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12-11-2018, 02:34 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting - 2 out of 5 blank rolls from 645NII / 120mm

I recently sent 5 rolls of 120 in for processing and the lab reported back that 2 of the 5 rolls were blank. As far as I know all 5 rolls were shot on the same camera (645NII). The 2 blank rolls had no metadata recorded on the film edge but factory data was visible, however, the lab is saying there could have been a sticky shutter or film advance issue. I'm wondering, if the shutter was stuck, wouldn't there still be electronic metadata recorded on the frame edge?

Film was loaded correctly and removed from the take up school with "exposed" tags showing, so I am eliminating any advancement issues. Has anyone else experienced this? Any other troubleshooting variables I should consider?

Thanks!

12-11-2018, 03:05 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Sounds unlikely to be a shutter issue, assuming it didn't advance the whole film in one go (loading or unloading - you'd have noticed). I can only think the film was loaded 'inside-out' (backing paper in front of film). I don't have a P645 so I don't know if this is possible (it definitely hasn't happened to me with my Mamiya 645!).
12-11-2018, 03:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
Sounds unlikely to be a shutter issue, assuming it didn't advance the whole film in one go (loading or unloading - you'd have noticed). I can only think the film was loaded 'inside-out' (backing paper in front of film). I don't have a P645 so I don't know if this is possible (it definitely hasn't happened to me with my Mamiya 645!).
I don't believe it is a shutter issue either. 3 of the 5 rolls were exposed perfectly across all frames, plus the metadata imprinting is missing. I can't imagine carelessly loading film backwards... at least not with this camera.
12-11-2018, 08:51 PM - 1 Like   #4
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If the film was loaded backwards with the paper in front of the film, the spools would turn in the opposite direction, so I doubt it would pretend to work.

12-12-2018, 10:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
If the film was loaded backwards with the paper in front of the film, the spools would turn in the opposite direction, so I doubt it would pretend to work.
Good point. thanks.
12-12-2018, 10:05 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
If the film was loaded backwards with the paper in front of the film, the spools would turn in the opposite direction, so I doubt it would pretend to work.
I was wondering about that, but my cassettes have film in them so I'm a bit under-enthused about testing them. However, if the take-up spool is wound in the normal way with the film backing side out, it would behave the same. The feed spool is, I think, controlled by drag and not a pawl, so it might operate normally even though the film is passing over the roll instead of sharply up and over the platen from under the roll. I accidentally started to do this once and it was obvious that something seemed wrong.

For this setup to be realized, not only would the user have to install the film backwards while not noticing (maybe in a film changing bag), but the removed take-up roll would look different and he as well as the developing lab would have to not notice. Further, how would the initial winding to the arrow be possible if it was underneath the visible surface?
12-12-2018, 10:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaseki Quote
I was wondering about that, but my cassettes have film in them so I'm a bit under-enthused about testing them. However, if the take-up spool is wound in the normal way with the film backing side out, it would behave the same. The feed spool is, I think, controlled by drag and not a pawl, so it might operate normally even though the film is passing over the roll instead of sharply up and over the platen from under the roll. I accidentally started to do this once and it was obvious that something seemed wrong.

For this setup to be realized, not only would the user have to install the film backwards while not noticing (maybe in a film changing bag), but the removed take-up roll would look different and he as well as the developing lab would have to not notice. Further, how would the initial winding to the arrow be possible if it was underneath the visible surface?
All great and valid points, which is why I'm confident that the rolls were loaded correctly to begin with. To test the theory I just tried to load a roll backwards and the insert does not allow it as the mechanism only advances in one direction.

Safe to say we can eliminate a backwards load from the equation.
12-12-2018, 05:32 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Were the 2 out of the 5 that were blank loaded in sequence? This might help to establish if the problem is intermittent or started on roll 4 and continued on 5 and is potentially still there. If the screen showed that each frame moved in front of the shutter and you could hear the movement and the roll ended up fully on the top spool but there is nothing on any of the frames, it suggests that no light was getting to the film. With a 645 SLR this cannot be as simple as leaving the lens cap on as this shows in the viewfinder. So unless there are other ways that light is blocked which I cannot think of, then the shutter must be stuck shut. If the shutter is not working at all on a whole two rolls then this does suggests the rolls will be sequential. An intermittent sticky shutter which completely closes the shutter for two rolls then works perfectly on the other three sounds unlikely.

On this basis the rolls have to be either 4 and 5 or 1 and 2. If it is 1 and 2 then the shutter problem might have disappeared. If it is 4 and 5 then it might disappear if you use roll 6 but I'd be sceptical.

I have a N and not an NII but I assume that it is possible to check the shutter opening without film.

asahijock

12-12-2018, 06:54 PM   #9
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Labs make mistakes too!
12-12-2018, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Have you dry-fired the shutter without a lens to make sure the mirror is going up in addition to the shutter opening?

Rick “covering the obvious bases” Denney
12-13-2018, 10:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bonner04 Quote
Labs make mistakes too!
But do they ever admit it?? Ha!

---------- Post added 12-13-18 at 12:07 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by asahijock Quote
Were the 2 out of the 5 that were blank loaded in sequence? This might help to establish if the problem is intermittent or started on roll 4 and continued on 5 and is potentially still there. If the screen showed that each frame moved in front of the shutter and you could hear the movement and the roll ended up fully on the top spool but there is nothing on any of the frames, it suggests that no light was getting to the film. With a 645 SLR this cannot be as simple as leaving the lens cap on as this shows in the viewfinder. So unless there are other ways that light is blocked which I cannot think of, then the shutter must be stuck shut. If the shutter is not working at all on a whole two rolls then this does suggests the rolls will be sequential. An intermittent sticky shutter which completely closes the shutter for two rolls then works perfectly on the other three sounds unlikely.

On this basis the rolls have to be either 4 and 5 or 1 and 2. If it is 1 and 2 then the shutter problem might have disappeared. If it is 4 and 5 then it might disappear if you use roll 6 but I'd be sceptical.

I have a N and not an NII but I assume that it is possible to check the shutter opening without film.

asahijock
I fired the shutter without a film insert at several different speeds and it was firing just fine, every time. I'm not sure about the sequence of the rolls. I have another roll in it now which I will be sure to have noted when I send off for processing. That being said, I did not fire the shutter without a lens to see if the mirror was flipping, but I will do that as soon as this roll is finished.
12-14-2018, 04:47 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by wleephoto645 Quote
I fired the shutter without a film insert at several different speeds and it was firing just fine, every time. I'm not sure about the sequence of the rolls. I have another roll in it now which I will be sure to have noted when I send off for processing. That being said, I did not fire the shutter without a lens to see if the mirror was flipping, but I will do that as soon as this roll is finished.
Even if you lab develop your stuff, it useful to have some cheap B&W film (Fomapan/Arista 100/200/400 is one of the cheaper) and some rodinal and fixer for testing purposes (rodinal is cheap, requires very little to develop a roll, and doesn't go bad for along time. I don't know if fixer dies from age, but I've been told it doesn't oxidize like most developers do.) It can pay for itself when you're chasing down a problem. nonetheless, I hope your problem doesn't recur.
12-15-2018, 06:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
Even if you lab develop your stuff, it useful to have some cheap B&W film (Fomapan/Arista 100/200/400 is one of the cheaper) and some rodinal and fixer for testing purposes (rodinal is cheap, requires very little to develop a roll, and doesn't go bad for along time. I don't know if fixer dies from age, but I've been told it doesn't oxidize like most developers do.) It can pay for itself when you're chasing down a problem. nonetheless, I hope your problem doesn't recur.
Sound advice. Thank you.
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