Bulk rolling into used cassettes?
I am shooting with a Pentax P30T. It's a really fun camera; light, excellent VF, and sharp looking to me. The problem is, it's one of Pentax's later MF SLRs and reads DX codes from film and doesn't allow manual override. That obviously prevents any pushing and pulling, which I don't do too much of anyway with the films I shoot most often. If it can't read a DX code, it defaults to ISO 100.
The issue is I bulk roll film into non-coded cartridges. I use Kentmere 400, which isn't the best film in the world but I still have a good bit of it to use. I've heard before that people bulk roll into cassettes they scavenge from 1 hour photo places, but I've never known how. I'm not sure how it's possible since you can't disassemble the cartridge and attach the film to the core of the spool.
Can you describe the process to me? Is it even worth it when I can buy coded cartridges from B&H for less than $1 each?
You can buy stick on labels that trigger DX codes in your camera or you can make your own DX labels out of aluminum foil tape and black gaffer's tape.
Here is a Wikipedia page that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about DX codes:
Here's a page that has a DX code calculator:
Just enter the information you want and the computer will show you what the DX code should look like.
From there, cut pieces of aluminum foil tape in the shape you want then stick the whole thing to the cartridge.
Alternately, if you are using metal cartridges, you could take your X-acto knife and scrape away the paint in the correct pattern to make your own DX cartridge.
I just use gaffer's tape and aluminum foil. Takes me about 15 minutes to make a half dozen of them.
Above almost all else, bulk loading requires you to keep things clean. The way some people reuse cripmed cartridges is to let the film stick out of the cartridge about an inch. You tape the new film to this length which is sticking out of the cartridge and then wind the film in. I wouldn't want to do this unless I ran out of reloadable cartridges. Even with reloadable cartridges you need to blow things out with some canned air so dust doesn't scratch the new film. I have some of the Nikon cartridges which do not use felt and which I can use in my Nikon F2s if I want to. At one time I think Porters sold the DX stickers of various speeds which you could apply to cartridges. When I was much younger, part of the benefit of bulk loading was that some specialty films were only sold in bulk rolls. These were films like 2484 and Direct Positive. The base for the old 2475 was so strong you needed to have a scissors handy in the darkroom or changing bag. It was just impossible to tear. I recently compared the cost of Arista's relabeled Tri-X in cartridges and in bulk rolls. The bulk roll didn't really save me anything so I bought 18 36 exp. rolls in cartridges.
Freestyle (freestylephoto.biz) has 100 and 400 DX Arista cartridges for $0.86 each in packs of 25.
I have in the past when as a poorer student and first faced with such DX coing hassles when reloading cassettes, resorted to sanding the enamel off of cassettes I had, in the areas where contact needed to be made. I would also coat the areas that needed insulation with a coulpe of coats of nail polish, if they were otherwise found to be bare on the 'donor' cassette.
Back then I had to reverse engineer what the patches did. Now there is always a wikipedia article. Note that not all cameras, particularly point and shoot, read all of the contact patch information. Check the number of sense fingers before blowing your brains out getting all of the sense pads correctly contfigured.
my real name, imagine that.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
If your local 1hr photo developing lab gives you used cassettes all you have to do is tape new film onto the leader that is left out. I always examine cassettes before loading for felt damage and dirt. toss the ones that are dirty or try cleaning it with a post it note.
DX coding can be a hassle, either try above methods or get another camera that allows manual iso adjustment. Might be cheaper in the long run, saving your time and hassle from searching for the right DX cassette, having to buy and stick on stickers, or messing with foil and tape which could get lodged in camera body. Small investment now seems to be worth it.
It had never occurred to me that I could make my own DX contacts. Thanks for the links!
This will certainly work in the interim, but I think I'm going to get a K mount body that will allow me to set ISO. The P30T is a great camera, and I'll use it for color print film, but when I want to push/pull film or use bulk film, it just won't be a sustainable practice to have to keep making DX codes or scratch them into cartridges.
With the MX available for less than $100, I think that makes the most sense long term. I love these Pentax cameras, they had some real winners during the manual focus days. Thanks for the help guys!