Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Identifying a camera from the 120 film negative image size

I was sorting some old family photographs and had difficulty putting some into date order. I used three 120 6 x 6 cm cameras sequentially in the 1950s, namely, a Kodak Duaflex TLR box camera, a Braun Paxina and a Zeiss Nettar. When I looked at the negatives I had from this era, I realised that the images were of a slightly different size and that I could easily identify which camera they came from since I knew that certain photographs were taken with each camera.

Different manufacturers clearly used a slightly different frame size for their nominal 6 x 6 cm (2¼ x 2¼ inch) cameras. I have three such cameras at present and so I measured the frame sizes: Here they are added to my measurements on negatives:

Frame Size (mm)
With direction of travelAcross film width
Braun Paxina/Gloria5856
Zeiss Nettar56.556.5
Kodak Duaflex5858
Minolta Autocord5556
Rolleicord Vb5656.5

Are there measurable differences in 24 x 36 mm frames from 35 mm cameras which would be useful for identification?

I hope this method proves useful to others faced with the same problem.