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Thread: 120mm film

  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    120mm film

    Yes, 120mm film, the medium format that is so bad-ass it's twice as big as 60mm wide 120 !

    "120mm" is my favorite misnomer in the world of photography. You can see it on the shelves of photo store, in the post of both newb and pro photographers, in the catalogs of laboratories, and I'm sure Neil Armstrong exposed a few rolls of 120mm in his Hasselblad camera on the moon!

    Every month or so, I patiently train a lab clerk at my local photo store (they rotate a lot, obviously) in the long forgotten lore that pictures on 120 film really are 6 cm wide, not 120mm wide, and that 120 really is a product code.

    Surprisingly, very few people say "220mm" but it happens every once in a while you will see it in product list (see these guys, for example: http://www.lozeau.com/services/compt...pement-120220/ or those guys: http://www.borealislab.qc.ca/pdf/liste_de_prix_01.pdf) because the same clerk who did 120mm was told to add "220".

    "120mm film" is a testament to the power of words: stronger than truth, easier to remember than reality, more coherent than the external world, and more meaningful than the original.

    So what's your favourite misconception in the world of photography?
    Using film since before it was hip.


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    My favourite is 'lense'
    Steve.

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    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Whenever you mention infrared film to someone not versed in it, they always assume that means "heat seeing", and then they're disappointed by what it really means..



    Or worse yet, that people think they went back and "colorized" all that Kodachrome footage from WWII.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

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    Me: "I like photography too!"
    Anon: "What do you shoot with?"
    Me: "Film, howabout you?"
    Anon: "Oh! So you, like, make movies then?"

    Or my other favorite response "They still make film?"

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    Oh, and a darkroom is the same as a clean room.

    I don't know about anyone else, but the darkroom I work in sure as hell isn't a clean room!

  6. #6
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Not photography but the media, journalist, news, television and movies: "the eternally dark side of the moon" and "knowledgeable journalist".
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

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    What bothers me when they spell Canon, Cannon.

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    polyglot's Avatar
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    Oh man, I was gonna jump in this thread to have a whinge that 120 film is not 120mm only to find that I was being baited

    Another one that bugs me (much less common than "120mm") is referring to hypo clearing agent (HCA) as merely "hypo", which is actually fixer, which is what HCA is meant to get rid of!

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    brucemuir's Avatar
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    Where does the term "120" come from?

  10. #10
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucemuir View Post
    Where does the term "120" come from?
    The first system Kodak had for names for film sizes was confusing and out of hand. So Kodak started the numbering over again starting at 100. The first in the list was 101, then 102, ... in order 2 1/4" wide film was 120.

    There were exceptions since 35mm film was well known in the movie industry, Kodak jumped ahead and numbered it 135.

    620 film was the same width as 120 with a narrower spool so that was assigned 620.

    There are several others which were numbered out of sequence using 6xx and 8xx. There was some reason to label Instamatic film as 126, but I cannot remember why.

    This history is here:
    http://www.nwmangum.com/Kodak/FilmHist.html

    A cross reference of emulsion type is here FWIW:
    http://www.taphilo.com/Photo/kodakfilmnumxref.shtml

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

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