Dumb Question of the Day

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by yeknom02, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    I was wondering why 35mm film has a tapered leader. Why not just cut it off straight across?
    :confused:
    (I feel ashamed asking this, since I'm an engineer.)
     
  2. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    my best guess is that it's an attempt at saving a few inches of emulsion per roll.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    **************
    That's the way Oscar Barnack wanted it.:tongue: BTW, the late model Practika cameras did not require a tapered leader.
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Sharp corners catch on sprockets, film gates and rollers.

    Rounding the corners and tapering the ends of the leaders makes them easier to insert into their slots and run through the cameras, processors and/or projectors without the film getting hung up and being destroyed.
     
  5. SteveR

    SteveR Member

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    My Yashica Lynx has a slot sized for tapered film on the take-up spool, so when I bulk load I always have to cut a little notch in the leader so I can load it. That's probably a product of film having a taper though, rather than a reason for it...
     
  6. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Yep, some cameras need the little tongue to load into the takeup spool. A lot of manual Nikons are like this.
     
  7. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Both of mine are, Nikon FG and Nikkormat FT. 20 years apart they look almost identical inside.
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Indeed. If the film were straight-edged, the film that was not held into the slot would stand up from the wind on spool thus enlarging the diameter of the wind-on portion of the film which could lead to scratching and other in-camera defects.
     
  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The slot in the loading area is often not wide enough to take the full width of the leader, so it is cut down to a universal fit.

    ( Was checking and just opened the camera back, but unfortunately there's a roll of Velvia 100F mid-way in there...:mad: )

    My neighbour is an engineer and asked me around Easter this year, while manhandling 'Brutus', if left-handed people have difficulty with cameras made predominantly for right-handed folk. What-ho. Well, do they? :confused:
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I expect the origin of this is historical - probably related to something about the configuration of the original Leica cameras.

    Of course, if one is manufacturing film, one is going to make the film to fit the cameras available.

    Now, if one wants to build cameras to compete with the Leica cameras, one doesn't want to make them in a way that won't allow them to use the film that is already available.

    You can see the trend...

    So I expect that the answer to the question is - because it always has been done this way.

    By the way, it wasn't a dumb question.
     
  11. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, the earliest Leicas were bottom-loaders. Certainly my FED 2 (a Leica clone) is a bottom-loader. Bottom-loaders require extra-long leaders, since otherwise the film can jam up while loading -- or so I've read. Thinking about it in my head, my guess is that it would either tend to get jammed into the top of the shutter area or it would foul on the top of the sprocket wheel near the take-up spool. In either case, I can imagine the film tearing, and then when you went to advance it, the torn bits could work their way all over the place, making it a mess to fix.

    That's just speculation, though; I can't say I've ever tried loading a leader-less roll into my FED 2, much less taken it apart afterward to figure out what went wrong.
     
  12. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Left handed camera systems

    Good morning, Poisson du Jour;

    I have heard complaints from "lefties" on this topic. One cure I could offer to them was to mount on the camera a flash grip with a cable release in it. Then they could work the cable release with their left hand and focus with the right. Sunpak and Vivitar had very nice ones available. They did not seem to feel there was any problem with advancing the film with their right hand. Yes, it did add a bit of bulk and weight to the system, but it did work with their predominant hand. It also added a "professional look" to the system.
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    A very LONG time ago when I bulk loaded film there were two types of film lead cutters, each with two metal flaps that folded over the film so a razor blade could be run over them to cut the tongue, a long one and a short one. I think the long one was for Leica cameras.

    Steve
     
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  15. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    My Exakta cameras don't need a leader cut for loading. I can also use 2 cartridges, one full and one empty, then cut the film in camera with the built in knife. Unload the exposed cartridge and then spool the unused one to continue shooting. Great for different exposure conditions. Of course the standard cut leaders work as well with the regular take up spool.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Exakta's were also built for people in their right mind! :tongue:

    Steve
     
  17. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    My Canon FN-100 bulk back actually allows straight-cut film to be inserted in the spools. Which is a huge advantage over the previous 250-exposure back, which required the tongue, which required the spool to be turned around the right way when loading and assembling it into the cartridge. No big deal on the takeup side in the light, but a huge pain in the butt doing all that in the dark on the inside end when loading the feed spools!

    I keep meaning to buy one of those little guillotine tongue cutters for my bulk loading efforts, but meanwhile after hundreds of them in my life I've gotten pretty good at freehand cutting it with scissors.

    Duncan
     
  18. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    "Because ..." :wink:
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    When film was very expensive, 35mm cassettes came with paper leader with all of the film stored in the cassette. Sometimes there were instructions on the leader. The leader was tapered for easy insertion of the tongue into the take up spool. When they began using the film as leader, I assume that they kept it tapered for 2 reasons. 1 was that cameras were already built that way and 2 was that it was a tiny economy measure. Remember that the leading taper creates two leading tapers when punched out for 2 rolls of film. So, the cut is 2 tapers at one punch and you have 2 rolls ready to spool.

    PE
     
  20. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Lefties might like the Kiev 6C, which has a shutter release on the left side. That is, if they don't mind the bulk or weight of the MF SLR, and if they don't mind the "creative" Soviet quality control. :wink: Incidentally, the next model in the line, the Kiev 60, moved the shutter release to the right side.

    As a right-handed person who has a Kiev 6C, I can say that the shutter release on the left is awkward and weird. I'm not sure if that's because it's on the left and I'm right-handed or if it's because it's on the left but all my other cameras have shutter releases on the right side.
     
  21. neelin

    neelin Member

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    Aha! That answers something that has been in the back of my mind for years, i.e. when is the numbering/info imprinted on the film. That would be sometime at or after this point, so the numbering can be in the right orientation because the 2nd taper film has to be flipped 180 degrees before it is spooled on a cassette.

    So there would be different machine setups of numbering imprinting for 100' bulk rolls, etc.
     
  22. DLawson

    DLawson Member

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    I've long been puzzled by such questions about two-handed activities. My main camera is an OM-1. I focus and set exposure with the left hand and trip the shutter with the right. To my thinking, the demand is heavier on the left hand, despite certainly having been designed by/for right handed people.

    I'm surprised that right-handed people aren't confused.
     
  23. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    One reason I love OM's.

    Reminds me of motorcycles... gas and brakes on the right, clutch and shift on the left.
     
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    In my school days I was a left-winger. I held pens awkwardly. Sometime around the early 1980s I went from left-wing to right-wing (probably from breaking left wrist on my home-made billycart) and stayed that way. I can still write fluently with my left hand as well as my right. Can't imagine at all using a camera with left-side controls. Oddly, the film in my pinhole camera is loaded from right to left, and the leader isn't tapered. It strikes me as an alien concept and I do find loading this way awkward and sort of unnatural.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The trays in my darkroom run right to left.

    And I use my left hand to focus, set exposure and release the shutter on my OM cameras (right hand holds the camera and winds the film).
     
  26. SteveR

    SteveR Member

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    Ditto (apart from using OM's...). I was originally a leftie, but my Dad was still in the conformist "Lefties are bad" camp, so forced me to use my right from as early as I could hold a pencil... now my handwriting looks like a five year olds, no matter which hand I use! ...still love my Pa though...