Load Film in Subdued Light!

As far as I can tell, most commercial color negative film can be loaded under whatever lighting conditions you like: I’ve loaded Lomography Color 100 & 400, Fuji Superia XTRA, and some others under cloudless skies at high noon in August in North Texas with no problem. Sure, some of the more niche and limited edition films (Rollei Digibase, the Kono films, Lomography’s Cinestill 200, etc.) and some black & white negative film—pretty much anything that comes in a black film canister or wrapped in heavy black plastic—still calls for loading in subdued light, usually on the package somewhere in big, bold letters. With the Digibase, I think the clear polyester base is a bit more sensitive to light than orange cellulose, and with the limited edition, handrolled films, I think they’re using recycled film canisters that (they’re afraid) might leak a bit. I have no clues about the black & whites, and so maybe my suppositions about the others are incorrect… Allahu alim, and probably some more tech-minded people.

Anyway, it’s probably best to go ahead and shade the camera with your body (at least) when you’re loading film.

But, if not, if I’m wrong, or you just don’t care, please don’t go opening the back of the camera in broad daylight unless, of course, the film has already been rewound into the spool. If you do, you might just end up with some fun pictures like these…

As mentioned last week sometime, I finished this roll of film at almost the same time that I finished a roll in the Espio. The Espio has a handy automatic rewind feature that is (not) sadly missing on the FG. So, I took a shot with the FG, thumbed the flim advance lever and it stopped halfway indicating the last frame. Then I took a shot with the Espio and it started rewinding. I let it rewind, opened the back and retrieved the film for developing, then opened the back of the FG and quickly realized my error…

I had some fun at the end of this roll, just wandering around the front yard reversing the 50mm f/1.8 at whim, free-lensing it, just playing around, and so some light leaks and whatnot were expected and appreciated. But the accidental back-opening did something to the sprockets that I didn’t expect, and it’s interesting to see how the film that was rolled onto the internal reel was affected.

The image up top—in the uncropped version it has a dim ’35A’ in the lower lefthand corner, so I think it’s frame 36—was the last frame with anything at all on it and so it was probably wound partway around the takeup spool, with two frames of the Hanabibti that got wiped out when I opened the back. Frame 35, then, would’ve started on the inside of the takeup area and been protected partially from the light, and frame 34 would’ve started on the darkest side of the makeup spool and wrapped around to the light side, and been mostly exposed, or only slightly shaded by the film stretched over the shutter.

That’s frame 34 with the great, curved, bluish, curtain of total overexposure obscuring the right third above, and here’s frame 35:

Here are the last usable frames in order, albeit cropped.

Everything else should’ve been mostly covered by another piece of film, but I think the light made it through the top and burned most of the way through the next two frames, 32 and 31.

(If I ever make another record, I might just use Frame 31, above, as the cover… MashaAllah that’s a pretty picture… Frame 31 is no slouch either… MashaAllah.)

And those should take us all the way around and everything else should be covered by two layers of film, at least, but light is powerful and film is very sensitive to it, so Frame 30 got completely cooked at the sprockets, and the light bled down into the image area quite a bit.

(There are some beautiful passages in that picture, I think, especially in the top half and bottom quarter.)

I think Frame 30 was probably partially would around to the very edge of the takeup area, which would make Frame 29 start most of the way around the turn, and then Frame 28 would be partly at the back, and partly in the little open area between the shutter plane and the spool.



Great destruction of the sprocket area there in the last little open area, albeit with 2 layers of film covering it…

Anyway, word to the wise: KEEP YOUR FILM IN THE DARK, lest you get some groovy results like these!

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