Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bulk Loading 35mm Film - How To

I shoot a moderate amount of 35mm film.  One of the "downsides" of shooting film is the cost of the actual film.  It can range from fairly inexpensive $3-4 per roll to fairly expensive $10+ per roll.  It comes down to the type of film, the age of the film and where you buy it.  

If you are serious about film photography an option to manage your cost is bulk loading 35mm film yourself from a 100' roll.  Although there is a small setup cost the per cartridge cost decreases significantly.  One note, this is really only practical if you develop your own film.

The equipment need is:
  • A daylight bulk film winder
  • Bulk rolled film
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Reusable 35mm film cassette (cartridge)

There are several brands of daylight bulk film loaders.  The one in the linked video was made by Prinz.  Most well-known online camera stores carry them.  Next you need a 100' bulk roll of 35mm film.  Again, camera stores like B&H Photo Video in NYC (or online) is a great resource.  You can also buy bulk film through Amazon.  You get the idea.  You want a 100' roll of your favorite film stock.  Finally, you need to get empty 35mm film cartridges.  I'm NOT talking about empty commercially rolled film cassette, but a re-loadable type.  Again, these can be purchased online, like these Kalt cassettes from B&H.

There are 2 types of 35mm film cassettes.  First, a plastic cassette that has a screw off top, and a metal cassette with a pop off top.  I prefer the metal cassettes, but the plastic are easier to load.  The metal cassettes I've been using were purchased at Roberts Camera in Indianapolis and are DX coded 400 speed.

OK, once you have all your equipment, here's a video on how you put everything together and "roll your own"

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