The Adapt-a-Roll 620 is a thing. A love it or hate it sort of thing? Take it or leave it? Need it or nope it. Yeah, you either need it or don’t. So, what is it?
Keep in mind it’s available in different sizes, this is all about mine. The Adapt-a-Roll 620 is an adapter to use 620 roll film in a camera that takes slide-in film holders. What kind of camera takes slide in holders? Old press cameras for one, but medium and large format field, technical, and view cameras as well. It even looks like a slide in film holder—with a tumor like winder on one side.
Instead of that bulge turning out to be stuffed with a sock, it’s got a roll of film, and a take up spool. The take up spool is a 620 spool. Kodak put out 620 to try and keep their cameras fed with Kodak film. It’s literally just 120 film and backing paper on a different size spool. The hubs on the spool are flat sheet-metal and they—as well as the shaft of the spool, are a bit narrower than a 120 spool. The slot on the end of the hubs is a bit smaller too. That means you have to use a 620 spool as the take up, but can jam a 120 in as the feed-spool or re-roll a 120 film onto a 620 spool and load that.
Anyway, way back in the day cameras used film holders. they slipped in between ground-glass viewfinders on the back of cameras and held a sheet of film on each side. Pretty much every serious camera used the ground-glass & holder set up. A great many cameras had that ground glass on a board mounted to prints that pulled out a bit from the camera to let the holders slid in then hold it in place, sandwiching the holder between the camera body and the ground glass.
Then roll films got popular. Newer cameras used arrangements that let the ground glass come all the way off. Then any roll holder could lock right on, it didn’t have to fit under the springs. People with spring back cameras had to upgrade—or get an Adapt-a-Roll 620. Why might someone want one today? Speed is one, convince is another. An Adapt-a-Roll 620 means one holder can hold 8-16 frames worth of shots. You could grab a Grafmatic holder and get 6 frames in one holder, but those won’t fit in every spring back camera.
A wood holder is 13mm thick, a Grafmatic is 22mm, the Adapt-a-Roll is 17mm. Grafmatics will fit in some spring back cameras, but certainly not all and. not without a degree of risk even when it does. The Adapt-a-Roll will pretty much always fit.
So how do you load it? There’s scans of the original manual on the web but they don’t have pictures. There’s plenty of written descriptions of what to do, but well, here’s pictures.
Once it’s loaded to the point as shown above stick the feeder spool onto the pegs and close the holder. Slide the dark slide in not quite all the way, leaving just a tiny slot of an opening.
The frame counter works by registering the rotation of the silver roller the backing paper is pressed against. If it doesn’t count stick a piece of foam in the shallow depression as shown and it will put enough pressure on the roller to engage the counter. Remember the Adapt-a-Roll winds onto the take up spool emulsion side out, so if it seems wrong, it’s probably not.