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  1. #1
    NedL's Avatar
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    Newb Bulk Loader Question

    APUG is great, but also points up details that we might not worry about if we didn't read here! I have two bulk rolls of Arista premium 400 in my refrigerator. I also have an old Llloyd bulk loader, and bought the little handle for it from Freestyle. The bulk loader was in a storage shed until I got my hands on it a few months ago.

    So... I was planning to wash the loader really well, let it dry, then pull a strip of swiffer ( micro fiber ) material through it. Am I asking for trouble with dust and scratches? I don't know how common and serious the problem of film scratching is in bulk loading. Do you all treat your bulk loaders like precious diamonds, in a positive pressure clean room with custom dust filters? Or if I do a reasonably good job washing do I have nothing to fear?

    -Ned

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    The better bulk loaders don't touch the film when the light trap is open. Having said that I have some 35mm cassettes from 20 years ago with over 20 loads on them and they still work fine, so I suspect you can get good results from a felt-trap in a bulk loader. I'd vacuum the trap well. What type do you have?
    In general 35mm bulk film gets wiped once in to the cassette and once on the way out, and I can't recall ever having dust on a 35mm frame. If you are using a vintage 35mm camera, make sure there is no dust in the mirror box.

  3. #3
    fotch's Avatar
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    Damp lint free cloth should be enough.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  4. #4
    NedL's Avatar
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    Thanks! It's a "Lloyd's" and the film squeezes out through black felt on both sides. Vacuum is a good idea. Damp lint-free cloth is too. I'll do both to be on the safe side. The cassettes are new ( from Adorama or B&H, don't remember ) and they are plastic with end caps that unscrew. I've got 5 of those, and I'm a slow and deliberate shooter, so that ought to be plenty. I've got a growing collection of used cassettes with an inch of film sticking out too, which I can probably use if I need more for a vacation...

    Cheers!

  5. #5
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    ..they are plastic with end caps that unscrew.
    I occasionally use these myself. I always had misgivings about how secure the caps were.. though I never really had a problem. To satisfy my paranoia, after screwing the cap on, I take a small patch of blue painters tape and put on that end of the cassette so the tape barely overlaps the edge of the cap. With a marker or pen, you can write something if you wish. I just put the number of frames loaded since I vary that somewhat depending on what I'm doing.
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

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  6. #6

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    I use Alden loaders and I have never had any problems. I bought all 3 of mine used. They perform flawlessly.

  7. #7

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    If this thread runs long enough then there will be posts from individuals who have had problems with bulk loaders. I never have had any issues of scratching with mine and if you take the precautions you mention I see no reason why you should have any problems either.

    pentaxuser

  8. #8

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    I have had trouble with the Lloyd's when a bit of grit got caught in the felt and ruined several loads. Out it went into the trash. I now only use loaders which do not touch the film.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #9
    NedL's Avatar
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    I know it's a bit of a waste but I was thinking of making some shorter rolls anyway, so I'll try it with a short roll first. One reason I like my 6x9 folder is that it doesn't take as long to get through 8 frames... while 36 seems to take me a month. I'll try a short roll and thanks for advice about the bit of tape on the end of the cassette... I was wondering about how secure those are too! If it does scratch the film, I'll look for one that doesn't touch. I was worried that I was being hopelessly naive to think that I could use an old loader at all, but it sounds like it's worth a try. Thanks Everyone.

  10. #10
    Aristotle80's Avatar
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    If the felt trap gives you worries there are bulk loaders with no felt trap. My Watson has a rotating gate that securely snaps open and closed when you need to put a new cassette in. There is an outer door that opens while the inner door is closed, and vice versa. The whole device is hard plastic you can throw in the sink for a wash, but I've never needed to clean it. The film would really only scratch if you wound it without opening the gate, but the device is so simple I can't see anyone making that mistake.
    I confess I'm a gear nut within my price range. ;)
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