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Film Leader length for Zorki 1 ?
Old 04-07-2007   #1
arbib
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Film Leader length for Zorki 1 ?

I have bought a 1955 Zorki 1e from Justin Low. I downloaded a PDF manual last night. It says I must have a leader of 10cm long or sprocket tearing may result.

Those with experience with modern film leaders......

Do you trim them to 10cm or not ??

Do I need to trim them too or not ??

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Old 04-07-2007   #2
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I just got myself a similar camera, after remembering using a Leica III for a while decades ago. Yes you do need to trim the leader - when that is done, they are surprisingly difficult to load wrongly (contrary to popular belief).

As I can never judge 10cm (4") I just count 23 sprocket holes between the end of the film and the point where the leader needs to start from. Have a couple of sprocket holes out of the cassette, so as to get the full width on the film-rails, then turn the spool back slightly putting a curve in the film to lift it over the take-up sprockets as you slide it in.

For confidence building purposes, practice loading with an old film a few times first (stating the obvious there, sorry) , and then gently tension the rewind knob so that you can see it turning when you wind on.
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Old 04-07-2007   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinP
I just got myself a similar camera, after remembering using a Leica III for a while decades ago. Yes you do need to trim the leader - when that is done, they are surprisingly difficult to load wrongly (contrary to popular belief).

As I can never judge 10cm (4") I just count 23 sprocket holes between the end of the film and the point where the leader needs to start from. Have a couple of sprocket holes out of the cassette, so as to get the full width on the film-rails, then turn the spool back slightly putting a curve in the film to lift it over the take-up sprockets as you slide it in.

For confidence building purposes, practice loading with an old film a few times first (stating the obvious there, sorry) , and then gently tension the rewind knob so that you can see it turning when you wind on.
23 holes.... good guide.
Yes, I will need to practice a bit. I once owned a Canon RF III or 4, It had the slow Speed wheel on the front. But I think I just loaded the Film without modications. (1970-72)

Does the leader have to be wedge shaped ??
I will most likely make a template for it. They are rare on the 'Bay to find.

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Old 04-08-2007   #4
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You will have to cut the leader more or the less the same shape as the modern ones from factory loaded /cut film, but wth a longer tongue. Its 10-11 cms long, around 21 perforations from the the tip.

The cut's shape is not critical, as long as there are no sharp edges, tears or cuts through perforations. Templates are not necessary, and cutting can be done with scissors.

Bottom loading is not really difficult to do. With practice, this can be done in under 30 secs.

Jay
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Old 04-08-2007   #5
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Martin is right on with 23 holes. Wedge shape not needed, though some find that easier to cut than a curve.
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Old 04-08-2007   #6
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Arbib,

I would like to confirm what our other friends have said regarding the ease of bottom loading - it is a perfectly logical and straightforward process that is much easier than is sometimes suggested.

Indeed, I find sitting down and cutting a batch of films (using short sharp scissors - the sort used for medical dressings are excellent) a curiously satisfying thing - another point of contact with the golden age of RF photography And, as with many "inconveniences", the process actually makes you think about what you are doing, what film to use and so on.

But - if you would prefer a template, a cheap and remarkably good copy of the Leitz Ablon is available on e-bay: http://stores.ebay.com/Lakesuwa-Came...QQftidZ1QQtZkm

All the best, Ian
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Old 04-08-2007   #7
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By far the easiest way, is to purchase a Leica ABLON COPY (Made in Taiwan) from
lakesuwa on Ebay for $15.00. Made of metal, very good quality copy, works great! He has some listed at this time.
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Old 04-08-2007   #8
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Thank you all for the great help.

I had a bottom loader in High School. A Canon 3 I think. And an FTb QL, (Quess I am still a Canon Man).. I realy liked the old Lieca style body--Very compact but functional. --

I just hope I can see through the peep holes of the RF and VF enough. They look large enough. Should get the Zorki 1 next week. I have 20 rolls of Fuji 200 to run through with it. All 24x though.
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Old 04-09-2007   #9
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What is the point of the curve shaped cutout at the end of store bought film? It seems the my Canon 7 could be loaded with film cut straight at the end.


~Chad
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Old 04-10-2007   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbib
Thank you all for the great help.

I had a bottom loader in High School. A Canon 3 I think. And an FTb QL, (Quess I am still a Canon Man).. I realy liked the old Lieca style body--Very compact but functional. --

I just hope I can see through the peep holes of the RF and VF enough. They look large enough. Should get the Zorki 1 next week. I have 20 rolls of Fuji 200 to run through with it. All 24x though.

See this, for Zorki:http://jay.fedka.com/index_files/Page345.htm


Jay
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Old 04-10-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad
What is the point of the curve shaped cutout at the end of store bought film? It seems the my Canon 7 could be loaded with film cut straight at the end.


~Chad
Canon 7 load from the back, so short factory cut tongues can be used. The cameras (Leica III types, Canon III, and Zorki-1) in discussion are bottom loaders hence the special film leader cut. These bottom loaders will load only -properly done- with longer film tongues.

Jay
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Old 04-10-2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by payasam
Martin is right on with 23 holes. Wedge shape not needed, though some find that easier to cut than a curve.

A film leader cut with a Leitz ABLON film trimming guide will produce a tongue with only 20 perforations. 21 possible, but 23 may be too long. The slope opposite perforation #21 or 22 on the uncut side is needed for proper loading.
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Old 04-10-2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinP
Yes you do need to trim the leader - when that is done, they are surprisingly difficult to load wrongly (contrary to popular belief).
I still have problems loading film in my Zorki 1, even with the custom lead. There's too little space between the pressure plate and the back and when I load the film, it tends to get blocked by the pressure plate's border.

I solve it by using a piece of thin cardboard (or thick paper) to slide in where the film would go, and then slide the film between the cardboard and the camera body, such that it's not hindered by the pressure plate. When the film is loaded, the cardboard can be pulled out again.

Funny thing is that when I bought the camera, it came with a leather case and the case provides a slot for holding a card, I assume for this purpose? It actually contained a piece of pale plastic of the right size, but it was too thick (~ 1mm) to slide between pressure plate and body. And it must have been of old age and gotten brittle, because I broke it when slightly bending.

Does anyone have an idea what this slot in the case is meant for and if this piece of plastic may have been an original tool that comes with the camera and for which purpose it would have been meant?

Groeten,

Vic
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Old 04-10-2007   #14
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Hi Vic, this is curious. When I shine a lamp in to the base of the camera I see that the bottom edge of the pressure plate appears to be chamfered slightly, so that the leader easily goes between the rails and the plate.

I wonder if everybodies different experiences of loading these cameras could be because some have been dismantled and then the pressure-plate re-attached the wrong way up ? Or maybe there are just a couple of different versions of plate ?

Has anyone ever opened up a "problem" camera to see the pressure-plate ?

Regarding the 23-hole length, yes - it is a tiny bit long rather than short, as I read about the lifting of the film over the sprocket wheels and wanted to be able to achieve that easily. The length was just an estimate that worked, so I never changed it afterwards. I will try the next film with 21 holes and see how I get on !

Lastly, my Zorki case also has the little pocket in the back. I thought it might be for the original exposure-guide (a sunny-16 calculator thing), but it is too big.

Last edited by MartinP : 04-10-2007 at 02:45.
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Old 04-10-2007   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicmortelmans
I

Funny thing is that when I bought the camera, it came with a leather case and the case provides a slot for holding a card, I assume for this purpose? It actually contained a piece of pale plastic of the right size, but it was too thick (~ 1mm) to slide between pressure plate and body. And it must have been of old age and gotten brittle, because I broke it when slightly bending.

Does anyone have an idea what this slot in the case is meant for and if this piece of plastic may have been an original tool that comes with the camera and for which purpose it would have been meant?

Groeten,

Vic
Vic

That card isn't a tool for loading, rather it's a tablet for writing down exposures. I have several of these too, some even have retained shutter speeds and aperture numbers in pencil. Do not insert it or any other card into the film channel as doing so can damage the pressure plate or even the springs which bear it.


You may have cut your leader too long. In a previous reply, I mentioned that an 'uncut' portion of the film is needed for proper loading. Having the leader cut too long will mean that only the cut part spans the cassette and take-up spool when both enter the camera. When the film is pulled through, the 'shoulder' of the leader may catch on the sides of the shutter crate and fould up the loading.

The proper length requires that an uncut portion of the film should enter the film channel, just about touching the end of the pressure plate closest to the 'supply' side. The span of the leader when its tip is attached to the film spool should leave about 1 or 2 perforations worth of uncut film coming out of the film cassette. In the original Zorki instructions, it is mentioned that the film leader, if cut too long, should be reeled in slightly around the takeup spool so that this untrimmed length is out of the film cassette.


Jay
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Old 04-10-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinP
Hi Vic, this is curious. When I shine a lamp in to the base of the camera I see that the bottom edge of the pressure plate appears to be chamfered slightly, so that the leader easily goes between the rails and the plate.

I wonder if everybodies different experiences of loading these cameras could be because some have been dismantled and then the pressure-plate re-attached the wrong way up ? Or maybe there are just a couple of different versions of plate ?

Has anyone ever opened up a "problem" camera to see the pressure-plate ?

Regarding the 23-hole length, yes - it is a tiny bit long rather than short, as I read about the lifting of the film over the sprocket wheels and wanted to be able to achieve that easily. The length was just an estimate that worked, so I never changed it afterwards. I will try the next film with 21 holes and see how I get on !

Lastly, my Zorki case also has the little pocket in the back. I thought it might be for the original exposure-guide (a sunny-16 calculator thing), but it is too big.

Martin

The pressure plate is indeed bevelled in the "entry" side. It is also possible to install the pressure plate incorrectly, with the non-bevelled edge at the bottom instead of top. The FED-1 had round pressure plates, bevelled all around.

The springs may be bent to high so that it presses the pressure plate too strongly. However, this is very unlikely to happen with Zorki or FED. Their springs are very weak, and touching and bearing on the plate is often enough to make them loose some tension. When this happens, the pressure plate will no longer be able to properly or evenly push the film into the correct focal plane position necessary for accurate focusing. It only takes as little as 0.02mm discrepancy to upset the focus.That is why Zorki or FED have to be recalibrated for the proper "working distance" or lens back register everytime they are disassembled.

You are also right about the pocket at the back of the case. It's there for holding the card used for exposure notations, if not a real printed exposure guide. The older Leica cases also had this pocket too. The case of my 1943 Leica IIIc had it and a plastic card tablet from a Zorki will fit it.

Jay
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Old 04-10-2007   #17
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Thank you for the information Zorkikat

A memo-holder was a good idea by Leica (assuming they were first). Now we just have to uncover the secret pencil pocket . . .

So conceivably the "problem" pressure plates are the victims of mangling by the not-so-good loading method. If someone pulled out a jammed card, or film, then the whole plate could maybe be twisted enough to put a corner in the way of the film-leader ?

If I wasn't in the middle of moving house I would rattle through the test film and have a very close look inside my Zorki. I have my doubts about the rangefinder at a couple of meters, but will follow the various useful instructions on Zorkikats site if required.

And not to forget, good luck Arbib.

Last edited by MartinP : 04-10-2007 at 10:38.
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Old 04-10-2007   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZorkiKat
Great Info Here !!

Thanks. I booked marked this one
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Old 04-10-2007   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZorkiKat
A film leader cut with a Leitz ABLON film trimming guide will produce a tongue with only 20 perforations. 21 possible, but 23 may be too long. The slope opposite perforation #21 or 22 on the uncut side is needed for proper loading.
So, your saying this template has the correct slope and allows the first sprocket hole to line up properly with the edge of the pressure plate for proper alignment before closing the base plate?
According to link you shared, this seems to bear that out.
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Old 04-11-2007   #20
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20 holes or 23 is probably not so important. Also, I have known people who did not trim leaders for screw Leicas and have occasionally loaded untrimmed film myself. However, on the ground that one should go by the book when in doubt, I follow the instruction booklet which came with the 1946/47 IIIc I now have. It shows the cut beginning after the 23rd perforation.
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Old 04-11-2007   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinP
Thank you for the information Zorkikat

A memo-holder was a good idea by Leica (assuming they were first). Now we just have to uncover the secret pencil pocket . . .

So conceivably the "problem" pressure plates are the victims of mangling by the not-so-good loading method. If someone pulled out a jammed card, or film, then the whole plate could maybe be twisted enough to put a corner in the way of the film-leader ?

If I wasn't in the middle of moving house I would rattle through the test film and have a very close look inside my Zorki. I have my doubts about the rangefinder at a couple of meters, but will follow the various useful instructions on Zorkikats site if required.

And not to forget, good luck Arbib.
Hi Martin

The pressure plate stays where it should be regardless of what gets pulled through it. Its back part is shaped to engage with corresponding grooves on the body shell so that it doesn't wander from its designated position. It sits on a couple of tiny leaf springs. It would be these springs which have the risk of getting damaged from improper loading methods.

My site also has pictures of Zorki dissections, some of which show the pressure plate.

Jay
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Old 04-11-2007   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbib
So, your saying this template has the correct slope and allows the first sprocket hole to line up properly with the edge of the pressure plate for proper alignment before closing the base plate?
According to link you shared, this seems to bear that out.
Arbib

In a word, yes. The template in the site was traced from a real film leader cut with a Leitz Ablon trimming guide.

Leica instructions do not appear to mention this, but the Soviet instructions for FED or Zorki and even the bottom loading Zenit are quite explicit about the slope/shoulder position of the leader during loading. First, a leader which is too long needs to be reeled a bit so that the first perf after the slope slides in a particular position relative to the pressure plate. Then there is mention as well of having just one perf of uncut film outside the film cassette lip before the
film is inserted in the camera.

In the Soviet instructions, there is no mention about using templates. The pictures in these all show film which appear to have been cut free hand with blades or scissors. Exact shape isn't really necessary, but a gentle slope, the width between film cassette lip and take-up spool, and having at least one perf's length sticking out of the lip are.

Jay
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Old 04-11-2007   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZorkiKat
Arbib

In a word, yes. The template in the site was traced from a real film leader cut with a Leitz Ablon trimming guide.

Leica instructions do not appear to mention this, but the Soviet instructions for FED or Zorki and even the bottom loading Zenit are quite explicit about the slope/shoulder position of the leader during loading. First, a leader which is too long needs to be reeled a bit so that the first perf after the slope slides in a particular position relative to the pressure plate. Then there is mention as well of having just one perf of uncut film outside the film cassette lip before the
film is inserted in the camera.

In the Soviet instructions, there is no mention about using templates. The pictures in these all show film which appear to have been cut free hand with blades or scissors. Exact shape isn't really necessary, but a gentle slope, the width between film cassette lip and take-up spool, and having at least one perf's length sticking out of the lip are.

Jay
ZorkiKat,

Well I should be ready when my Zorki 1e arrives (this week I hope), I haven't ordered the template yet. So I will cut a few leaders on my own at First.

And pay attention to the your last paragraph. I do have a PDF of the Zorki 1 instructions in English too, plus that link with the great pictures of to load it the right way.

What a great learning tread this has turned out to be

OT: How was film supplied in the 40-50's for these Bottom loaders from the manufacture ?? I can guess....No leader at all....and the owner cut their own leader for each load. ??
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Old 04-11-2007   #24
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Haven't seen a roll myself, Arbib, but I understand that until the 1970s film could be bought with long leaders ready-cut. Presumably not all manufacturers catered to this small market, and of course it is not difficult to shape a leader.
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Old 04-12-2007   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbib
ZorkiKat,



OT: How was film supplied in the 40-50's for these Bottom loaders from the manufacture ?? I can guess....No leader at all....and the owner cut their own leader for each load. ??

The factory loads from those times were precut to the necessary Leica long tongue leader. Not because I was around then, but from the 'artifacts' I've seen...


The cutting template was meant to be used for people who spooled their film from long rolls or motion picture ends. There is an ad which I've seen in the back pages of a 1940 photo magazine for Gevaert film. They had precut, Leica-style tongues.

In some of these old ads, the film boxes (such those from duPont) would say "for Leica and similar cameras" or else "for Contax". It may be safe to assume that these factory loaded cassettes would have the necessary cut style for Leica, or else the film is not fixed to the spool for the Contax-style casette to casette film threading.

Kodak were still using the long leaders until around the mid-70s. I have an old unexposed TriX which had this, but I don't know exactly what year it was from. I also have the "Kodak Films for the Amateur Color and Black & White" booklet, edition 1975, which shows the long tongue leader for 35mm- and yes, its exactly 20 perforations long!

Other film makers were using the long leaders up to the 80s or even the 1990s. The Ilford HP5 I had been buying in 1983 still had the long cut leader. The ORWO NP 22 we got from around 1989 or so had similarly shaped leaders as well.

Jay
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Last edited by ZorkiKat : 04-12-2007 at 01:05.
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