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Width of 120 film?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Malcolm_Stewart, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I'm scanning some 30 year old 120 films and find that some of them are buckling slightly when placed in my Epson 4870 Scanner 120 film holders. (And some are buckling quite badly.) Modern FP4 is OK. So I've tried Googling for the standard width of 120 film, and find that this information now seems to be only available if I pay for an ISO specification!
    Wikipedia tells me the length, but not the standard width. It also tells me the dimensions of 120 and 620 spools, and how to re-spool 120 on to 620 spools, but not the width of the film. The old Ilford manual of Photography also seems silent on the matter of film width.

    Does anyone know of an authoritative Internet source for this info? Thanks.
  2. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Perhaps Epson can't be bothered to pay for an ISO specification package. But surely they could measure a real film or two & answer the question sufficiently accurately to make a film holder that works properly?

    I don't blame them for the first omission, but the second is hard to understand.
  3. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    In theory I think it's supposed to be 60mm. However, I just checked some Velvia from a few years ago, which is more like 61mm.
  4. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Photoethnography say the film is 60mm wide but I have found other references to 62.5mm (particularly in reference to spools). These don't tend to make it clear but I suspect the larger value may include an overhang of the backing paper to improve light exclusion when on the spool.

    Photoethnography list the actual sizes of the frame formats and 56mm appears to be the maximum dimension across the film which would seem to support the idea of a 60mm nominal film width leaving a 2mm rebate at the edges of the developed frame.

    Possibly the older films are cut to a more generous dimension within the limits of the spool size or perhaps the production tolerances with respect to size was greater than for modern films...
  5. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    According to my plastic ruler a roll of 120 is 61mm wide, and the image area is 55mm - from an old blad.
  6. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all.

    I've now checked my enlarger 6x6 film holder (62.38-62.40mm in the film channel) and scanner (61.65-61.66mm). It's ~0.7mm wider in the enlarger film channel than in the scanner film holder. Recent FP4 is about 61.2mm wide - the old FP4 is 61.8mm, hence the buckling problem.
  7. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    I have the same problem, have considered getting some good quality glass and taping the negatives to it. Not keen on trying to cut the negatives. Maybe third party holders are a bit wider?
  8. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I imagine you could email the 3rd. party manufacturers and ask the question.
  9. Muffin

    Muffin Well-Known Member

    I used 120 film for many years and the negatives were 2.25 inches by 3.25 inches. The width would therefore be around 58mm plus some 'strip' down the edges - maybe the total width of the film would be about 64mm?
  10. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    I think you'll find the specifications on the relevant manufactuers websites.

    However, one point that nobody seems to have considered is that the film itself may have shrunk slightly:

    Many types of paint and plastic are plasticised with small amounts of plasticiser, which helps to keep the material soft and flexible. (Phthalates are most commonly used). With time this plasticiser can be lost or leached out of the material, resulting in embrittlement and slight shrinkage. I daresay photographic film will behave in a similar fashion.

    Professional film scanners overcome this problem by sandwiching the film between two layers of anti-newton glass. I do wonder whether you could achieve something similar on your Epson?

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