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  1. #1

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    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.

  2. #2

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    Can't see no pictures!

  3. #3
    dehk's Avatar
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    Funny I just picked up a Tourist 2 last week and was gonna do similar things. Lets see photos though!
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  4. #4

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    i was under the impression ( after conversations with ken ruth
    who does conversions of medalists from 620 to 120 )
    that either the paper or the film base of 620 was thinner than 120,
    so film is likely to get "bound up" ..
    do tourist cameras and others that take 620 film have the same problems or
    is this a situation that may be more likely to happen just with medalist cameras because of their design ?

    - john
    im empty, good luck

  5. #5
    dehk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i was under the impression ( after conversations with ken ruth
    who does conversions of medalists from 620 to 120 )
    that either the paper or the film base of 620 was thinner than 120,
    so film is likely to get "bound up" ..
    do tourist cameras and others that take 620 film have the same problems or
    is this a situation that may be more likely to happen just with medalist cameras because of their design ?

    - john
    My friend always respool 120 to 620 into a Kodak Duraflex with no problem.
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  6. #6

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    Well... what the what? I thought i had the images attached to the thread and now they're nowhere to be found. I had a hard drive crash, so i'm not even entirely sure i still have the pictures. I'll have to look around and see if they're backed up somewhere in the mess of backup shenanigans i have. I'm actually a little surprised to see this pop back up.

    I'm not sure if the backing paper or film was thinner on 620, but i didn't tend to have any real issues with binding of the film / paper, only the spools. I thought the spool could be smaller because they were made of metal and had a thinner core, not because of any thickness difference, but i may well be wrong. That being said the winding on mine was never what i'd call "buttery smooth", largely because of my seat-of-the-pants engineering.

  7. #7

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    Article pops back up because you have written a classic!

    Thanx for your effort.

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I did a Tourist II conversion earlier ths year. There were no problems feeding 120 film through it once there was enough room for the 120 spool in the feed side. I left the 620 spool in the take up side, no need to modify that side. It is a dirty process, so blue painters tape EVERYWHERE to keep grindings out of places it doesn't belong. I taped the entire outside plus over the the entire inside except the work area. I used a dummy roll for the many test fits until it moved freely in the chamber. A thorough cleaning is next, compressed air followed by wiping with a soft cloth soaked in a fast drying solvent. I recommend not modifying the take up side, the tabs on the shaft are too small to properly engage the slots in a 120 spool and could possibly slip causing film advance difficulties. The tool of choice for this is a Dremel with a good assortment of grinding burrs. Have fun!
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  9. #9

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    got anny pickchers, Rick?

    :-)

    If you have of the modified example I can provide some pre-modified.

  10. #10
    kingkristjan's Avatar
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    Can't see the pics either. But I did the same thing about 10 years ago, except I had access to my brothers precision machining business. It was still a little crude, but it did work. I needed to smooth out one edge because it was grinding the top edge of the film. I ended up auctioning it off on eBay to some guy in Taiwan. He also worked in a precision machining company and he refined it a little more. The only thing I did miss was having a true rangefinder...guessing the focus position was hit and miss.

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