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FYI: source for 620, 116 & 616 spool adapters

Joseph Allen , Jan 07, 2004; 02:25 a.m.

Just by luck today I happened across an auction on you-know-where for a set of adapters to use 120 film in 616 cameras. Also up for auction were adapters for using 120 film in 620 cameras. I've got an order in for some of the 616 ones, so we'll see if they are worth the $5 I paid for them when they arrive next week.

Anyway, I certainly don't want photo.net to turn into a bunch of plugs for eBay sellers, but I've seen enough "how can I use 120 film in my 620 camera?!" questions to think that this is worth passing the info along. So, if you want the sellers contact info, etc. just email me directly. Or if you think it's appropriate I can post that info here.

It's nice to have ready-made adapters for those of us that aren't too crafty.


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John Seaman , Jan 07, 2004; 03:15 a.m.

I would be a little suspicious of anyone advertising an adaptor to use 120 in a 620 camera. The 120 spool being larger than the 620, the only adaptor which might work would be a pair of side cutters to trim off the excess plastic.

Winfried Buechsenschuetz , Jan 07, 2004; 06:51 a.m.

Even after trimming the 120 spool flanges to the flange size of 620 spools sometimes you will need some adaptors since the coupling stud of the advance shafts of 620 cameras is smaller than that of 120 cameras, and in some cases it will be too small to drive 120 spools. There are some cameras with a double-use coupling piece which will accept both 620 and 120 spools.

However, once you found a pair of 620 spools it is no problem to re-spool 120 film on them. If you give the films to a lab for processing you have to roll back the film on 120 spools since most labs do NOT return the empty spools.

Joseph Allen , Jan 07, 2004; 12:17 p.m.

Well, it's interesting you mention the difference in the spool sizes John, because the seller did address that in his email response to me. He said:

"Yes, we regularly stock these and the 120-to-116 or 120-to-616 Spool Adapters are the best because they are compatible with ALL respective cameras of that film type since the 120 spools are smaller in length than the 116 or 616 spools, whereas with the 120-to-620 Spool Adapters once in a while it is necessary to modify either the camera's spindle spool holder or the 120 spool end flanges if the camera's spool compartment is too small. However, I will state that even owners of the Kodak Medalist have told me they were able to file down the 620 spool (with adapters attached, of course) and use them successfully....that is why I don't mention compatibility considerations on the 120-to-620 Spool Adapters auction descriptions."

So apparently it depends on the particular camera whether it is necessary to file down the 120 spool. If you had to file down every spool of 120 you intended to put through the camera, then respooling on old 620 spools (as Winfried suggested) seems to be the better option.

In any case, I didn't intend to start a big hoopla over respooling or anything like that -- those topics have been gone over a lot in previous threads I think. Just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who might be interested.

Tim O'Brien , Jan 07, 2004; 03:39 p.m.

I found a Kodak "Duo620" TLR at my significant others mothers house over the holidays. I was going to drop a roll of Tri-X in there to just shoot off a roll of "old fashioned looking" photos of the family. After pulling out rolls of Tri-X, PanF and Classic200, I could see no way of even trimming any 120 spindle down lengthwise to make it fit.

Just not enough room nohow. It must have been pretty tight on a regulation 620 roll. Next year I'll go back with some J&C 620 Classic200 and have a gas.

tim in san jose

Ron Gratz , Jan 07, 2004; 04:00 p.m.

According to their WEB site (see "Coming Soon") J&C photo will begin to carry 116 film in the first quarter of 2004!

I have used their 620 film in a number of old Kodaks and as long as I had an old 620 take-up spool, their trimmed down 120 spool works just fine as a feed spool.

Ron Gratz

Chris Pandino , Jan 08, 2004; 12:57 p.m.

"Just by luck"

If you bought them, it's his luck, not yours...

Read this: http://www.merrillphoto.com/120620filmadapters.htm

Not only is the spool diameter too big for most 620 cameras, but the "adapters" will add additional height to your spool.

It's better to buy 620 from J&C, Filmforclassics, et al.

Donald Qualls , Jan 08, 2004; 02:24 p.m.

For whatever it's worth, the difference in length between 120 and 620 spools is only about one tenth of an inch; I'd generally expect 620 cameras with spring loaded spindles or no spindles and just a spring to hold the spool against the winder to work with 120 spools, trimmed to diameter if needed. There were some 620 cameras that were literally as tight as possible; the original reason for creating 620 (aside from locking Kodak camera users into Kodak film, which lasted about two weeks before Ansco started producing 620) was to allow creation of smaller cameras with the same negative size; as I recall, the Monitor 620 is one of these (a very nice appearing art-deco 6x9 folder). Not all Kodak designs took advantage of that (the Tourist, for instance, is reputed to accept trimmed 120 without a problem), but for those that did, respooling or resized film (trimmed for both diameter and length) may be the only options. Some other Kodak cameras will accept 120 supply spools, and a few may work correctly with unmodified 120 spools on the takeup side as well (but not many).

I would personally be amazed if the adapters sold for using 120 film in 620 cameras worked at all -- I've seen reports from people that they didn't. OTOH, a correctly sized adapter should work nicely for putting 120 in a 116 or 616, and probably in a 122 as well (though you'll get a somewhat panoramic aspect ratio). You'd need a total of four pieces per camera -- two to center the takeup, and two to center the supply. I've read of people making these by gluing lengths of dowel to 120 spools for takeup, using loose dowel pieces on the supply end just for centering (total cost so far about 25 cents), and reusing the takeup spool after doing their own developing. The simplicity of this has tempted me toward 116 cameras, since they go cheap. Developing real 116 is another story, as spools are likely to be very, very scarce -- I don't think I've ever seen one, though a long-roll 70 mm spool should work. I have a 122 spool; if J&C or Film for Classics ever offers 122 film again, I might have to get a postcard format camera just for kicks. Think large format on a roll -- 9x13 cm, six exposures per roll. Kinda cries out for contact prints...

Joseph Allen , Jan 08, 2004; 07:15 p.m.

Chris -- you missed what I said: I bought the 616 adapters. They should work fine since, as Donald pointed out, the original 616/116 spools are shorter than 120 spools. In the case of the 620 adapters, I suspect they might work for some cameras and not others.

In any case, I mostly posted this for people who might be on the lookout for solutions for 616 since that doesn't seem to have been addressed on here as much as 620 has.

Best, Joseph

Joseph Allen , Jan 08, 2004; 07:21 p.m.

One more thing, Chris -- I checked out the site you linked to, and I suppose it implies that I too am a sucker for trying out these adapters, but, for me, this is about having some fun with these cool old cameras, and it's not a life-or-death situation to me if they do or do not work. I've spent 5 bucks on much more frivolous things before, so I suppose that, if they don't work, I'll be able to pick up the pieces of my shattered dreams of using my Monitor Six-16 and move on.

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