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  1. #1

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    4x5 Ilford Film Question

    This is going to sound stupid, but here goes:

    How do you tell which side of sheet film is the emulsion side?

    Thanks

    Clint

  2. #2
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Look at this site which explains how to load a film holder - includes how to identify the emulsion side.

    Cheers, Bob.

  3. #3
    John Bartley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob F.
    Look at this site which explains how to load a film holder - includes how to identify the emulsion side.
    Cheers, Bob.
    If I may be so bold....This is a very clear and straightforward lesson on sheet film and the loading of it and in fact I referred to it myself when starting, but there is one thing which I have started doing since I put a sheet into the darkslide rails instead of the film rails in error. When I load, I pull the dark slide, blow everything clean of dust, and then I put the darkslide back in about 1/2 way. Then I load the film into the film rails, fold over the end flap and push the dark slide the rest of the way in. When you put the film in with the dark slide pulled all the way out, if you mistakenly happen to get it into the dark slide rails, it will usually only go as far as the slide and then will stick or catch. If you don't have the slide in, and once the film is into the dark slide rails by mistake and lying flat, the slide goes in without too much trouble and you won't know that the film is loaded wrong until you've pulled the slide and tried to put it back in again after taking the picture.

  4. #4
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Me too... Except that I only pull the slide 1/4 or 1/3 of the way and blast into the carrier with air, load the film and close it up. Never mis-loaded a negative yet (about 200 negs) - lots of other stupid errors of course, but not that one...

    Bob.

  5. #5
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    For what it's worth - my technique, used to load God knows how many thousand sheet films:

    I tend to pull the sheath almost all the way out, inspect each side of the holder to check for dust, and remove this with a flat brush if necessary. My biggest problem then follows - forty years of bad guitar playing have left me with callouses on the ends of my fingers which mean I have to be extra careful to pick up only one sheet of film at a time, and without an interleaf paper. With practise, I find I can pick up film by the edges only between the thumb and middle finger of my left hand. I then grip the film using the thumb and index finger of my right hand at the top right hand corner where the notch is to indicate the emulsion side.
    This is of course fairly standard technique - what I do find valuable is to place the thumb and middle finger of my left hand on the end of the film rails. This means I can locate the leading edge of the sheet film first time with no fumbles. As soon as the film is located in the rails, I move my left hand around and use the middle finger to hold open the hinged flap at the end of the film holder so that the film does not scrape against this as it is pushed home. The old-style MPP film holders are particularly critical in this respect - the end flaps have a cast dimple at their center underneath - if you let this touch the film, you get a scratch the size of the Grand Canyon!

  6. #6

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    Gah! Did I ever learn THAT one the hard way.

    I got the notches right (had a 50/50 chance), but missed that whole film rail/darkslide rail part and zoinked one of my negs.

    But, since this was a wing-it kind of learning experience, I didn't sweat it.

    But one question more: How do you manage to grab the film in the tray with the tongs? I couldnt get hold of it to save my life. =P

  7. #7
    jovo's Avatar
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    I've made almost comical errors learning to load film in holders. Once, on a cold, snowy day, I put the film holder in the camera, pulled the darkslide, made the exposure, put the darkslide back in and removed the film holder. I then opened the shutter to arrange another image and was puzzled that I couldn't see anything even though the aperture was wide open. I removed the lensboard only to discover that the sheet of film from the previous exposure was still in the camera. Having been entirely unseated in the holder, it just fell out when I'd pulled the darkslide. Ever since, when loading holders, I run my finger along the darkslide slots to be sure the film's not in one of them, and I haven't made any mistakes in that area since.

    Your question was in reference to which side the emulsion is on and the answer is the side facing you with the notches in the upper right hand corner. When holding the film with the notches on the urhs facing you, slide the film into the holder with it oriented upside down...the darkslide part way pulled out below. Good luck!
    John Voss

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    All good advice, but if loading sheet film is new for you, might consider the way I learned. That is to take one sheet out, in the dark, from the film box, then LIGHTS on practice loading and unloading the film. It makes it much easier to do, IMO, to see how it works first then do it in the dark. I find that the emulsion side is easy to see with the lights on - in my limited experience it is generally lighter than the non-emulsion side.
    Mike C

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jovo
    ...I removed the lensboard only to discover that the sheet of film from the previous exposure was still in the camera. Having been entirely unseated in the holder, it just fell out when I'd pulled the darkslide. Ever since, when loading holders, I run my finger along the darkslide slots to be sure the film's not in one of them, and I haven't made any mistakes in that area since...
    I've had this happen at least once myself... It really tends to piss one off!
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  10. #10
    Ole
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    I think everybody has had most of those "buggerups" happen at least once - and those that haven't are merely overdue.

    I usually pull the darkslide only about half way out, and place left index and little finger on the ends of the film grooves to guide the film in. This works great even withh 5x7" film, especially when I'm confusing myself with four 5x7" and four 13x18cm holders. Same confusion with 9x12cm and 4x5" holders, by the way...

    As to tray developing, throw away the tongs and get a pack of surgical gloves instead.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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