Bulk Loading B&W Film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by alapin, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. alapin

    alapin Subscriber

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    How many still bulk load their film? Is it still worth doing? It's been many years since I have. My shooting is slowing down now and I was wondering if it was worth still doing. I am considering it because it will allow me to roll smaller size (4, 6, 8,12) rolls of B&W film. Which I find sometimes more convenient than having to use a 24 or 36 exposure roll. I know this will effect the number of rolls one get and cost is a little higher per roll. I will be using about 25 to 40 percent for smaller rolls. I develop my own B&W film. So any information will be appreciated. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read and answer.
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I have bulk loaded b/w for almost 50 years. I do not use a bulk loader. It galls me to have to buy film in cartridges when I can do it myself.
     
  3. aparat

    aparat Member

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    Absolutely go for it. I get used cartridges from a local drug store and load film onto them. It works great.
     
  4. kodachrome64

    kodachrome64 Member

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    I do it...it cuts my film costs in half. Go for it!
     
  5. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    It's the only way to go. Actually, this question was asked not to long ago. If you do a search, you'll get lots of answers to this question.
     
  6. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Me too. I bought up big on APX 100 when I found out Agfa were say "Goodbye"; still in the freezer just waiting to be rolled as needed.

    - Nanette
    www.nanettereid.com
     
  7. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I've been bulk loading for about a year now. I don't use a loader: I just measured the length of a 24 exp roll on the wall and put up a piece of tape. I measure from the roll against the wall to the tape, cut and spool into the cassette. I use tape from a $1 shop to tape it to the spool. So far, so good :smile:

    I've got TMAX 100 & 400, Tri-X 400 and Plus-X 125 in canisters in the fridge, ready to go.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    bulk loading is quick and easy.
    i have tmy(400); foma200;
    xp2super all waiting in my fridge
    for me to load them.

    have fun!

    john
     
  9. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Bulk loader here, too. I've got some bulk -- one 600 meter roll of Ilford surveillance film (maybe 30 rolls in so far), and will soon finish my first 400ft. roll of Double-X and need to get another. You can get Plus-X and Double-X in 400ft. rolls from Kodak. Get them in these lengths and your costs come down to far less than a dollar a roll. Every other week or so I load 10 cartridges or so.
     
  10. pnance

    pnance Member

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    I have three pieces of tape on the edge of my sink, one for 24 and the other for 36 exp. Works fine. Only been doing it for 46 years.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It is great. Just started doing it and works fine. Got my loader from Adorama.
     
  12. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I like bulk loading, and it saves money. If I am just doing a couple of rolls, I do this freehand in the dark. If I am doing an entire 100 foot roll at once, I use the Bobinquick Jr. loader from Freestyle Sales. Either way, the roll is good all the way to the end. However, it does take time to bulk load, but I enjoy the process.
     
  13. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I like TriX, and bulk load Arista Premium 400. I think I'm going to stop though, because it's $2 a roll and bulk loading works out to only $1.60 a roll. Not quite worth the (minimal) risk of dust/scratches/leaky cassettes. I have heard about this rumored Double-X film and other sources of film that are even cheaper, but I would have to switch films and $2 a roll ain't nothing to complain about.
     
  14. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    I just started bulk loading myself. It's great because if you want a really short roll to test a camera with, it's easy. You can tailor the length of the roll to how many pictures you take and how long you want the film to stay in the camera. (I hope that made sense....) Plus, like everybody said, you save a boatload of money that way!

    Michael
     
  15. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I bulk load whenever the cost savings seem worthwhile, which is usually for B&W films that I use frequently. That said, since most of the posts to date have been unequivocally positive, I'd like to play Devil's Advocate and point out the downsides....

    IMHO, bulk loading has two big problems: It takes time (and time is money, to one extent or another) and it increases risk. The time/money issue is one that's highly subjective. The risk factor was mentioned by BetterSense, but it deserves emphasis. I've scratched more than one roll of film in bulk loading. (Mostly from a bulk loader with a poor design that runs film over hard plastic curves -- that's just asking for trouble. I now use a different bulk loader with a safer straight-path design.) There are also risks of scratches from old cartridges, and of more dust getting onto the film. Depending on how you do it, you might be unable to avoid fogging of the last frame (or two or three or four) of each roll. Even if you do it in total darkness, bulk-load cartridges are more likely to pop open when dropped or otherwise mishandled than are commercial cartridges. I've had one or two rolls rip free of their spools at the end of a roll, which can nix further photography until you get home if you don't happen to have a changing bag or other dark area available.

    Now, stepping away from my Devil's Advocate role, I'll say that these problems are pretty minor from my hobbyist perspective. I've only lost a few frames to these problems, and none of them have been important shots. Some issues, like end-of-roll fogging, are known and can be planned around. If I were a professional photographer, I probably wouldn't rely on bulk-loaded film, at least not for paid work. As a hobbyist, it's another matter. Oh, one other advantage that I don't recall seeing mentioned in this thread so far: If you buy a lot of film at a time for use over months or years, bulk film is more compact, and therefore takes up less space in the refrigerator or freezer, if that's how you store it.
     
  16. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I usually load my film in the darkroom and then roll it off as I watch some TV - makes the advertisements soooo much more interesting! :wink:
     
  17. Fanshaw

    Fanshaw Member

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    Whether you do it or not will depend on whether you can buy bulk film at a significantly cheaper price than cassettes and whether you mind spending time in order to save some money.
    Personally, I only bulk load when I can get outdated film cheaply which I am going to use for tests etc. I find the loading process tedious.
     
  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I could not afford pre-loaded cassettes in 1974 and still can't afford them :smile: (I'm referring to Ilford and Kodak products, I agree with good value in some other pre-loaded films available at Freestyle but have not tried them).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2009
  19. alapin

    alapin Subscriber

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    Once again, thanks to everyone who offered their experience in using bulk load film. It has help me to decide to go ahead and start looking for the loader and film. Many thanks.