Camera c. 1940 that would have been compatible with these film formats?
February 14, 2021 2:54 AM   Subscribe

Scanning a collection of old family negatives, I came across a few from the early 1940s that appear to be 124 film (or 118?). The image sizes are 3¼” x 4¼” (roughly 8.5cm x 11cm). The majority of the negatives, however, appear to be the more common 120 film, in 6x9 frame size. Could there have been a camera compatible with both of these formats that a rural Midwest US family of modest means might have owned in the 1930s-40s, or must these negatives be from different cameras? What if we threw 116/616 film into the mix?
posted by theory to Technology (3 answers total)
I can't answer your question directly, but there have been cameras, commonly for 120 roll film, that you could fit a film adapter to/in, allowing a narrower film format to be used. I know of Meopta Flexaret TLRs that you could get 35mm film adapters for.

It does mean that they would have owned a camera for the larger/wider film format but started using the adapter for 120 film at some point, probably because the film material was more widely available and/or cheaper.
posted by Stoneshop at 3:32 AM on February 14, 2021

Note that The Camera Wiki mentions that "With some ingenuity, 120 film can be used with cameras designed for 116 and 616, as can 70mm film."
posted by Stoneshop at 4:56 AM on February 14, 2021

Best answer: Kodak changed formats frequently, and made most of their money selling film. There were many camera kits sold for the price of the couple of rolls of included film. Convertible cameras were high-precision devices and consequently expensive. Bakelite box cameras were not, and the family might've had a couple of different ones over the years.
posted by scruss at 12:15 PM on February 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

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