Sunday, April 17, 2011

Film Names Why Are They So??

David set me a challenge this am. Why are 120 and 620 rolls names as such as they are essential the same film. this topic came up due to my dumbfuckery as I had rolled a 120 film on to my only 620 spool only to discover that I had a 620 film in the fridge :: head smack::
So I accepted this challenge and here is what I found.
Most of the information is from this web site I have done it in point form for ease.

  • 1889 - No2 Kodak camera is introduced, and now there was a need to differentiate films for cameras.
  • - cameras were now listed on the film box like printers are now listed on ink boxes.
  • 1908 - due to the now complex film ordering system, it was decided to simplify everything and use a numbering system for spooled films in order of introduction.
  • - the 1st spooled, flanged film was introduced with the No2 Bullet camera in 1895 and this was numbered 101
  • 1913 -this new numbering system has now been phased in and it is now that it appears in the Kodak price list
  • - the numbers 101-129 are now in use.
  • 1913 - 106-114 were numbers used for films spooled for cartridge roll holders allowing the film to be used in cameras designed for glass plates. Film to be used with these cameras were spooled with the emulsion facing outward, rather than inward as in film designed for native roll-film cameras
  • 1916 - 130 film for 2 7/8 X 4 7/8 No2C Kodak camera was introduced.
  • - No00 cartridge Premo camera was introduced. This camera used No35 film which was made from unperforated 35mm motion picture film.
  • 1931 - 620 and 616 films were designed. These films were the same picture size as 120 & 116 but the spool diameter were reduced to allow them to fit into thinner cameras
  • - the "6" was originally used to designate the number of pictures per roll alas but the time they were in the market place, the decision had been made to increase the number of frames to 8 per roll so the "6" became meaningless.
  • 1934 - Kodak retina camera using 35mm cartridges was introduced, the number 135 was assigned to this film format. The film size could also be used in other cameras, contax and leica. There were spool versions of this 35mm films also available and these were numbered 235 and 435 respectively.
  • .
  • 1935 - Kodak Bantam cameras produced 8 exposures of 28X 40mm so this film format was numbered 828
  • 1952 (July) - a special length of 135 film was designed for stereo cameras. This film allowed for 20 pairs of photos per roll and was numbered 335
  • 1965 - 220 film was introduced. As it was twice the size of 120 film, it's number was made 220. Tis film has a paper leader and trailer but no backing paper for the rest of the roll, allowing more film to fit per spool. This film is thin and designed to be used in professional cameras that automatically wound the film. This film cannot be used in unmodified 120/620 cameras. Even if you did seal the red window, it would be extremely difficult to guess how far to roll the film for each exposure.

The primary reason for all these these negative formats is that prints in the early part of the 20th century were made by contact soothe print is the same size as the negative. Enlargers were not used until later. To get an enlargement you need to re-shoot the scene with a bigger format camera.

I have made up as spread sheet from various sources of the different spool films. You will find it here

So there you are. :-)

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