35mm Film to 120 Spool Adapter

A while back, a couple of backers asked if they could use 35mm film in Flyer. I finally got around to it and yes, you can! I’ve designed an adapter that will work in any 120 format (or 620 format) camera with a flat film plane, including Flyer. It won’t work in a curved film plane camera such as Clipper since there are no guide rails for 35mm, but there are few of these cameras.

This adapter has top and bottom parts which exactly center the 35mm film in the middle of the 120 (620) format frame. Combined, the dimensions are the same as a 120 (620) spool, and the film is fully exposed, sprocket holes and all, leading to interesting effects. This adapter is open source (CC by SA 3.0) and can be freely downloaded and printed.

Using this enables the use of films not available in 120 format such as infrared, CineStill, and other specialty films.

Get Adapters 

 

Installation

The adapter comes in two parts. The bottom part, with the long prongs, goes into the bottom of the film canister. The top part, which has a recess as well as prongs, goes into the top of the film canister. Align the prongs with the tabs inside the canister before pushing in.

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Unassembled

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Bottom Inserted

Bottom & Top Inserted

Bottom & Top Inserted

 


Do not force the adapters in. They should slide in with little force or can be wiggled in with slightly more effort. Some custom-loaded and bulk-loaded 35mm canisters have thicker walls than commercial 35mm canisters. In these, the adapter may be an overly tight fit and you may need to file down the rims of the prongs with a nail file or sandpaper. Using force can break the prongs. If they are loose instead, a bit of tape or nail polish on the rims can increase the friction.  

Operation

  1. Tape over the red film number window (on the back of nearly every 120 or 620 camera) with opaque black tape so the film is not exposed through there.
  2. Start the film by bending the leader over flat to put in a crease. Insert into the take-up spool and wind 4 turns. Close the camera and wind another 2 turns to get fresh film in place.
  3. The film must be blindly advanced about 1-1/2 turn of the knob after each picture (for 6×6, more for 6×9 or other formats). If the knob can spring back, you may need to put a rubber band over the knob so it doesn’t unwind itself between shots.
  4. Most 120 and 620 cameras do not have a rewind knob. This means that once loaded, the film can be shot until the end of the film is reached and the advance knob stops. At this point, you need to use a darkroom or changing bag to open the camera and manually rewind the film back into the canister (the adapter makes a convenient rewind knob).
  5. When you take or send the film in, you must request “process only” and “do not cut”.

Here’s a link to the PDF (35mm Film to 120 Spool Adapter).

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