Loading Efke IR820 Infrared Film in Bottom Loading Leica?
I want to shoot some Efke IR820 in my IIIf. I have an IR Filter and figure a range finder would almost be ideal since I don’t need to look through a lens with a nearly opaque filter. The real issue is do I really need to handle that film in total darkness? Cutting the leader in the dark seems rather dangerous (think razor blade and film cutting guide) not to mention loading a bottom loader in darkness seems like a “fun” task. Could I get away with loading it under a dim (15 watt or so) light? Maybe even a black light (it throws off mostly UV so the other end of the spectrum.
I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
Sorry, I must be missing something here, but isn't Efke IR820 in metal 35mm cassettes just like all other 35mm films? If so, doesn't the metal cassette provide enough protection for loading under subdued light? Is there "light-piping" from the leader into the film inside? What does Efke say about loading?
According to the manufacturer 35mm should be loaded in total darkness while 120 can be loaded in dim light. Dim light has not given me any problems with 120.
I had one roll that had vertical line of fogging in every few frames for almost all of the roll. I'd expect it was a light leak through the opening (felt not ir-proof?). IR could have passed through several layers of film. Knowing how I had handled it (IR-proof darkroom) I can only assume it was fogged at the factory. I've also noted that the tips are always black after development which means it has seen light at some point. Perhaps a dim light at the factory or the packing being not ir-proof.
I'd not risk it but a quick try will tell you. You'll only lose one roll in the try.
If you want to load in the light, you could try Ilford SFX 200. It isn't a true infrared film but it's a near-infrared film that can provide a lot of the same effects.
If you want to use a rangefinder with IR film the easiest bet might be to get an old Russian one with a removable back. Either that, or practice loading your camera in the dark or in a changing bag until you get the hang of doing it without seeing what you are doing.
I agree that using a RF camera with IR film is about the most optimal way to do it. You can use an opaque infrared filter and it won't interfere with your viewing of the subject at all since you're not actually looking through the camera lens.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
Maco 820c experience
According to the Efke pub, the 820c is equivalent to the old Maco 820c film, which I loaded very successfully many times in very subdued light in my Leica Ms. (although I always loaded Kodak HIE by feel in a changing bag). It has an anti-halation backing, so it's thicker and stickier. This may make it a special case for the IIIf as far as your normal leader trimming and spindle attachment routine is concerned -- at least something to think about. Good luck.
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Same here, I just treat it like ordinary film and load in the shade.
I would cut the leader with a scissors in a changing bag. While you're in there, load the camera.
Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE
The reason IR film manufacturers recommend loading in darkness is the film lacks an anti-halation layer. This means that if the leader is exposed to light while loading the light can 'hosepipe' along the roll (think fibre optics and you get the idea) and fog the first few frames (or even the whole roll if the light is strong enough).
Obviously this is not an issue with 120 as there is no film leader.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Another idea: There are devices designed specifically for trimming a long film leader. I believe Leica made one called the Ablon. Searching on eBay, I see this Ablon "clone" available. I've got a similar device. I've used it a couple of times but found it awkward -- but I was using it in daylight, when ordinary scissors are easy to use for the task. Mine might also be poorly made (the pieces seemed to fit poorly), and is of a slightly different design than the one I see on eBay right now. The edges of mine aren't very sharp, so I wouldn't hesitate to use it in the dark, and it'd probably be easier to use than scissors, much less a razor blade, in the dark. In any event, the cost of an Ablon clone is only about the same as two rolls of Efke IR820, so it might be worth a try if you try trimming and loading in dim light and end up with fogging.
Of course, this won't help with loading a bottom loader once the film's trimmed, but at least it'll help you get to that point.
As PhotoJim suggests, you could also try picking up a Russian Leica clone with a removable back. I've got a FED 2 and a FED 5, both of which use LTM39 screw-mount lenses. I don't have any Leica lenses, but my understanding is that most screw-mount Leica lenses would work fine on all but the earliest FED 1s (FED 1s are bottom-loaders, anyhow, so they wouldn't be useful for your purpose). Most FEDs and Zorkis are pretty inexpensive on eBay, and of course having a spare body might be handy even aside from issues involved in loading IR film. I'm not sure when the Zorki line switched from bottom-loading to back-loading, but that switch occurred in the FED line with the FED 2. Both FEDs and Zorkis went out of production a while ago, but new FED 5s are still fairly common on eBay -- a search on "new fed" on eBay turns up a few.
The leader doesn't need to be precisely shaped to work in bottom load Leicas. Just trim it to about the right shape with sissors in the dark. The problem with short leaders is the film curling and hanging up on the film gate as it is inserted. This can be avoided by slipping a thin sheet of plastic in the film slot, and inserting short leader film behind the plastic. Once the edge of the film is past the film gate, the plastic can be withdrawn, and loading proceeding as normal.