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How to Load 120 Film into a Box Camera

Updated April 17, 2017

Although box cameras may not take pictures equal in calibre to today's advanced cameras, there's a certain nostalgia which appeals to antique collectors that can't be replicated by modern cameras. If you have a box camera and some 120 film, you can shortly be on your way to taking photographs in the exact same fashion as many people of the early 20th and late 19th centuries.

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  1. Unlatch the hook located on the side of the camera.

  2. Pull the winder in an outward motion until you hear it click.

  3. Remove the cartridge from the box.

  4. Place an empty spool into the take-up side of the film cartridge chamber. There are two sides on the cartridge, one that has a hole in it, and one that doesn't. The spool goes into the chamber that has a hole in it.

  5. Remove all tape from the 120 film and place it into the film cartridge on the opposite side of the spool.

  6. Begin pulling the end of the paper lead from the film up and around the length of the cartridge toward the spool. Make sure to thread it on the outside of the roller pins when you're pulling it.

  7. Insert the tab on the end of the film into the spool. Remove the spool temporarily from its chamber to tighten the film, if necessary. Make sure the film is as tight as you can get it.

  8. Insert the cartridge back into the camera. Press the winder back in and hook the latch back on. Turn the winder until you see the number "1" in your picture counter.

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About the Author

Thomas McNish has been writing since 2005, contributing to Salon.com and other online publications. He is working toward his Associate of Science in computer information technology from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.

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