Loading bulk film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by anjo, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. anjo

    anjo Member

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    I'm considering buying a bulk film loader from AP. I have two questions:

    1) Is it idiot proof? I don't want to end up spending $100 on the loader and bulk film just to find out I can't manage to use it. I can load plastic reels with no problem, but I had "issues" with the stainless ones.

    2) It would be pretty sweet to get 42 exposures on one roll (thus utilizing my negative preservers to the max). Is that possible?
     
  2. Herzeleid

    Herzeleid Member

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    1) I have Kaiser's loader, the same as AP. I think it is pretty much fool proof, it works great. I found a few tutorials online doing it the first time.

    2) 42 exp on single roll is unwise imo (probably not possible), you can have lots of scratches or you cans might pop unexpectedly.
    It might create too much tension for winding motor or manual winding mechanism.
     
  3. anjo

    anjo Member

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    Good to hear. What's the maximum number of exposures recommended?
     
  4. Klopstock

    Klopstock Member

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    Don't try to go beyond 40 - even if your camera supports it. What's the maximum count of your camera?

    If you don't want to waste money, calculate prics before you bulk load. In many cases it is cheaper to buy ready-made films.
     
  5. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I have bulk loaded since the mid-1960s. I have never owned a bulk loader. Since some bulk loaders require the user to ruin several frames if used in daylight, getting the max number of useable exposures might be problematical. If your does that, you can do it all in the darkroom. If then, why bother with the bulk loader?
     
  6. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    Long films don't fit well [or at all] on my Paterson developing reels. I try to keep to 36 exposures. I also prefer to spool without a bulk loader. Consider that the last frame is almost certainly fogged when loading. I found that frustrating.
     
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  7. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I find I bulk load for about twenty frames on a roll, as I don't 'machine gun' my shots and don't like having half finished rolls hanging around.
     
  8. anjo

    anjo Member

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    The model I'm looking at is supposed to not fog the last few frames in daylight, but I must say that loading by hand seems much better (read: cheaper). Didn't even know it was possible. What are the mechanics like? I honestly have no clue how any of this is done. Do you just take a suitable length of bulk film, attach it to the spool somehow (buil-in clip? tape?), and then just wind? Then you plop it in the casing, and somehow pull out the leader?
     
  9. Ian Tindale

    Ian Tindale Member

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    Here's a short video of me explaining how to load the Jessops bulk loader, which I believe is also the AP Bobinquick loader.
     
  10. BenjH

    BenjH Member

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    Many types of bulkloaders can scratch the film if there are small
    grains in their felt. If this happens, then the whole lot of 19 films
    or so get the scratches. The Alden and Watson bulkloaders
    don't have this problem, but they waste a lot of film also at
    the end. I don't know if there are others which are safe in
    this sense, too. I started to bulkload without bulkloader.
    The only thing you need is an absolutely dark room. With
    a little bit of practice, you can load a 100 ft reel onto 19
    cartridges in half an hour.
     
  11. trexx

    trexx Member

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    The AP does a fine job in not fogging frames. I've yet to lose a picture, only about an 1/8" of exposed film outside of the cassette. Hand rolling film in the dark offers to many opportunities for disaster for someone as clumsy as me. The loader is loaded in the dark and then pretty fool proof. Don't over fill cassettes in fact one nice thing is to load short rolls, so changing out for different films of developing contitions.

    TR
     
  12. nocrop

    nocrop Member

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    I prefer limiting my bulk loads to 24 frames. This allows marginally better developer fluid flow. The real reason is so I can develop film more often--I like the short turn-around time for experimenting with different variables. Hanging shorter lengths of film in the shower is an advantage for me too.
     
  13. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I too bulk load my film. It allows me to roll short rolls for particular projects. Indeed you should check if you are saving money; sometimes sale priced film will work out much cheaper than bulk-loading, however I have always purchased my B&W in 100ft rolls and it has always worked out cheaper for me to do it that way. With a never ending supply of canisters from my contacts at several photo labs (plus some saved older style "pop" top film canisters), I have more than enough to last me quite some time. :smile:

    I picked up a used Watson loader for about $10 many years ago when I first got into B&W photography and also used it to bulk load Agfa RSX film about 10 years ago when I took a long sabbatical to the UK, US and Europe. (Ran out, but managed to clear out a pro lab on Shaftesbury Ave which just tided me over!)

    - Nanette
    www.nanettereid.com
     
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  15. anjo

    anjo Member

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    If I buy a (new) bulk film loader, I'll break even after loading 60 films, which I estimate is a little more than a years worth of shooting for me. I mainly want a lot of exposures because I find developing film dreadfully boring (but everyone seems to be in agreement that it's best not to go above roughly 36 exposures, so I'll guess I'll have to drop my plans for 42 exposure rolls).
     
  16. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Get a Watson loader. They are my favorite, I have about 3 of them.


    If you load c-41 or e-6, you can probably get it sent through a minilab with no problems.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2009
  17. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I bulk load, but I cut the film and spool it by hand. I have a piece of tape on the wall in my "dark room" that measures out to 24 exposures (from the ceiling down.) I put a piece of tape on the spool and tape the film to it, that way I don't have to cut the film off when I'm unloading it.

    I've never had any screw-ups nor light leaks. Once you get used to it, it's very quick and easy. I can do a roll in less than a minute.
     
  18. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I have 5 of those bulk loaders, each with a different film.

    I have three of them as Kaiser models, I think they are all pretty much the same.

    Dependent upon whether you have a wide body or a short body 35mm camera, you may wish to add or subtract a frame or two.

    For instance my Nikon F3 is a wide body camera and slightly more film is exposed as you load the camera, however my Olympus XA is a very narrow camera and requires a minimal amount of leader to start it up

    I load 37 frames for my F3 and get 36 frames, for the XA I load 35 frames and get 36 frames.

    I would suggest that you don't load much more than 38 frames, 39 tops, unless you have a load of very, very thin film. The cassette gets too full and you cannot turn it properly when it is in the camera.

    That loader is excellent as there is a trap door which opens when everything is closed, allowing the film to pass through with nary a scratch.

    I've been bulk loading since the sixties non stop.

    You will get 18, 36 exposure rolls and about another 10 to 18 frames spare, depends upon how you load from one spool of film.

    Mick.
     
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  19. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Well I used my watson loader after about 30 years (with FP4 in it), the pentax reloadable cassette was very stiff to seperate and the felt was seperating....the film was stiff to load into the cassette, and this is pic I got.......well I could see the scratches in the leadin so knew what to expect, maybe the bulk film was sticking somehow, because once in the cassette it was loose.
    Well it was only test shots as I was checking two Tamron zooms to keep the better one. Anybody interested in old FP4, it was developed in new promicrol 1:14 for 16min.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    That looks like scratches, possibly from dirt in the felt. It could be from the reloader scratching the film, but I think that is a very slight chance. I'd try a newer canister and see if it happens again.
     
  21. trexx

    trexx Member

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    This is from the cassette, not the loader. The watson uses a shutter instead of a felt light trap. The AP loader, same as Kaiser, that the OP mentioned also uses a shutter instead of felt. Dust can happen on any 35mm film cassette and loading be blamed. At least for loaders not using felt.

    BTW the AP loader is very ingenious with it's interlocks that work the light trap.

    TR
     
  22. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    If you forget to rotate the interior section of the loader to open the light trap, the film ends up looking like this. I doubt such fearsome scratching could be anything else.
     
  23. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Well you are right there must have been dirt on the felt of the cassette but a guess that might have made it worse:- the bulk film in the watson has been from house to my garage from summers and winters for decades and the edges of the film are probably poluted with exhaust, cooking, smoking, etc fumes making the film stick.
    So best take the bulk film out of the watson and load a cassette in a changing bag.
     
  24. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Good luck trying that one. I suggest you try a very short length. And the advice of others on other threads about cassettes might obtain: get a few cassettes from the local mini-lab that leaves a stub out of the cartridge, rather than opening the cartridge. Might simplify; and if you still have those scratches, suspect the film.

    But as I said--having been there, done that--the Watson loader requires you to rotate the inner section to Open (I think that's the term--it's been more than 40 years since I used one) after you have attached the leader to the film cassette, closed the film cassette, and replaced the little door to the film cassette chamber.

    Failing to do that means that you drag the film around the edges of the light trap in the Watson loader--it feels heavy going, too; which might be what you are feeling rather than crud and detritis on the film from its storage.
     
  25. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ***the Watson loader requires you to rotate the inner section to Open***

    That's the answer, I forgot to do that...........you have earned some brownie points.
     
  26. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    Old thread, still good information.

    Happened to me too on my first two rolls with the watson loader.. forgot to rotate to open the light trap...

    Now there's a little not on the loader "DONT FORGET!"...

    :smile:


    JF