View Full Version : roll your own?

back alley
03-17-2007, 19:14
i'm trying to get a fix on how many people bulk load their own film or buy ready made.

03-17-2007, 19:27
Awesome title for your thread back alley, funny!

03-17-2007, 19:30
I voted yes althought technically it's "no" at the moment. I'm going to roll my own for the first time soon - just waiting for the 100' rolls of Delta 100 and Delta 400 to arrive...can't wait!

03-17-2007, 19:35
Not at the moment, but I will/want to soon.

03-17-2007, 19:44
I did in my twenties, then again a couple of years ago, and probably will again in the future, as I think film prices will continue to increase.

03-17-2007, 20:21
I have before in the distant past. Since I'm shooting C-41 film almost exclusively these days, not currently.
If this poll had been in the "off topic" section, I might have had a different answer...:rolleyes:

03-17-2007, 22:21
I do use bulk film - Plus-X & Fomapan/Edu.Ultra are my favorites. But oh do I wish that Fuji sold Reala in 100' rolls... :bang: :bang: :bang:


03-17-2007, 22:29
Currently I'm trying to work out a way where i can roll kodak vision 2 expression (cine) stock and get it developed in short rolls... stay tuned..

03-17-2007, 22:47
Definitely like to bulk roll film - I've got three bulk loaders in the fridge now (Tri-X, Fomapan, and Arista II, which, I think, is rebranded Agfa). Plus I've got another 600 Feet of assorted film in the freezer. It is cheaper; however, I also like having control over the process from start to finish.

Daniel - what ISO do you rate your Fomapan at?


03-17-2007, 23:05
Of course!

Who can say no to paying 1$ to 2$ the 36 exposure film instead of paying 3-6$ ready-made?

03-18-2007, 01:03
Yes, some of the time. Over here bulk reels come out to be about the same cost as or more expensive than buying 36-exposure rolls, and you have to factor in the equipment cost too (bulk loader and cannisters). Hence I'd recommend checking that is actually is cheaper if doing it purely for reasons of cost. I expect over the other side of the pond it's more clear-cut...

Of course there is an advantage of bulk loading - one can load only the quantity of film that is required, which for me is typically about a 12 exp roll. I'm doing it because somebody gave me an unwanted loader, cannisters and three rather old reels of FP4 for free :)

03-18-2007, 02:22
I tried and failed and sent the bulk loader away.

03-18-2007, 03:35
I took advantage of the sale of outdated rolls of Agfa APX400S and bought a few rolls to play with. The loaders are available very cheaply, just finding some good cassettes has been a problem as some scratch the film. I found that reusing normal cassettes is very good, provided that I remember to leave a little tongue of film sticking out to attach the roll to. Other problems have been down to the film itself, finding a good speed rating and development for it.
I saw some HP5+ for sale here, it seems to work out at around half the ready rolled cost (without factoring the extra kit needed), but overall the choice of film seems to be very limited.


03-18-2007, 03:40
of course . three Lloyd's bulk loaders with Tri-x , Pan F , and FP4 .

03-18-2007, 04:59
Thanks Daniel! This is my first time shooting with Fomapan and I really appreciate the advice.


03-18-2007, 05:11
I went the Agfa apx400s route as 5.00 ($9.70) for 150 foot it allowed me to try bulk loading for very little outlay .


03-18-2007, 05:13
Yes I do bulk load, mainly Efke 25 and APX 100. Easy to do and I love being able to load film to varying lengths.

Jim B.

03-18-2007, 05:43
I am pretty impressed with the results, I may have to try again.

03-18-2007, 07:03
Right now I see no reason not to roll film--I control how many exposures I want, a re loadable-cartridge opens with ease unknown to pre-packaged film, and prices are immensely lower than pre-packaged film.

and it isn't boring.

03-18-2007, 07:19
I have a bulk loader and if I come across a good deal on bulk film, I press the loader into use.
I've been using Silvertone (100 and 400) recently. It's cheap enough that pre-loaded is almost the same cost as bulk.


Kin Lau
03-18-2007, 07:26
APX100, NP1600, Tri-X, HP5+, FP4+ are all currently loaded and ready to roll.

I'll probably go for something in the very slow range such as a Gigabit, Pan F or Efke 25 in the near future.

03-18-2007, 08:05
Back in the early 1950s, while in the USAF, we found a source for bulk Kodachrome and spooled it and divided it among several friends. For a while, we even got free processing from Kodak, until they caught on to the source of the film. Best film deal I ever found.

Jim N.

03-18-2007, 08:33
Yes - all my b&w film is now bulk rolled...I picked up a bulk loader last year in an effort to keep costs down and was surprised at how easy the whole process is...now I can buy rolls of Delta and XP2 and roll my own - with the benefits of saving money and rolling to specific lengths for rapid changes during a project shoot.
The loader and reels paid for themselves within a few weeks.

03-18-2007, 08:38
I bought a bulk roller and a 100 foot roll of fp4+ just waiting to use up my pre rolled stuff before I jump into it.

03-18-2007, 08:40
Used to roll my own -- film and cigarettes -- but that was a quarter century back. Never used a bulk loader, though, nor one of those little devices for paper and tobacco.

03-18-2007, 09:32
black and white, yes. color, no.


gb hill
03-18-2007, 09:46
I can get b&w film pretty cheap right now & have built up a good supply. So right now I voted no., I do have 2 bulk loaders & still have 2 rolls of PX-125 I think it's called that, that I loaded years ago that I need to use up. I need to go and see what kind of loaders they are, I haven't payed much attention to them for a long while. The one is a real joy to use while the other that came with a lot of DR supplies looks like it might be a pain in the butt to use. But if my cheap film sources run out then I would certainly go back to bulk loading.

03-18-2007, 09:47
I voted no. At the moment I don't find it cost effective. Some of the films I used are not easily available as bulk either. I have loaded myself when I had some cheap bulk rolls. It was fast and easy once I got the hang of it. I used a bamboo stick on a vice for the roll holder. Never felt I needed a bulk loader.

Bulk loading has the convinience of getting as long rolls as needed. Short rolls for quick changes or longer rolls for less changes.

Sometimes I split factory-loaded films in halves by loading half of the roll on a used cartage. Just tape it on the piece of film left on the used roll and roll it in. That gives me the convinience of short rolls when needed.

03-18-2007, 10:11
Among the problems I encountered when I bulk loaded 35mm film:
1) Tape failed allowing film to be wound past the end of the roll
2) Loaded reusable film cartridge opened in use
3) Lengthwise scratches on negatives

Any one of these can ruin your day...


03-18-2007, 10:41
1) Tape failed allowing film to be wound past the end of the roll
Haven't had this one. I always use the 3M tape that goes clear when applied.

2) Loaded reusable film cartridge opened in use
I haven't encountered this nastiness either. I have made a point of using the casettes only three times.

3) Lengthwise scratches on negatives
Yes, this one I've seen. Happened after I loaned the loader to someone and didn't properly clean the felt after getting it back.
But I've also had this problem with pre-loaded film. I got three rolls of T-Max 400 that had a scratch in the same spot the length of all three rolls. Wasn't the camera, because two different cameras were involved. And the scratch was on parts of the roll that were never out of the cassette.


03-18-2007, 11:22
Funny you should ask... I just dug out a 100-ft roll of Plus-X Pan that "expired" in October 1992. Years ago I bougnt a big bag of empty, refillable Japanese 35mm cartridges, and I found my bulk loaders the other day, so I was ready to go. My development is probably imprecise (and my developer of questionable freshness) but I seem to get quite usable images by overexposing by about two stops. Here's a sample.

The camera's an old Ricoh 500 with focusing stuck at seven feet (2.1 m). So it's an interesting exercise to see what can be done within these limits.

-- Michael

03-18-2007, 11:22
I voted yes. I have three 35mm Loaders, and one for 70mm:eek: although now I don't use that one, I prefer to load 70mm cartridges by hand. :p I use Kodak Snap-Caps, and Kodak 70mm cassettes, without any issues.

Great deals on bulk film abound. I have never been afraid of it, or had a bad experience I can recall. Only use good 35mm and 70mm cartridges, disgarding them if they start to get worn. Five-Six uses is no problem, in my experience.

-Dan, recently picked up bulk Neopan Presto, and Super Presto, and the Aristo (Pan F) closeout that Freestyle has for $11/roll. Bought ten rolls of that:cool:

03-18-2007, 11:33
One downside that occurs to me in using a "daylight" loader is that there's a completely exposed portion of the roll at the end as well at the beginning (unless you change cartridges in the dark). Haven't experimented or measured yet to see whether this could result in damaging the last frame of a roll.

I attached the film to the spool with a little of the tape that Kodak used to seal the roll film tin. Worked just fine... after 15 years it's still very sticky.

03-18-2007, 11:48
2bulk of kodak tri-x in fridge + fuji neopan 400 + kodak t-max 3200 + velvia 50

John Rountree
03-18-2007, 12:11
I have bulk loaded my film for 35 years. It is really easy and cost effective. But, one of the biggest advantages is that you can load as much film as you want. I have wondered why the major manufacturers sell film with 24 or 36 exposures. With 24 shots, you just don't have enough film. With 36 exposures it is very difficult to place all the negs on a single 8x10 sheet of paper. Long ago I started rolling film with 30 exposures. You can get about 22 rolls of film from a one hundred foot roll. It works great and it is very easy to fit a whole roll of film on paper for a contact sheet. As for the end bits, it depends on your camera whether the last frames are useable or not. I always pull the fim and place the cartridge in the loading slot inside the chnaging bag. Close the lid, remove the loader and everything else is done in daylight. No big deal. I currently have 5 one hundred foot rolls of Ilford XP-2 in the refridgerator.

03-18-2007, 12:13
Yes, I roll my own. However, since I do not find good deals on bulk film like I once did, I no longer roll as often.

I have used plastic film cassettes with screw-off end caps, metal film cassettes with pop-off end caps, and scratchless felt-free proprietary film cassettes. Even though they only work in specific camera models and are very expensive when compared to the low-cost metal and plastic cassettes, I prefer the felt-free cassettes. The felt-free cassettes I have are indestructible, very reliable, and most importantly, do not have the felt-lined slit that traps the abrasive material that can scratch film.

Even though each cassette will hold enough film for 36 exposures, I prefer 30-exposure rolls (3 frame leader, 30 exposures, plus 3 frame trailer).

I have used Watson and the Lloyd bulk film loaders. I prefer the Watson because it works better with my scratchless felt-free cassettes.

To avoid loading and unloading my bulk loader when I needed to change from one type of film to another, I bought two bulk loaders so I can have a different film in each. Another way I avoid loading and unloading is by having enough film cassettes to completely empty my loader.

03-18-2007, 12:59
I used to, but I never inhaled.

Mostly shooting C-41 now. For the brick or two of B&W I shoot each year it was convenient enough that I sold my two loaders, etc...

(Thanks to former US president Bill Clinton for the opening quote.)

03-18-2007, 13:12
Cigarettes and HP5+. The flaps on boxes of prerolled film, though, are very convenient for use as filters.

03-18-2007, 13:19
For me it makes economic sense to roll my own. I have found lots of out of date and short dated bulk film at low prices lately.

03-18-2007, 16:28
I used to roll my own Pan F and XP1 but don't use much black and white these days. I have seen a few color films in bulk rolls, Portra 160 is one I think, but also use more medium format now. Not quite ready to go with bulk 70mm film... :)

Edit: Oh, neglected to mention that I too rolled 30-exposure rolls, as more convenient to file later in the PrintFile 35-7B file pages that hold 7 strips of 5 exp.

03-18-2007, 18:06
Bulk loading is the only way to go, imo. Not hard at all, certainly cheaper than retail. I like having my favorite films on-hand. Currently I have XP2 Super, Tri-X, and Agfa Optima 400 in bulk loaders with 100' of FP4+ in the fridge.

Tellin ya, it's the only way to go. As much for having your favorite films always available as for the price. Don't fool with those cartridges they sell, just get them (free) from your retailer. Mine are happy to give them away. I use green 35mm film splicing tape but other say masking tape works fine too.

Bulk loading is one of those photographic things you're a little nervous about before doing it... Then - like the second guy to cross that troll "answer me these questions, three" bridge in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you'll be proclaiming, "That's easy!" (...with a Brit accent)

C'mon. Buy a roll already. Give up your bulk loading virginity. Who can't use up a 100' roll of Tri-X?