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  1. #1
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    35mm bulk cartridges: How long do they last?

    Bought a bunch of 35mm bulk film cartridges so I can roll my own.

    They are the Kalt brand, black and yellow metal carts with the snap-on end caps. (Made in Spain.)

    They work well but, after about 3 or 4 uses, I start seeing dark streaks (light leaks) along the edges, outside the sprocket holes of my developed negatives. After that, they get progressively worse and begin spoiling the film. Once the light flashing gets past the sprocket holes, I have to quarantine the cartridge and use a new one.

    I have saved a bunch of the plastic containers from my store bought film to keep the carts in. The carts are either in the camera, inside the plastic container or being refilled/emptied at any given time. I never let them sit out or roll around in a drawer or bang around loose in my pocket. (I learned my lesson when a couple of them got banged up and I lost a roll of exposed film.)

    Do these cartridges have a finite life or am I not doing something right?
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  2. #2
    dances_w_clouds's Avatar
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    What I do is leave the cartridge separated when I develop the film and then see if any flaws show up on the film. Even the smallest problem they get trashed. I only use a small amount of film in bulk and the rest is pre-rolled. At some of Freestyles film prices you actually lose $$ if you bulk roll. eg. Legacy 100 @ $1.50 per roll.
    Mine are also colour coded with electrical tape so I can tell the type and speed of the film,
    Last edited by dances_w_clouds; 06-14-2010 at 09:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    I've been spooling 35mm bulk film for more than 30 years, and I've been using a set of recycled Ilford and Agfa cartridges the entire time.

    Before spooling film, I clean the light-trap felt and check that the cartridge is still in good condition. Because the ends snap on, one concern is that the metal has not become bent so that the end cap is no longer light tight, or can fall off.
    Louie

  4. #4
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    I put a dash on the tape I have on there to identify the emulsion.
    I have the metal non DX type from freestyle and I've used some 4-5 times without ANY fogging at he edges.

    I also reuse the prerolled cassettes. I figure 4 reuses on those and then just chuck them.

  5. #5
    jmcd's Avatar
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    I use Kalt, and the Agfa type from Freestyle Sales. I keep track of number of uses for each cassette by adding a dot from a Sharpie each time I load. So far in over 20 years I have not yet had a light leak or scratching problem. I use the cassettes up to 8 times.

    I am careful to keep the cassettes clean by storing them, loaded or empty, in their protective canisters. I also clean the felt from time to time by inserting a strip of adhesive tape between the felt pads, then pinching the cassette together.

    Looking forward to reading other users' replies.

  6. #6
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    I find the plastic cartridges better for bulk loading. They are less prone to accidental cap removal and they seem to be more resistant to light leakage. They do have higher friction than the metal cartridges, which bothers the occasional motor-driven camera but this is not a major issue.

    Give some a try and see what you think.
    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?

  7. #7
    jmcd's Avatar
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    PhotoJim,

    The plastic cartridges that I have on hand have foam in place of felt. Is that what your have? The end caps screw on snugly into place.

  8. #8

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    My experience with the metal snap-on cartridges is that they leak into the sprocket holes on the first use. I'm not crazy about that.

    The plastic ones last until you start having dust/scratching problems, which for me is about 4 uses.

    Rolling your own is only cost-effective if you're shooting XP2 as far as I can tell.

  9. #9
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcd View Post
    PhotoJim,

    The plastic cartridges that I have on hand have foam in place of felt. Is that what your have? The end caps screw on snugly into place.
    I don't have any at my fingertips, but the ends are as you described. I thought they had felt, though.
    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?

  10. #10
    patrickjames's Avatar
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    I occasionally bulk load and reuse cartridges from any one hour lab. I find the Fuji ones work the best. I use them once and then they go in the trash.

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