Can I Bulk Load with used film canisters? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Has anyone ever tried using the canisters from comercial film? I got a Watson Bulk film loader when I bought my enlarger about a year ago. I have shot a dozen rolls of film at $5 a pop. I bought 2 100' rolls of film but I didn't know I needed canisters. The 1hour photo has tons of canisters that haven't been opened (they just cut the film off.

1. I could open the canisters gently and press to tops back on with a small hand vise of C clamp.

2. I could tape my film directly to the film sticking out ( about 1/4" ) and not have to open the cassette.

3. Or should I buy a pile of these empty canisters? Can they be used more than once?

Has anybody ever tried this? What kind of results do you get?

-- Rodney Durrett (, November 14, 2000


The crimp that the film manufacturers use to close the cassettes is much stronger than that that the reload cassettes have. I have never been able to open a commercial canister without damaging the rim. I suggest buying special cassettes intended for bulk loading.

On the other hand, you could get a few from the lab and try them. They ought to give a few to you.

-- Charlie Strack (, November 14, 2000.

Ilford used to sell films in reusable canisters, but I haven't shot Ilford film in 35mm for ages. They and others might still do so.

On the other hand beware of canisters from labs. You never know how they've been treated. I once had a shutter disabled by a thread that frayed from the lip of film canister from a lab. It would have been cheaper to buy new canisters in the end, but I was in Eastern Europe and one couldn't buy such things easily in those days.

-- David Goldfarb (, November 14, 2000.

Ilford crimp their canisters these days... which is a pity as I found them to be better made than the reloadable ones available here.

-- Nigel Smith (, November 14, 2000.

Both the metal and plastic cannisters that are commonly available are pretty junky. At least they're cheap. I've very carefully pried the cap off current Ilford film, and in a pinch you could reuse it. I wouln't trust them, and you need a small clamp to really put the cap back on. The light trap is far superior however. Ah, for the days of the Kodak Snap Cap (I think), or the good reusable Ilfords.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, November 14, 2000.

The only thing one can do with canisters these days, once the film is removed, is glue them on a magnet und attach to the fridge door. Serious, No. 1 is not a real option, I used No. 2 in case of an emergency, but cut the edges of both films, similar cut to loading on reels. No.3 they can be reused 3 to 5 times - I was told, after second use I tape them to avoid popping open.

So there is almost nothing like some good old Ilford ones I received from a friend (Thanks Jochen!). Still reloadables are Maco and Fomapan, I do not know about Efke, because I was never able to get a single film only bulk film.

-- Wolfram Kollig (, November 15, 2000.

I hardly use anything else but bulk film in 35mm, and I'm still in mourning for the passing of the Ilford 'roll top' canister. (Take both ends off, and you could brush the felt trap out to clean it.)
All is not lost. I've discovered that a company is still selling them as re-useable cassettes, complete with Dx coding label in 100, 200, and 400 ISO. So I've stocked up with a few.
Failing that, if you own a Nikon F, or F2, then the Nikon reloadable cassettes are excellent, even if they are a bit expensive, provided you have the correct design of bulk loader to operate the mechanism.

Beware of the cheap plastic reloadable cassettes that are sold in bags of 5 or 6. Some of them don't have a very good light-trap, and can come undone very easily. You need to look at the quality of the plastic, and if they're flimsy and the light trap is buckled, leave them alone.
As for the current glued or crimped commercial cassettes: No, you can't re-use them.

-- Pete Andrews (, November 15, 2000.

Can I get company info?

Can I get the Info of the company that has the with the cassettes with DX coding? I have 1 camera that uses it and it can not be overridden.

-- Rodney Durrett (, November 16, 2000.

I reload all of my film except when I shoot Iliford 3200. I have found several locations to get canisters. If you email me I will let you know those locations.

I agree with the above post reguarding the plastic canisters. I have a few and they always seem to cause some kind of problem. Word of warning though, even though you are careful, be aware that when you reload you stand a greater risk of scratching your film, I have made it a rule of thumb to use the reloads as learning tools or sport shots where a scratch will not cause me any great concern and when I need to shoot something really important, I use factory loaded that I keep on hand.(does not guarentee no scratches but odds are way better that you won't get them on factory loads)

As to the number of times you can use them, some that I have bought lasted for a couple of reloads before I had problems, others are still in use after 15 -20 reloads.

Also note, I work for a newspaper, when the photographers announced they were going digital full 100%, I found myself in a great position as they were getting rid of everything. The head photographer knew that I was reloading, so he gave me all of the cartridges they had, haveing sorted through them and throwing out any obviously damaged cartridges, I have not had any problems with those I have used so far, and I am sure that they reloaded these plenty of times prior to my recieving them. A lot depends on how you care for them.

Good luck!

-- Jeff Riehl (, November 15, 2000.

An easy way to reuse regular commercial cassettes is to tape the back end of the bulk load onto the cutoff end of the old film, which usually protrudes about a cm or so. I use them only once (which avoids grit buildup) and get new ones from one of the local minilabs.

-- John Lehman (, November 15, 2000.

The tape way may be the best.

I tried to tape (masking tape) some exposed film to the used cassette and run it through the camera. Seemed to work just fine. I am going to do the real think tonight.

I talked to the girl at the 1 hour photo - they send the cassettes somewhere to be recycled. I guess if they can do it , so can I.

Thanks, Rodney

-- Rodney Durrett (, November 16, 2000.

The few times I have tried the tape method, i ended up with one long scratch on my film, so what I did, I took the spool out of the cassette, loaded it in my bulk film loader, put the film on the the spool,

now your probably wondering how did i get it in the camera without exposing the film?

what i did is, i took a brokendown 12 volt cooler approx 3x2x2 ft that had a clamplock on it. sawed out 2 holes out for hands and then cut the arms off a black jacket that has the elastic cuffs, only about 6 inches from the cuff, secured them to the 2 holes. I did this because I for some reason loose total sence of direction in total darkness.

then just put all items in cooler clamp shut, put your arms in and just take the spool from the bulk loader and load the camera,just need to make sure your camera does not have any light leaks.

this also works very well for taking your film from your camera or cassette to your developing canister. just make sure you have every thing in the cooler before you start so you dont have pull your hands out works very well for me, just thought i would pass along an idea, hope this helps

-- chris leblanc (, November 29, 2000.

I want to thank everyone for their ideas and comments.

I tried using masking tape to hold the new film to the old film that sticks out of the used canisters I got from the 1 hour photo. I shot a couple of rolls over Thanksgiving. I developed the film and looked at the negatives and I did not find any scratches. I guess the real proof will be when I start making prints.

I stopped by a 1 hour at a WalMart and asked for some used canisters. The lady said Fugi pays WalMart to send the canisters back. I guess Fugi recycles all or part of the canister. Does anybody know?


-- Rodney Durrett (, November 30, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ