Rolling Film : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I was just wondering if anyonow how much cheeper it is to roll your own film rather than buying it once you get started?

-- Chris (, September 22, 1999


As I recall, it is about 40% cheaper. But you will have to deal with dust, scratches and fogged film ends, even if you load your magazines in total darkness. I don't bulk load anymore; the hassles just aren't worth the savings.

-- Terrence Brennan (, September 22, 1999.

Here (in Australia) a 24exp roll of FP4+ is about $6.80. A 30M roll of FP4+ cost me $66. I'll get about 28 rolls of 24exp out of the bulk roll which works out to be $2.35 a roll. A fair saving. Of course you need a bulk loader and some reusable cassettes as well! A far as dust and scratches go, I've never had a problem. Other than the cost issues, I like the ability to do short rolls (10exp) and always have lots of film available.

Cheers, Nige

-- Nigel Smith (, September 22, 1999.

I used to bulk load years ago, but gave it up due to irregular film usage. I've been shooting more, and just started again. Picked up a couple loaders at a flea market for $5 each, and haven't had any problems with dust, dirt, scratches, or anything. I do find the quality of locally available 35mm cassettes is dismal. If anybody knows of any good ones, I'd like to hear. They carry both metal and plastic here, and neither is of high quality. One savings that is often overlooked is that you can make short rolls. If I need to copy something or just want 8 or 10 exposures, its no problem.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, September 23, 1999.

I once bought film on the meter and rolled it myself. In the end it didn't work out and I finally threw away a couple of meters because of passage of the expiration date. I don't know what this is with rolling your own film, but something has to be wrong with it. I know a couple of heavy users, photojournalists, but they don't do it and my local seller doesn't sell it often. Of course everyone has to do what suits him best, but I doubt it. If you're on location for a reportage have you filled enough film in advance?

-- Lot (, September 23, 1999.

I should also have added that I use bulk film for personal, copying, and still-life/studio type stuff. If I were going out on any kind of one-shot assignment, I'd go with commercially loaded film. It will be fresher, clearly labeled, and cheap insurance. See, you can be a tightwad and risk adverse at the same time!

-- Conrad Hoffman (, September 23, 1999.

I have used bulk film for years and would not buy readymades, I also have a 1,000 ft. roll of 5 inch Pantomic Aero extended red sensitivity (ASA 40) which I cut myself, the film was 12 years past date when I bought it, it had been cold stored by the Air Force all that time. No trace of fog, I paid $25 for it and will get 3000 (2500 with waste) sheets of film, that works out to $0.01 per sheet, it don't come any cheaper than that. Kodak's catalog list a 9.5 inch by 250 ft. at $531 works out to 6000 sheets at $0.09 rounded off. So lay out a little and save alot. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, September 26, 1999.

I do it all the time. I get 18 rolls of Tri-X from a 100' roll, I click the Watson 43-44 times and get 36-38 useable frames in my AE- 1. I have had as many scratched negs from store bought film as the stuff I have loaded myself. As long as you remember to open the door in the loader before you wind and keep it and your cassettes clean, you will be fine. Leaving that door shut will scratch the hell out of some film (voice of experience).

Some of the cassettes suck, the Kodak ones are not good. The cheap DX coded ones are better, easier to seal and unseal in darkness. You shouldn't probably push the cassettes more than 5-10 reloads, some people say more but think about it. They are 50 cents apiece, toss 'em before they get worn too bad. I also have some, I forget the manufacture, they have yellow paper stuck to the outside so you can write on 'em real easy, if you need.

Hey, $35 for 18-36 exp. rolls makes a lot of sense if you do all the processing and printing yourself. If not, that Ilford XPF or whatever the C-41 fake BW film is does well and you can take it to Eckards (if you dare).


-- Chuck Cypert (, October 06, 1999.

How about 120 film? Does anyone bulkload this? I suppose it would be a bit of a pain with the paper and all, but I'm curious nonetheless.

-- Nathanial (, October 21, 1999.

Just as an FYI, there are even a bunch of us maniacs cutting down 35mm film and reloading cartridges for subminiature cameras. I do it with T-Max 100 and other emulsions for my Minox. Since a 36-exp roll of 35mm film yeilds FOUR 36-exp Minox rolls, that's some awfully good film economy. Especially since factory loaded Minox film, being a specialty item, is pretty expensive - as much as $8 a roll.

But getting back on topic, I used to bulk-load Tri-X over twenty years ago. It worked fine, but if you're going to shoot any kind of real volume (and especially if you're doing important or professional work), it seems to me that you'll do nearly as well buying stuff by the brick from the big dealers and stock houses. And then you know each roll has gone through Kodak's (or whoever's) quality control...

-- Michael Goldfarb (, October 21, 1999.

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