For whatever reason I never wrote this up beyond the photos I put on Flickr; I must have just assumed that was enough for someone to figure it out. These instructions are actually taken from a Flickrmail I sent someone else who asked about converting their No. 2A. At the time I wrote this I’d only put one roll of film through. In celebration of finally putting through a second roll of film I’ve decided it’s time I turned this into a post.
First of all these instructions are for a folding autographic brownie. If you have a box brownie, then see if this person’s modifications helps.
There are a few things you will need to do to convert your camera:
- Make a spool adaptor - 120 spools are shorter than 116 spools
- Make a film frame - I decided to use a 6x9 frame since that is a standard 120 film size (and 120 backing paper contains markings for 6x9)
- Probably mend the bellows - they are likely to be light leaking
- Maybe move the red film frame indicator window - to line up with 120 film 6x9 indicators (you could perhaps use the autographic slot)
If you are stuck as to how to open the camera back you can see the metal sliding latch in this photo. It’s as easy as sliding that to take the back off. If you are stuck as to how to extend the bellows, the trick is to fold down the plate, but don’t lock it out - first of all slide the lens board forward so it comes over the hinge and starts to engage the rails. Then lock the rails out and slide the lens board and bellows completely forward. If the rails are a bit sticky you can use graphite to lubricate them (i.e. colour the rails with a graphite pencil).
I have collected the links from this post and some others on converting 116 cameras to 120 film here: http://pinboard.in/u:atomicules/t:116/.
Making a Spool Adaptor
These are mine, badly made from the 116 spool that came with the camera.
Some other people have done this a bit better than me.
Making a film frame mask
Mending the bellows
I didn’t do this originally and this was the result. It is highly likely that the bellows will leak light due to their age.
I eventually used the same repair I used for my Polaroid Reporter camera: I simply used black electrical tape to tape over all the bellows and repair them. I originally didn’t think this approach would work on the No. 2A as the bellows compact much more tightly (and so I thought the added thickness of the tape would probably prevent the camera from closing properly). As it turns out, the electrical tape option is cheap and easy and survives being extended and collapsed. If you have more money you could look at using some kind of sealant and “painting” the bellows. Or if you are happy not ever folding away the camera just tape some kind of bag/sock over the bellows.
Moving the frame indicator
The 120 film backing paper has different frame markings: 6x9, 6x6, 6x4.5. Unfortunately with the red frame indicator window in it’s original position it lines up with the 6x4.5 markings. So it is necessary to move it over, or as I mention in that photo, perhaps just use the autographic slot instead to read the frame numbers.
The long anticipated, and waited for, second roll photos soon!