120 film in Hasselblad 220 magazine

There is a steady trickle of well-used but serviceable Hasselblad V-series camera   components coming on the market at sometimes bargain prices (well, by Hasselblad standards, anyway).  This is great if, like me, you like to use black & white film occasionally.

220 film backs are particularly good value compared with the 120  magazines. Of course, the trouble is that no B&W film maker produces 220-size rolls any more.

Many people don’t realise that it is possible to use 220 backs with 120 film; the film registers in the same film plane no matter what film you use and the difference in pressure from the pressure plate seems to have no practical effect on film flatness or transport.  The frame spacing is different, each frame having more space between it and the next frame in the 220 back. It isn’t a huge difference but you can lose the 12th frame if you don’t compensate. Here’s how: when loading the film, stop when the arrow is as shown in the photo:

loading 120 film in 220 back

Miss-align the arrows as shown when loading 120 film into a 220 Hasselblad back (this probably applies to other makes of film back too)

The 220 film magazine will wind beyond the 12th frame so with 120 film you will be exposing on the the protective paper – oops! You just need to watch the frame counter – when you have exposed the 12th frame, cock the camera to frame 13 then wind on the film fully using the winder on the film back.

Voila – there’s still life in those 220 film backs!

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5 responses to “120 film in Hasselblad 220 magazine

  1. Thanks! Just got a 120 and 220 back with a kit I just picked up. Will be very handy to be able to use them both.

  2. Peter m Schulz

    Thanks for the update on the 220 film back I also do have this and works well in fact it is fitting better to my 500ELM body When I fit any of the other A12 film backs they need to be harder pushed in the body
    Dose any one can help me why that is all my backs 5 of them work 100% in the Hasselblad 2000Fc but seem to have this slight problem with the 500ELM body the 220 magazine is 100% click in place I know this sounds silly but what can be the reason
    Thank you in advance for any response I am 99% B&W film photographer

  3. Does the extra spacing between frames cause cut strips of film to poke out of plastic storage sleeves?

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