620 film

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620 film, introduced by Kodak in 1932 and discontinued in 1995, is a roll film similar to 120 film.



620 film, introduced by Kodak in 1932 and discontinued in 1995,[1] is a roll film that is basically the same as 120 film; it has the same width and length. The only difference is the spool; the core and the end flanges of the 620 spool are smaller than those of the 120 spool. The '6' in 620 was intended to mean that a roll of 620 film provided 6 photos per roll but by the time Kodak began marketing the film they had changed the number of photos per roll to 8.[1] The standard specifications 620 film were included in the 1982 version of the ISO standards document ISO 732, which also defines 120 and 220 roll film. However, the 1991 and later versions of ISO 732 has dropped the 620 specifications.[2]

Kodak intended 620 as a replacement for 120 film and stopped producing cameras for 120 film when the 620 format was introduced. However, the 120 format eventually won out over 620. The first camera to use 620 film was the Kodak Six-20, sold from 1932-1933. The Kodak Brownie Reflex 20, sold from 1959 to 1966, is believed to be the last Kodak 620 format camera made.[3]

Some cameras were made to accept 620 film only while others were made to accept both 620 and 120. In a few cases, such as the Argus Argoflex, the same camera came in different configurations over time. The early Argus Argoflex E accepted both 620 and 120 film spools but the later Argus Argoflex EF accepted only 620.

Using a 620 camera today

Many cameras were made to use 620 film, and such cameras normally cannot take 120 film, though in some cases a 120 roll can fit with a little added friction. It's still possible to use this type of camera either by:

  • Buying new or respooled 620 film from a specialty company
  • Respooling 120 film onto a 620 spool
  • Using standard 120 film and, if necessary, simply trimming the plastic spool to the diameter of a 620 spool [4].

New 620 roll film is still available from Fotoimpex, who makes Efke R100 film in this format. Respooled 620 film is available from a variety of companies and individuals (see the Links section for more info).

If you wish to respool, you need two 620 spools. It is necessary to rewind the 120 film onto a 620 spool before it can be used in the camera.[5][6][7] Novices seeking to try out a vintage camera should note that this process must take place in absolute darkness, using a changing bag (marketed for such purposes as loading 135 cartridges). The film is also susceptible to damage from debris, dust, scratches or fingerprints during this procedure.

Some cameras are capable of taking either size of spool, in which case the camera itself can be used to respool 120 onto 620 spools more conveniently. This accomplished by first running the film through the camera without exposing it, then, in a dark room or changing bag, holding the exposed spool in one hand and spooling it backwards onto a 620 spool using the camera as a convenient winder, tucking in the free end of the film when necessary.

620 spools can also be bought from some suppliers, and one can occasionally be found in an old, forgotten, 620 film camera offered for sale used. A mechanically-inclined person could make their own 620 spools with the proper equipment.

Tip: If you don't do your own processing, ask to have your spools returned, otherwise the photolab will toss them away.

See Also



  1. 1.0 1.1 History of Kodak Roll Film Numbers
  2. ISO 732:1982 Photography - Dimensions for 127, 120, and 620 roll film, backing paper and film spools
  3. Kodak Classics: Kodak 620 rollfilm cameras
  4. Converting 120 film to 620 film; illustrated step-by-step
  5. Respooling 120 film onto 620 spools for use in older cameras, by Glenn E Stewart
  6. Substituting a 120 roll film for a 620 roll film, at Mediajoy's guide to classic cameras
  7. Using 120 Film in 620 Cameras, by Mike Connealy


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