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  1. #1

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    Ferrania Solaris jamming a minilab

    Today, I gave my local lab a roll of Ferrania Solaris 200 to develop. When I came to collect it, the lab guy told me that the roll had jammed his minilab machine twice. When he had fed it into the machine, it had given a "sprocket hole error" and he had had to shut it down and respool the roll in his darkroom (which ruined half the roll, but that's not his fault). He had then tried it again and had managed to get it working, but then the ending of the film had jammed again.
    The results are completely unusable. Luckily the roll was only for test shots and I didn't even have to pay, but this whole thing left me wondering: has this happened to anyone else? Is there anything special about Ferrania sprocket holes or film containers? The lab guy told me he'd never seen this happen before, and I have no reasons not to believe him.

    What's wrong? The machine or the film? I'll bring in another roll of the same stuff tomorrow and see how it goes (I expect it to jam again, to be honest). Any similar experiences from anyone?

  2. #2
    Aurum's Avatar
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    Every roll of solaris I've had developed by the local minilab has been fine on their roller fed machine. The wife used to love this film, and combine that with being sold at our local poundland for (Surprisingly!) A pound a roll, meant that a LOT got fed through their machine. (Probably 30+ rolls in a few months)

    Shame I haven't been able to get my hands on any more
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

  3. #3
    hrst's Avatar
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    Are your sure you have not teared the perforations in your camera? IMO even if you had, it shouldn't jam a machine, otherwise the machine is of very bad design.

    If not, then I'd guess that
    99% that minilab machine is faulty
    1% the film is faulty.

  4. #4

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    I've used Solaris and never had any problems with this film (or any other make, for that matter).

    All films, perforations, and cassettes should be manufactured to the relevent (ISO) standards and tolerances, so this sounds like a one-off issue of some kind, maybe even some unintentional mistake by the lab guy. If it happens again, certainly double-check that your camera is OK, but, if that's in order, I'd agree with hrst that it's much more likely to be the machine.

  5. #5
    foc
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    Most minilab film processors are leader card fed. This means that the film tongue is cut in a straight line and the film is spliced using special sticky tape onto the leader card.

    The card and film is then loaded into the processor. The leader card had sprocket holes, usualy in the middle, and these sprocket holes engage with a toothed belt that transports the card through the processor. These machines are designed so that only the edges of the film touch the machine while the film is being processed. The only time that the negative is touched is when it leaves the solution tank and goes via the cross over into the next solution tank. ( it touches a squeegy blade to remove excess solution).

    I don't understand therefore how your film could jam the machine. The brand of film shouldn't matter.

    I own a minilab and have often processed film with torn sprocket holes and never had a problem. I am slow to blame the lab (because the lab ALWAYS gets blames, rightly or wrongly), but the "sprocket hole error" sounds more like it was the leader card and not the film (what make of priocessor was it?).

    You say it jammed again at the end. The processor has a film cutting device that detects the end of the roll and cuts the film end just at the film cassette mouth. If the cutter failed it would alarm and the force of the film transporting through the machine would pull the end of the film out of the cassette or worst case (and I have never seen this) the film would be pulled off the leader card and this would only happen if it wasn't taped on correctly.

    Just out of interest can you see the processing machines from the shop floor? Do the machines look tidy with no stains or streaks on the outside? A poorly maintained machine always looks dirty and stained on the outside (if they can't keep the inside maintained, they won't keep the outside maintained).

    I'd like to hear how you get on with your next roll.

  6. #6

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    Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how the next roll turns out. I'm not blaming the operator, he's a fine guy and his lab is the best in town. I think the machine is a Fuji minilab, but I'm not sure. Foc, thank you for your insight on how these things work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurum View Post
    Shame I haven't been able to get my hands on any more
    How about: http://cgi.benl.ebay.be/500x-Ferrani...item4157018277

  7. #7
    Aurum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltereegho View Post
    Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how the next roll turns out. I'm not blaming the operator, he's a fine guy and his lab is the best in town. I think the machine is a Fuji minilab, but I'm not sure. Foc, thank you for your insight on how these things work.



    How about: http://cgi.benl.ebay.be/500x-Ferrani...item4157018277
    Steep price for a lot of expired 12 shot film, considering I used to pay 1 Euro 50 for a 36 shot film in the store that was in date. Ebay is a good idea though

    £2.70 for 36 shot versions. that are in date
    Last edited by Aurum; 03-16-2011 at 06:33 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added fleabay link
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

  8. #8
    hrst's Avatar
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    Remember however that unless you develop your own film, 12 exp rolls can be false economy. Most labs everywhere have same prices for 12 exp rolls than 36 exp rolls, so you end up paying much more per shot even if your film was free.

    OTOH, you can shoot almost free if you pick up expired Solaris/Ferrania etc. color neg film, and develop it by yourself, and reuse the chemistry over the limits - it can withstand surprisingly much without visible problems. At 3x stated capacity, it may or may not show somewhat degraded quality, but for most purposes, perfectly usable.

  9. #9
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    With 35mm, commericially available 12 shot rolls are false economy even if you develop your own as the leader wastes a lot more on a 12 roll percentagewise compared to a 24 or 36 roll; even 24 rolls are wasteful (35mm is always wasteful really, sprocket holes too).

    If you hand load the film into the camera in the dark to use the whole leader or use 126 cartridges then 12 shots are fine of course for home dev.
    Last edited by hpulley; 03-17-2011 at 06:58 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  10. #10

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    I'm well aware of the false economy of 12exp. films. However, I was planning on using this film for some journalist work that I do for a local newspaper every now and then. It is printed in B&W (digitally), but I use C41 for ease of processing. I don't to waste a 36exp. roll of XP2 Super on a quick shoot of about 10-12 frames.
    Good thing that I tested that first roll before really using it!

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