Bulk Loader

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pentaxuser, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Not really a new thread, I know. I've used the search engine and seen the old threads about Watsons Alden Lloyds etc.but I'd like opinions from the U.K. members as the two loaders I'd like to consider as purchases from new are the AP Bobinquick sold by FirstCall and the Jessops' one. I've never seen either mentioned which is not surprising as the U.K. members must be outnumbered by about 50:1. However contributions from any non U.K. members with experience of either would be welcome.

    I've seen the Jessops and it looks straighforward and neat. Quite small and square but made of plastic. The plastic cassettes have screw tops which seem to be secure but easy to put on and take off.

    It's the Bobinquick that I have never seen. Recommended by Firstcall for colleges as being the best on the market. Generally speaking if it's robust enough for student use, one would assume its OK. Prices for either the Bobinquick or Jessops are almost identical.

    Anyone who can help with comments such as reliability, ease of use and the amount of waste per cassette would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Pentaxuser
     
  2. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Adorama here in the states sells an AP under their brand. I bought one and am thrilled with it. Accurate frame counts, no scratches or wastage and it has a "film remaining on roll" counter. If I needed another tomorrow, I'd buy one of those.
     
  3. josephaustin

    josephaustin Member

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    I have a Loyd's and 2 watsons, one of which is the older metal type. It is the best loader I have ever used. I dont like the Loyd's, the light trap scratched the negatives. The newer watsons are not as well constructed as the older ones. I buy my cassettes 25 at a time from freestyle, use them 5 times and throw them away. I use a piece of masking tape applied to the cassette to denote film type and number of uses. Works for me, good luck bulk film has saved me a ton.
     
  4. eric

    eric Member

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    I've always wanted to know about that Adorama brand. On the web, it looks pretty nice.
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have been using the Lloyds for many years now, and have never had one scratch on the film, but to each his own, I have a number of different brands around here, and pretty much they have all worked without a hitch, but I always go back to the Lloyds due to the smaller size and ease of use.

    Dave
     
  6. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    I know LLoyds uses a felt trap.. I do not like that idea. I have one bakalite Watson from 1965 and modified the inside cover to match the grey plastic one I inherited someplace along the line. Both work fine.
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Ronald,

    What is it you don't like about a felt light trap, I have been doing phtoography for many years now, and never have had a problem with the felt light traps that are used in many different items in the photography equipment....not a fight stance, just curious.

    Dave
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Here's a handy household hint.
    Before loading a cassette, while one end cap is off, I take a post-it note slide it down the felt light trap and then pull the tacky end out through the felt to pick up any dust or grit that might be hiding in there. I do it twice to get both sides. I reload Efke and JandC cassettes several times without a scratching problem yet.
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I believe all of your replies to date are from people in the US, and I'm afraid I'm no exception. That said, your questions (probably) aren't UK-specific; house-brand products are usually made by major manufacturers and distributed under other names elsewhere. Specifically, I did a Web search on "AP Bobinquick" and found this UK site. The photo does indeed look just like the one for the bulk loader sold by Freestyle, which in turrn looks an awful lot like the one sold by Adorama, both as their house brands. All of these also look just like the Jessops bulk loader. I can't promise there are no internal differences, but I expect there aren't.

    FWIW, in my Web search, I ran across a statement on another forum that the Jessops bulk loader is the same as one sold as a Telesar in the US in the 1970s. I recently bought one of these used (here's the eBay auction page.) It differs in some notable details from the ones I've referenced above, so my hunch is what I've got is an older model that evolved into the ones that are available new today. Certainly these are the only ones I've seen with a film-remaining indicator, which suggests they may be related. So far I've only shot one roll I loaded with my old/new Telesar. The roll came out, but I've got some lingering qualms about the design, so I plan to do another roll or two before rolling off and freezing large numbers of rolls. The light trap doesn't look like it should be very effective, though I didn't have problems with the one roll I shot. The way the film threads through the loader makes me worry about scratches, although again, I had no problems with the one roll I've shot so far that was loaded with this device. Perhaps the current AP Bobinquick/Jessops/Adorama/Freestyle loader doesn't have these issues, or perhaps I'm just being a worry wart.

    One other point: I get the impression from the original question that you think you've got to use like-branded film cartridges. You don't. You can use any brand of film cartridge you like, even recycled cartridges you can get from most 1-hour photofinishers. Personally, I find metal cartridges easier to load; somehow I just have a hard time getting the spool into the plastic ones once the film is attached to the spool. (It doesn't help that I prefer to do this in total darkness so that I don't lose the final exposure of a roll, though.)
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'm not Ronald, but the fear/complaint I've seen is that they tend to collect dust, which in turn causes scratches. This isn't normally a big deal with film cassettes, which are used a limited number of times; but felt in a bulk loader is likely to see thousands of feet of film pass through it, increasing the risk -- or so goes the claim. Neither of my two bulk loaders uses a felt light trap, so I can't comment from personal experience.
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Sometimes,

    I fear that we fear to much, I have been using them for 20+ years and cannot attribute any scratches to my bulk loaders, if you practise good clean methods, I don't think you have to worry about a felt light trap any more than you do with any other light trap on a piece of photographic equipment. Sometimes, I think we attribute problems to the equipment, when in actuality it may be due to what we do.

    Dave
     
  12. josephaustin

    josephaustin Member

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    This could be a factor in the scratched negs I have. However I bought my Loyds second hand and I fear that to be a larger factor. I keep all my loaders in Ziplock bags, if they have film in them in the fridge. How this loader was treated before I bought it is beyond me. However the Film that passes through it usually is scratched in the center by what could only be the loader, since it happens in different cameras, and cassettes.
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    You may be right, but I have always had a practise of making sure my equipment is clean before I use it, when I purchase something used, I go through it with a fine tooth come to make sure that everything I can possibly make clean is clean, if the piece of equipment you purchase is not cleaned by you and you personally, then how can you ever trust it, the biggest responsibility to make sure your photography is clean, lies with you and you only..

    Dave
     
  14. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    The AP/Adorama opens a gate once the crank is inserted through the closed cover. Then the door can not be opened until the crank is removed and the gate is closed. A pretty clever, foolproof (me-proof) design that eliminates the problems associated with the Watson and Lloyds designs. When I wind a 35 exposure roll, I get 35 frames with just enough clear area before and after to be comfortable. It was an unknown quantity when I bought it, but I am very happy with the choice.
     
  15. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    As an aside one of the loaders I have is a British Fulfix- it even opens and closes Leica metal cassettes. Are they still made?
    Mark
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Hi Flotsam. Using your reply to thank all replies so far. Still hoping to UK user replies but it sounds as if the AP Bobinquick is going to be OK. Nice tip in the replies about using a post-it note to clean the felt light trap. There are plenty of secondhand Watsons around but not much cheaper than new AP Bobinquicks and when it comes to rolls of film and secondhand loaders then light leaks worry me.

    Flotsam. Your point about just enough clear area was interesting. Obviously when you load the film into the spool by taping the end to it, you must expose a few inches in the light which is fogged. How do you stop that being used to take photos by mistake. On a shop bought pre-loaded cassette , my Pentax MZ7 automatically rewinds the film after taking the 24/25th or 36/37th exposure. When I develop it there is always a few inches blank to spare on which there are no exposures. Is the rewind triggered by the camera detecting the sudden tension in the film created by the film reaching the end of the spool?

    However if it works this way, it suggests that in a bulk loaded film by the time it has reached the end of the spool enough will have come out for some of the fogged film to present itself for exposure so I'll end up taking photos on fogged film. OR does the loader somehow allow for this and wind into the cassette enough fogged film so that when I get to say 12 if I have loaded 12 there is enough unfogged film left to avoid exposure on already fogged film. Presumably if I forgot how much I had loaded and relied on the tension to trigger the rewind I could have taken maybe two shots, say up to 14 on fogged film?

    I hope I have been able to explain properly what I mean.

    Thanks
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Yes, you make perfect sense.
    The Watson exposes a fairly long piece of the tail of the film. If you are like me and shoot until you feel tension on the film, it is then that you realize that the last one or two frames that you shot are ruined. The Lloyds only forces you pull a short amount of film to attach it to the spool but some people are leery about the felt light trap that they use.
    The AP gives the best of both worlds. An open gate and a very short length of exposed film at the spool. I wind until the lever won't throw anymore and never lose the last frame on the roll. There is a half inch or so of clear film between the last frame and the exposed end. Just pull out the absolute minimum needed to tape the film to the spool.
     
  18. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I, too, have a Lloyd and a couple of Watsons. I've had the Lloyd for over 40 years, and its felt light trap is still good. I actually prefer the Lloyd loader to the Watson. It's simpler, and it usually works better. Film length is determined by counting turns, however, and that may be inaccurate with some films. On the other hand, the frame counter on the Watson often doesn't work either.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'm not familiar with your camera, but my guess would be that it reads the film roll length from the DX code on the cartridge and automatically rewinds at the appropriate point. If so, you'll have to be extra careful about the bulk loading cartridges you use to be sure they match not just the DX speed but also the length of the roll. You may have to buy DX-coded bulk-load cartridges and then modify the DX coding for the roll length. I suggest you peruse your camera's manual or otherwise research this issue. Perhaps I'm wrong or perhaps there's some way to disable this feature and have the camera not rewind until it detects the tension at the end of the roll.

    As others have said, bulk loaders, when used in regular room light, expose a certain amount of the end of a roll. If you're careful and lucky, you might not lose any exposures to this; however, if you pull out lots of film when attaching it to the spool or if you're unlucky in terms of where the frames happen to fall, you'll lose at least one shot at the end of the roll.

    It's possible to use a bulk loader in total darkness, in which case you won't have this problem. Even just attaching the film to the spool, putting the spool in the cartridge, putting the cartridge in the loader, and closing the door on the loader will be enough. You can then turn on the lights if you like, crank away, turn out the lights (for the benefit of the next roll), open the loader, cut the film, close the loader, and turn on the lights. You can then trim the film, label the cartridge, etc. in full light. That's a lot of mucking about with light switches, but it's do-able, at least with conventional bulk-load cartridges. I've not tried this with re-used prepackaged film cartridges (which you can get free from any friendly 1-hour lab); aligning the two film ends and taping them together is something I'd expect to be too hard in total darkness.
     
  20. goodyear

    goodyear Member

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    What do Jessops sell theirs for? I seem to recall being struck by how expensive it was.

    I have three, variously a Watson and two Computrols (which are Watson clones, it seems to me), the cheapest of which cost me 99p and the most expensive a fiver. Eb*y is the place to be for these things.

    My only gripe is the length of film that gets exposed at the end of the roll (where you tape to the core of the cassette). It required me to change my habit from shooting to the bitter end, to stopping at the number of frames I loaded. No big deal.

    And certainly for me bulk-loading is the way forward.

    It would be even better if I could find any Neopan 400 left in bulk, but it appears to be all gone.
     
  21. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    According to the Jessops Web page, it's 20 pounds. (Sorry, I'm in the US and have no "pound" symbol on my keyboard.)

    That's how I bought both of my bulk loaders. Others have said they worry about light leaks in used loaders, and that's fair enough. Something you wouldn't notice on visual inspection could ruin a roll of film that'd be close to the cost of a new bulk loader. Given that most used loaders are probably fine, you're probably better off buying used, statistically speaking, but peace of mind is certainly worth something, too.

    You could try the Megaperls Japan Shop. This is a Japanese outfit that ships worldwide. Their Web site is in English. They've got Neopan 400 "Presto" for 3,522 yen. (That's US$31.34 or 17.67 British pounds, according to one online currency converter I found.) Of course, shipping will be extra, and almost certainly more than domestic shipping would be. I don't know if "Presto" is just a Japanese-market part of the name or if this is a new emulsion, so you might want to research this before ordering. Another option is B&H, which has Neopan 400 bulk rolls for US$37.95. Again, you'd pay international shipping rates.
     
  22. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks Flotsam. I have learned a little more about the AP.
    Thanks to all of you
     
  23. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

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    I'm a bit late to this discussion, but just wanted to add my 2 cent's worth...

    I've been using "Kaiser" brand loader:
    http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/de/produkt.asp?artikel=4129

    - which seems to be the same as AP or "Bobinquick" mentioned previously (i.e. square, "boxy" type).

    It's a great loader, never had any problems with it. Film (casette) counter works flawlessly, remaining (reel) film counter also...

    What's best, you practically don't lose ANY frames at the end of a roll, since the exposed film length is 1 centimeter max.!

    I recently got another loader - a Watson bulk loader, and I must say that it's a piece of worthless <insert expletive here>!

    I've had to read the instructions several times (worthless and incorrect!), and only after reading some info on the Internet I got the hang of it.

    The worst thing is that I realized I'd lose AT LEAST 3-4 frames at the end of the rool if I load my casettes in daylight using this loader! What the *****?!!

    I mean, that thing is useless!! Off to the garbage can - or, better, to the museum of worst product designs ever :sad:
    And to think that the ad on the box cover proudly states: "Save up to 50% on film costs!"
    (Yeah, right.....)

    In short, my warm recommendation for the AP/Jessops/Bobinquick loader.

    For anyone starting with bulk loading - stay away from Watsons and clones :sad:

    Denis