/Youtube video or something. As I stated earlier, the camera is immaculate, and it's indeed a shame that it isn't still being used. And I'm thinking that as I already have the 116 spools, and even 116 backing paper, then re-spooling is the best way to go, rather than attempting to modify 120 spools.
So, calling all experienced re-spoolers... do I need a degree in "Re-spooling 101" to tackle this, or am a worrying needlessly?
if you have the paper and two spools it should be fine -- a strip of 120 is going to be a bit shorter than a 116 was, since you get 8 shots with each, so plan on only getting seven or so by putting 120 on a 116 spool -- be careful with removing the old film, it is held in place with tape and you don't want to tear the backing paper, maybe just cut the old film off and leave the glued down bit of film there, you can tape the new film end to it -- you will have to experiment a bit with where to start it rolling up on the feeder spool because you put the loose-untaped- end film in first and you want it to attach at the right place -- so figure out in the open with a dead roll of 120, roll the film and paper until you get where the film is taped up on, then tape it down, because that is the end that is pulled through the camera, but that's just mechanics and you'll figure it out. It might even be easier to tape it down at both ends but, again, be careful of your 60-year-old backing paper. Keep the film reasonably centered and away you go!
Originally Posted by camperbc
There is lots of information around about respooling 120 onto 620, which might give you some helpful insight.
For reusing your 116 paper, if you're handy with wood, you may want to build some kind of jig to hold the spools and the paper so that everything is contained an controlled while you're working in the dark to tape the film and wind it up.
If you want to get the full length of your roll on the 116 paper, you might consider using 220 instead of 120.
For my 116 box brownie I did the paper negative thing. very easy, though you only get one shot.
Probably the most important thing about respooling is.......do it in the dark. :-)
Kent in SD