How to Load 120 Film – Minolta Autocord Medium Format Camera

How to Load 120 Film – Minolta Autocord Medium Format Camera

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Minolta Autocord

Over the weekend I went out with a Minolta Autocord, a fantastic medium format camera, and shot a few rolls of 120 film. The experience was wonderful, and the camera deserves a full review. For now, I’ve uploaded a brief video demonstrating how to load film into a medium format camera. The steps illustrated here should be applicable with any number of medium format cameras, though small variations in camera design will call for deviation. Still, this should help introduce the operation of these ancient looking cameras to people who may be unfamiliar with medium format and 120 film.

The main benefit of shooting medium format is simply that the film is larger. These machines record images on media larger than the 24 x 36mm found in standard full frame cameras (35mm film). More surface area means higher resolution images and better performance when enlarging shots. Another bonus is a greater control over depth of field. Essentially, medium format produces incredible quality images, and that’s enough to convince most photographers to give it a shot.

Minolta Autocord TTV

TTV (through the viewfinder) of the Minolta Autocord.

Check back soon for an article where I examine the format’s extensive benefits and unfortunate detractions.

Buy 120 film on eBay

Buy a medium format camera on eBay

Buy 120 film on Amazon

Buy a medium format camera on Amazon

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is the founder of CP. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic cameras and the most advanced digital machines. In addition to his work on CP, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio
10 comments
  • Nice video! I could swear my Seagull goes in the reverse direction, but I only load it about once a month. Looking forward to the Autocord review!

    • Thanks my friend. The review on this one is going to be fun for sure. Post some photos of your Seagull on the Facebook page, if you’re on there. I’d love to see it.

  • Definitely will check the FB page out and post some pics of the Seagull. Contemplating adding an Autcord or Yashica 12 to the repertoire.

  • I’m definitely going to do it – I’ve missed the film experience, and 120 film is infinitely nicer than 35mm to me.

    I only recently “reactivated” the Seagull, during which I’ve encountered some challenges, but I am hoping they have been remedied. I posted a write-up at: http://quirkyguywithacamera.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-return-to-film-seagull-4a-103-part-1.html

    Really love the blog, and will be following future posts! 🙂

    • That’s great. Some of those shots are wonderful. Love the lion statue. I’ll keep checking in on your site. Thanks bud.

  • Hi guys — I have a pre-wwII voitlander tlr where 120 film is loaded and last step is to manually set the counter —- for those of you who shoot multiple tlr cameras is 4 1/2 turns after starting the paper in the takeup reel about the same on most of these cameras . . . ? This vid seemed to show 4 1/2. Thx!!!!

  • Arun P Krishnan April 2, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    I’m new to all this. I see there are various kinds of 120 film depending on ISO. What do I buy for my Minolta Autocord?

    • You can use any ISO film you like. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive the film is to light. So if you’re shooting in bright light, any 100 or 400 speed will be fine. If you’re shooting in lower light or at night you should find 400 or 800 (or higher) ISO film. Hope this helps!

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is the founder of CP. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic cameras and the most advanced digital machines. In addition to his work on CP, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio