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09-06-2017, 04:08 PM   #1
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Bulk loader - first experience and troubleshooting.

So I got a bulk loader (Lloyds) a short while ago, and today a 100ft roll of Kentmere 400 arrived. I went into my dark room and loaded it OK, but only at the end did I notice a tiny light leak.

Now, I had my back to the door (and the leak) and was shielding the whole shebang with my body, so I think that was OK. Or at least I hope so. Evidence for this is provided in my next failure.

I rolled my first canister (very short) and that sort of went okay too, and then I put it in my Spotmatic. Seemed to wind on all right but the wind-on spool then did not rotate and did not seem to have locked "home", so I shot a few more frames, wound it back (all the way into the canister) and developed it in caffenol for 15 minutes.

Not a frame. Not one.

The end leaders are black, which they ought to be; the centre is clear (grossly underexposed or underdeveloped).

I will repeat again tomorrow night with a different camera, and this time I will use standard Ilford chemistry until I know what's going on. I think I had too many variables going at once.

09-06-2017, 04:55 PM   #2
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Condolences! At least your first roll did seem to prove that the film survived the light leak.

Just before I close the camera, I always lightly rewind the crank to tighten the canister spool, take out any slack, and test the security of the loading process. That has the secondary advantage of making the crank spin decisively during the first few frames which provides confidence that the film is properly loaded.

Good luck & have fun!
09-06-2017, 06:01 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about the misadventure. At least you're not out too much, with a giant roll of Kentmere still to go!

I bought a roll of RPX 25 last year, I'm STILL not done it yet, you really get a lot of film from a bulk roll.
09-06-2017, 06:04 PM   #4
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It sounds like film may not have been loaded into camera correctly i.e. it was not properly secured to the take-up spool.

After closing the camera back always remove all the slack before shooting frames S1 & S2;
that will make it easier to confirm that film is advancing properly.
If your film is loaded properly rewind knob will rotate each time you advance film.

Yes, I know this is pretty basic camera operation, but what photographer - no matter how experienced - hasn't done this?
It's an error we all make at one time or another, some of us more often than others...

Chris

09-06-2017, 06:48 PM   #5
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Honestly you dont even need the bulk loader, just a pitch black room, some empty film cartridges, a roll of masking tape, and some scissors that you don't mind working with your n pitch black conditions. If you foil the spool all the way to the top of the sides, it's about 50 frames. Unfortunately you don't want to do that for 2 reasons; it's a bit too much for the developing reels, and it tends to bind up a bit inside the cartridge.
09-07-2017, 03:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Honestly you dont even need the bulk loader, just a pitch black room, some empty film cartridges, a roll of masking tape, and some scissors that you don't mind working with your n pitch black conditions. If you foil the spool all the way to the top of the sides, it's about 50 frames. Unfortunately you don't want to do that for 2 reasons; it's a bit too much for the developing reels, and it tends to bind up a bit inside the cartridge.
Well I've got the bulk loader now, so it's a bit late for that, LOL.

More to the point is that I am on call one week in two, which means that I MUST have a cellphone on me at ALL times, and this prohibits darkroom work. At the very least, having the loader means I can reload my film cannisters while on call, even if I can't develop the film.

---------- Post added 07-09-17 at 08:10 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
It sounds like film may not have been loaded into camera correctly i.e. it was not properly secured to the take-up spool.
This is my suspicion also.

Of interest, there was another light leak in the darkroom - the funnel I use to pour the fixer back into the container is luminous for a short while after the lights are turned off!!!
09-07-2017, 05:03 AM   #7
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I use a Lloyd's bulk loader and often Kentmere 400. I've processed this with Kodak XTOL, DD-X and ID-11. I add about 30 seconds to whatever my charts recommend for Ilford HP5+ 400.

When you say the "centre is clear", does that mean truly clear without any image at all? If so, the exposure latitude of Kentmere 400 is wide enough to make me think:
a) Is your Spotmatic ISO set to 3200+ or your light meter is off or shutter curtain is not opening?
or more likely,
b) The film did not catch on your take up reel in the camera.

A few pointers:
--When rolling the film in the Lloyd's, make sure the handle is completely inserted and flush to the hole.
--When cutting the tongue/leader, the tongue is always on the same side as the spool that sticks out of the cassette. About 8 sprockets is good.
--As PhotoOptimist suggested, after loading the camera and closing the back, gently turn the rewind knob clockwise until you feel resistance and have removed slack from the spool. Then whenever you advance the film, just check that the rewind know turns counter-clockwise.
--When rewinding, don't even bother developing the film if you notice only a couple turns before you feel the film come off the take up reel and hear the end come off. It's going to be blank. It's happened to everyone at least once (and if not, please keep it to yourself....we humans are imperfect).
09-07-2017, 07:40 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
a) Is your Spotmatic ISO set to 3200+ or your light meter is off or shutter curtain is not opening?
or more likely,
b) The film did not catch on your take up reel in the camera.
I shot on Sunny 16 rules for a few outdoor shots, and then went way, way slow for some shots indoors (I did not care about camera shake; I only wanted an image). The lack of any image at all was quite surprising.

So I think it is what other people have already diagnosed; a film transport issue in the camera. I know the loading-into-cannister process went well, because I actually had film to develop; that part at least is proven.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
--When rewinding, don't even bother developing the film if you notice only a couple turns before you feel the film come off the take up reel and hear the end come off. It's going to be blank. It's happened to everyone at least once (and if not, please keep it to yourself....we humans are imperfect).
It hadn't happened to me YET, but I think this is the documented First Occurrence. I cut the leader pretty OK, I thought, but evidently something must have gone awry. I will probably try again with an ME; it has the magic fingers and is possibly more likely to cope well with a home-spun leader.

09-07-2017, 03:45 PM   #9
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Trim the tapered leader to roughly match a commercial factory loaded roll of film.
Be careful not to nick the narrowed section at the point it meets the full width.
Otherwise this can become a failure point as a tear may develop there.

Another important point is to always use an adequate amount of strong tape to fasten the end to the spool.
This it especially important when using a camera with motorized advance.

I use 3M Scotch Super 33+ vinyl electrical tape. It is strong and remains flexible in cold temperatures,
stretching just enough to prevent damage to the film or camera when you abruptly reach the end of the roll.
Further it peels off cleanly leaving absolutely no adhesive residue that may interfere with development.

Chris
09-08-2017, 01:59 PM   #10
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Okay, second try - I put it in the ME this time, and everything went smoothly vis a vis loading, advancing and taking pictures (the first few might be a bit ruined; I'm not sure the film back was closed properly at first). Will throw it through Ilford chemistry tonight to avoid any development variables that might accrue with Caffenol, and shall inform you all of results.

If this works I'm going to load up a couple of cassettes and take them out for a walk tomorrow. Otherwise it's good old Kodak Gold 200, because I have finally used up all my stock of Tmax (the last is in my MX right now).
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