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Thread: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

  1. #1

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    Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    Hi I am a newbie and would like to have some good tips on how to load 4x5 sheets of film into the holders properly.

    I have a few questions:

    1. Is there a suggested way on how to keep the film in your hand while you are inserting it into the slides of the holder? Do you have to hold it by the side (lengthwise) edges without grabbing the film between your fingertips in any way? Or can you hold the indexed side between your fingertips ? And is "grabbing" the film between your finger tips certainly going to produce finger prints, or does that depend on how clean you hands are? Could you use thin cotton gloves?

    3. Is it recommended that the holder is placed onto some surface lying down, while you load it, or should you be holding it with your other hand?

    4. I find it quite hard to load film into a "changing bag". Is it normal? Should I try the film loading "tent", or the pop-up (collapsible) film changing room?


    Any help much appreciated !!!

  2. #2

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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    You may find it easier to watch a demonstration. There are many videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ing+sheet+film

    I load my 4x5 holders in a standard size changing bag. It takes a bit of practice, but it gets easier.

  3. #3
    David Schaller
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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    In the video I just watched the guy had his fingers all over the film. Not good. Hold it on the side edges!

  4. #4

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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    Yes, watch videos...

    But what might be best for you is to load a sheet of film in the light, watching what you are doing. Then with your eyes closed. When you are comfortable that you can load a sheet of film properly try it in a changing bag.

    Also practice opening and closing the film box in the changing bag. You’ll want to ensure no errors there either.

  5. #5
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    I have the film holder in left hand, and film in right hand. On the film I have thumb on right side of film, notch at the top right. 2nd finger goes on the notch, third finger goes under film. Once it starts to slide into place, I wiggle it a bit to make sure it's in the edge tracks for holding film. If it's tight, in it goes. I don't use a changing bag or tent... I have a darkroom at home and have acquired plenty of film holders. If traveling, I wait till night and use a bathroom with a towel at the base of the door.

  6. #6

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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    If you get an Infra Red viewing device you can see everything you do in the dark.

    If you clean your hands and fingers with rubbing alcohol you can avoid fingerprints on the film.

  7. #7
    Serious Amateur Photographer pepeguitarra's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    Practice, practice, practice, first with your eyes open and a spare film sheet. Then practice, practice, practice with a hoodwink. Then, do it, do it, doit. I started doing the 4x5 in a bag, then moved to a little box/tent type. Finally when moving to 8x10, a Harrison Tent. You need concentration. From time to time, I find some resistance, but I calm down and try it again, and it is in the mind. Clean and dry your hands as they suggested first. I have touched the emulsion several times without pressure and I have had no problem. Just make sure stop the operation if you start to sweat.
    "I have never in my life made music for money or fame. God walks out of the room when you are thinking about money." -- Quincy Jones

  8. #8

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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Yes, watch videos...

    But what might be best for you is to load a sheet of film in the light, watching what you are doing. Then with your eyes closed. When you are comfortable that you can load a sheet of film properly try it in a changing bag.

    Also practice opening and closing the film box in the changing bag. You’ll want to ensure no errors there either.
    +1 Practice is good.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  9. #9

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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    And BTW, I have never solved the problem of dust in a changing bag, so I don't change film in mine. When I'm traveling, I change film in the motel bathroom, which usually doesn't have a window, and I can drape towels over light leaks from the door (after turning off the room lights). I lean over the bathtub and do it in there. Tough on the back, but I've never had a problem.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  10. #10

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    Re: Tips on loading 4x5 film into the holders - Help needed

    +1 on practice. And, if I haven't done it for many weeks, I need to review before starting to load another batch of holders.
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

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