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  1. #1

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    120 v. 220 -- which do you prefer?

    I am thinking about getting an MF (Hasselblad 503CW) and am wondering if y'all have any strong opinions about 120 or 220 film? (If you happen to have any strong feelings about the 503CW or any other 6x6 MF, I'd be delighted to hear them, too.)

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    I like 120 because it's cheaper to buy two rolls of 120 than it is to buy 1 roll of 220 in most cases. If money wasn't an option I would shoot 220 as you have to reload have as often.

    If you're developing yourself 220 is longer which means more time rolling onto the spool.

    Not much difference really, I think it comes down to whether you want to spend more money and reload less often or vice versa. Also some films are not available in 220.

    Anyone else want to jump in here?
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  3. #3

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    Lovely camera. I've been using a 501CM for many years.

    Used Hassy bodies, 80mm lenses and backs are widely available at good prices. A lot of wedding photographers have switched to digital and this has resulted in a lot of Hassy equipment on the used camera market.

    New Hassy lenses, in general, are grossly over priced, as are new Hassy accessories.

    The available range of 120 roll film emulsions is much greater than 220. IMO multiple 120 backs are a more flexible approach than 220's. If I was doing wedding photography, I might change my mind.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  4. #4
    bmac's Avatar
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    When I was doing Weddings and Portraits, I used 220 film, more exposures per roll, less time spent changing film backs / reloading.

    For B/W it was always 120 so I could do N+/- dev when needed.
    hi!

  5. #5

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    Thank you for your feedback.

    I'd noticed that more films were available in 120 but hadn't realized they were cheaper.

    I shoot virtually exclusively B&W. I hadn't realized that +/- development would be available only with 120; why is that?

    I actually am not doing my own darkroom work, but my lab technician does it all by hand, and he will accommodate my requests for +/- development.

    Tom, I considered going with a 501CM but decided that I might wish I'd had the flexibility of the 503CW; do you have any thoughts about that? Do you find that you can hand-hold at some pretty slow shutter speeds?

    I also hadn't realized that it was the wedding photographers' switch to digital that resulted in my being able to afford a Hasselblad system! What irony.

    Again, my gratitude.

  6. #6
    bmac's Avatar
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    You can do +/1 dev with 220, but I found that 10 exposures per roll (6x7) was about all I wanted to toy with when it came to +/-. With my shooting style, and the locations where I shoot, it was hard to get 10 shots that needed the same development, let alone 20.
    hi!

  7. #7

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    220 film is held flatter in the film plane (no paper backing). this is better if you shoot at wider fstops. Less chance of portions of the negative being out of focus. If you shoot at f5.6 or smaller, it won't matter.

    220 film will let you get 24 shots per roll, 120 only 12. this only matters if you can't take the time to reload/switch magazines (weddings/parades, etc.)

    Since the move to digital for weddings, and the resultant loss of this piece of the professional market, for film manufacturers, I think 220 film will disapear relatively quickly. 120 film will be around for a long, long, time.

    Since you only shoot B&W, I recommend you buy two 120 magazines and use one for high contrast subjects and one for lower contrast subjects then develop accordingly.
    Tom Duffy

  8. #8
    clogz's Avatar
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    Some weeks ago Ilford announced they would stop producing 220 film.

  9. #9

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    Well, I guess all of this seals the deal. It'll be 120. In the process, I learned a lot from y'all. Thanks so much!

  10. #10
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Duffy

    Since you only shoot B&W, I recommend you buy two 120 magazines and use one for high contrast subjects and one for lower contrast subjects then develop accordingly.
    Tom Duffy
    Very good advice Tom...

    Jim

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