I've always simply used ballpoint pens. They're far cheaper than Sharpies, legible enough, and the ink is durable. It's also easier to write more information in a smaller area.
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?
I have a Sharpie or two in each of my camera bags, as well as the desk drawer and a whole bunch in the darkroom. Very useful tools.
But the issue of film management in the field is more involved than just making some notations on the canister, especially if you bulk load (as I do) and both cans and cassettes are recycled many times.
I have system involving colored plastic electrical tape. When I load up a cassette, I put it in a can, and then apply a strip of tape extending from the top of the can over the edge and onto the side. Then, in the field, when I change rolls, I remove the strip and reapply it around the perimeter of the side of the can before putting the exposed cassette into the can. That way, I can tell at a glance which cans contain exposed film, and which contain unexposed film.
In the past, when I was experimenting with multiple emulsions, I also used the color of the tape to indicate which emulsion had been loaded into the cassette.
The second aspect of the system involves the cassettes themselves. On those rare occasions when I take a partially loaded roll of film out of the camera (perhaps to load a different emulsion), I will mark the last frame number on the pigtail (using a Sharpie). Then, when I reload that roll I can advance past that number to avoid double-exposures.
But in the normal case, when I finish a roll, before I put it in the can, I use the scissors on my Swiss Army Knife to cut off the end of the film and prepare it to be loaded onto the processing reel. That makes it impossible to subsequently load that same roll back into the camera to be double-exposed.
Reminds me about NASA and the Russians
The story goes that NASA spent millions of dollars to develop a pen that would work in zero gravity. The Russians sent up pencils.
I don't know if it is true, but there is a great lesson in there.
Charles Kettering, inventor of the electric starter and the diesel electric locomotive: "Parts that aren't there cost nothing and never go wrong."
BTW, Sharpies are the best marking device for writing on CD's. The top side of a CD is actually the reflective layer unless it is a "white top" for printing. No need for special CD markers. The alcohol base evaporates instantly. (DVD's have an extra layer of protection between the reflective layer and you. Much more tolerant of abuse, but Sharpies are still the best.)
It's not true but an urban legend. However, someone did go through the effort of designing a "space pen" for use in outer space. NASA and MIR eventually bought these pens for use in missions in space.
Originally Posted by Paul Verizzo
"The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."
Good to know...
The beauty of a myth is not that it is factually correct, but for the lesson within.
Originally Posted by Snapshot
Humans, for tens of thousands of years, have learned about life and values from myths. "A myth is something that never happened but is going on all of the time."
Bringing it back to photography, images are myths. They aren't the reality, which in many cases was long ago and certainly in 3-D existence. But they inform us. Guernica by Picasso, anyone? The flags going up on Iwo Jima?
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I use the fine tip Sharpie to write information on the negative file sleeve. It beats the ink off the ball pen I used to try to use. When I've got 4x5 negs of the same subject in a file sleeve of 4 negatives, I lightly write on the sleeve over the negative I choose as the best: "This one" since there are, of course, no negative numbers on the rebate. Love them Sharpies to pieces!
...but then you can't turn the darkslide around to indicate "exposed"!
Originally Posted by DannL
I used to use pencils for all of my markings, still do for the exterior of bulk loaded film. One just needs a rubber to erase previous information.
With other markings, I now use a space pen, have done for a while now. I tried a Sanford marking pen, but found it was prone to drying up and it doesn't like water.
One interesting thing about the space pen is the ink colour. Sometimes in the darkroom I write on the back of prints whilst they are still in the wash dish. My space pen(s) are black ink, however when I write on the back of Ilford MGIV RC whilst underwater, the ink comes out blue coloured.
The cheapest way to get into space pen writing, is to buy a standard space pen Parker refill. These fit into a myriad of ball point pens which are usually lying around our houses.
The space pen has a very good writing companion, waterproof paper notebooks!
Last edited by Mick Fagan; 03-08-2008 at 04:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Your are correct, I don't pull the darksides completely. All my film holders have turn locks for each darkside. I lock the darkside when that side is exposed. When both sides are exposed I put the holders in the bag "upsidedown" or "head to the right", which tells me I'm done with that holder.
Originally Posted by PVia
I also use fine point Sharpies to write in the margin of processed sheet film and I index paper negatives with a number before processing. I helps me recall the parameters of the shot months from now.
Well, it took me up to post #10 to understand what your are talking about.
Never ever heard of a sharpie.