View Full Version : Newbie question about exposed film

22-Aug-2007, 23:19
This might seem really silly, but I just got my 4x5 and I am getting ready to expose my first sheets of film. I only have 2 holders, so 4 sheets can be loaded for my first outing.

Once I've exposed the film, what do I do with it? do I remove it from the holders in a dark room (or change bag)? If so where do I store the film until I get to a lab? Or do they stay in the holder and it goes to the lab that way?

Silly, but I can't find this answer anywhere.

Thanks in advance.


22-Aug-2007, 23:40

This is a very common question and I'm almost sure it's been answered here on the forum previously. :)

But, in short, you can do one of two things:

1. Take the film holders in to the lab and have them unload them for processing.

2. Go to the lab and see if they have any empty 4x5 film boxes kicking around. If they do... just unload your film into the empty boxes and take the boxed film in to the lab for processing.

As an alternative to empty film boxes, there are retailers who sell these light-proof plastic envelopes for you to unload your film into. Then, take this to the lab for processing.

Lastly, like the majority of us LF shooters... over time, you'll find it expedient to have more and more and more holders. It's an inevitable thing! :)

Hope you have fun with your first exposures.


23-Aug-2007, 06:41
Thank you!

23-Aug-2007, 08:08
Thank you!

It is also quite possible to re-load your filmholders using a changing bag - especially with some practice. Find a shady cool spot to do this.

If you really want to do this in the field, consider a changing tent rather than a bag.

Or, get grafmatics.

MIke Sherck
23-Aug-2007, 10:33
Almost every large format photographer eventiually ends up with more empty film boxes than they know what to do with. If your lab won't help, post your location (city, state, province, whatever,) and see if there's someone who has extras. Like I said, most of us do (and end up throwing them away, eventually.)


23-Aug-2007, 14:33
I started with a couple of 10-sheet boxes of different films to try out and a dozen or so holders bought as a lot, so it worked well. I placed stickers on the boxes saying things like "E6 development," "Undeveloped film. Open only in dark," and "Please return this box." It would be more troublesome with 2 holders, but suggestions above can address this initial logistics issue.

I also thought about bringing films to the lab in holders but decided I would be the one who takes BEST care of MY films, if a bit clumsy. Some labs charge extra to unload film from a holder (and to process QuickLoads), too.

John Kasaian
23-Aug-2007, 16:38
Develop it yourself? If you have a room thats dark enough to load film then...?

23-Aug-2007, 23:34
I load my film in a change bag...no dark room.

How easy is it to develop my films myself? Can it be done in a canister, or does it have to be in baths?

Oh...BTW I took my first images. I tried Polaroids first so I have 2 scans that I can show, until I get the films developed. Where do I post my "my first LF pics" thread?


John Kasaian
24-Aug-2007, 07:39

You can load your film in a deveoping drum inside your dark bag! I suggest getting a Unicolor processor, the whole processes is detailed on the LF Homepage linked to the blue banner at the top of this page.

24-Aug-2007, 08:00
You don't really need a "darkroom" - you just need a room that is dark. Any room. A bathroom or closet with a towel drapped over the window and under the door will do. The important thing is to stay in the room for a few minutes so your eyes adjust to the darkness - and then you can see light that may still leak in from various places. Plug them up too with some tape.

If you're using black-and-white film, developing your own film is super easy and far, far cheaper than going to a lab. There are "daylight" tanks you can use, which only requires darkness while you place the exposed film into the tank.This can be done in a changing bag. If you have a darkened bathroom, you can develop the film in trays instead. etc etc.

If you really want to get into this, you should have to at least have a darkened bathroom. The other benefit of a bathroom: running a hot shower for a few minutes prior to loading your filmholders ensures that there will be no dust in the air that can get on your film. Once dust gets inside your changing bag, getting it out is real tough.

26-Aug-2007, 22:10
If you have your picture scanned and loaded on your computer, all you have to do is post a reply and look in the border of the area that you type your message in and look for the yellow square with the "mountain and moon" on it. Click it and attach your picture with it. Then we ALL can see your results.