Bulk Film Loading

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by therustytracks, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. therustytracks

    therustytracks TPF Noob!

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    Does anyone buy the 100' rolls of film and reloadable cassettes? I've been trying to find the best price on film and it seems as though bulk loading is the cheapest way to obtain large quantities of film. It seems like a semi-easy task, that will yield quite a few rolls of film for a fraction of the price. I'm just looking for some opinions from people who have tried bulk loading.
     
  2. Overkill-F1

    Overkill-F1 TPF Noob!

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    I tried using a bulk film loader with reusable plastic film cannisters for a while. It was quite easy. Keep the cannisters clean, they are quite cheap so replace them if the get old.
    ...Terry
     
  3. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    I bulk load like it's going out of style.

    It's cheap, it's easy, and everyone should do it.

    I use old bulkloaders I bought on ebay, and DX coded metal cassettes I got from freestyle.

    I was really anxious about it, because I started bulk loading only a couple months after I started photography, particularly about exposing a whole hundred foot roll.

    But it turns out my fears were unfounded. The bulk roller was sort of idiot proof. I loaded up about twenty cassttes.

    Then I figured out that I had not taped them properly putting the tape all the way around the spool onto both sides of the film.

    So they would come loose in the camera after the last frame was shot instead of rewinding....that sucked.

    I then figured out how to reroll them all from one cassette into another empty cassette.

    After that, every roll worked out fine, and I taped all further rolls I made properly and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

    I used to carefully husband my film resources.

    Now I shoot a roll per subject. 20 bucks or so per roll of arista.edu, equals 18 rolls of 36, or usually like I do it, about 30 something rolls of 20 something frames.

    That works out to what? 65 cents a roll?

    I just ordered another two rolls, this time of arista II and one of each 100 speed and 400 speed.

    I don't think I'll be paying six bucks a roll for tmax at the local any time soon.

    I also like being able to roll just what I want on a roll. It's nice, because all the frames on my contact sheets can be a single subject.

    Sure I lose a bit on the leader length on every roll, but I just like 20 frames better. Some people put more than 36 frames on a roll, like 44 or something, which is, I think the max that will fit on a developing spool. That saves change time when shooting sports and is more technically economical I think, but meh... it's not for me.
     
  4. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I use bulk rolls for film that isn't available to me in cassettes - mostly motion picture colour negative film and Technical Pan, which I only have in bulk.


    Best,
    Helen
     
  5. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    I also use bulk film. But I use old cassettes that I get from my local mini-lab. It's got a film tab sticking out, so I tape the bulk film to that and wind it. Works great.
     
  6. lazarus

    lazarus TPF Noob!

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    Back in the old days i use to bulk load lots, so here is what i think. In my mind if you shoot film a lot then bulk loading is a no brainer! Cuts the cost way down, can load as much shots you want. There realy only two kinds of loaders, Watsons and Lloyd's, there are other brands but they are built all the same. What you need to bulk load is: a bulk loader, film, changing bag or dark room, masking tape, cartridge, and scissors.

    The advantage of the Lloyd's is that the cartridge is very close to the felt light trap, so you lose less frames at the end of the roll. It also is much less complicated to work, with only two moving parts. The downside is the felt, you must keep it clean! You count rotations of the crank for the length of the load you wish to load. It is primitive, I believe 31 rotations equals 36 exp. roll. They also can be broke as they are made of bake-alite.

    The Watsons are complicated to work, but have no felt light traps. The Watsons have a "trapless" path, but the film goes over a sproket wheel which measures the length, shown on a scale on the outside, and there is indeed a possibility of scratching. One can also open the bulk chamber and fog all the film, i have seen this done!
    scroll down on this page to see how to use a Watsons.
    http://meweb.ecn.purdue.edu/~mmcenter/maskgeneration.html

    Over all i loved the Lloyd's and hate the Watsons, but ether works.
     
  7. joyride

    joyride TPF Noob!

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    I ended up with a lloyd's when I got my darkroom. I tried it and fell in love. I will never go back to regular cartridges. The low cost makes it much better. Also, I find that I am not so timid when shooting, as I know I have 5 more rolls with me.

    Plus you dont have to go to the store to buy film. If you are developing your own, opening the cartridge is much easier than the single ones.
     
  8. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    I never ever used a bulk loader. I had a changing bag and would load in the changing bag. I knew that 6 widths of the bag was 36 exposures. A friend used a darkroom and had two nails in the doorframe. He hooked the end of the film to one nail and pulled to the second and that was 36 exposures that he'd measured by length.

    Both of us used metal cassettes that we popped the ends off. Since they now use crimped cassettes that might no longer be possible. The plastic reloadable cassettes were good though.
     
  9. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    eBay should give you plenty of opportunities to find a bulk loader.

    I have a Watson and it works very well for me, film is cheap that way.
     
  10. sarallyn

    sarallyn TPF Noob!

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    bulk=awesomeness.

    everything else was mentioned, so I don't really have anything to add.
     

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