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My 2012 in Analogue: The Year I Shot My First Roll of 120 Film

2012 has been the year for many new things regarding photography and me. But if I needed to choose one experience that I would never forget, that one would be shooting my first roll of 120 film ever.

The year 2012, which has now come to an end, has been a year for discovering many different things in analogue photography. I have shot not less than 30 films through the past 12 months: testing, playing, having fun…

But all these films I shot were 35mm film for one! I had read quite a lot about 120 and 220 film cameras, and quite liked the look of square images and other ratio aspects different to the 24×36mm I had been shooting all these past years. Unfortunately, I did not have a medium format camera that I could shoot a film with.

I was truly considering the possibility of buying a nice one in any online buying platform, but sometimes is just junk sold there and I was just willing to experiment, therefore my budget was low. The other possibility was to visit any of the local flea markets around and cross my fingers hoping that I did not waste my time and money; and so I did. A few weeks later, I saw a couple of 6 × 4.5 cameras that, apparently, were coming from a former studio photographer and that had been well kept but heavily used.

After a tough negotiation (months) with the seller, I got the bundle at a very reasonable price in fully working order. Included were a Kodak Portra 160CN (exposed) and a Ilford HP5 (unexposed) which I loaded into my beloved new old Pentax 645 for a first medium format experience.

As you can imagine, the film was an old as the camera, being completely expired and lightened in its borders; but still some photos could be saved!

Of course, it has been also the year I self-developed my first 120 film roll in the darkroom, and I really love the results!

After this first medium format experience, I wanted more and more… and 6×4.5 was not enough: I want to shoot square! So I switched on my computer, started the web browser and ordered a Diana F+ Edelweiss and five packs of 120 film from Lomography!
I am ready to shoot in colour and experiment with different sizes and ratio aspects; maybe a Belair could become my new standard… What do you think?

written by javiergap


  1. neanderthalis


    I love 120 more than 135 but I just don't seem to shoot it enough. Glad you found the joys of 120.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. javiergap


    Yep: that first roll was really an "adventure", as it looked even older than the cameras... I was so excited when removing it from the tank to have a look at the general colour!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. rbruce63


    Absolutely fantastic pictures and I would live to use my Mamiya Press too!

    about 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish.