leaving film leader out

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is there any real advantage to leaving the film leader out on 35mm cartridges if i'm having my film processed at a lab? i usually leave mine out, on the assumption that whatever little thingamabob they use to reach up in there and grab the leader poses a slight risk of scratching part of the film containing an image. but doing so slows me down in reloading the camera because i have to fold the leader back around the exposed cartridge and stick the whole thing in a canister, whereas if i just left the leader all the way in the cartridge, i could just stick it in my pocket.

-- brad daly (bwdaly@hiwaay.net), March 05, 2000


I would expect that labs remove the film by popping off the end cap rather than pulling it out through the slit. That's how I do it in the darkroom, and since the felt on the slit can pick up scratchy particles, the fewer times the film passes through it, the better.

-- Matthew Hunt (mph@astro.caltech.edu), March 05, 2000.

I use one of those leader retriever thingies to pull the leader out of the cassette so I can trim it straight and cut the tip off the corners with the lights on, before I turn the lights off and pry the end off for loading into a developing tank. I think the maximum distance that the metal blades can reach is about one time around the film at the outside of the spool, and almost all 35mm cameras lose more than this getting to the first frame. So unless a lab uses a much longer retriever (can't imagine why they would - the leader is at the end of the film, and you only have to grab an inch or two to pull it out of the light trap) there shouldn't be much risk of scratching a worthwhile frame.

Of course, this is only theory, and a man with experience beats a man with a theory almost every time (please, no gender neutrality flames on this.) I do B&W almost exclusively, so have virtually no experience with labs, but I will say that the half dozen color negative rolls I take in a year don't seem to get scratched by the camera store lab that I use.

Cheers, Kip Babington

-- Kip Babington (cbabing3@swbell.net), March 06, 2000.

I always leave the leader fully wound in. (1) This stops accidental second use of the film, and (2) My theory (sorry, Kip) is that it forces the processors to open the cassette, rather than rip the film past the felt light-trap again. I really can't see a busy processor fiddling about with a film retriever.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), March 06, 2000.

It depends on how they process it. If they use a big roller transport processor, they use a sticky tape based retriever, then the film is spooled out via the light trap.

If they dip and dunk, they MAY open the cartridge and remove the spool to load it.

-- Terry Carraway (TCarraway@compuserve.com), March 06, 2000.

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