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12-02-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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How to tell if film is used or not?

Hi,

I'm embarrassed to ask this question but I have several rolls of film in my bag that I can't remember if I used or not! They are all about 4 years old (last time I shot with film). How can I tell if these are new or if I've shot with them already? They all have a little film sticking out of the can which would lead me to think that they are new but someone else told me that may not be the case. I just can't remember if my Spotmatic IIa rewinds the film all the way into the can when I'm done or not.

If in fact this film is new, after 4 years of sitting in my bag in a closet do you think it will all still work? I have some 400 B&W, & 100, 200, 400, & 800 color print film.

Thanks!

George

12-02-2009, 09:22 PM   #2
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Look at the very tip. If there is a small (3-6mm?) crimp or obvious bend from the grip of the take up reel in the camera, that's a sign that it was loaded.

This will depend on the camera and its take up reel design and such. So a bent tip is a good sign that it was loaded, but no bend to the tip isn't necessarily a sure sign that it wasn't loaded, if that makes sense.
12-02-2009, 11:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gsrokmix Quote
I just can't remember if my Spotmatic IIa rewinds the film all the way into the can when I'm done or not.
While working in a lab I see a fair amount of film. Somewhere around 70% of this is rolled right into the can, which is fine by me. It only takes me a couple of seconds to extract the tail most times.
I'd honestly rather see 100% of the tails in the can, that way we know it's been shot.
If the first one or 2 rolls of film we develop a day are blank it makes us wonder if there's something wrong with the machine. Which happens once or twice most months.

With the Spotmatics. They can roll the tail all the way in. Every Pentax film camera I've tried can.
However, with the spotmatic. Since it's a fully manual rewind you may not have rolled it quite all the way.
I always roll the film until there's pretty much no resistance left. Then I know the tail is inside the can.

You may also want to compare the tails with a new roll of film. New rolls have a consistent length to their tails, so if yours are a fair amount longer or shorter it's an indication that you may have shot the roll.
12-03-2009, 08:11 AM   #4
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Thanks for the good tips guys. Based on your advice I think these rolls are new. I will use them & see what I get back from the lab!

George

12-03-2009, 12:18 PM   #5
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When I used my Spotmatic a lot, I always rewound the film until there was no resistance, and then wound it a couple of more turns. On rare occasions that I opened the camera and film was NOT rewound all the way into the can, I manually wound it rest of the way in, so as not to confuse it with an unexposed roll.

That said, my Spotmatic always puts a noticeable crimp in the film leader. That may be because, when loading, I push the leader all the way through the slot in the take-up reel. On the Spotmatic, the slot goes through both sides of the hollow take-up reel. I found, very early on, that this made the loading much more reliable and I almost never had a leader slip off the take-up reel. I also took up the slack on the rewind crank before shooting and then watched the crank when advancing the film. If the film is loaded correctly, the rewind crank will turn as the film is advanced and pulled out of the can.
12-03-2009, 04:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gsrokmix Quote
Hi,

I just can't remember if my Spotmatic IIa rewinds the film all the way into the can when I'm done or not.

If in fact this film is new, after 4 years of sitting in my bag in a closet do you think it will all still work? I have some 400 B&W, & 100, 200, 400, & 800 color print film.

Thanks!

George

The Spotmatic II (an excellent camera BTW) is entirely manual, so it will rewind the film until you stop winding, that is all the way or part way, depending on you. if you pay no attention, it will ususally be all the way.

If, like me, you like to deliberately leave a short tail sticking out of the cassette, the thing to do is to put a deliberate, heavy crimp in the film about 3/4" back from the very end to show that the film has been exposed. I also, usually mark the lid of the container with a cross, using a felt marking pen, to indicate a used roll.

Regading your second question, as long as the film hasn't been sitting in extreme conditions (e.g., the back window ledge in your car) for all this time, it should be A-OK.

When my father-in-law passed away, his camera contained a part-used film which was about 4 years past its use-by date. We used up the rest of the roll and had it printed: no problems.
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