View Full Version : Fim Holder Question.

09-29-2009, 05:51 AM
Hi All,

I was getting ready to load film finally today and noticed something about the holders. The area around the flap and light baffle is not painted black, just plain unpainted wood. I can't find the article, but I think it was in View Camera a year or two ago, that the author suggested that painting the area around the baffle and flap is a good way to cut down on light leaks. To me thats rather important given the cost of importing ULF film from the US.

Any ideas as to what paint would be best to use for the holder? Is it really necessary with new holders?



09-29-2009, 06:21 AM
Hi Gary,

I purchased 6 new and 3 used ULF holders. They all needed "painting."

I used a BOLD Black Sharpie to "paint" my holders black. I painted every unfinished wood surface on my holders. Once the film is loaded, I put a piece of black tape over the side seam where the film flap meets the holder ( 4 pieces of tape about 1 1/2 inches long). I picked up on this after having too many sheets of $6 film with light streaks.

You'll have to learn to keep your film holders out of the sun as much as possible, learn to expose film with the darkcloth over your camera and learn to reinsert the dark slide without breaking the light seal.

ULF is lots of fun, but it can be aggrivating and expensive while you work the "bugs" out of your system.

Good luck and welcome to ULF

09-29-2009, 08:35 AM

Michael Mutmansky wrote the article as he tested 7x17 holders. He was using a 7x17 RH Phillips camera which he has since sold. He was the coach or reason I bought one. As did John Bowen, after reading the article, I got to work with the sharpies, even took the wooden piece off where the film slides in and painted inside there on either side where the film passes.

Most of the time in real life the holders are out of the camera. Most of my 7x17 holders are in individual fabric cases sold by Quality Camera on eBay for $29.95, plus postage each. Quality Camera is in Atlanta, GA USA, tel 404-881-8700. The cases have the name MC Photo on them. As with everything Large Format these add up in cost. It might be much cheaper to buy one and have some seamstress locally make the others you need. A cheaper alternative is the black plastic bag 16x20 print paper comes in within the box. This is a commonly used size for 7x17 because you cut it in half with a couple of test strips left over for contact prints. I am assuming 20x24 print paper also comes in a larger plastic bag that could be used for this. Besides keeping light out any bag or cover also helps keep out your other enemies; dirt, dust, grit. Most of us carry multiple holders in some sort of bag for easier transport and additional protection from the enemies.

John Powers

Jim Noel
09-29-2009, 10:17 AM
MY S&S holder leaked until I used a broad tipped "Sharpie" to blacken the flap and the areas surrounding its seat. Now there is no problem.

John Jarosz
09-29-2009, 03:26 PM
Fabric stores sell material that is light proof and used for window blackout curtains in hotels. The stuff I got was white but is really light proof (maybe 99% in bright sunlight). I cut my material in long lengths corresponding to 2x the long dimension of my filmholders, and about 1" oversize on the width. I took the material to my local dry-cleaners where they have a lady that does alterations. I explained how I wanted the material sewed. She charged me $20 to do 4 bags as I described. I used stick-on velcro on the material that makes up the flap. Works very well in the noonday sun at altitude.

I agree about using the sharpies to blacken the wood.


09-29-2009, 03:27 PM
Early S&S holders were not blackened in the ara around the light baffle. We started blackening this area, and also the flap end and the side rails, several years ago.

To blacken these areas we use India Ink, and apply with a brush. It takes more time to do this than one would imagine, and can be quite messy, but blackening these areas can definitely prevent slight fogging from reflected light in some situations.

Sandy King

09-29-2009, 07:13 PM
Hi All,

Thanks for very helpful insight as always. For starters, on the way home from work stop and buy a big black paint pen from the hardware store. Then figure out a case/bag idea for the holders. For now they are residing in a big heavy pelican case with the camera, great storage option, but not so good for transport.



09-30-2009, 07:16 PM
Sorry for all the questions up until now all my film holders were factory produced Fidelity, Toyo etc.......I painted the light baffles and the flaps, messy but easy to do. But what about side rails where the dark slide rests? Is it really necessary?



09-30-2009, 08:59 PM
You won't know for sure until either you fog some film or you don't. In my case I wanted to paint every surface that could possible reflect light BLACK! That meant painting the side rails.

I also took the time to file the film flaps so I could identify which film came from which holder. This really helps identify which holders have possible light leaks.


09-30-2009, 10:42 PM

Thanks! I expected as much but wanted to ask.......back to the hardware store tonight.


John Jarosz
10-01-2009, 08:04 AM
I also took the time to file the film flaps so I could identify which film came from which holder. This really helps identify which holders have possible light leaks.

I've done the same thing, in anticipation for that day when I get a light leak. But it hasn't happened so far.

Since I also record filter and exposure info, the marks also let me know which neg is which with respect to that info..