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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    UN-loading film holders

    I haven't had a bit of trouble loading 4x5 holders, other than dust which I am slowly conquering. But when it comes time to unload them, I'm not sure what to do.

    I don't want to touch the emulsion because I have gotten fingerprints on the negatives that way. Even if I was willing to try to slide the film out, there seems to be a ridge there to prevent the film from sliding straight out. Yet it's really hard to pick the end of the film up with a fingernail, and then in order to grab it to pull it out, I have to bow it up a lot to fit one of my fat fingers underneath it, sometimes one side will pop out of the groove halfway, and I end up yanking the thing out of there rather than sliding it out of the groove.

    tips?
    Last edited by BetterSense; 10-01-2009 at 04:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2

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    I'm still a novice, so I appreciate your frustration.

    Just remember that the emulsion is only on the top surface, so getting your finger underneath a bit of the film's backside isn't going to hurt anything. Most film holders have a bit of dimple in center of the 'unloading' end, which gives you some space to grab the film end. Also remember that you do have space at the notched end, like the spaces that sit in the grooves, that never gets exposed.

    Mostly though, for me, it's been a matter of practice. Sometime the film comes out smooth as whistle, sometime I end up yanking the thing out of there rather than sliding it out of the groove. The more holders I unload, the smoother I get.

    Joe

  3. #3
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Get a plastic plectrum from your local musical instrument shop, or cut one from a thin sheet of semi-rigid plastic. You can use this to hook under the leading edge of the film without damage... I wear late/nylon gloves when handling film in an attempt to avoid fingerprints on the emulsion.

  4. #4
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Do your holders have a depressed circle at the loading end of the holder? All of mine have a depressed area that makes unloading them fairly straight forward - it is 'deep' enough to allow me to slip a fingernail under the film easily (and my fingernails are usually very short)...

    - Randy

  5. #5
    bobwysiwyg's Avatar
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    You can minimize or eliminate finger prints if you thoroughly wash and dry your hands before unloading. Not to suggest mashing one's thumb onto the emulsion, but..
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

    Portfolio-http://apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=25518

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    In recent years I've taken to wearing powderless nitrile gloves for loading and unloading--no fingerprints, dust or lint, and if I take the gloves off carefully, I can reuse them in the darkroom. I realized that this was necessary when I was shooting in Hawai'i for two months before I could process the film. Fingerprints that might not have been a problem had the film been developed promptly became a problem when the film couldn't be processed for a few weeks.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7

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    OK, I guess I do it differently. I blow a puff of air under the film, it temporarily lifts, and I slide it right out. (Try not to spit)!

  8. #8

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    I find some holders are better than others about this. My older metal Fidelity holders have a pretty much useless ridge for pulling the film out, while my newer Fidelity Plastic holders are very simple. So don't rule out replacing your holders with newers ones, if yours are older.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_c5x4 View Post
    Get a plastic plectrum from your local musical instrument shop, or cut one from a thin sheet of semi-rigid plastic. You can use this to hook under the leading edge of the film without damage....
    This is an excellent idea! I have never had any problems before, but will certainly keep this in mind for the future.

    Marcus

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Clean dry fingers should not affect the emulsion side. If your fingers are sweaty then there maybe problems. I never thought of it before but maybe loading film holders might be an indication for having a thoracic sympathectomy

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