View Full Version : Help !White cards in film holders ?

Tim Chakravorty
4-Mar-2005, 08:47
I am leaving for Phoenix ( and then onto Monument Valley) in a few hours. I got some used film holders from eBay, they show signs of use but seem to be OK. All of them had white cards in them on both sides. What for ?Are they required ?

I got some new Fidelity holders too from B&H, but they didn't have the white cards.

Thanks !

Gem Singer
4-Mar-2005, 08:55
Hi Tim,

Sounds like someone put those white cards into the holders. For whatever reason, they don't belong there. Take them out and make certain that the aluminum septums in the holders are not scratched or bent, before loading them with film.

Ernest Purdum
4-Mar-2005, 08:57
I'm wondering if the used holders might actually be plate-holders, and the white cards someone's idea of spacers to put film into the proper plane, although this wouldn't be a good arrangement. Other than that possibility, I know of no use for the cards.

I suppose you could tell by loading film into one without the card and seeing if the film was a sloppy fit.

Tim Chakravorty
4-Mar-2005, 09:04
Thanks both. I will try putting some film in them and see how they fit with and without the cards. I will have over three hours to play with them in the plane, just hope nobody gets suspicous .

Paul Butzi
4-Mar-2005, 09:16
Is it white cards, or 4x5 scraps of gelatin-silver printing paper?

Lots of folks cut up conventional enlarging paper and put it in holders, and then process the paper to check for light leaks. It's cheaper than film.

Perhaps someone started to test the holders, then stopped with the holders still loaded with paper?

Tim Chakravorty
4-Mar-2005, 09:43
You are exactly right Paul. They are 4x5 scraps of gelatin-silver printing paper. Wonder why someone would sell them on eBay without removing them. This is making me uneasy.. Should I risk using them ? Its not like I will be shooting in my backyard. Or should just stick to the 2 brand new holders that I have ?

Dave Moeller
4-Mar-2005, 10:12
Two things:

First, never trust a valuable shoot to equipment you've not tested. If you don't have time to test the film holders before you go, then leave them behind. The inconveniencs of re-filling holders more often is far outweighed by the pain of finding you lost your once-in-a-lifetime shot to a bad film holder.

Second, the seller may have had no idea the paper was in there. The seller might have picked them up elsewhere and re-sold them. Who knows? I once got five 8x10 holders filled with old film...I just threw it out as I had no interest in figuring out what it was or if it had been exposed. It happens...it's no biggie.

4-Mar-2005, 11:37
Before you go to monument valley realize that any photography made for commercial purposes will cost you a fee and requires permits: Fine art or for publication.

I would stick to the new holders until you can check the holders, with the paper out on something unimportant.

Paul Butzi
4-Mar-2005, 12:31
I'd be leery of using used holders I hadn't tested on work that couldn't be duplicated.

On the other hand, with only two holders, it will be hard to get much done.

I'd take the untested holders, and use them, but try to shoot dupes on the two known good holders, maybe.

Hard to decide. Give a choice between making no exposure and using a holder of unknown reliability, it's better to use the holder. No exposure guarantees no photo. Using a unknown holder just introduces the possiblity of failure.

4-Mar-2005, 16:14
I know it's late but ... could they be paper negatives?


Mike Davis
4-Mar-2005, 20:28
Cut some photo paper, put it back in the holders, close the holders and take them outside for 5-10 minutes. Come back inside and develop the paper. If its fogged or you have lines near the edges (and you did things right) the holders will need work. If everything is fine, no problem.

When I vacuum my holders (and I do before loading them for every shoot), I always make sure to run the vacuum over the felt at the hinges . This may keep the felt from becoming too compressed and causing light leaks. It may not, but I do it anyway.