Recently, I have written about the Pocket Ensign film camera I picked up. That camera has brought back the fun of analog photography to me and introduced me to medium format film, as it uses “120” film, which is still available in many camera stores. While I have only just started to get familiar with the Pocket Ensign, I saw an old Brownie Hawkeye just like the one my parents had when I was growing up. Naturally, I had to have it. The good news is that it is in great shape… the bad news is it takes 620 film, which is no longer produced.
A little bit of research and I found out that 120 film is the same size as 620 and can be used in cameras designed for 620 film, if one obstacle can be overcome. The 120 film reel is slightly wider so won’t physically fit. It turns out that they can either be re-rolled onto 620 rolls, inside a dark bag, or the outer edge of the 120 roll can be trimmed and then they will fit and can be used. Since old 620 reels are not readily available and it would be a pain to re-roll film in the dark bag, I have trimmed the ouster most edges off a 120 reel and it fits the Hawkeye perfectly! I am looking forward to seeing how the images turn out.
In the mean time, I have taken a few with the Pocket Ensign and have had them developed at a local print shop with a great reputation here in Victoria. The processing of the film is great, but the scans they do are not quite up to the standard I was hopping for. I have tried both standard and high quality scans and both have too much dust / debris visible, which I had hoped would have been cleaned up prior to scanning. It can also get costly to have the film developed and images printed / scanned professionally, so I am contemplating taking another step deeper into the past, and may start to develop the film myself and later scanning it, too. More on that in an upcoming post.
Note: the Schooner Restaurant image, above, has been retouched in Photoshop to remove most of the large specks and stray "hairs" that were in the original scan.