Sheet Film ID Device

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by John Oliver, May 9, 2005.

  1. John Oliver

    John Oliver Member

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    I am looking for an older device that is used to make permanent ID markings on the edges of sheet film. I think the way it works is that one inserts the undeveloped sheet film into the unit, dials in a numerical code (perhaps date and identification number), pushes a button which turns on an internal light source that exposes the chosen text onto the sheet film edge. The marking shows up on the film when it is developed. Jack Boucher of the Federal HABS/HAER project showed an image of this unit at the large format conference in Monterey last year. At the time he said such units were available on eBay but I can't remember what they were called. Does anyone recognize my description and know the name of such a device?

    Thanks, John
     
  2. hortense

    hortense Member

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    I have 6 Rightway 4 x 5 holders manufatured by Fidelity Manufaturing Co. that I purchase a several years ago for about $28 each (if my memory is correct). The have have very little use and are "like new". These are the ones that have little wheel that allows you set a number that will expose a number on the edge of the film. I would be willing to sell all of them for $60 each. The reason I am willing to sell them is because I I prefer my standar Fidelity Elite holders. The exposed numbers on these Rightway holder are not aways real clear. However, if you are interested, I sell them at half-price ($84) plus shipping).
     
  3. John Oliver

    John Oliver Member

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    No thankyou, I have 4x5 sheet film holders galore already.

    John
     
  4. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I don't know of a commercial device like what you describe (it sounds very much like a sheet film version of a 35 mm databack), but it should be relatively simple for someone with electronics skills to design and build. You need an LED segment or dot matrix display that can be put in contact with the emulsion surface of the film -- if wired right-reading, it'll produce an image the same orientation as the photographic image on the film; if mirrored, it will produce an image that reads correctly from the emulsion side. You need a very basic logic/memory system to accept and hold the data to be displayed, a duplicate display to show what you've entered, and a (presumably adjustable for exposure) momentary switch circuit to light the contact LED for a moment to expose the data onto the film sheet. If I were an electronic hobbyist, I could probably build such a system with components available from Radio Shack (or a store such as Radio Shack used to be) for $100 or so in components (including a computer-on-a-chip, most likely) and 4-10 hours of working time (plus software development, if a computer chip is used, but devices similar to this predate modern microcomputers by several years, using 74-series TTL logic circuits and slightly larger integrations). Built with versatility in mind, it could be used on the corner of any size sheet (or, for that matter, on photo paper -- one reason one might want to wire the contact display for mirror image and support variable exposure).

    Alternately, it seems to me it might be possible to hack an existing databack to do this job -- if you get a camera with databack for a good price (perhaps one that's got a damaged shutter or lens mount), it might be cheaper, though removing the LED unit from the camera back and getting it to work in the right manner might take longer than building the device from scratch.
     
  5. TimVermont

    TimVermont Subscriber

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  6. John Oliver

    John Oliver Member

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    This is beyond my skill level and time budget. Thanks for the interesting input.
     
  7. John Oliver

    John Oliver Member

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    This is the modern version of what I am looking for - Thanks much! It is pricey at well over $300. I still would like to find the older version if possible. It's name still eludes me.
     
  8. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    I have used a unit, in a studio in New England, which required a small piece of litho film, on which was photographed the photographer's information on one small line of type..

    These used to be advertised regularly in Photo District News, out of NYC.

    Here is a website for a similar device. It may, in fact, be the same company with a now highly over-engineered modern equivalent.

    It is called a Copywriter.

    http://www.rtsphoto.com/html/stratcpy2.html