Medium Format 120 roll film

Medium Format film comes in a couple of lengths. 22o is twice as long as 120. There are quite a variety of frame dimensions that can be derived from medium format film. The width of the film strip is about 6cm so medium format dimensions will have one side that is 6cm. My collection of medium format cameras includes the following:

Notes on the various frame dimensions.

  • 645 – This is the smallest medium format dimension. It places the film roll in the holder running vertically across the plate rather than horizontally. Subsequently the width or longer dimension of the frame is 6cm and the height or shorter dimension is about 4.5cm. A roll of 120 film will yield 15 or 16 frames on a 645 camera. Many cameras that natively shoot larger dimensions have optional film backs that allow you to shoot in 645 dimensions.
  • 6×6 – This is the classic square photo frame. It was probably made most popular by twin lens reflex cameras; those box shaped cameras that have two lenses in the front and the photographer looks down into the top of the box when shooting, and by the very expensive but highly regarded Hasselblad cameras. A roll of 120 film yields 12 frames on a 6×6 camera.
  • 6×7 – A number of manufacturers make cameras that shoot 6×7 frames. They are rectangular but closer to a square shape than traditional 35mm cameras or modern digital cameras. Personally I find this dimension to be very esthetically pleasing. You get 10 frames from a roll of 120 film.
  • 6×8, 6×9 – These are less common but still widely available. They are much closer to the dimensions of 35mm and digital cameras. I have a Welta Symbol 6×9 folder but it has a pretty bad light leak.
  • 6×11, 6×17 – These are very specialized panorama cameras that produce monstrous frames. With a 6×17 you would only get 4 frames per roll of 120. Needless to say, I don’t own any of these either.

The following photo is from an old Pentax catalog and gives a good visual comparison of the various different frame sizes.

Back to the index page.

4 Responses to Medium Format 120 roll film

  1. jDevaun says:

    Is it true that using a 645 back on a square format camera will result in overlapping frames with 120 film?

  2. revdocjim says:

    Nope! Here is a gallery of some shots taken on 120 film with a 645 back on a Bronica SQ-A, which is a square format camera. You get 15 exposures and spacing is normal.

    • jDevaun says:

      Thanks! I’m pretty new to MF photography, having only shot one roll so far. I have a Bronica SQ-a and have been looking to get a 645 back for it. Glad I found your blog, it’s been a great resource. Thanks again for answering my question.

  3. revdocjim says:

    You’re welcome! And I hope you thoroughly enjoy the SQ-A. It’s a lovely camera!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s