Question on 120 vs 220 film
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Old 11-12-2005   #1
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Default Question on 120 vs 220 film

I have never used 220 film before but I have used 120. From what I can gather, the film itself is the same but has twice the number of exposures per roll, which means the roll itself is twice as long. As I recall, the 120 spools were too full to accommodate the extra length, so the spool has to be different for 220 film. Is the outer diameter of a 220 spool bigger than that for a 120 spool or is the diameter of the hub smaller?

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Old 11-13-2005   #2
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

From back when I shot with a RB-67 I had both 120 and 220 backs for it. I could put the film in either back but I could only shoot 10 shots of the 220 in a 120 back. I had to be careful with the 120 in the 220 back or I'd shoot 10 extra shots without film.

But yes, 120 is 10 shots with 6x7 and the 220 was 20 shots with a 6x7 camera. You got more shots with a 6x6 and even more with a 645 camera. But if I remember correctly, the spools were the same size. I don't think the 220 h ad paper backing the whole length of the film though, where the 120 did. I shot the RB-67 back in the late 70's to early 80's, so it's been awhile.

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Old 11-13-2005   #3
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

If I understand you correctly, the spools are mechanically the same but it does not follow that a camera that takes 120 film will take 220 if you are correct and the paper leader does not extend all the way across the back of the film. Except for the Yashica A I used when shooting for the school yearbook, all the cameras that took 120 film that I have used had a red window in back that showed a small part of the backing showing the number of the exposure in the film gate. If the paper leader on 220 is short as you describe, it could not be used on such a camera without risking fogged photos. Also, it is unclear how the exposed film would be protected from light while unloading it from the camera.
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Old 11-13-2005   #4
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

The RB-67 did not have a window on it's back. It had it's own counter as part of the film back. The backs were completely light safe when shut and on the camera or with the dark slide in place so they could be taken off the camera with film in them.

The RB also had 70 mm film capabilit as well as sheet film. It was a great camera and I almost bought another one when I bought a D30 3 years ago and that pretty much did it for my film cameras. Even my 4x5's.

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Old 11-15-2005   #5
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

220 film uses the same spool as 120, but uses less backing paper to fit double the film on the spool. Not all MF cameras can use 220 film. I find 220 useful for my Mamiya C220, as it doesn't have the advantage of interchangeable backs, less film changing. On the C220 I have to rotate the film pressure plate to the 220 position, and also a knob on the side. i have read that the lack of backing paper can cause the film to get scratched easier, but have never experienced that problem myself. 220 film is usually double the cost of 120, and often double to process.

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Old 11-15-2005   #6
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

Scoundrel1782,

On 220 film the backing paper is at the beginning and end of the roll only. That way you can load it in the light, and unload it in the light without exposing the film.
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Old 11-15-2005   #7
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

Thanks, guys. That helps lots in understanding the difference between 120 and 220 and what requirements a camera (or camera back) must meet to be able to use both kinds of film.
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Old 03-19-2006   #8
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

with a HAsselblad 220 has 24 shots i have 3 220 backs and two 120's and since i shoot SO MUCH i never ever use the 120's anymore. film is exactly the same. Use Velvia 50 asa it rokks >>>>JH
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Old 01-02-2007   #9
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

Hi ....The difference between 120 and 200 is as you suggest - twice the length of film in the 220. The 220 doesn't have the full black paper backing you get with the 120. The 220 only has a black paper 'leader' and 'trailer' which stops the film from fogging when placed in or removed from the camera back. However, you will usually need a special back to handle the 220 and it's probably better ( though not neccessary ) to remove the film in a daylight loading bag for safety if not familiar with handling the 220.
The benefits of 220, particularly if you are pro is only that you can shoot for longer without having to re-load, but if you are only shooting a handful of 6 x 4.5 or 6 x 6 shots and then D&P'ing, then it's quite wasteful. To get the benefits of 220 it needs enough shots to fill the whole film or a 6 x 7 or 6 x 9.
It makes some photogs feel more 'professional' using 220 but it doesn't make a spot of difference except for their egos!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoundrel1728
I have never used 220 film before but I have used 120. From what I can gather, the film itself is the same but has twice the number of exposures per roll, which means the roll itself is twice as long. As I recall, the 120 spools were too full to accommodate the extra length, so the spool has to be different for 220 film. Is the outer diameter of a 220 spool bigger than that for a 120 spool or is the diameter of the hub smaller?
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Old 01-05-2007   #10
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Default Re: Question on 120 vs 220 film

Hi Tonymp is exactly right. You usually do need a special 220 back. The tension on the backing plate is different because the backing paper does not run the full length on 220 film. If you use 220 film in a 120 back, the negs may not be as sharp. Depending on your camera, you may also damage the shutter curtain. Be sure the film is wound tight on the spool or you may get edge fogging.


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