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Why is 220 film so Unpopular?

Greg Jones , Nov 24, 2009; 02:26 p.m.

I constantly read about how 220 film is disappearing, and it is of course. Fortunately my favorite films are still available in 220. (I am talking color film here.) For the time being, anyway......
I was pondering why people don't use 220 film so much. I speculate it is shooting style-I must confess to burning up a lot of film when I am shooting. While I do take care to set up my shots, if I have a real great photo I will take two or maybe even three shots of the same thing-a habit learned after a "professional photo lab" (Meisel, for you old timers) destroyed one of my negatives. Film is the cheapest expense on my photo shoots.
I guess the other issue is just simply expense. Obviously a roll of 220 costs more to buy and more to process. I get that-but if you are out shooting more than one roll of 120 anyway I find the ability to not have to change film so often quite convenient. You don't have to open up the filmback as often, allowing dust or insects or whatever to enter. Not to mention the lost time changing film.
So I want to advocate using 220 film as often as possible so as to ensure they keep making it!!! Why don't you use 220 film (and yes, I know, if your emulsion is not being made in 220 then that explains that.)


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Gregory King , Nov 24, 2009; 02:50 p.m.

Some good info from 2004...

I guess I prefer 220 as well, but wish it were cheaper per-frame to process. No economy of scale.

And all my film was purchased second-hand, and I have more than a lifetime supply...so I'm no help here. ;-)

Thomas Sullivan , Nov 24, 2009; 02:51 p.m.

My main reason is that 220 does not have the paper backing for the whole roll....only the leader and the end. The rest of the roll is just the film. While this shouldn't matter all that much, seeing as 35mm film has no paper backing at all..........it just feels better to me that at least one side of 120 film is protected from the backing plate in the cam.....should it have any minor nicks or even dirt on it. so, for me, it's just an added "warm and fuzzy" feelin.

Sheldon Hambrick , Nov 24, 2009; 03:44 p.m.

"While this shouldn't matter all that much, " - It matters for a lot of older classics camera that use a window to let you know what frame you're on. Also, sometimes you don't want to "be stuck" w/24 frames on just one type of film.

Harry Joseph , Nov 24, 2009; 04:22 p.m.

Not sure why ? I would rather have 220 film anyday. My MF camera does not have any backs, so I have to change the film with film inserts. It gets a little old if you have to change the film every half hour or so in those conditions.

Greg Campbell , Nov 24, 2009; 04:26 p.m.

Yea, 220 makes sense to me too. Many MF systems have removable backs, so switching is film is not a big deal. Also, I find dealing with the 120 paper to be a minor pain in the butt. I think 120's big advantage is that it's universally compatible. If you're going to make only one format, go with the one more cameras can utilize.

Randall Pukalo , Nov 24, 2009; 05:04 p.m.

220 is only a dollar more fro E-6 processing than 120 thru Fuji Labs/Walmart sendout. $5.88 for 120 or $6.88 for 220. That, plus not having to reload out in the field so often are why I too like 220 better.

Gregory King , Nov 24, 2009; 05:41 p.m.

Randall, have you done that with them lately? Last I checked (a year ago), they had stopped doing it here in California. Yes, I asked twice. ;-) But they could still have been wrong.

I stuck with dwayne's instead, and they are only slightly more expensive ($7.50 and $10). Actually, the C-41 is the same price ($4 per roll), so I guess I was wrong about there not being a price benefit.

I guess I was thinking about the 0% price benefit to SCAN 120 vs 220....as I just sent my first rolls of 120 E-6 to North Coast to try out their scans. It bummed me out that 220 is exactly 2x as much for scanning. I didn't think it was much of a manual operation, but maybe it is. But then you'd think they'd charge by the frame, making 645 more expensive than 67.

But thanks for reminding me on the C-41, and let me know if Walmart is still doing 120/220 for you.


Erwin Baeyens , Nov 24, 2009; 06:45 p.m.

Frankly I find 24 frames a lot to shoot.
I don't have a problem with 220 starting to go. As long as we can get a reasonable choice of 120 film I'm happy.
Less choice can help to make it profitable enough for the manufacturers to stay in business.
Now, if there would finally be someone that will bring Agfa APX 100 back in 120 in plenty supply for a reasonable price
That would be a reason to party!!!!!

Russ Britt , Nov 24, 2009; 06:53 p.m.

I think there are less professionals shooting medium format these days. At least thats what my pro lab tells me.(I called them a while back and asked if I was the only one shooting film, they said no theirs two of you) Back in the day we mainly shot 220 so we would not have to change backs so often in weddings, school photography etc.
Now medium format seems to be where armatures are coming to get aways from machine gun shooting in the digital world.They are shooting a little less and want results, maybe not needing 24 shots, just 12 will do.
That is what I am seeing......maybe I'm wrong, my ex wife used to tell me I was a lot..... but thats another story....I don't think you guys want to hear.

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