Mod Film for Use in Super Old Cameras (620 Film)




Im a Student at RPI in Troy NY. The best part of college is most definatley 'Spelunking' or dumps...

There's a lot of awesome old cameras out there, most use 620 film, which is hard to come by these days, or extremely expensive. This instructable details how to mod your cheap 120 film for use in older 620 era cameras, without having to do the whole darkroom thing.

all you need is sandpaper, a knife and some brute force

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Step 1: Getting Some Backround Info

I got a hold of a Kodak Tourist, a film camera made in the 40's.

I wanted to use it to take some pictures; its an awesome camera that supposedly kicks out high-res shots. So after going to a camera store, i found out that the film it uses (620) hasn't been made for 30 years. Knockoff film is available, but its expensive (20$ for 1 roll of like 8-10 pictures, + the cost of developing = ridiculous)

I found a guide online for 're-spooling 120 film onto 620 spools, although this looked like a quick alternative, i found out it was nearly impossible, as it involves moving things around in the dark, without touching the film. I attempted doing it in the daylight on exposed film, and i failed miserably.

Then i realized, the only reason it was necessary to 're-spool' was that the spools were slightly larger than 620's . Thanks evil corporations.

The camera's are pretty much useless without the film, so if you break something, chances are no one was going to use it again anyway.

Step 2: Comparing the Film Types

As mentioned, 620 film is hard to get and super expensive. 120 film is too big to fit in the camera, but has the same focal length characteristics. the first image shows the differences in the diameter of the film. At 20$ for 10 pictures, + processing its ridiculous. with this mod, you can drop the 20$ to 4$, much more manageable.

Step 3: Sanding Down the Film

To make the 120 film fit, i started by removing the lip of the film canister, and then proceeded to sand the top down to about 1/16 and inch,using 4200 grit sandpaper. its a slow process, but you can do it in the light of day without a problem

here's a video of the sanding in case your curious:

Step 4: Final Product

The modified film fits in the camera snugly, and works great. once i find a scanner i will upload some images from the camera, using the modded film.

So go out and use your relatives super old cameras, and post some images if you get a chance.

one other note: make sure no dust gets inside the camera

here's a video of it fitting in the camera:

i added an image from the kodak tourist, using the ghetto film method mentioned above
\ edit again
Here's a complete image gallery. all images are from the tourist. scanned in with photoshop 6,



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    20 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have seen many instructions to re-roll into 620 spools in various ways. I found your way is the easiest. It is actually an "Egg of Columbus"!


    3 years ago

    Or you can buy respooled film from the film photography projects website they are slightly inexpensive than ruining your film. I tried this techinque and failed. what this article fails to mention is the price is going to vary from place to place. My camera store by me does everything from 110-620 film developing for roughly 3-8 dollars a roll. for develop only. I usually shoot in either bulk or 1 to 2 rolls of film at a time. walmart which develops film alledgely used to work out to about the same price. but they farm out to another lab in the midwest. The darkroom (google it!) will do your film for 10.00 dollars with a cd. So this article could of been worded better. Also check out the film Photography project. (I have no association with them,) They do this and more. plus,I had one incident when they shipped me the wrong 620 film they respooled and automatically within 18hours corrected the situation.

    Gotharts Billy

    1 reply
    Mr Yantio

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have a Kodak 1a autographic jr and it asks for autographic film.
    Do you think I can use normal film?

    It doesn't specify size but it says No A-116....
    I obviously do not know much about cameras.... but it looks similar to yours so i'm going to try your technique anyway :)
    Thank you

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Step 4

    I've found your instructions very useful as i have a Kodak Junior 2 foldout camera in beautiful condition and it cost me a few £'s. I now have it loaded with some Fomapan. There is one thing you might need to add, the release knob ( you pull and twist) on the right hand side where you load the spool doesn't need to be used as i found that the spool wouldn't turn if l tried to sit the spool properly. Once the spool is in the chamber and loaded onto the 620 spool on the left hand side, then it turns great. Thanks again for the instructions.

    I have a Kodak tourist. The 120 fits but it rolls to the left which means the roll will be upside down. Will I be able to see the numbers?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    hi I got an agoflex seventy five from a flee market and it has an empty 620 cartridge in the bottom and a spot to pace 620 fim and idk if I need to fill both spots with a filled 620 cartridge or not


    5 years ago on Step 4

    Awesome!! Now I can finally use my duaflex's! I know the millridge, I live 2 minutes east, in Syosset.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I've been working off of the guide you mentioned to mod a 120 spool for my 620 kodak box brownie; shame the take up mechanism keeps ripping the spool to shreds :(

    Gonna try Brandon121233's plastic tutorial to make a sleeve for it to fit.

    I'd suggest to anyone wanting to make a 620 spool to grab some Kodak 120 spools (Pictured in instructable) from the bins of a photography department as they're much easier to cut to shape if you use the grove.

    Nice instructable/camera Dane.

    I've got an old Kodak TLR which takes 620 film, and I'd like to figure out a way to use it with 35mm. The 35 mm canister is too large to fit in the 620 bay. Any suggestions?

    Clayton H.

    10 years ago on Introduction

    I was able to score a Kodak Vigilant Jr. Six-20 off of ebay. I like the bellows but they are a pain to take care of. Also i was wondering, Can you roll the film onto the moddified 120 rols instead of the 620?

    3 replies
    Clayton H.Emperor Dane

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Well what i'm asking is that in the cammera do you NEED to put it on a 620 roll after you take a picture. like you have two spools one with unexposed film rolled on it and another with nothing on it and what i'm asking is if you need the infeed spool to be a 620 spool or can it be a modiffied 120 spool.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Very nice. How did you find the old 620 spool? Was it left in the camera? Even if you don't have a scanner, you should just take digital photos of the results :)

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    Most old 620 cameras come with an empty spool left from the last roll of film. Occasionally you find one with an old roll of film still loaded; not only do you then get *two* 620 spools, but you can sometimes recover images from the exposed frames on the film! I've got around twenty of them, after getting an eBay lot of old darkroom supplies that included a dozen or so, but you can also buy loose 620 spools on eBay for around $3 to $5 each.

    BTW, respooling isn't hard *if you already process your own film and are used to handling film in the dark* (hint: roll the film onto another 120 spool, either in the darkroom or in a camera, before trying to spool it backward onto a 620), but even though I have respooled, I find it much easier to modify my 120 rolls. I use a heavy nail clipper to cut the rim, and for most of my 620 cameras I don't need to sand the thickness of the spool flange (that is, the extra 1/16" of overall length doesn't cause a problem).

    I recommend processing your own film from these cameras anyway, since there aren't many places left that will process 120 film locally (much less black and white); if the film is sent off somewhere you're very unlikely to get your 620 spool back, and the cut-down 120 spool won't work on the takeup side in most 620 cameras.

    Phil B

    10 years ago on Introduction

    My mother had a Kodak Tourist camera I inherited, but no longer have. The negatives were bigger, but the lens on hers was not all that sharp, as I remember. I got a Yashica D twin lens reflex as soon as I could afford it. It used 120 film. We still had some 620 film or I found 620 on sale for much less than 120 film and I made the conversion the in reverse by drilling out 620 spools to fit into my 120 camera. Your innovation is clever.

    1 reply
    Emperor DanePhil B

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, interesting how scarcity breeds crazy ideas. im having the negatives developed tomorrow and will figure out a way to post them.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! My dad has an old russian camera that hasn't been used in decades.