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Thread: 620

  1. #1

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    620

    Why is it that you can still buy 120 film from any decent photographic shop and yet 620 is practically impossible to get hold of (the only place I know of is Photo Supplies UK)? As far as I can see it would have been logical to keep 620 in production and stop 120, since 620 fits in all 120 cameras (that I have seen) and yet 120 fits in hardly any 620 cameras.

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    ozphoto's Avatar
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    I've managed to get my hands on some old 620 spools (raiding the junk shops etc) and re-spooled the 120. Takes some practice, but after a while it gets easier and now I can just about do it in my sleep.

  3. #3
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    I respool my 120 onto 620 spools when needed, too.

    I recently shot some 30 year old Tri-X 620 that I got dirt cheap. One thing about 620 spools is that the film is wound around a much smaller diameter spool shaft; because of this the curling issues with the old 620 film were monstrous. I virtually mangled it getting it onto the Jobo reel. I haven't had quite the same trouble with older 120.

    J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgtips View Post
    Why is it that you can still buy 120 film from any decent photographic shop and yet 620 is practically impossible to get hold of (the only place I know of is Photo Supplies UK)? As far as I can see it would have been logical to keep 620 in production and stop 120, since 620 fits in all 120 cameras (that I have seen) and yet 120 fits in hardly any 620 cameras.
    620 seems to have been discontinued for many years, other than the small-scale re-spooling by enthusiasts like Photo-Supplies UK.

    I'm not sure that 620 will fit in all 120 cameras, certainly none of the 120 cameras which I have had would take it, so far a I remember. The film and backing paper is the same, but the spool and flange of the 620 is much narrower.

    Part of the reason may be that most 620 cameras were at the less expensive end of the market, while enthusiast and professional cameras seemed (and still are) to be 120 (thinking of Rolleflex, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax, etc.).

    I'm not actually sure why 620 was produced, other than the slimmer spool (and hence slightly smaller packaging)...anyone know?

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    I'm pretty sure that Kodak introduced 620 to insure that Kodak cameras were fed with Kodak film. The tighter roll does cause some flatness/loading issues. Why couldn't they make an Adapt-A-Roll in 120?

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    You can either modify a camera to accept 120 or respool onto 620 spools. Some 620 cameras have enough margin to accept 120 film without mods, these are rare instances. Some folks trim the ends of 120 spools prior to loading into a 620 camera. I have modified Kodak Tourist cameras to accept 120 in the feed side only and use a 620 spool in the take up side.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

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    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Rusbarsky View Post
    I'm pretty sure that Kodak introduced 620 to insure that Kodak cameras were fed with Kodak film.
    I'm sure Matthew is right, but it is important to understand that when 620 was introduced, there were a lot more film sizes that were either current or had been current recently.

    For a parallel, think of 828 film. It gave a negative/slide that was very similar to 35mm, but the packaging and transport procedure was entirely different.

    To the best of my knowledge, the film take-up in all my 120 cameras won't work with the end of flange holes on 620 spools - the holes are much smaller than on 120 flanges.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    I do the same as Rick: I either respool 120 film onto 620 spools, or trim the 120 plastic flanges so they'll fit with no respooling necessary. I have a Pho-Tak Foldex 30 folding camera, very similar to the Kodak Tourist Rick mentioned, that says it'll take 120 or 620, but many 120s can cause the film transport to jam up. It's only really happiest with 620, so I just use scissors to cut down the flanges, quick and easy.

  9. #9
    spacer's Avatar
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    While unpacking, I dug up an old Brownie Hawkeye, which takes 620 film. I figure it's worth the time and effort to get at least a roll or two through it. Then, it'll probably take its place on the shelf.
    If it proves to be a lot of fun, however... well, then anything goes.

  10. #10
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    Kodak had a couple of "6" series film sizes. besides 620 I recall once seeing a roll of 616, which was also a smaller version of 116.

    The "given" explanation is that the 6 series films were smaller in diameter and so the "Vest Packet" cameras could be made slimmer.

    I have managed to geet 120 to work in an "Anny" 620 (simalar to a Diana) using a 620 spool for takeup. Most 120 cameras would not be happy with a 620 spool as the center pivots would not fit the holes in the flanges.

    120 Was used in a lot of Pro cameras which stayed in production even when the 620 film sales were failing.
    Charles MacDonald
    aa508@ncf.ca
    I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville

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