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Finding Film Spools


If you want to use that old Brownie then you'll need the right film to run through it. On the "Film: Where to Get It and Process It" page you will find places that have a good selection of film formats and processing. When shooting alot, you may find that the available selection from dealers doesn't cover a particular film that you want to use and that it can get quite expensive. For instance, dealers selling 620 film are usually rewinding 120 film onto 620 spools by hand, or cutting 120 spools to fit, and charging heavily for it. An alternative to buying expensive rewound films is to rewind the film, and process it, yourself. It's also importatnt to request that your spools be returned when having discontinued film sizes processed at a lab.

120 film can be rerolled onto 620 spools: When respooled according to this tutorial, even the paper backing shows through the red window of the camera correctly!


120 film can be rerolled onto modified 116 and 616 spools: 116 or 616 spools, which use the same size film, are too wide for 120 film by a about .5 cm. I've seen a YouTube video tutorial on one approach that works so that a 116 or 616 camera can be used. I'm planning on making my own tutorial soon.

35mm film, or 135, can be rerolled onto 828 spools: Abit more difficult than 120 to 620, but well worth it. 828 is a spooled film with a paper backing and without sprockets while 35mm is a canister film without paper backing and with sprockets. The film is also much shorter in length, 8 exposures per roll, than 35mm. To use an 828 camera I reroll 35mm onto an 828 spool until it feels full and then load it directly into the camera, all done in the absolute dark. Though not very convenient, I have gotten some stunning images from my 828 cameras this way...it is well worth it!

So, how do you get enough spools for yourself to have a few rolls of fresh film with you when you go out to shoot? Occasionally, a merchant or website will be selling empty outdated spools or eBay is another way, though getting spools this way can be extremely expensive.

I have found my spools by looking for, and in, old cameras at yard sales and flea markets. Yard sales are probably the cheapest way of getting old cameras and I have bought cameras just to get the one spool that is almost always left in every old camera. Even better is when there's still a roll of film in the camera...it means 2 spools. Flea markets can be abit more expensive however, I've been very successful looking inside a camera, finding a spool, and offering the seller $1 or $2 for the spool alone. This rarely fails!

When I get a spool I also make sure not to lose or misplace it. I respool plenty of film and deep freeze them so that they're ready when I am.

Please let me know of any place that sells spools and I'll post it here!

Here's a tutorial: How-To & Why: Respooling 120 Film Onto A 620 Spool





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