Reusing film cassettes

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Tony-S, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Is there a way to remove the cap on 35mm film cassettes so they can be reused? I bought several rolls of Silvermax and would like to reuse the cassettes; however, the caps are glued onto the cassettes. I've tried isopropanol but that doesn't seem to work.
     
  2. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    If you cut the end of the film across when you remove it from the cassette for processing, leaving an inch or so of the old trailer protruding from the mouth of the cassette, you can then, when reloading, fix the end of the new film with a bit of tape and wind it into the cassette, without needing to remove the cap. Obviously watch out for anything to cause dust or scratches, as with any reloading.
     
  3. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    short answer, no. The tape it to the leader thing railwayman suggests strikes me as a rather involved work-around, at best.

    Longer answer -- buy reusable carts -- Freestyle still sells them

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/183225-Arista-35mm-Plastic-Reloadable-Cartridge-25-pack

    and keep the felt clean between uses. They are cheap and last a very long time. You can also find Kodak Snap-caps on fleabay at times.

    Your third option is to buy an older M Leica and use the amazing Leica cartridges - they're brass with a gate the camera opens and shuts, guaranteed never to scratch and last forever, so far.
     
  4. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    I have 25 or so reusable cassettes, but if I can reuse the prespooled cassettes it would be more cost effective and ecologically sound.
     
  5. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    You've already purchased the reusables so that throws out part of your green argument. The factory spools are steel and plastic; both very recycle-able, so don't worry about the 'waste' on those. They are not made to come apart so it's hard to blow off the felt. That is your primary concern. I've had five feet of Plus-X that carried a single five foot scratch from something in the felt. Use the reloadables and buy a can of green air and blow the felt off with every reload. I use five of the black plastic ones with the twist off end and they've been fine for three cycles so far. Have even dropped one on a wood floor and the end didn't pop off. Just checked out the Leica cassettes; none at KEH and $35 a pop on that auction site. As nice as they look five of those would still buy a lot of film.

    And cut yourself some slack. If you're worried about waste just make sure every frame you expose is a keeper. Bresson loaded from bulk and even he couldn't manage to do that. :laugh:

    s-a
     
  6. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Bullshit. Just because I have already bought cassettes doesn't mean I can't lessen the future impact. I want to spool as many rolls of film as I can so I can empty my bulk loader. Is that ok with you?
     
  7. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    I think the greatest problem from reusing regular film cassettes (reloading the ones that you get with film in them already) is that once the end cap (the one without the longer end of the spool sticking through it) is that it's really difficult to get a good re-seal on it so that it doesn't pop off. If I was lucky I'd get a single reuse out of a cassette before the end cap wouldn't seal.

    For some reason the reusable ones you could buy worked better at that. Their end caps fit better and seemed made to pop loose without using half your tool box to get the thing separated so you could pull the entire spool free at once.

    I think the answer to the Green issue is to just buy reusable cassettes, use them as many times as you can and then send them to the metal recyclers to keep them out of landfills, etc. Besides, every time someone buys a digital whatever, before it's even out of the box it's headed for the scrap heap because the manufacturers are already in the process of outdating it with a newer (and not necessarily better) model. :wink:
    Mark
     
  8. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Cutting a long tail and retaping isn't particularly involved and takes a bit less time for me than the faff involved in taping up a centre spool, threading on the cassette and fiddling to get the cap on.
    (Nevertheless I prefer to use "proper" re-usable cassettes :smile:)
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You will always get people who have had bad experiences with factory cassettes onto which they have taped fresh film but my experience has been like railwayman3. It has always worked OK. If the factory cassette has only been used once and the film from that was OK i.e. no scratches, then why should the felt suddenly give problems?

    I wouldn't use the factory cassettes more than say 3-4 times before dumping but if you live near a mini-lab then at least you are making use of cassettes that otherwise end up in landfill sites after single use.

    pentaxuser
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I've reused film cassettes off and on since the 1980s. Back in the day, Ilford's cassette's could be easily disassembled to be reused.

    The best tool you can have is a film-leader retriever. That way, if you rewind your film all the way into the cassette (either by accident or that's how your camera rewinds film), you can retrieve it without having to pry open the cassette.

    What you want to do is to cut the film, leaving the last and a half protruding from the film cassette. That will give you enough film to tape the new film to the old film when you're bulk loading.

    I also prefer reloadable cassettes, but I've used this method many, many times when I wasn't able to get reloadable ones.

    Also, get yourself either a Sharpie to mark your film or a label maker, so you know what film you've put into the cassette.

    Check the felt seal on the film cassette for debris or film chips before bulk loading.
     
  11. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    Yes. Your 25 canisters are more than enough for a 100' roll. And if you're determined enough, you can load 100' into as few as 15.

    If that's somehow a problem for you, tape to the leader or use a tool to pop factory canisters open. (There was even one put up for sale yesterday: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/123034-countex-bulk-load-misc-darkroom-film-darkroom-items.html)

    Reused factory canisters aren't usually as good as reusable canisters, that's why reusable ones exist. The metal caps on factory canisters are prone to popping off again and you'll get light leaks all along that edge of your film, though the roll won't necessarily be entirely ruined.
     
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

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    You use to be able to pop the cap on & off of Kodak cassettes but somewhere in time it changed to some form of crimping that makes it almost impossible to reuse.
     
  13. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    So they are crimped, not glued? That would obviate the attempt to reuse them..
     
  14. fotch

    fotch Member

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    They were metal and my guess is they either changed the style of the crimp and or the quality of the metal.
     
  15. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I use a LOT of bulk film and I have been using the same, twenty-five, plastic reloadable cassettes for quite awhile now. I am now up to eight reloads on this batch and they show no signs of slowing down. Previously I used metal reloadable cassettes but the end caps would not reliably stay in place after 4 or 5 reloads.

    Likewise I use the Leica Filca and the Contax reusable metal cassettes and they are indispensable, and just about indestructible. Of course they will only work if you are using cameras that they will fit.

    I rarely re-use cassettes from store bought film but that is only because I can never remember to leave the tail out of the cassette when I re-wind them. When I have had occasion to use them they worked just fine.

    One more thing. I have read a number of references to film scratches that come from dirty cassette felt, and I am sure it is possible. I have been reloading for quite awhile now and to be honest, I have scratched more film because I forgot to turn the reloader lid from the light-proof position to the load position then I ever have had from cassettes with dirty felt. Just my 2 cents worth.
     
  16. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    well the

    Nikon SP F and F2 can use concentric cassettes some interchangibility issues though
    Leica LTM can use FILCA or IMXOO concentric
    Leica M3 to late M6 (except M5 & CL) IXMOO later M6 will need old base latch 'retrofitted'
    Contax II and Kiev can interchange concentric, maybe IIa as well, not tried last
    Some of the FSU bottom loaders concentric, I do have some but not tried
    Canon LTM '?' to P model concentric some inter...
    Yashica/Niccas maybe but finding any might be a challenge not tried

    ShirleyWellard are sort of compatible with many 35mm google

    IXMOO are 5-10 GBP others should be similar, if you use bulk or cine the dedicated concentrics are a lot more convenient than felt or Shirleys

    I only load up cassettes for a days shooting typically 7-9 x36 exps
     
  17. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    That happened in late 1964/early 1965 and I remember that very well. I had been developing 35mm film for years (although not for the last year at that time) and I went in to the base hobby shop darkroom to develop a couple of rolls. After struggling in the dark for about 5 minutes I had to go out and felt foolish in asking the clerk how to open the cassettes; he handed me a bottle opener.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    In the 1970s, the Ilford cassettes had caps that made them easy to re-use. I don't know when that changed.
     
  19. philosli

    philosli Member

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    I second railwayman3's method. Taping is the way how I do bulk loading. Very simple procedure and not involved at all. (I got my cassettes from a CVS store. They just gave me a plastic bag full of empty ones, about 50-60 inside. Free.)

    You also don't need any special tool to get the film leader out of the cassette. Just buy a double-sided tape and cut a segment of negative that you don't need, like the leader after processing. Put a patch of the double-sided tape on one end of the negative. Stick that end into the cassette to pull out the film.
    See this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc00ULY7cYU
     
  20. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    As has been pointed out by others, your 25 cassettes (that were made to be re-used) are enough to use up the film in your bulk loader. If you're that concerned with waste and want to use those factory-crimped cassettes as well buy 400 foot cores and you'll save even more on the film but you'll have to supply a truly dark space to load. You don't even need a loader if you keep the core flat on a table. But don't listen to me.

    Cheers,
    s-a
     
  21. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    My favorites were the old Agfa cartridges. As late as the 1970s Ilford sold film on spools without the rest of the cartridge and wrapped in foil. You would go into the darkroom or use a changing bag to take off the foil and insert the spool with the film into a used cartridge. I used to tape the end of the old black plastic screw cap cartridges so they wouldn't open up by themselves. The most frustrating cartridge was the Kodak Snap Cap. It was liable to pop open at any time with no warning. I need to try the reloadable Nikon cartridges in one of my F2 bodies. At some point recently I was on the Freestyle website when they were still selling the relabeled Tri-X in bulk rolls. The spooled film was almost the same price per roll as the bulk film so I bought the spooled film instead.
     
  22. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    seems like yesterday they even had the longer bottom loading leader...
     
  23. Aristotle80

    Aristotle80 Member

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    That! :smile: Use good tape that won't come undone with a firm wind.