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  1. #1

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    End of Roll Problem: One Frame Into Another

    I use a couple of Nikon FE/MD-11 combos, and notice that sometimes part of frame 35 will get "smashed" into frame 36, with 35 and 36 being the last two shots taken. I start at frame 0, and so these would be the 36th and 37th shots on the roll. On a 4x6 print, about a half inch or so of each of these frames will show an adjacent double exposure effect (error). On my last b&w roll, the two best shots (frames 35 and 36) were ruined because of this.

    I gather the problem stems from the there being not enough film left on the roll for that last frame. I find this puzzling, as I often hear of folks getting 37 and 38 frames out of a roll of 36. Ken Rockwell is always saying how he gets 38--and even 39!--"perfect" exposures by shooting the leader and perhaps one extra at the end. How is it that I often cannot get 37? Is it the MD-11 that is the problem? I welcome any comments.

  2. #2

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    This is why photographers shouldn't try to squeeze and extra frame or two from every roll.

    With the motor drive, I would guess that it has a clutch mechanism that stops advancing the film when it reaches the end of the roll, to stop from tearing the film from the roll. But it still advances the shutter to its fully tensioned point to keep it from jamming. That means if you're mid-frame, it will overlap the next frame.

    In other words, stop at 36. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining TWO shots by trying to get an extra frame out of every roll. You just have to decide if the risk of losing two shots is worth trying to get one more.

  3. #3
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    It must have to do with the motor drive. Maybe it counts 36 frames and then eases up on the last one, meaning that since you start on 0, it thinks the roll is finished after shot 35.

    It would seem that you can most simply avoid this problem by not shooting past the 35th frame. You are already getting extra shots by exposing frame 0, so it is not like you would be getting gyped.

    Or after the 35th frame, you could try advancing the film a bit manually. Sometimes I have to do that with my Canon F-1, just a hair past where the motor drive leaves it near the end of the roll. I can hear the difference in the motor drive when it does it. It doesn't have the final click.

    You could also turn the drive off after 34 and advance the end of the roll manually.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 02-18-2011 at 10:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  4. #4
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    Motor drives generally aren't that smart. They just turn till they meet friction, then stop. I think it's a camera issue. The design of the camera (or perhaps not the design but general wear and tear on the moving parts?) is such that the shutter trigger is reset before the frame is all the way advanced...

    I've had a few waaaaay back when I started where the last 2 frames were almost touching, and maybe 1-2 where they overlapped. However that camera was one where the shutter also wouldn't close all the way and I ended up returning it for my current love (the AE-1P).

    Suggest a checkup at the camera doc's... Might be able to tighten some screws or get it realigned. Too many variables for me personally to guess, but that's what I'd go with. Most cameras don't recock the shutter trigger til you hit that point on the frame advance, and if that's not what you got, something ain't working properly.
    -Markster

    Canon AE-1P 35mm | 50mm/f1.8 FDn | 28mm/2.8 FD | 70-200mm/f4-5 FD | 35-70mm/F2.8-3.5 Sigma FD

  5. #5

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    I appreciate the replies. The camera is freshly overhauled. I got it back about a month ago. This is one of the reasons why I am so surprised about the last frames getting smashed. It is very annoying.

    I had this same frame smashing problem with some of my 35mm Pentax cameras, and so the problem is not a "Nikon" issue. Again, it is very irritating, and I cannot imagine getting 38 or 39 perfect frames out of a roll of 36.

    The AE-1P and A-1 are nice cameras. I gave them up because I just could not get use to the shutter release, at least in hand-held situations. To me, the release seems to induce camera shake. In comparison to other cameras, I had to press down harder when shooting with the A-1 or AE-1P.
    Last edited by FilmOnly; 02-19-2011 at 08:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    I would go with 2F's recommendation about using the motor drive to 34 and then manually advancing from there. As Mark states, I believe it's only film tension at the end that stops the advance. Unless you push the button in the base of the FE to release the tension - or use the multiple exposure lever, you should not be allowed to get a full stroke. If these drives somehow advances the camera's shutter far enough to give you another shutter click without a full stroke then it would seem something is slipping in the body and not the motor drive. I don't have the MD11 but I have the following motor drives - MD12 (FM2), MD4 (F3), MA (A-1), MW (OM-1) and RTS (FR), and all do not allow me to depress a shutter unless a "full stroke" is achieved.

    BTW, I recently "maximized" the number of exposures I could get from a roll of Kodachrome 25 by opening the canister and loading it the camera in the dark and managed to get 39 frames from a 36 exposure roll. I typically get 37 and it is not uncommon to get 38.

  7. #7
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    You do take a risk of frames running into each other trying to squeeze in extra frames at the end of the roll. I've torn sprocket holes doing it. What I do when loading my Canon f1 is to load the film until the tongue is wrapped around the spool, shut the film chamber door, tighten the film spool and advance the frames twice or three times and start shooting so you can get some extra shots beginning of the roll then stop shooting at the 36th or 37th frame. I think if I smoked I would smoke my cig down to the filter I'm so cheap

  8. #8

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    I don't know what film you are using but most of the films I use, if I shoot 37th in 36exp film or 25th in 24exp film, the last frame is VERY close to end of the film where it is taped to the reel. I'm GUESSING what may be happening in your case is that winder tries to wind the last frame and there isn't enough left, so that it cinches the portion already taken up by take up reel to make up the difference - thus causing the overlap.

    Personally, after shooting 24th or 36th, I just rewind it.

    I wouldn't go by what Ken Rockwell says. Elsewhere in his web page, he actually says he does it for his entertainment and if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't be looking at his site. His claims are often very inflated. If he actually gets 38 or 39, good for him, but I really don't believe this is actually the case. Maybe in very small snap-shooter maybe? (where the distance between exposure opening and the canister is very small)
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  9. #9

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    Thanks, again, folks...

    I agree with you, tkamiya, but the problem is that the camera (or drive) does not want me to have the 36th frame. By starting at 0, I can get 36 shots by stopping at 35. I cannot see why I cannot have the 36th frame. Shooting one shot on the leader (frame 0), should not inhibit me from getting the 36th frame (and 37th shot). After having this happen more than once--on cameras that are in good shape--I am starting to think I should move to another 35mm system...again.

    I gave some more thought to my experience with my Pentax gear, and I am almost certain that I was able to shoot the 36th frame, and had trouble only when I tried to shoot the 37th frame (for a total of 38 shots).

  10. #10

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    I have a dozen Pentax SLRs too with no problem achieving 37-38 frames without multiexposing them when not intended. In fact, of all my cameras, only the automatic AF bodies - except the p&s 35Ti, enforce 36 frames only before automatically rewinding. The Nikons F3, FA, FG and FE2 mandates that you are at frame 1 before allowing full control of shutter speed. Before then only max mechanical shutter speed allowed. I believe the purpose of this was so that the camera doesn't meter a long exposure that will leave the user hung up when typically advancing the fresh roll to position 1. You could of course still make a good exposure by compensating for that setting.


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