Talking about Film Formats

Film Photography

The primary characteristic of a film format is its size and shape, bigger is always better and smaller is easier. Film format is also a technical definition of a set of standard characteristics regarding image capture on photographic film, It can also apply to projected film, either slides or movies.

In the case of motion picture film, the format may also include audio parameters (though often not). Other characteristics usually include the film gauge, pulldown method, lens anamorphosis (or lack thereof), and film gate or projector aperture dimensions, all of which need to be defined for photography as well as projection, as they may differ.

Movie film formats

See List of film formats

Digital camera formats

See Image sensor format

Still photography film formats

Multiple image

Designation(A) Type Introduced Discontinued Size Detailed article Comment
101 roll film 1895 1956 3" 3"    
102 roll film 1896 1933 1" 2"    
103 roll film 1896 1949 3" 4"    
104 roll film 1897 1949 4" 3"    
105 roll film 1897 1949 2" 3" 120 film  
106 for roll holder 1898 1924 3" 3"    
107 for roll holder 1898 1924 3" 4"    
108 for roll holder 1898 1929 4" 3"    
109 for roll holder 1898 1924 4" 5"    
110 (early roll film) for roll holder 1898 1929 5" 4" 110 film (roll format) No relation to the later 110 cartridge format for "pocket" cameras.
110 ("Pocket Instamatic") cartridge 1972 Present 13 17 mm 110 film Introduced with Kodak's "Pocket Instamatic" series
111 for roll holder 1898 Unknown 6" 4"    
112 for roll holder 1898 1924 7" 5"    
113 for roll holder 1898 Unknown 9 12 cm    
114 for roll holder 1898 Unknown 12 9 cm    
115 roll film 1898 1949 6" 4"    
116 roll film 1899 1984 2" 4    
117 roll film 1900 1949 2" 2" 120 film  
118 roll film 1900 1961 3" 4"    
119 roll film 1900 1940 4" 3"    
120 roll film 1901 Present   120 film  
121 roll film 1902 1941 1⅝" 2"    
122 roll film 1903 1971 3" 5", Postcard    
123 roll film 1904 1949 4" 5"    
124 roll film 1905 1961 3" 4"    
125 roll film 1905 1949 3" 5"    
126 (early roll film) roll film 1906 1949 4" 6" 126 film (roll format) No relation to the 126 cartridge format introduced in 1963.
126 ("Instamatic") cartridge 1963 1999(B) 26.5 26.5 mm 126 film Introduced with first "Instamatic" cameras under the name "Kodapak"
127 roll film 1912 1995(C) 4 4 cm "Vest Pocket" 127 film  
128 roll film 1912 1941 1" 2"    
129 roll film 1912 1951 1⅞" 3"    
130 roll film 1916 1961 2⅞" 4⅞"    
135 cartridge 1934 Present   135 film  
220 roll film 1965 Present   120 film  
235 loading spool 1934 Unknown 24 36 mm 135 film 35mm film in daylight-loading spool
240 / APS cartridge 1996 Present   Advanced Photo System  
335 stereo pairs 1952 Unknown 24 24 mm 135 film For stereo pairs
435 loading spool 1934 Unknown 24 36 mm 135 film 35mm film in daylight-loading spool
616 roll film 1931 1984 2" 4" or 2" 2⅛" 616 film  
617 roll film Unknown Unknown 6 x 17 cm (Panoramic Images) 120 film  
620 roll film 1931 1995   120 film  
645 format only     6 4.5 cm 120 film  
828 roll film 1935 1985 28 40 mm, 35 mm wide Bantam, 8 exp 828 film  
35 roll film 1916 1933 1" 1", 35 mm wide    
Disc cassette 1982 1998   Disc film  
Minox cartridge 1938 Present 8 11 mm, nominally 9.5 mm wide (in reality 9.2-9.3mm), 15, 36 or 50 exp.    
Karat cartridge 1936 1963     Early AGFA cartridge for 35 mm film
Rapid cartridge 1964 1990s     AGFA cartridge for 35 mm film, 12 exp (replaced Karat, same system)
SL cartridge 1958 1990     Orwo Schnell-Lade Kassette for 35 mm film
K 16 cartridge 1987 Unknown     Orwo, 16 mm wide, 20 exp
(A) Unless otherwise noted, all formats were introduced by Kodak, who began allocating the number series in 1913. Before that, films were simply identified by the name of the cameras they were intended for.

(B) Discontinued by all manufacturers by the end of 2008.

(C) Discontinued by major manufacturers in 1995 but still produced by Fotokemika, in Croatia, and Bluefire in Canada.

For roll holder means film for cartridge roll holders, allowing roll film to be used with cameras designed to use glass plates.

The primary reason there were so many different negative formats in the early days was that prints were made by contact, without use of an enlarger. The film format would As a result be exactly the same as the size of the print -- so if you wanted large prints, you would have to use a large camera and corresponding film format.

Single image

Size (in inches) Type
1⅝2⅛ "sixteenth-plate" tintypes
22 "ninth-plate" tintypes
23 sheet film
23 "sixth-plate" tintypes
34 sheet film
3⅛4⅛ "quarter-plate" tintypes
34 "quarter-plate" glass plates
35 postcard or 3A
45 sheet film
46 "half-plate" glass plates
45 "half-plate" tintypes
410 sheet film
57 sheet film
717 sheet film
810 sheet film
820 sheet film
86 "full-plate" glass plates, tintypes
1114 sheet film
1220 sheet film
1417 sheet film
1620 sheet film
2024 sheet film

 

Size (in cm) Type
6.5 9 sheet film
9 12 sheet film
10 15 sheet film
13 18 sheet film
18 24 sheet film
24 30 sheet film

Instant image

Designation Type
SX-70 Polaroid flat film cartridge with integrated battery
Type 37 Polaroid roll film cartridge
Type 47 Polaroid roll film cartridge
Type 88 Polaroid flat film cartridge
Type 100 Polaroid flat film cartridge
Type 600 Polaroid flat film cartridge
See for a full list of Polaroid films. Fuji produce instant films and film backs for sheet film cameras.

See articles related to film

Film articles Film Cameras

Film Camera Products

See also

  • Contact print
  • Film base
  • Film gauge
  • Film stock
  • Keykode
  • Medium format (film)
  • Photographic printing for a table of standard photographic print sizes
  • Projector
  • Video
  • List of motion picture-related topics

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