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620 film - can you still use 620 cameras?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Bone_Idle, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. Bone_Idle

    Bone_Idle Well-Known Member

    I found my first camera the other day, and old Kodak TLR. It's fixed focus and very simple but I quite fancy seeing if it still works.

    However, on the film door it has a plater saying 620 film only, 120 will not work in this camera (or words to that effect).

    Is there a way to still use it?
  2. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    120 and 620 films are the same. It is the spool that is different. If you can get a 620 spool (ebay?) you can re-wind the film onto that. You will also need a 620 take up spool.
  3. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Wind the film & backing paper onto a spare spool, then back onto a 620 spool. Only the spool is different.
  4. PeteE

    PeteE Well-Known Member

    My first 'good camera' was an ensign Selfix 16/20 Model II which took BOTH 620 and 120!The flange holes of 620 are smaller and the spool is thinner than 120.
  5. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    IIRC on my (long deceased) Selfix the spool holders were "stepped" & spring loaded so that they would hold a 620 spool or a 120 spool, the spindle went about 1mm deeper into the 120 spool.

    If the key is designed to fit a 120 spool only it won't engage a 620 spool. If the key is designed to fit a 620 spool only it probably won't grip a 120 spool, at least not well enough to guarantee that the winding mecahnism will be effective.

    Edit: The Selfix used visibility of numbers in the red window to align frames when winding on, so the different spool diameters didn't upset it. Cameras that count revolutions of the spool will need to use the correct diameter spool, for reasons that should be obvious.
  6. Bone_Idle

    Bone_Idle Well-Known Member

    I have managed to get an old 620 film on ebay. It's been exposed but I have no idea how old it is and have no desire to develop it (out of a morbid curiosity), so I investigated how it all fits together etc.

    It seems very straightforward and I've ordered a 120 film to give it a go.

    I'll see how it turns out, I suspect I may have to take the camera to bits and give it a right good clean. It's a Kodak Duoflex which has no focus or shutter speed control. I'll probably use it for one film then put it on a shelf for decoration, but it will take me back to when I was a child. (The camera is a lot older than me)

    Like this one:-

  7. Dave_Cox

    Dave_Cox Well-Known Member

    I managed to use an old Kodak box camera by rewinding 120 film onto 620 spools (in a dark room obviously). This was possible because the camera wound on by tension rather than toothed sprockets - may be worth a try though.
    Not an excersise I'll be repeating - it was fiddly and tbh the results weren't worth the agro.
  8. melek

    melek Active Member

    For those of us who still have 620 cameras, the most economical way is to simply respool 120 film onto a 620 spool, which are readily available on eBay. In fact, the cheaper method is to find an old 620 camera at boot sale that still has a spool in it. Those usually will be cheaper than the 620 spools sold on eBay.

    Here are instructions for respooling film:


    To be performed in total darkness (a changing bag is the best method).

    One thing that I'll do is use a Rolleiflex to rapidly wind the 120 film to the end. Then you just have to respool. Just don't pass the film between the rollers as you normally would do when loading an Automat.

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