View Full Version : Bulk Film: Cut-down technique?

29-Oct-2005, 14:39
Needing some help here.

If anyone uses bulk film which needs cutting-down for 4"x5", could you recommend a technique for cutting?

Using a standard paper cutter works. Getting the edge dimensions without tolerance problems is very hard.

Is there another way to improve this?


Malcolm Stewart
29-Oct-2005, 15:35
I use one of the hinged knife type cutters for cutting paper to A5. (I also have the "safer" rolling disc type but the short platen prevents what I'm about to suggest.)
I've stuck card on the cutter's platen at the correct distance from the knife, and I simply push the paper up to the edge of the card. Can't see why this wouldn't work for film - keep your fingers out of the way of the knife!
Might be an idea to wear cotton gloves to prevent marking the film.

29-Oct-2005, 16:16
"Might be an idea to wear cotton gloves to prevent marking the film."

That's the bit I am not getting right. After manipulating the film, I can't feel it through the gloves.

Your cutter sounds safer than my carving knife edge too.

Do your film fit? I'm not getting a good hit for 5x4" film, although I've had film which is cut down which is flawlessly uniform in size.

Donald Qualls
29-Oct-2005, 16:57
Netgear, one thing to watch is that 4x5 film is actually a couple mm smaller than 4" by 5" -- originally, this was so the film, loaded into a sheet metal "film sheath", would fit into the same holder as a genuinely 4" x 5" glass plate. The upshot, though, is that the film is (IIRC -- I'm not a 4x5 shooter so don't have a handy sample to measure) 98 or 99 mm wide by 125 mm long, instead of 101+ x 127 mm. There's enough tolerance in film holders that being a millimeter under won't hurt you, so I'd shoot for 98 mm width; if you can hit that consistently, your film should fit nicely in standard holders, even if the length is off a couple mm.

David A. Goldfarb
29-Oct-2005, 17:24
I'd try adjusting the stop on your cutter (or placing a piece of tape if your cutter doesn't have a stop) using a scrap neg or sheet of film and cutting a piece of paper first to be sure it fits your holders.

I know Tuan has written something about cutting 8x10" down to 5x7" with some good suggestions. I'm not sure if it's on the main page or in the forums, but a search ought to turn it up.

Craig Wactor
29-Oct-2005, 23:26
I use a rototrim with tape marking the spot (I lost the stopper). It is pretty easy to do in the dark, but I tend to scratch the film sliding it into the cutting area. I think I am going to start sandwiching it between typing paper to cut it from now on.

30-Oct-2005, 10:26
Thank you for yor thoughts.

I'm going to try a rota trimmer and use acid-free tissue paper to layer it. There is probably a more refined method but this will have to do for the meantime.