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120 film numbering

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Col. Hogan, Jul 5, 2000.

  1. Col. Hogan

    Col. Hogan Well-Known Member

    Are there numbers printed on the back of 120/220 rolls of film? I recently tried to load an old TLR and there is no start mark with which to line up the arrows with but there is a ruby window. I have been told that there are [or used to be] numbers on the paper side of these films that can presumably be seen through a ruby window on such a camera. I tried it again with a roll of 220 film, but there were no numbers and I'm once again guessing as to where the start of the roll is. Does anyone know? Thanks.
     
  2. Kevin

    Kevin Member

    The last time I looked (about 18 months ago), 120 roll film did have numbers on the back. I think that there are numbers for 6x6 & 6x4.5 neg sizes. The position on the backing paper should correspond to the position of the red window on the camera.

    If you are using the window when winding on, you shouldn't need to worry too much about the arrows. Provided that the leader is secure, you know when you reach frame one, when the number '1' apears in the window. I assume that as you are using a TLR, you will probably end up with 6x6 negs. This will allow you 12 frames per roll.

    I've never tried 220 film, but I believe that it is twice the length of 120 format, but without backing paper. Therefore, no numbers.
     
  3. tonymidd

    tonymidd Well-Known Member

    I use Fuji colour films and Ilford Delta mono all of which have numbers on the backing paper for 645, 6x6 and 6x9 in the 120 size. When you use the red window you will see a row of dots or a tapering arrow which is the warning that a frame number is coming into view. If your window has a sliding cover I would suggest that you get into the habit of using it as modern high speed films can fog in bright light. As Kevin says 220 does not have a backing paper for the whole length of the film, just a leader and tail. If you try using this in your old camera you will get out of focus images and a fogged stip!
    I regularly use 120 film in a '40s Zeiss 6x9 Ikonta,the slightly soft images make for super landscapes.
     
  4. Col. Hogan

    Col. Hogan Well-Known Member

    Thanks. The camera does have a sliding cover. As I did put the 220 in, I'll just guess the same way I did with the 120 roll and go ahead and try it. I'll probably be lucky if I don't have problems due to heat and humidity right now. It's supposed to get to 100 deg F with oh, I'm guessing 80% humidity this weekend. Unfortunately, our a/c is low on coolant and I'm having to put film in the refrigerator. However, this is kind of hard when the film is already in the camera.
     
  5. JMACNALLY

    JMACNALLY RIP

    IMPORTANT - Don't use 220 film in a camera not designed to use it, this especially applies to any camera with a ruby viewing window. 220 film has a paper leader and a paper end, but nothing but bare film in between! Any camera with a viewing window is going to be looking at the back of the bare film, and this will surely fog it, even if it is red.

    I have only "cheated" the 120 220 rule with a 12 on Hasselblad back that can be reset to frame 1 and continues for another 12, but even this is hit and miss.

    All 120 films still carry the frame numbering for all popular formats, and for one very good reason - film back adaptors for field cameras and other specialised equipment still rely on frame numbering on the backing paper.

    Hope this puts the matter straight.
     
  6. tonymidd

    tonymidd Well-Known Member

    I use a 'blad and wonder how you got away with 220 in a 12on back, surely the image would not be absolutly sharp as the pressure plate is set for the double thickness of film and paper. Without the backing paper the 220 may not be correctly positioned. I've done it the other way round in a mamiya6 set to 220 and used 120 film, the wind was a bit stiff but no damage apeared to be caused.the images were ok as the pressure plate was put more pressure on than was really required.
     
  7. Col. Hogan

    Col. Hogan Well-Known Member

    It's an old Graflex TLR 6 x 6. The ruby window has a knob which turns and a cover slides into place over it. Did they have 220 film in the 40's and 50's? I think that is when this particular camera was made.
     
  8. JMACNALLY

    JMACNALLY RIP

    It is posible that the 120 back was .005" out of register compared to the a 220, but I can live with that. Excepting extreme close-up, all the shots were sharp. I now have a couple of 220 backs so no longer "fiddle".

    And now for another cheat for owners of Mamiya 645. The only difference between the 120 and 220 inserts for these is a small triangular block in the insert which activates a lever to allow the winder to go past 16 and on to 32. I adapted one of my inserts and never had any problems with it. This was possible on the 645J (fixed back) and 645Super. I don't know if it will work with the latest models.
     
  9. Kevin

    Kevin Member

    Am I missing something here? Surely the emulsion side of the film is the same distance from the lens, whether you use 120 or 220 film? I thought that the difference would be between the back of the film and the pressure plate, due to the lack of cacking paper. This would presumably make no optical difference? I would be intrigued to know the correct answer.
     
  10. JMACNALLY

    JMACNALLY RIP

    The theory is that the camera is calibrated using the reflex mirror and the distance that the light has to travel. A point of light is reflected from the 45o mirror onto the focussing screen, when the mirror is raised and the light hits the film then this should be precisely the same distance. Open the back of a 35mm camera and set the shutter to B, using a piece of frosted glass laid on the film guide focus on a subject (best done in a fairly dark room with a window as the subject, or electric light). It is quite difficult to hold everything steady but you will notice that the smallest movement of the glass away from the back will lose focus. From the above you will see that intricate engineering and fine tolerances are required for even the simplest of cameras.
    What you see as "in focus" in the viewfinder must equate exactly to the image on the film.
    Hasselblad pressure plates have a "return" position when fitted onto the camera and this will differ between 120 and 220, as I said, by the thickness of the backing paper. At least that is my understanding, but in practice I think the difference has little effect.
     
  11. JMACNALLY

    JMACNALLY RIP

    Not sure when 220 was introduced, I have a feeling it would have been around this time. However, ANY rollfilm camera with a film viewing window would never be recommended for use with 220. Even when using 120 film the instruction books always recommended that the window be covered as much as possible. Light is like water - it will always find a way in!
    I have developed old films "discovered" in old folders and the telltale "moons" are usually apparant.
    We sometimes forget how very easy and error proof modern photography is. Imaging having to estimate distance, estimate exposure, wind on the film, cock the shutter, close the ruby window, line up the shot! People on holiday thought themselves lucky to get 6 half decent pictures on return.
     
  12. Raz

    Raz Well-Known Member

    with my blad you just ope the back "door" and wind the film untill you can see
    dot..dot..dot.. "1".. i use illford ad fuji films i shouldnt thik there are many films without numbers on the 120 papaer.. you just have to wind for quite a while.. you'll see it. and then work from there.. with a TLR just line the arrows up with the red marks at the bottom and wind on till "1" appears..
    220 in most TLR's is no problem.. the have clickable panel in the back . where the films rests to compensate for not having the paper backs of 120 film, one advantage to TLR's over changeable back SLR medium format camera's.

    always looking for new work
    <A HREF="http://www.angelfire.com/on/aroof">http://www.angelfire.com/on/aroof</A>
     

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