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Thread: Film holder protocol?

  1. #1

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    Film holder protocol?

    Which side of the film holder slide handle is generally accepted to indicate that the film is exposed? The dark side or the aluminum side?

    I'd like to fit in properly with tradition, since I just bought a 2x3 Busch Pressman C with Wollensack Raptar f4.5 101mm lens in a Wollensack Rapax shutter, and one film holder - to be followed by others as I find them. The little Pressman has a Kalart rangefinder in good working order, a few scuffs on the leather covering the aluminum (I think) body, and a few scratches on the black wrinkle paint. Otherwise seems in lovely condition - the shutter sounds right, the bellows look good, lens is clear, etc. No Grafloc back, although I gather they're not too difficult to fit. But the spring back has a ground glass and the mini- hood for it is in good condition.

    I've wanted something like this ever since I used a baby Speed Graphic in my teens on assignment for the local paper. While that bad boy had a synchro shutter - think No. 5 bulbs, yes! - my little gem lacks the solenoid for external synchro. No problem, I plan to do landscapes, etc. While the Wollensack lens is only 3 elements, I gather they are quite good. AND the price was right at a local camera shop.

    Now to hit FreeStyle's site and order some sheet film, turn up a developing tank - I think Yankee makes one - and a neg carrier and proper lens for the Beseler 23c. I wonder what the digital crowd will think when they see this sweetie on a tripod with a focusing cloth to use the ground glass!

    This should be a nice complement to my Pentax 645n kit.

    Any advice from the old hands - or young experts - out there would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks!!

  2. #2

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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    white unexposed.

    black exposed
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  3. #3

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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    white unexposed.

    black exposed
    Sounds reasonable! Thanks, Eddie.

  4. #4
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    Welcome to the madhouse!

    There's another thread about this around here. There are official sources indicating both ways.

    The black side is smooth, and the white side has bumps. If you go by color, then white is unexposed, and black is exposed. If you go by feel, no bumps is unexposed, and bumps is exposed.

    IIRC, the US Navy trained its photographers that white (no bumps) is unexposed, and the Graflex manual says that no bumps (black) is unexposed. I suppose this is because in the Navy, if you have time to make a photograph then you have time to look at the holders, while the people at Graflex knew that the press photographers would be blindly grabbing at the holders in their pockets.

  5. #5

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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by George in Georgia View Post
    Sounds reasonable! Thanks, Eddie.
    White unexposed. Black opposite of white.

  6. #6
    Wally Wally's Avatar
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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    Welcome to the madhouse!

    The black side is smooth, and the white side has bumps. If you go by color, then white is unexposed, and black is exposed. If you go by feel, no bumps is unexposed, and bumps is exposed.
    Come on, now, Brian, you can't have it both ways!

    No bumps is black therefore exposed; bumps is shiny, and unexposed, right?


    // Wally, who got it backwards the first time i dropped my holders off at Chrome.

  7. #7

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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    My brain works differently. white means light and to me light means the film is exposed: to help I have made a big X on the eXposed side of the slide with a marker pen.
    Don't let any body else use my holders.

  8. #8

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    Roll film backs for Speed Graphic 2 x 3

    I have a Speed Graphic 2 x 3 with the spring back. Are any adapter kits available to mount a 120 back?

  9. #9
    ARS KC2UU
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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowanw View Post
    My brain works differently. white means light and to me light means the film is exposed: to help I have made a big X on the eXposed side of the slide with a marker pen.
    Don't let any body else use my holders.
    Ditto.

    And I don't care about tradition of any kind.

    White/aluminum to me means light (exposed) and black is no-light (unexposed). Always done it that way.

    Bob G.
    All natural images are analog. But the retina converts them to digital on their way to the brain.

  10. #10

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    Re: Film holder protocol?

    What you should get from all these replies is that there is no right way, except the way YOU do it. Just be consistent, and don't let other people touch your stuff

    As a corollary to this, what do you do when your holders are empty vs. not empty? What do you do to prevent yourself from opening up a film holder that has film inside it?

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