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.
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.
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. :)
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!)
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).
Get a Watson loader. They are my favorite, I have about 3 of them.
Originally Posted by anjo
If you load c-41 or e-6, you can probably get it sent through a minilab with no problems.
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by BenjH
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.
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.
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.