35mm cassettes, metal or plastic?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by GRHazelton, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    I've ordered the Tri X that a fellow member told us of, and I've found my Watson loader. Somewhere I also have a Lloyd. A couple questions: When last I loaded film, IIRC only metal cassettes were available. Are the plastic variety preferable, or the metal? Also, back in the day any local camera store could probably provide cannisters free or at a nominal cost. I'd like to load up most or all of the film, and refrigerate the cassettes, but not without cannisters! Any one seen a source?

    I seem to recall getting some lengthwise scratches with film loaded with the Watson, this was on Ektachrome I'd loaded for a European trip. I was NOT a happy camper. Any suggestions? The scratches weren't perfectly straight as I would expect from a camera film gate problem; I wonder if jostling the loader while loading might cause this. Would buying the loader from Freestyle, Bobinquick, be a real improvement?

    Many thanks for any ideas! This forum is a wonderful resource. :smile:
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I have used both metal and plastic cassettes. There was only one time when there was a problem and that was with a plastic cassette. The end cap began to untwist as the camera was being loaded. Never any problems with metal cassettes. At one time Kodak sold the best reloadable metal cassettes. The metal was quite sturdy. Today's reloadable cassettes, both plastic and metal, are a bit flimsy. Before you buy a lot of any brand see if you check their quality. As with all things you get what you pay for.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If you are going to use reusable cassettes, then I recommend metal. The plastic ones are crap with lots of problems. Please also note that by using a Watson film loader you are introducing scratch problems. A better way is to load individual cassettes by hand in a changing bag.
     
  4. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Thanks for the info. I remember using Kodak cassettes, until they went to what they called "staked" end caps. Grrrrr.... BTW, I did find a source for canisters: FilmCanistersForSale.com They have them in black, clear, etc, at .39 each, plus shipping, of course. Seems that the crafty sorts really like them, make rockets, maybe even antipersonnel devices out of them. Just kidding about the antipersonnel devices, but not the rockets. :smile:
     
  5. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    What is it about the Watson that introduces scratch problems or are you saying that all bulk loaders introduce scratch problems? What is it about plastic cassettes that are crap?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  6. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I've heard of scratch probs with Watson loaders from a couple of people who've used them, though I've not used one myself. My own loader is a Konica, seems very well made and have had no problems. And no probs with plastic cassettes bought new and empty for the purpose. (Haven't used the loader for a while, as so few films available as bulk lengths now.)
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If you get even a tiny amount of grit on the gate it will scratch the film and my students have tried both plastic and metal cassettes and plastic can undo/leak light.
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks. I do have a Watson but have yet to use it. However from my brief examination of it, it seems that once the top hinge has been closed and the gate can then be opened the film runs through more or less straight without touching anything so my assumption is that the Watson has less chance of scratching than some other loaders where the film moves around corners on its way out.

    I have plastic re-useable cassettes which have ends that screw on quite tight and have never had an end unscrew. Maybe I have been lucky

    pentaxuser
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Before we mix up things:

    How many different versions are available anyway?
    Am I right that only the plastic and the metal versions by AP are available or are there still more on the market?
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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  11. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I have used the old Kalt metal cassettes, the AP black plastic cassettes, and re-used from buying standard preloaded film, and 1hr photo discards.

    The metal ones I would rank the worst over time, the ends get loose easily when you pop them off to unload, but are very nice new. The black plastic screw on caps are very good, no problems with them, but the felt ends I feel could be better. The reusing discards strategy is great if you are reusing the films you have personally shot only once, the felt is always in good condition. If getting them from a photolab I check each one, and run a post-it through it to clean them. If I notice long fibers coming out, I toss it as well. Name brand cassettes from Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford are the best ones, then instant camera disposable cassettes (the ones with ratcheted spindles) are next and the worst are the lomo types, these have been already rerolled at least once and many have other labeling under their logo stickers, and the felt is usually breaking apart, i dont use these.

    Also for bulk loaders, I use a few Aldens, they are nice thick and sturdy with good weight. No felt traps, and when closed, the film gate is rotated open so no film is dragged through a small opening. Easy as pie to use, set the number to 40 to leave room for leader and crank away.
     
  12. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    everything has issues -- plastic can come unscrewed, metal can get loose...on all the felt can get dirty/gritty.

    For absolute surity, only use Leica cassettes with hand-rolled film, I guess -- I actually use my Watson loader to load Leica cassettes since the dial on the end includes the ability to close the cassette's gate after I'm done.

    Of course, this means you have to use an older M-Leica :tongue: which some of us do not find to be a burden at all. The nice thing about Leica cassettes is that, even 50 years later, they still work and never, ever, scratch.
     
  13. Nelson

    Nelson Member

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  14. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    My two guesses 1) as an engineering exercise to show/see how all the parts go together, or 2) as a display model for a trade show - etc.

    I still remember marvelling at the Pentax Reps 3/4 Pentax Spotmatic. yep they took a spotmatic and glued the mechanism together and sawed away 1/4 of the camera. Useful thing is it let me figure out how a pentaprism worked.
     
  15. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    Both the common types that have been available recently have been based on German film of the 1960 era.

    The Plastic ones are closely based on those used by ADOX/Dupont before the business was sold to the Yugoslavians. They are fairly secure, stand up to dropping without opening, but because the film has to be inserted into an almost closed light trap, the light trap wears and they start leaking light at the point where the light trap hits the lid.

    The Metal ones are the same as were used in teh 1960s by AGFA. Ilford also used this style in that era, and it is generaly speculated that they bought them from Agfa. Ilford has admited form time to time that there film packing machines have traditionally been purchased from Agfa. Agfa them selves changed the original design which had the film come out tangentaly, to the current style where it comes out radially. The major problem with this style is that it is fast disappearing. As other have noted later production does not retain the end caps well, and I would speculate that the tooling has become worn out. The version with ISO 400 DX coding is already gone, and Freestyle has indicated that they don't expect these to continue to be available.
     
  16. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    I have 6 NIkon cassettes that I uesd w/my F that worked well, but I no longer have an F.
     
  17. Pioneer

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    For me my Leica and Contax metal cassettes work the best for me. They are very, very sturdy and can be loaded over and over. There is no felt to scratch the film and the cameras open the cassettes when they are loaded. Of course these will only work in my Leica LTM cameras and Zeiss Ikon cameras (Contaflex, Contarex, and Contax.) I do understand though that there is a similar metal cassette made for the early M cameras as well as early Nikon and Canon cameras. I have no experience with these.

    Next, I have been having decent luck with the plastic ones, though I have not used them as long as the others. I have to spread the felt edges apart to slide the film through and I do suspect that this will eventually wear enough to have light leaks, but I do not know that from personal experience. The threaded end tightens nicely and I have not yet had one come apart on me in actual use.

    Finally, the metal type have turned out the worst for me. This is mostly because the press-on cap, or the edge of the cassette body, deforms to the point where it becomes almost impossible for me to get the caps on. This usually happens within a couple of uses for me. I have also had three cassettes ends pop off on me in actual field use.

    My recent experience with the metal cassettes have been so bad that I have quit using them altogether and rely completely on the plastic ones and the proprietary Leica and Contax ones. Of course your mileage may vary, I have very shaky hands and that may be part of the reason I have trouble with the universal metal ones.
     
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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  19. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    But the dealers say that these are not available. Perhaps AP Photo has jacked up the minimum order, or perhaps the web site is not up to date. I would love to be able to order some of the "other" speeds.