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  #1  
Old 3rd June 2012, 11:02 PM
Martin Aislabie's Avatar
Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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Thumbs down Second Hand Film Holders

I recently decided to increase my number of Film Holders to allow me several days shooting before having to stop and re-load.

Having sought advice here on FADU, I decided to take the plunge and buy some second hand Film Holders.

I bought off EBay and only bought ones which were described as “as new” or “very good condition”

Visually, most of those I bought did indeed seem to be almost new.

However, being an engineer, I take nothing for granted and decided to test them for light-tightness before doing any serious work with them.

To test the Film Holders, I loaded them with Ilford Direct Positive FB Paper.

I then loaded each Film Holder in turn into my camera (shutter closed), and with the aperture facing directly towards the sun, pulled out the Darkslide, leaving the light trap to keep out the suns rays for 120 seconds.

I chose 120 sec for the FB Paper as it should roughly be equivalent to 100ASA film for 4 seconds, which I felt was a reasonable time the Film Holder might be left exposed in normal working conditions.

The results when I developed the Paper, were disappointing to say the least.

Only about 1 in 3 of the Film Holders passed the test – showing no signs of light leaks.

The majority of those which looked as if they had only seen very light service actually leaked light slightly. Too much to be safely used in the field but perhaps could be used in a studio type condition.

Those Film Holders that looked as if they had seen the most wear and tear, almost all light-leaked from moderately to quite badly.

I was wondering, for those who have also bought second hand Film Holders

1) How many have tested for light-leaks ?

2) What did you do to test the light-tightness of your Film Holders ?

3) What was your success and failure rate of those you have tested ?

As a result of this testing, I have decided from now on to only buy brand new Toyo Film Holders – which I found I prefer, as they seem to be not only easier to load with Film but also less prone to a build up of static electricity and also more light-tight than their Fidelity equivalents.

Of course YMMV

Martin
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Old 4th June 2012, 10:30 PM
DaveP DaveP is offline
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1) no

....which means I don't have to answer the following two questions.

Maybe I've been lucky but I bought a few holders from ebay, half a dozen from peterwalnes.com and got ten from Eddie B on here. All of varying degrees of wear, fidelity/lisco elite, some fidelity deluxe and newer toyo. No problems with any of them. If you want all new Toyos you're going to have to put your hand deep into your pockets!
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Old 5th June 2012, 06:55 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Your test seems to me to be very demanding, do new DDS's pass it?
All my DDS's are secondhand and I was content to test them by taking unimportant photos on cheap slow film and judging the results from that. I guess I threw about 10% away because of fogging.
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Old 5th June 2012, 10:13 AM
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I agree with Martin's findings I have aways bought film holders new, can't see the point of scrimping at this stage.
If fact the only bit of used equipment I've got is the 47mm XL and that's a fine lens.
My film holders are Toyo but are thinking of getting some Chamonix ones they are well made of wood and carbon fibre and lighter than Toyo.
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Old 5th June 2012, 10:40 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Butler View Post
I agree with Martin's findings I have aways bought film holders new, can't see the point of scrimping at this stage.
If fact the only bit of used equipment I've got is the 47mm XL and that's a fine lens.
My film holders are Toyo but are thinking of getting some Chamonix ones they are well made of wood and carbon fibre and lighter than Toyo.
J.
Since all my equipment is secondhand it would be equally silly not to scrimp at this stage. The £25 saving on a secondhand 5x4 DDS over the price new far outweighs the cost of testing.
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Old 5th June 2012, 11:51 AM
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I have not tested my 5x4 holders. However I have had issues with wooden ulf film holders. Even new the traps usually leak a little, some are bad. I have got into the habit of covering the film holder with a dark cloth whilst the slide is removed, this usually fixes the problem. Out of interest I would test a new holder. Is it possible that the holders are not sitting flat on your camera back allowing a light leak?
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Old 5th June 2012, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Your test seems to me to be very demanding, do new DDS's pass it?
Yes, it is demanding but not totally unreasonable - I do encounter situations when the sun is shining straight down the Felt Light Trap.

I always shield the slot from direct sunshine when taking the shot - but as I remove and then re-insert the Darkslide, there are a couple of seconds when the Light Trap is fully exposed.

Both the new Toyo and the brand new Fidelity Holders pass the test, as well as some older Toyos.

Martin

Last edited by Martin Aislabie; 5th June 2012 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 5th June 2012, 09:11 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry View Post
I have not tested my 5x4 holders. However I have had issues with wooden ulf film holders. Even new the traps usually leak a little, some are bad. I have got into the habit of covering the film holder with a dark cloth whilst the slide is removed, this usually fixes the problem. Out of interest I would test a new holder. Is it possible that the holders are not sitting flat on your camera back allowing a light leak?
Good point Barry, I hadn't thought of the holders not sitting flat

The Fidelitys are noticeably more bendable than the very rigid Toyos

However, if they aren't siting flat against the back of the camera - then I don't want them anyway.

The Depth of Focus even at f22 is only about 1mm.

I have read its pretty much an essential that you ULF'ers keep the Film Holder covered when the Darkslide is removed because of Holder Flatness and other light leak issues.

However, I am concerned about sail area on my 5x4 - I don't want it rocking and wobbling in the wind any more than I can manage as I take my shot.

With a ULF you are probably damned by sail area regardless of what else you do

Martin
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Old 5th June 2012, 09:12 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Interesting post.

I have only used 5x4 film holders occasionally over the last few years, mostly with home made pinhole cameras made out of cardboard boxes, with lots of black tape applied to stiffen them up.

I've put b/w film and paper into them and have used them under various lighting conditions but have never had any light leaks at all, so far.

All six holders were bought on ebay from about three different people.

Although I can't imagine pointing the camera directly at the sun very often, I might give your test a go, out of curiosity if nothing else.

Terry S
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Old 6th June 2012, 06:46 AM
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I now only purchase new film holders and like Martin I always go with Toyo for the very reasons he gives. Unfortunately I couldn't get Toyo in 5x7 format and had to go with Fidelity. With these I find the film is likely to move within the holder and I occasionally get some form of 'cut-off'. I've found Fidelity holders don't have the same fine-tolerance as the Toyo holders.

The only problem I've had with light-leak is when sunlight has fallen directly on the holder with the dark slide completely removed. If I'm using a dark-cloth I cover the holder when removing the slide, otherwise I shield the holder with my cap.
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