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Thread: Film Holder Discipline

  1. #1

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    Film Holder Discipline

    I've got a good collection of 8x10 film holders---not a huge collection, but enough to last me, I figure. I also keep a
    "cannibal box" for parts which I occasionally transplant into ailing film holders to make them good to go again.
    I do have quite a variety---black wood "Graflex Made for Eastman Kodak"s, a few mahogany, then there are plastic Liscos, both Regals and Regal II. With the cost of holders on the high side these days, I would like to keep them as functional as possible for as long as possible. When a shoot demands it I can load all of them but in reality that seldom happens--I'll take maybe 6 or 8 film holders with me on local outings, but there is no rhyme to which 6 or 8 film holders. They get selected at random unless I plan on a mixed bag of emulsions, then say HP-5+ will go in the Lisco Regals and perhaps Adox Ort25 in the Graflex woodies---I'll use the film holder its self to distinguish which the emulsion resides inside.
    But I was thinking, in the interest of longevity should I "mothball" the bulk of my fleet of film holders and hold back, say 12 holders (which will empty a box of 25 sheets minus 1) and use them exclusively until they develop a problem, then either repair using the cannibal box or replace the offender from my mothball fleet?
    Or should I keep rotating through the whole enchilada?
    Which discipline would best prolong their useful life expectancies?
    Is non-use more harmful to film holders than frequent usage?
    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.

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    Someday you'll be able to get all the 8x10 holders you want for cheap, sort of like 4x5 are now. I wouldn't worry.
    I use a labelmaker to make labels for what film is used in them. Some holders are only used for a certain film on account of the label.
    I've used parts holders for both the darkslides (such as for galli shutters) and the frames for open picture frames.
    I think the only practical consideration for storage is to keep them clean.

  3. #3

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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    I splurged long ago on only good holders, sacrificing something else, of perceived lesser value, to save up the money. I now have 22 reliable ones loaded and ready to go at all times.

    Life, for me, is too short to have to worry about this when I should be devoting all my attention to images I am trying to make. Just one man's opinion.

    My trouble is not using them enough to worry about wearing them out. I'm hoping 2015 will be more productive.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    I'm more worried that 8x10 holders in GOOD CONDITION are going to be expensive as hell down the line, so I'm careful with mine. It's already getting hard to find mint 5x7 holders. What good is old warped stuff? Kinda defeats the whole idea of using 8x10 in the first place.

  5. #5

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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    I have to admit that my issue is organizational as much as for longevity. Having ten or twelve good holders at the ready is a far more compact package than, say a foot locker. If one of the film holders should develop a leak or other issue there is less a chance of it getting lost in the crowd.
    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.

  6. #6

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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I'm more worried that 8x10 holders in GOOD CONDITION are going to be expensive as hell down the line, so I'm careful with mine. It's already getting hard to find mint 5x7 holders. What good is old warped stuff? Kinda defeats the whole idea of using 8x10 in the first place.
    ^^^this^^^
    Proper storage is important, I've got very old wooden holder still in great shape and I've had some pretty new plastics that leak. Good used holders ain't cheap and they aren't getting any cheaper. I've gotten pretty good at rebuilding both the wood and plastic ones but I like the black Kodaks with the light traps that unscrew so, if necessary the velvets could be replaced. That's not such a simple option on plastics.
    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.

  7. #7
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    I have never had to discipline my film holders as they are, for the most part, a well behaved lot. They know damn well if they get out of line they'll soon end up at the knacker's (i.e., Ebay) or worse.

  8. #8

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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Whitaker View Post
    I have never had to discipline my film holders as they are, for the most part, a well behaved lot. They know damn well if they get out of line they'll soon end up at the knacker's (i.e., Ebay) or worse.
    Tough love! Beautiful!
    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.

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    I have an old Coleman ice chest that holds my 8x10 holders (16 to 20 or so holders) nicely when traveling, makes a nice seat when camping, too. I have three padded zippered cooler bags that each fit 5 to 6 8x10 holders for any extra -- and I tend to work out of them rather than the ice chest.

    They are a mixed bag of holders -- only three wood ones, but I got them NIB (Kodak), the rest a mixture of older and newer Liscos/Fidelity and a couple "medical cassettes", too. Some have metal darkslides -- I tend to save those for rougher conditions. I suppose it is silly to expect them to last another 20 years, but I do. I have had many of them for longer than that already.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Film Holder Discipline

    I too use a picnic cooler in the truck, and only two or three 8x10 holders at a time in the actual pack. But I tend to reserve 8x10 film - color in particular - for
    only those shots warranting big enlargements. It's getting awfully expensive, so if 4x5 is adequate, that's what I'll use instead. Out on dayhikes, however, I have to
    choose one or the other, and since the 8x10 format equates to a better exercise load, that's what I generally carry ... at least for now.

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