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  1. #1
    Trask's Avatar
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    New film cassettes vs old Leica cassettes - skewed negatives?

    On another website, a generally well-regarded photographer states that the reason his images taken with a Leica III are a bit off center is that new 35mm cassettes are smaller that the cassettes that existed at the time the Leica III was built (the 1930's), and hence the modern cassettes don't fit into the body quite tightly enough, with the result that the film moves a bit improperly and hence the images are not placed on the film properly. The suggestion, as I read it, is that the modern cassette is free to move in a deleterious manner.

    While I can imagine that perhaps the dimensions of the old load-them-yourselves Leica cassettes have slightly different dimensions than modern film cassettes, I'm at a loss to understand how this would result in skewed images. I would think that the cause of the misaligned photos (i.e., the image is centered in the finder but not in the final image) is either that the finder is skewed (unlikely), or the film was not loaded properly. Specifically, as all users of early Leicas know, it's very tricky to get the film loaded properly so that it is fully and properly seated in the film channel.

    I'm curious if anyone else has heard of the big/small cassette theory, and can state by experience that it's true. Maybe I'll learn something new today...

  2. #2
    AgX
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    For modern 35mm cameras:
    The position of the image on the film is determined by the position of the guiding rails to the image frame.
    The position of the film `plane´ is determined in first instance by the position of the pressure plate to the pressure rails, thus the slot (if any) for the film.
    Only if there would be a major misalignment/misposition of the cassette with a resulting torsion of the film I can imagine a film flatness problem.

    I have not heard of this big/small cassette theory before thus I already learned something new today...
    Is that theory only applicable for (old) Leicas?

  3. #3
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    I'd never heard of that *problem* before.

    I've (briefly) used a Leica LTM camera, as well as several Soviet bottom-loading clones , without any problems, apart from the notorious cutting of the film leader.
    Logically speaking, the advance sprockets should determine spacing, not the cassette used.

    The only 35mm camera which was really designed around a specific (Zeiss) cassette (though usable- at some risk -with normal ones) is the Soviet Leningrad: Imagine a spring-motor driven LTM mount Leica M (brightlines in finder with various focal lengths and horizontal parallax control).
    Often works well with normal cassettes, but if they have too much drag, they can lead to irregularly exposed fast speeds....
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    I have not heard of this big/small cassette theory before thus I already learned something new today...
    Is that theory only applicable for (old) Leicas?
    The original Leica FILCA brass cassettes made for the Leica screw mount cameras is in fact a bit taller than modern cassettes. What happens is the cassette drops down in the chamber causing the film to be drawn out at a slight upward angle. These cameras did not have a lower guide rail to hold the film in place untill serial number 570xxx when a bar was placed on the bottom door that would hold the film up where it came out of the cassette..

  5. #5

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    My response to the alignment being skewed would be a resounding "Meadow Muffins" If the image is not centered as the photographer thought, it's most likely an alignment problem between his eye and the viewfinder. IE biological interface error or the nut behind the wheel.
    The probability the the viewfinder isn't in alignment or the size of the cassette having something to do with "skewed" negatives I find ludicrous to the max, dude. If all or even some Leicas had a problem like this that's one thing, but for one person to have this problem is an exception & leads me to believe it's him not the camera. Does he have this error with more than one body?
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  6. #6
    leicarfcam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    the size of the cassette having something to do with "skewed" negatives I find ludicrous to the max, dude.
    This is an issue with ALL Leica screw mount cameras before serial number 570xxx but does not affect the Leica M-series. Measured at the shoulder of the original brass cassette it measures approx.46.80mm The same measurement of the newer cassettes is 42.60mm That's approx 4mm difference

    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    If all or even some Leicas had a problem like this that's one thing, but for one person to have this problem is an exception & leads me to believe it's him not the camera. Does he have this error with more than one body?
    Everybody who uses these older Leicas have noticed this issue. Not just one person. That's one reason I use the original Leica FILCA brass cassettes in my Leicas. Some will fix this issue by placing either cardboard shims or felt between the bottom of the cassette and the bottom plate in order to raise up the cassette..

  7. #7

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    Then the next question: what if you use a standard 35mm film can, would the same problem exist ?
    I have an old Leica # 222xxx and want to start using it a bit with a better lens than now.
    Do I need a felt shim or ?

    Thanks,
    Peter

  8. #8

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    OMG! Doubting Thomas'!

    No folks, it's a real issue. It's not that the image is off-center from the desired composition, it's that the image area actually drops (sorry, rises) into the sprocket holes. Some folks will invert the plate under the cassette for some help in this area.

    The hot set-up is to use the FILCAs in those machines, or suffer the consequences. It's not life and death, and one can work around it....just works better with the brass cassettes from Leitz. Cheaper, too!

    Jo

  9. #9
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    I think some folks are not quite getting the issue. Think about some of those classic images by say HCB and Robert Frank, to name a couple, that have the sprocket holes protruding into the image area, usually at a bit of an angle. You may have seen it in some images here on the apug gallery too. Is it a problem? HCB didn't think so. It only comes into play if you are printing full frame right out to the rebate. I always kind of thought it neat, but I guess not neat in the tidy sense.

  10. #10
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    According to "Melvin" on RFF: "It's easy to correct. You just put some felt in the latch on the baseplate where it touches the cassette. Cut a little ring. You don't need glue, just press it into place."
    Marko Kovacevic
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