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  #1  
Old 17th July 2018, 07:19 PM
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CambsIan CambsIan is offline
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Default Bulk Loader

Hi All,

I have a couple of bulk loaders (Computrol and Watson 100) and half a dozen old metal reuseable 35mm cassettes (or at least I think they are!). Loaders seem to be fine, no cracks or holes. Cassettes could maybe do with a clean.

I have had them for ages, and have never used them, but with budgets getting tighter, maybe it's time to rethink. Round about £40 for 17m of FP4 seems the average price. I guess 17m would give about 10 x 36 exp films (about £50 worth so a saving of £10 ish).

My questions are
Is my estimate of 10 x 36 exp rolls about right ?
Is there anyway to see if the loader and cassettes are light tight before putting film in ?
Is it easy or am I likely to right off £40

Opinions and comments most welcome

Ian
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  #2  
Old 17th July 2018, 08:29 PM
John King John King is offline
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The almost standard length of a 36 exp film is 36 x1.5" plus 7" to allow for the leader and the spaces between each frame = 61" or 5ft 1 inch.

Therefore 17m x 3.25 feet = around 53 feet or around 10 full 36exp cassettes with probably enough left over for a 24 Exp one as well.
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Old 17th July 2018, 10:34 PM
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Using the bulk loader is quite easy. The stressful bit can be loading the bulk roll into the device in the first place. Itís not difficult, but you donít get to practice that often. Just make sure you know the procedure before you put the whole lot into the changing bag!
I donít know any way of testing to see if the loader and cassettes are light proof, other than loading them. A visual inspection of the loader, looking at the seals should help identify any damage. There isnít much scope for wear or damage, unless it has seen plenty of use.
I use the plastic cassettes which have given me very few problems. If youíre unsure of the metal cassettes, buy a few plastic ones to get you started, or load a short length of film into one of your metal ones as a test. The advantage of bulk film is that you can load any length of film you want/need.
You will need tape to fix the film to the core of the cassette. I use a Scotch product which I think is called Magic Tape. It has a frosted appearance, and adheres well to both film and core.
I think you will find it worthwhile using a bulk loader.
Alex


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Old 17th July 2018, 11:17 PM
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Ian - Alex gave me similar advice when I consulted him about 20 months ago. I followed it and found the whole business really simple and satisfying. As the loaders' frame counters are rather approximate (the diameter of your spools is relevant here), I have found it best to wind 24-frame lengths to begin with.

It's so easy that I have also learned to wind the Leica FILCA cassettes by a semi-daylight method (worked out by trial and error) in addition to using the more familiar cassettes.

You can buy little dispensers of Scotch Tape in short lengths, with refills to match. I find them helpful.
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Old 17th July 2018, 11:23 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Alex has covered it pretty well. Once you have settled on say one film for 90% of your use then bulk loading is the way to go. Two films and two bulk loaders are even better as two might cover 100% of your needs.

If your film of choice is Kodak either Tri-X or especially Tmax then don't bother as the price of bulk film v cassette is ridiculous. The pricing policy of Kodak Alaris follows the builder's quote strategy when he doesn't want the job but believes that refusing to do it and being honest is worse than engineering your refusal to engage him. He quotes some outrageous figure which if you accept, is so good for him that he will make time and space to accommodate you.

I feel a post midnight rant coming on. I have ranted on another forum on this matter and need to stay rant-free for my health .

Mike
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Old 18th July 2018, 05:24 AM
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Thanks to you all for your replies.

Reckon this is well worth giving it a go.

The film I have used the most is Foma 100 (it's cheap), then FP4.

As I've just moved across to HC-110 developer (Foma 100 and HC-110 don't go together) and Ilford have a time for it, thought I would move over permenantly to FP4.

However just looked at the price of a 17m roll of Foma 100, think cost wise that might be the place to start, just in case I manage to completely mess it up.

Once again, thanks for all your replies

Ian
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Old 18th July 2018, 08:37 AM
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You'll not mess it up.
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Old 18th July 2018, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
You'll not mess it up.


I agree! If you plan on using FP4, thatís what to get. Remember that the bulk cassettes have no DX coding. Fine for older cameras, but more modern, electronic types will normally default to ISO 100, unless you tell them otherwise. You can actually buy DX labels (Firstcall sell them), but I have never needed them for the cameras I use.
Good luck!
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Old 19th July 2018, 08:15 AM
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Thereís some useful info on Roger Hicksís site.



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Old 20th July 2018, 07:41 PM
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Thanks to you all for you replies.

Have decided to take the plunge, FP4 it is, think I might invest in DX coded labels and some plastic cassettes, when the budget allows.

Ian
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