Kodak Tourist II 620 to 120 Modification
It's not terribly difficult to switch a Kodak Tourist from a 620 to a 120 camera, but it's not exactly easy to find a how-to on it to keep one from making stupid mistakes. Hopefully this will keep people from making all the dumb mistakes I did.
I did this on a Tourist II, if someone wants to chime in on the differences between the original and the II it would be appreciated, because apart from my thinking the original viewfinder looks much nicer to use than the faux rangefinder on the II, I'm not entirely sure of the exact differences between the two models.
Before you set out to mod your Tourist, it would probably be a good idea to run a test roll through it to make sure the shutter or bellows doesn't need work. Since most of the time there should be a 620 spool in the camera, one way to do this is to take a nail clipper and cut around the outside of the 120 spool, then sand the ends a little bit. There's a good chance the edges will fog when doing this, so keep your surroundings dim.
The first thing you'll want to do is take off the back and tape up the bellows and lens area. The Tourist II back comes off really easily, I believe this is because there was also an optional 828 back. In any case, put the back somewhere it won't get dirty while we grind away.
620 spools are slightly thinner and shorter than 120 spools even though they use the same width film, so what we'll need to do is grind down the little corner brace type things in the film bays until there's enough room. Sorry, I forgot to get a picture of them pre-grinding. I used a Dremel tool with a pointed grinder attachment. The regular tube shaped grinder is much more difficult to get around in this little space.
First, we grind the side where you load the film. As far as i've experimented, all you should need to grind is the bottom, as shown here.
Here's a little bit better picture of the ground area.
The cool thing about this modification is that if you have a couple of 620 spools and are processing your own film, that's is all you have to do. Just use a 620 spool for takeup and the thing works great.
The takeup spool side is a bit more complicated. Because the 620 spool has a different slot thing we have to replace that, along with the bottom rod. First though, we need to grind out that side.
As you can see, this side needs a bit more grinding, both on the bottom but also along the sides. It can be hard to guess exactly how much to grind out, and it's probably better to err on the side of too much, but to get an idea of how far you've got left to grind on the sides, you can fill a broken 120 spool with a bit of clay.
If you push it up onto the winder, it'll leave an impression. When it's centered grind just a bit more.
Now comes the more difficult bit, making the wind mechanism work with the larger 120 slot. First, grind off the old winder. Now, I'm not exactly sure how the thing came off, but I think it's because of the soldering iron I was using to try and solder on a new bit (which didn't seem to work so never you mind that). That being said, once it's off it leaves a nice little slot to stick a little piece of metal in there. Since I didn't have any little strips of metal laying around, I used what I happened to have.
A penny. It's a little weird, but it happens to be just about the perfect thickness. I cut it down with a tin snips, but I'm sure you could cut it with a Dremel cutting wheel. Here, you can see the final shape it should be, along with what was left of the original wind key.
As long as you have the Dremel cutting wheel on, cut down a bit of metal rod to replace the bottom rod. I used the un-threaded part of a deck screw, which is mighty close to the proper diameter.
Next, you just glue the penny and screw into place. I used some fairly standard two part epoxy. Once the glue has set, stick a spool in and try it out. If you glued the bottom rod slightly out of place, you can actually pop it off with a pliers and re-glue it. (I had to do that more than once due to a couple of screw ups.)
Once you've got everything in place, it's a good idea to give both bays a good cleaning, either with a damp cloth or better, some canned air. Then all that's left is to load it up with some 120 and go shooting.
Still noone that has a picture of this procedure?
I'm hesitant at putting my Dremel to a perfect camera, after some Wiley E. Coyote gunsmithing that went bad some years back!
My appologies, I didn't photo the procedure. IIRC, you must grind at the top and bottom of the feed side of the camera. There are "bumps" that limit the diameter of the film roll. I have since sold the camera, so there isn't any way to photo it and describe the process. Go slow, and take care not to take too much out at a time, and test fit often. When you are satisfied you have completed the job, some flat black paint is in order to finish properly. One other recommendation, do this somewhere dust and metal grindings dont pose any problems, and wear a dust mask and safety glasses.
Dust & grime? I've worked in the oil industry with corrosion control, sandblasting, spray-painting and spray-metallization - this is peanuts!
Thank you for your info. One question: did this procedure ruin the abulity to use 620 rolls, should you be lucky enough to nab one somewhere?
Thats something I never gave a thought. I suppose that there mightn't be adaquate tension on a roll of 620 after the mod, but then again, there may be.
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I was the lucky foster parent of the adopted Tourist & just saw this follow up. I've used Rick's camera with both 120/620: 120 - all good; 620 - as Rick opined, a tiny bit loose, but still works fine. Btw...the actual conversion work by Rick is amazing. Clean, smooth, all surfaces resealed...I can certainly see this as an involved process with metal dust everywhere. I have taken my adopted Tourist many places, most recently yesterday on a cloudy day in the redwoods...perfect for 6x9 slabs of contrasty Ektachrome...
Last edited by jhw; 02-22-2011 at 01:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Well, I certainly thank you for the pat on the back. I miss the little beast, glad to hear you are having a wonderful time with it. I might just have to do that again.