View Full Version : Removing Film from Film Holder?

Tony Evans
4-Aug-2011, 18:33
I seem to be having trouble. Difficult to lift the leading edge of the film off the flat holder surface and trying not to damage the film. Not every time but quite frequent. Any simple how-to's?.

Daniel Stone
4-Aug-2011, 19:03
right hand index-finger's fingernail under the edge of film, lift up

right hand thumb, close down on very edge of film.

Pull film out as straight as possible to minimize scratching sides of negative on metal parts on sides of holder, meanwhile LEFT hand holding down light trap(flappy part on end of holder) while removing film and transferring to hanger/reel/tray/box,etc...

***wash hands and dry thoroughly before handling any films(processed or unprocessed). Oils can translate into marks on your processed negatives***

I'm somewhat ham-fisted, and I can make this work, even on 4x5, which has tiny margins on the negative vs 8x10 film ;)


Gem Singer
4-Aug-2011, 19:15
If you are using a standard plastic film holder, such as a Fidelity, Lisco. etc., look for a round indentation in the plastic under the edge of the bottom flap.

The indentation allows a finger nail to be slid under the sheet of film. Handle film, with clean hands, by the notched corner.

Mark Stahlke
4-Aug-2011, 19:24
I find standing the holder on its side makes it easier for me to get my finger nail under the film.

Peter Mounier
4-Aug-2011, 20:25
I blow a puff of air toward the film which always makes the film lift off the flat surface.
I make sure my mouth is dry before I blow. It doesn't take much, the air just wants to get under the film and lift it up.


4-Aug-2011, 20:32
Holding them upside down....works for me...most of the time...

If that doesn't work (like on some of my old stubborn holders)....use two hands, lay holder flat, push with your fingernail lightly against the center bottom edge (not on film surface), and one of the sides will rise enough for your other nail to grab it...


4-Aug-2011, 20:38
Handle film, with clean hands, by the notched corner.


Curious as to the reasoning behind handling the film by the notched corner, makes sense, just hadn't seen it before.


Gem Singer
4-Aug-2011, 20:57
Hi Dan,

Merely force of habit from handling sheet film for many years.

The notched corner is easy to handle without getting finger prints on the image area, and that way, I always know where the emulsion side is located.

Jerry Bodine
4-Aug-2011, 21:19
If your fingernails are all chewed off and useless, then you may have other unrelated issues to deal with as well. :D

4-Aug-2011, 21:25
Thanks Gem


Tony Evans
5-Aug-2011, 06:20
Thanks guys. Enough here to practice with. I have enough "dead" film sheets from my learning curve to try them all. Actually, I only encountered this problem recently while shooting Adox Pan25 which does feel thinner than my usual Acros 100.
Jerry, fingernails are fine. I'm on a diet :).

John MacManus
5-Aug-2011, 14:18
From time to time I also have this problem. Good ideas mentioned here for me to try. What I have done up to now is use a small piece of sticky tape to raise the edge [tape preblotted on shirt to decrease the sticky].
Thanks for asking ... J

Dan Dozer
5-Aug-2011, 17:39
I've found that my newer holders seem to be easier than the olders ones for 8 x 10 and some of the old 8 x 10 holders I can't seem to get under the film at all. I wear gloves when loading and unloading holders which makes it a little more difficult. So - I do something that some peolple will say is really stupid. I position my finger at the film edge where the little round recess is and use an exacto knife to carefully pick under the edge of the film. Works every time and I've never scratched any negatives ever with the knife. However, one time the knife rolled off the edge of the counter in the dark and dropped point down sticking into the top of my big toe (wearing thongs that day). What a mess when I got done and had to clean up all the blood on the floor.

Pat Kearns
5-Aug-2011, 19:49
I seemed to recall a long time back a member of the forum mentioned using a guitar pick. He slid it under the film at the small depression at the center flap to lift and pull the film out. Dan, a dropped guitar pick won't leave a bloody mess and they are inexpensive.:)