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Thread: film loading/unloading

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    film loading/unloading


    Thanks to everyone who replies in the forum your replies are very helpful. I hope nobody minds me asking such a silly question... After I take a picture with a large format camera, how do I remove the exposed 4x5 or 8x10 film and put new film in? Do I need to put the whole camera inside a sealed tent or changin bag and replace the film in there? If so, what do I do with the exposed film sheet? Is there a special sealed container I put the exposed film into? With my last question, somebody mentioned quick-loads? With quick-loads would I need a sealed tent?

    Thank you, Barret.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2000

    film loading/unloading


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    film loading/unloading


    Not a silly question at all!

    You might find it helpful to read a good primer like Steve Simmons' Using The View Camera, which will give you illustrated explainations to most of your questions. I think I read my copy six or seven times before I even picked up my anny speed graphic. Good Luck!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    film loading/unloading

    I agree with the others that you should read a book like Steve Simmons's Using the View Camera or study the large format web site. But let me give you a clue. How do you manage to get the exposed film out of a roll film camera such as a 35 mm or medium format camera? The film is in something and that something has some way to keep it from being exposed to the light except when the picture is being taken. The same principle works for view cameras. The film is put in a holder of some sort and there is something called a dark slide you pull out when you want to expose the film in the camera. You then put it back in to protect the film from light and remove the holder from the camera. For development, the film is taken out of the holder in a darkroom just as you would with roll film.

  5. #5
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada, eh!

    film loading/unloading

    No, you wouldn't need a film changing tent if you were using ready loads. Ready loads are convenient but you would be limiting yourself to only a few types of film. Before I go out with my camera, I load my 8x10 holders (I only have 5 holders) in my small darkroom. When out in the field if I run out of film I change my holders in a light proof tent that I constructed myself. Only the holders, film boxes and empty film boxes (for the exposed film) go in the tent. The exposed film is kept in a cardboard sleeve and black plastic (the Ilford way for unexposed film). I used my tent last weekend at Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park in Southern BC. Pretty rugged place and worked like a charm. Here is a link if you want to see some pics of my tent.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    New Jersey, USA

    film loading/unloading

    Simmons' book is quite nice for beginners. I'm not insulting him, it's veyr well written and covers the basics. I have a copy on my bookshelf. However, once you read that, a copy of View Camera Technique by Leslie D. Stroebel (about $60, 300+pp, hardcover) will cover large format topics in more depth (especially optics) and will prove a lifelong reference source.

  7. #7
    Jean-Louis Llech
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Beauvais - Picardie - France

    film loading/unloading

    How do I remove the exposed 4x5 or 8x10 film and put new film in ?
    It is practically essential to use several film holders, not just a single one.
    So, when a film is exposed, you store the holder apart, and you take another holder containing an unexposed film.
    Loading the holders
    A film box consists of 3 half-boxes nested together, and it is light tight. Everything you will do with the film must be done in the dark.
    The film holders must always be loaded and unloaded in the dark : either in a darkroom, or in a changing tent or changing bag.
    When you load the film, you take it out of the film box, and insert it in an empty holder.
    After the film is loaded, you close the holder by means of the dark slide, which is a kind of lid, that closes hermetically the holder.
    Manipulating the holder before and after the exposition
    <li>When you place the holder in the camera, before exposing the film, you remove the dark slide.
    <li>After the film is exposed, you close again the holder by inserting the dark slide.
    <li>Then you identify this holder as being exposed.
    You'll notice that a dark slide has generally two colors : one side is white, and the opposite side is black. You can use these colors to identify an exposed holder from a non-exposed one.
    <li>When the holder is closed with the dark slide, it is again light tight, and you can remove it from your camera and place it in your bag.
    <li>Preferably, do not mix exposed and non-exposed holders, and store exposed holders in another place in your bag, to avoid exposing again a sheet film which has been already exposed.
    What do I do with the exposed film sheet ?
    First, find one or several empty film boxes. (Ask for them in the store where you buy your sheet films, or in a laboratory, they always have plenty of them).
    In the darkroom, or in a changing tent, open your holders, remove the exposed film and place it in this empty film box. That's all.
    Of course, if you use only one holder, you must unload the film in the dark, place it in this box, and load your holder again.
    As the price of a holder is rather unexpensive (considering the price of all your gear), it would be silly not to buy several ones.
    The Quickload
    The Quickload and Readyload are plastic holders, which use individually-sealed sheets of 4x5" film, in the same manner than Polaroids in 545 sheet-film or 550 pack-film holders. The sheet-films are sealed individually in a light-proof and dust-proof envelope.
    Quickload is a trade mark by Fujifilm, and Readyload is a trade mark by Kodak.
    These special holders do not need to be loaded and unloaded in the dark. When they are inserted in the holders, you do it in the daylight.
    The holder is inserted in the camera as an ordinary holder, and a part of the envelope containing the sheet-film is used as a dark slide.
    (Of course, the Quickload or Readyload sheet-films must be unloaded in the dark for development).
    Advantages :
    <li>You do not need to load/unload the film in the dark,
    <li>The films are dustproof,
    <li>To some extent the holders are dustproof too, as the Quickload holders are provided with a cap. You need nevertheless to be careful about dust.
    <li>Very good film flatness (Pressure plate)
    <li>You need only one holder, for traditional films you need several ones.
    <li>When using traditional holders, pre-loaded in the dark, you can't change the emulsion, (B/W, color, transparencies) or the speed of films (100/400 ASA) if you have to. With a Quickload or Readyload, you can change the kind of film each time you need.
    Drawbacks :
    <li>Less emulsions are available, either with Fuji or with Kodak,
    <li>Only in 4x5" format,
    <li>No 5x7" or 8x10" holders and films available.
    <li>Individually-sealed sheets of 4x5" film are more expensive (about twice the price of an ordinary film box),
    <li>The holders are rather expensive too, (But a single one is enough)
    <li>The weight of a holder and a box of 20 sheet films in Quickload or Readyloads is heavier that 10 Fidelity 4x5" pre-loaded holders.
    Operating mode :
    <li>You can preload the holder, or load it after it has been placed on the camera,
    <li>Place the holder in the camera : either you slide it in the camera, or you remove the groundglass and fix the holder with the Graflok attachment,
    <li>Remove the cap,
    <li>(If not preloaded) Insert the Quickload envelope in the holder : it is securely locked in the holder by means of a metal clip,
    <li>Pull out the envelope (like a dark slide : only a part of the envelope moves out, the film is held by the clip),
    <li>Take the picture,
    <li>Push the envelope fully in again as a dark slide,
    <li>Unlock the button, pull out the whole Quickload envelope ,
    <li>Seal the envelope with an "Exposed" sticker, (20 stickers come with the film box) to avoid light leaks, and to identify the film as exposed.
    Last, but not least, never mix different emulsions and holders : sometimes, people use a Polaroid holder with Fuji films, or a Kodak film in Quickload holders, or a Fuji film in Readyload holders.
    Physically, it is possible, as the sheet film can always be inserted in the holder. But the results are sometimes very poor ones : Polaroid holders do not have a pressure plate, and film flatness with Fuji or Kodak films is bad, and using Fuji films in Quickload holders (or opposite) may cause light leaks.
    Sorry to be so long, but I hope this will help you.

  8. #8

    film loading/unloading

    To see how to load film holders, complete with photos, try

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