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11-23-2017, 05:13 PM   #1
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Bulk rolled film woes

So I finished a roll in my S1a the other night and decided it was time to go back to a smaller, metered camera (MX). I have my Lloyds bulk loader and just under a dozen cassettes, six or seven of which were already loaded up. Not wishing to leave the "oldest" one too long on the shelf, I grabbed it and went to load the MX, in which I have already shot a couple rolls of this stuff in cassettes from the same pack.

Lo and behold, it was the worst experience; the back had to be forced closed, the film rewind knob wouldn't spin, and when I tried to advance, I got sounds from inside that sounded suspiciously like the magic fingers weren't gripping all that well.

In frustration, I sprung the camera back, cut off the already-ruined film (about five or six exposures' worth), cut a new leader on what was left and shoved this foreshortened film (which the MX still would not swallow) into my Spotmatic F. And all was well. Roll fed very well until I came to the end tonight, rewinded great, tongue still sticking out when I was done - all ready to go for when I'm next off call and the darkroom beckons.

Turning back to the MX, I told myself I would not be impressed if something was going awry, having so recently (mid this year) sent it to Eric for a mid-life overhaul. So I grabbed the nearest roll of commercially packed film that I didn't mind if I wrecked it (Lomo 400), went through the motions, and lo and behold all was sweet and has remained so.

Just what is going on here? I reckon I've got one dodgy reloadable cassette that the MX couldn't swallow but the SP-F has the guts and staying power to crunch on through. Or might it have something to do with the way I loaded the film? I dunno, this is all still new to me!

(Film is Kentmere 400 by the way.)

11-23-2017, 05:28 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Sounds to me like when you loaded the MX, the cogs weren’t quite aligned with the holes in the film. If the film isn’t pulled right before you try to close the door, it can act just as you described.

I’ve done it in my ME a time or two...
11-23-2017, 05:47 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Sorry to hear this!

As a first guess, I'd think that:
1) the offending cassette was just a tiny bit too large for the MX film chamber
2) that the tight lid of the MX was pushing on the fat cassette
3) this forced the end caps of the cassette against the bobbin
4) the high friction between bobbin and end caps prevented rewind knob spin
5) advancing the film just tightened the coil until the magic fingers abused the film sprockets.

A few tests:
1) put the empty reloadable cassette (with filmless bobbin) in the MX to see if it works
2) test some other empty reloadable cassettes
3) doublecheck the MX back and film chamber for obstructions or dents
4) measure reloadable cassettes against commercial film cassettes

Good luck!
11-23-2017, 06:24 PM   #4
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I have previously tested a couple of full reloadable cassettes in it already with no issues, and as stated have subsequently begun shooting a commercial roll of colour film with no detectable issues.

I will try another b&w roll or the offending empty cassette once the colour film is done. I will have to mark it with some sort of warning notice not to use it in that camera.

11-23-2017, 09:24 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
the back had to be forced closed, the film rewind knob wouldn't spin, and when I tried to advance, I got sounds from inside that sounded suspiciously like the magic fingers weren't gripping all that well.

Just what is going on here?
Are you using plastic Kalt reloadable cassettes or metal 'snap cap' ones? With the plastic type, if you twist on the lid and the plastic triangle tab is not aligned with the felt trap, it will not go into the camera correctly.

If the rewind knob doesn't turn, that either means the tape fell off the film, and you should use enough tape to attach about 3/4" on both sides of the film....or that the film is not catching.

The next most common problem is if you cut the film leader tongue incorrectly. The flat side of the cassette must be the side that is cut out of the tongue; or conversely, the side of the spool that sticks out must be the longer side of the tongue/leader. Ideally about 8 sprocket holes.

If that was done correctly, are you sure you loaded the film correctly into the cassette? The flat side of the spool must be on the handle side of the Lloyds loader, and the smaller hole on the cassette is also on the handle side. If not, the film is being wound onto the spool backwards and that will create enough torque or resistance, that your camera can't grab or pull or advance the film.

I use a Lloyd bulk loader all the time with Kentmere 100 and 400, as well as Ilford HP5+ and FP4+, so the film is not the issue.

If you can post photos of the problem roll (leader, steps as you load a roll of film, loaded into the camera before closing the film back, etc.) that might help us to identify the exact issue.
11-24-2017, 03:22 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Are you using plastic Kalt reloadable cassettes or metal 'snap cap' ones? With the plastic type, if you twist on the lid and the plastic triangle tab is not aligned with the felt trap, it will not go into the camera correctly.
Bingo.

Many thanks.

My guess is that the Spotmatics and pre-Spotmatics have some extra room in the film box that the MX doesn't. Will go back and check the rest of them. Should I do this in darkness, or can it be done in the light if attempted very carefully?
11-24-2017, 10:13 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Will go back and check the rest of them. Should I do this in darkness, or can it be done in the light if attempted very carefully?
No need for total darkness, but I wouldn't do it in direct sunlight either. Just rotate it a bit counterclockwise until it's close to the right spot, and then tighten it clockwise. If you don't remove the lid from the cassette and spool, things will stay light proof inside the cassette.
11-24-2017, 02:54 PM   #8
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Excellent. I can do this in subdued light as I load them, or as I take them down from the shelf to carry around with me. I was playing around with one of the few empties I have at the moment, with no film at all in it, and it looks like it takes about a quarter turn to lock down.

Many thanks.

11-24-2017, 07:42 PM   #9
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That’s interesting. All of my reusable cassettes are the old metal Kalt ones with the snap on lid. I didn’t realize the plastic ones had to aligned. Good to know.
12-03-2017, 06:42 AM   #10
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I tried the plastic cassettes many years ago. I can't recall if I had any mishaps
but they definitely didn't inspire confidence. I have used metal exclusively since.

Chris
12-03-2017, 12:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I tried the plastic cassettes many years ago. I can't recall if I had any mishaps
but they definitely didn't inspire confidence. I have used metal exclusively since.

Chris
Every semester, I give beginning B&W Film Photography students six assignments which includes a pinhole camera, three different factory loaded films, and two bulk loaded. I started with the Alden bulk loader and snap-cap metal cassettes because that is what I used.

But because metal bends, I've found the most fool-proof for the least skilled students was plastic. It's pretty hard to break and if they do, it's obvious they were abusive and are either negligent or I'm not teaching it well. We also went to Watson loaders, then an Arista branded one, and have found Lloyds the easiest for those who are "procedurally challenged".

My youngest students are 14 and once in a while one will come up to me with a roll of Tri-X that looks like it was put in a vice and crushed....and they don't understand why it won't fit into the camera. I am laughing and dying at the same time and ask, "What did you do to this roll?" And the student with a professional poker face says, "Nothing." In that case, I am guessing something only quantum physics could explain.
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