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  1. #1
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    When did 35mm film cassettes start being packed in plastic cans?

    This morning I decided to try out some well expired film.

    Kodak Plus x Pan, 35mm - 20 exposures, in a sealed characteristic yellow box, with the film name outlined by a purple background.

    Develop before Sept 1976. Yes, well expired. I figure half the speed per 10 years, so let's try iso 25, and develop in Diafine, since it is a bright and contrasty morning.

    I opened the box, and found the expected old film exposure and processing instruction sheet printed in about 8 languages.

    Then there was a paper/foil envelope of the sort old 120 roll film was packed in. Inside that was the film cassette housed inside a cardboard tube.

    I had never seen that before.

    When did the ubiquitous plastic can start? I have the aluminum screw top cans, and had presumed that the packaging for individual roll 35mm film went straight from screw top cans to peel off plastic lids on aluminum cans, to all plastic cans. Today's find kind of blew that theory away for me.


    Oh, and why an expired in 76 film? Why to try out as a lark with the made in 1976 (and built like a tank) Rolleiflex sl35M SLR that I ended up with as a part of an auction lot, I think, sometime in the past year.

    The thing is the bulkiest 35mm SLR of the 70's era cameras that I have ever come across. Full mechanical non coupled metering of the match needle cds cell center weighted variety.

    The design is functional , but find of short on finesse. Pluses are nice bright finder, excellent focusing screen, and mated with a nice so far planar HFT 50 f/1.8 glass on the front. This thing has a non automatic return mirror, which takes me back to late 50's in some of my other old camera experiences.
    Meter is powered by a PX625 mercury cell, which is still good, and the battery compartment clean as can be. The meter turns on only when film advance crank is pulled partially out, which is likely why it has lasted so long.

    I originally pulled the camera out to trial before selling it, but it's quirkiness, and having only the one prime piece of glass for use with it, is growing on me. Maybe I will end up using it for a while then gift it away to the Film Photography Project, once I am sure it is reliable , to get someone else started or further along with film.

    If I carry this thing with me on my walk to work I will definitely end up burning more calories than with my more usual walking camera mates. They are typically one of a Minolta 16, or an Olympus XA, or an Olympus Trip 35.
    my real name, imagine that.

  2. #2

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    Mike,

    I'm not sure that 35 mm B&W film was ever sold in plastic cans; the paper foil container was used a long time. All the plastic cans I have are from color film.

  3. #3
    lxdude's Avatar
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    I used almost all color for many years, but I think the B&W I got was in plastic cans in the late 70's.
    The old guy who had a shop here from 1966 to 2011, when he retired, told me that the cans with unpainted caps were used for B&W, with the painted caps denoting different color films.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The answer to Mike's question might vary according to where in the world you are. Film used to be packaged by Kodak in a number of different locations, for a number of different markets.

    I certainly have shot Kodak black and white film that came packaged in plastic cans.

    And for Prof_Pixel, maybe Kodak didn't feel they needed them for sale to those in the industry .
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5

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    I bought 35mm Kodak black and white film in plastic cans in 1975 if not earlier. Even film purchased in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan were packaged that way.

    I remember taping them to my camera strap with black electrical tape. That was a sticky mess...

    I still have a few that I kept foreign coins in. I look at the coins every 10 years or so.
    - Bill Lynch

  6. #6
    winger's Avatar
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    I started with 35mm in the 80s and only remember plastic cans for Tri-X. It was college and I used the empty ones to hold quarters for laundry.

  7. #7
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noacronym View Post
    Like I said--those black cans with the gray snap-on top hit NC about 1973-74.
    Are you sure? I only got gray cans with black tops in those years. Later on I started getting only black cans with gray tops. I heard the change was made so the caps could be written on. I never threw out the cans, and combined a bunch into gray/gray, black/black, and gave them to anyone who wanted any. I sent all the rest to recycling about 12 years ago, and didn't think to save any of the gray cans or black tops. Damn.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  8. #8
    Truzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    I started with 35mm in the 80s and only remember plastic cans for Tri-X. It was college and I used the empty ones to hold quarters for laundry.
    I still use them for quarters, loose screws, etc.

    I'd be interested in a cut-off date for the metal cans. I like the metal cans, and if I'm out at a flea market or garage sale and find some really old film, I'd buy it if I knew it had the metal cans (and was very cheap).
    Truzi

  9. #9

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    Agfa film came in black cans with orange tops. Very high quality compared to Kodak's or Fuji's
    - Bill Lynch

  10. #10
    cmacd123's Avatar
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    again depending on the market, but B&W was often in the envelopes while color came in metal screw top cans. REmember that you used to MAIL your Kodachrome to get it processed so they needed to provide a sturdy container.

    Aluminum cans with block plastic tops came next, the aluminum as replaced with grey plastic. The colour scheme was reversed (black can with grey lid. Some films came with a black can and a black lid, sometimes (for PRO) films with a label to identify the film on the top of the lid.

    The cans changed to translucent around the time that baggage startred to get inspected at air ports. This saved opening the cans for the nice inspector.
    Charles MacDonald
    aa508@ncf.ca
    I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville

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