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  1. #1

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    Strange 116 spools - no winding groove

    I recently got a Brownie no. 2A camera, which takes 116 film, and I want to have a go at running 120 through it. Three spools came with the camera. They look like 116 spools, all the measurements fit, but they don't have a winding groove that fits the camera. Instead, they have a round hole at one end and a square hole at the other. They are marked "GEVAERT" on the flanges. The camera has a winding knob that fits perfectly to a modern 120 spool, which is too small for the camera. Can anybody identify these spools? All the pictures I've been able to find of 116 spools have winding grooves.
    The picture shows one of the spools alongside a 120 spool.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    One of the spools was inside the camera, which is rather odd, since there doesn't appear to be any way the camera could actually wind it.

  2. #2
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    Good morning;

    Gevaert is/was a European film manufacturer. Sometimes they did things a little differently. We have had the minor differences with the 120 spool and the 620 spool for years, in addition to the 116 film system.

    See if you can find some "American" 116 spools for rewinding something like 120 roll film onto for use in your camera. Do not send the film with the spool in for processing; usually you will not get the spool back with the processed film. Instead, look into processing the film yourself. Black and white is not difficult, and you know where the 116 spool will be. If the concept of black and white only is of concern, consider that most of the photographs taken with the Kodak Brownie cameras did use black and white film, so it will not be out of character. For color, you can use a "custom processing service" where you can specify that the uncommon spool will be returned to you.

    And, you might be able to use something like a Dremel tool and some fine small files to modify a film spool to work with your camera, if locating an original 116 film spool is a problem.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."

  3. #3
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG!

    Can't help you much with the spool itself but here is a webpage: http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/116_film with some info and some good links if you want to use the camera. I have a 2A myself but have never gotten around to modifying/using it.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  4. #4
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    If memory serves, the film your camera takes is larger than 120, and I've heard of people using plastic drywall anchors (the things that allow you to use screws in drywall) as spacers. Select the proper size, put the pointy end into the end of your 120 roll, and snip off the excess to fit. I've never tried it myself though.
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

  5. #5
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    I have done the drywall anchor trick. It works in a couple of old brownies I have.

    The next trick is to make a spacer to keep the feed roll off to one side fo the feed hopper.

    I also make a shim to increase the friction on the film exiting the supply roll, to aid in keeping the film taught along the image plane. You can't count on the edge guides when only one side touches.

    I just mentally note which side is off. You might conider a mark over the view finder.

    The other trick is to work out the backing paper notes.
    I have a post it laminated to remind me which dots to stop at on Ilford film to get the rignt film postion for the longer than usual negative area.
    I worked mine out with a test roll ( i keep them around to coach others on loading steel and plastic reels when startign darkroom work ).
    With the back off I marked old backing aper up with a marker to figure out the ful frame advances, and then worked out where the window was.

    My film advance window's OEM red dyed plastic had faded, so I added a bit of red acetate snipped from a Rosco theatrical gel swatch book to make sure the window does not fog the film through the backing.

    My units have a 3 stop aperture adjustment, and I have had good luck using 100iso film.
    The shutter speed is about 1/40 to 1/60, so using the Fred Parker Ultimate Exposure Guide, from the web, I worked out that f/22 all in is for only the brightest day outside, one stop out is good for average days with the occasional cloud, and two stops out f/11 or so is for when clouds are heavier.

    The lens is some thing hazy to get use to.

    Get used to trying to shield the lens from direct light if you hope at all to minumize flare.

    Have fun!
    my real name, imagine that.

  6. #6

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    I've been using mine to make paper negatives. I slice up an 8x10 sheet to fit the film gate and go take a picture.
    Only one frame is a big downside, but it hasn't been a huge problem, and I get a full frame image.

  7. #7

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    Thank you for your helpful answers. I'll go look for drywall plugs to adapt 120 spools. Is it possible to use the film frame window with 120 film, or will the backing paper not be light-proof enough? If I push the film all the way to one side the 4.5x6cm frame numbers line up with the window. I'll probably try regular B/W film first, since I can develop it myself.

  8. #8
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    As Mike Wilde said above, you won't be able to trust the frame numbers, and will have to do your own tests to determine proper spacing.

    The window should be fine for use with 120 as long as the ruby glass is intact. If not, tape a gel swatch over it as Mike recommended. Just beware that in bright sunlight you should still use caution because intense light can still "burn" the frame numbers into your film.
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

  9. #9

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    If you can get some 116/616 backing paper or make it, 70mm bulk film can be rolled up pretty easily...
    - Bill Lynch

  10. #10
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    Did you notice that the hole on one side of the spool is square?

    That works just as well as the keyway (winding groove) when engaged with the proper windup spool.

    PE

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