re: Best bulk film loader

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by raven4ns, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. raven4ns

    raven4ns TPF Noob!

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    Hello,
    Sometime back I was thinking about loading my own film and bought a Watson film loader. What film loader would you consider the best and easiest to use? Also what is the easiest way to develop B&W film i.e. which containers etc. ?
    I currently use Ilford XP2 super because I can get it developed at any lab and it is easy to scan. What about scanning regular B&W? I use a Canon FS4000 film scanner. One thing I like about the XP2 is that I can shoot it anywhere from ISO 100-1600 on the same roll, can you do this with other B&W films? Thank you for any and all help.
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Answers:

    1. I have 3 Watsons and they do the job nicely.

    2. Developing b&w. You'll need a measuring container, clean empty plastic bottles, thermometer, developer, stop bath, fixer, film clips, photo detergent [reduces water spots] and a tank with one or two reels.

    3. You can try scanning b&w negatives with the gear you have. Only you can judge if the results are acceptable.

    4. B&W films differ greatly in 'pushability.' One of the films I use is Ilford Pan F, but I expose it only at ISO 50 to keep from increasing the graininess.
     
  3. Luke_H

    Luke_H TPF Noob!

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    Hopefully someone can chime in on the Lloyds style loaders and others.

    I have never used anything but the Watson 100B style ones. I have 5 of them at home. 4 loaded and one that is broken that I took a chance on for 1.00 on ebay. It works, but is made of parts from two brands, so it doesn't snap shut tight.
     
  4. raven4ns

    raven4ns TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for your responses. I'll stay with Watson's then. Since the XP2 is so easy to use and scans great I think I will continue to use that for my B&W. If I buy the bulk film that should reduce my costs a bit. Where do you get your film canisters to reload the film into? Do you use the plastic or the metal ones and any tips you might suggest would certainly be welcome.
    I may also buy the Fuji Reala in bulk to help control costs. It would be nice to develop these but color is very finicky I'm told. Thank you again.
     
  5. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use the plastic reloadables with twist-lock ends. They're carried by B&H, among others. Unfortunately, I do not know a Canadian source.

    Developing color is a bit finicky, but then so is b&w if you're after the very best results. For color, time/temperature/agitation should be followed to the letter. At no time should you try to squeeze out additional rolls from a batch of chemistry. For the more complex color processes I made tape recordings which tell me what to do and exactly when to do it.
     
  6. raven4ns

    raven4ns TPF Noob!

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    Hi Jim,
    Thank you for your comments. Which plastic contaniners specifically? I like the idea of the lock-on lid. The only ones I saw were metal and samigon i think had plastic but nothing about a locking head.
    Since I use XP2 for my black and white I am loathe to switch to regular B&W because of the convenience of XP2. Plus it scans really well too. Have you ever bought film on ebay? I'm trying to reduce my costs a bit since this is just a hobby.
     
  7. Luke_H

    Luke_H TPF Noob!

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    The plastic containers have a lid only on one side and it screws down. Much safer than metal. Also less chances of any sharp bits to scratch a line the entire length of your emulsion (not speaking from experience!)

    I have both metal and plastic.. At first I hated the plastic, but now I love em. More compact, less apt to pop open in daylight, and easier to get the top back on them.
     
  8. raven4ns

    raven4ns TPF Noob!

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    Hi Luke,
    Thank you. I assume they will fit most 35mm slr's? I use 2 Canon EOS3's so they need to fit them properly. Have you found a place that supplies these at a decent price? Also how do you get the containers back after you use them? Or do you develop your own film?
     
  9. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Processing houses generally do not return cassettes. This reduces the cost-effectiveness of bulk loading. If you bulk load, you might as well do your own developing. That way, you get full benefit. You also get the cassette!
     
  10. raven4ns

    raven4ns TPF Noob!

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    Hi Jim,
    Since I use Ilford XP2 which is a C-41 B&W I'm not sure I can do my own processing. I also shoot Fuji reala or superia so if I could do my own processing I could do both the color and B&W. That would be really great but I understand color processing is very difficult to do.
    Perhaps I may just have to bite the bullet and continue buying my film by the roll and have a mini-lab process it.
     
  11. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Color processing simply requires the ability to follow instructions and pay attention to the details. B&H carries the Kodak kit, but they state that they can't ship it. You can check Freestyle Photographic Supplies. They list a 1 qt. Arista kit for $14.99 which will process 8-10 rolls, including specifically XP-2. You'll have to do the math to see if it's worth your while. You'll need a measuring container for diluting the concentrates, bottles to hold them, a thermometer, a clock with a sweep second hand and a developing tank. You will also have to have a completely dark place where you can load the film into the tank.

    Hope this helps.
     

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