Six-20 Brownie C, 120 Film and Starbucks – Part 2

The cards are in and they say that the Starbucks Straw technique is good!

The film was pulled perfectly by the 620 take up spool and the exposures looked even on the film. See part 1 of this story over here.

I did go on to almost totally screw this first Starbucks Straw to 620 attempt by developing the roll, Ilford XP2 a C41 black and white film, badly in my remaining stock Microphen.

The Massive Dev Chart app dictates that Ilford’s stock ID11 developer takes about 14 minutes to process a roll of XP2 so I went with that timing but with Microphen. Though the Massive Dev Chart app doesn’t list Microphen as a suitable developer it’s probably more that it hasn’t yet been tested.

I think I’ve used Microphen with no problems with XP2 before so I don’t believe it was Microphen as a developer that caused the oddity of ‘white negatives’, illustrated below, but rather my weary mind and body.

I was shattered after a long day of work that went into the evening but was desperate to develop the roll so I’ve either managed to add something to the soup or do something mid water change to screw it up. I have a roll of Delta 100 to test the soup this weekend.

When it came to scanning the negatives they looked like utter shit until I had to reboot the scanner due to an unrelated scanner error. I then accidentally scanned them using the scanners default reflective mode. The actually scanned better!

Making the Photos
In the morning the light was very poor, my light meter saw the light at around ƒ4 at 1/40 with 400 film. I’d come to the conclusion via forums that the fixed ƒ-stop on this Brownie was around ƒ11. I still decided to take one photo in that light as a test (below) and it’s horrendously underexposed.

As I got to Princes street the light improved with the sun peeking over some buildings to help out with this photo (below).

The rest of the roll I took on the way to pick up my daughter from nursery, this next one was me trying to use a box camera like a 35mm SLR or rangefinder, holding it around head height. Not wise.

Though not the best photos I’ve ever taken, at least they came out.

This next one (below) was supposed to illustrate the focal range but instead I moved the camera as I fired the shutter and it’s all blurry.

… and this is the last one. You probably counted only 7 frames because I accidentally fired the shutter and lost a frame to the darkness.

In summation, I think it’s been quite successful. You will of course need a changing bag and an excuse to go into Starbucks for a thick straw.

620 spools are so over priced on ebay it’s really really sad. I’d heard someone talking online about a business plan to produce in large quantities plastic 620 spools (FPP?) but I believe that idea went bust.

I recommend it to anyone wanting to extend the life of their classic 620 cameras.

Give it a go and send me a link to your photos or blog posts about your experiences. I’d love to hear about them and any tips to improve my ‘work-flow’.

Bye for now.


11 thoughts on “Six-20 Brownie C, 120 Film and Starbucks – Part 2

    1. Refixed with fresh stock and the white was gone? That’s really interesting! I’l have to give a strip a go.

      Looking forward to having a look at SimplyOxford!


  1. I curse Kodak all the time for their nefarious 620 boondoggle. I’ve got three or four cameras of that film format around here, including a delightful Kodak Monitor, but I don’t shoot them often because I’m unwilling to reroll my own and pre-rerolled (available from B&H Photo) is mighty expensive. I just bought an Agfa Clack, which takes good old 120, and hope that this camera will satisfy my yearnings for easy medium-format photography.

    However, your straw idea is brilliant, and makes me want to try it.


    1. I feel your pain. I have 3 beautiful Kodak folders from around 1910 and they all take different sizes of film; 116, 130 and 122. Now I have another Kodak camera with another bloody format.

      I tried to stay away from 620 cameras but just couldn’t resist. I’m going to re-roll some more this week to see if the ease of re-rolling onto the straw was a fluke or not.


      1. Your straw idea could be expanded to adapt 120 film to those other formats… you wouldn’t get the full frame height in some of those formats, but at least you could try the cameras.


  2. thanks for the great idea of using a straw. If you’re lucky when buying a cheap old 620 camera, it’ll have one 620 spool in it from the last roll shot in the camera. I’ve been lucky enough to accumulate a few that way. When I mail film in for processing, I just have to make sure they mail the spools back to me. It’s worked so far.


    1. This is my first 620 camera so I only had the one spool. I’ve got 3 127 cameras so I’m spoiled rotten for 127 spools to re-roll 35mm on 127 backings.

      The prices on eBay are evil for 620 spools plus I’m not sure if I’ll be buying any more cameras – I’m really trying to cut down!


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