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120 film RF Folders 120/220 Format Folding Rangefinders, including the various classic Zeiss Ikontas, Voigtlander Bessas, and their Ruskie copies.

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Kodak Tri-X 120 backing paper #s
Old 02-27-2017   #1
vytasn
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Kodak Tri-X 120 backing paper #s

I purchased some new Kodak Tri-X 120 for my Bessa I folder and the backing paper numbers do not show up in the Bessa’s 6x9 window! I had been using Fuji Acros and Ilford film before with no issues. I had to take the Tri-X out of the camera in a dark bag and later reuse it in my Pentax 645N. Below is a comparison of Acros backing paper on top and Tri-X below. The Acros numbers for 6x9 cover a much larger range than the Tri-X ones, so do the Ilford ones. Is this new for Tri-X or have they always been this way? I guess it is another reason not to use Kodak.


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Old 02-27-2017   #2
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Is it the lack of contrast that you're refering too ? I'm using this film in my Welta Weltur,
maybe it's red window is not as dark as yours. Peter
I'd change cameras before giving up on Kodak film.
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Old 02-27-2017   #3
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Thanks for posting this. I use Holgas, Dianas, and Zeiss Ikontas and recently noticed how difficult it is to see the numbers. The Fuji film backing looks far easier to read through a little red window.
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Old 02-27-2017   #4
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I hope that Kodak can get their $hit together on this - because Tri-X is my favorite film.
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Old 02-27-2017   #5
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I have the same camera and the same problem with Portra 160 and 400, so it might be a problem with Kodak 120 film. The issue is the numbers are in line below the red window on the back of the camera. You can't see the numbers at all. I used XP2 just fine this weekend and could see the numbers. I'm hoping Fujifilm is the same as the XP2--I have a box on the way.

Fwiw, Portra works fine in my Leotax and Ikonta both 645. I can see the numbers just fine. Ran some TRIX and Acros though them and I could see the numbers.
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Old 02-27-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto-Uno View Post
Is it the lack of contrast that you're refering too ? I'm using this film in my Welta Weltur,
maybe it's red window is not as dark as yours. Peter
I'd change cameras before giving up on Kodak film.
At first I thought it might be the contrast, but the Bessa I 6x9 window appears to be just above the Tri-X number. Doesn't show up at all.
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Old 02-27-2017   #7
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I was having the same issue with Tri-X 120 on my Zeiss Mess Ikonta (6x9). It doesn't quite lineup and the contrast on the numbers is very poor. I shot two rolls over the weekend and missed out both first shots in the rolls because of this.

I was also shooting on a free roll of Cinestill 800T for their upcoming production run and the numbers were perfect. The results blew me away, definitely picking up more of this once it hits the shelves.

Maybe it's just me getting used to using Medium format, but I'm seriously reconsidering Tri-X in 120 after the difficulties from this experience.
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Old 02-27-2017   #8
Sal Santamaura
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Kodak no longer makes its own 120 backing paper. Both Ilford and Kodak must now rely on a single outside supplier of that very specialized paper. After a change was made in it, both Ilford and Kodak began suffering a phenomenon known as "wrapper offset," in which the backing paper markings can appear in developed images. This problem is apparently related to temperature in shipping and storage as well as how long exposed film sits before processing.

As a result, both Kodak and Ilford have recently changed their specifications to minimize the number and density of printed markings on backing paper, thus the difference seen in post #1. Those using older cameras that rely on red windows are impacted. I know of no solution to this problem for cameras lacking automatic counter mechanisms.
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Old 02-27-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
Kodak no longer makes its own 120 backing paper. Both Ilford and Kodak must now rely on a single outside supplier of that very specialized paper. After a change was made in it, both Ilford and Kodak began suffering a phenomenon known as "wrapper offset," in which the backing paper markings can appear in developed images. This problem is apparently related to temperature in shipping and storage as well as how long exposed film sits before processing.

As a result, both Kodak and Ilford have recently changed their specifications to minimize the number and density of printed markings on backing paper, thus the difference seen in post #1. Those using older cameras that rely on red windows are impacted. I know of no solution to this problem for cameras lacking automatic counter mechanisms.
The Ilford emulsions all seem to be fine, I've been using new batches of their films, no issues so far.

Unfortunately, with the removal of some of the rows of numbers on the Kodak emulsions, they're unusable on many of the folders with window counters.
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Old 02-27-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
Kodak no longer makes its own 120 backing paper. Both Ilford and Kodak must now rely on a single outside supplier of that very specialized paper. After a change was made in it, both Ilford and Kodak began suffering a phenomenon known as "wrapper offset," in which the backing paper markings can appear in developed images. This problem is apparently related to temperature in shipping and storage as well as how long exposed film sits before processing.

As a result, both Kodak and Ilford have recently changed their specifications to minimize the number and density of printed markings on backing paper, thus the difference seen in post #1. Those using older cameras that rely on red windows are impacted. I know of no solution to this problem for cameras lacking automatic counter mechanisms.
I can say for certain Ilford and Kodak backing is different in regards to the numbers printed. Ilford has plenty of numbers for the red window cameras. Kodak Portra ( and it appears TRIX ) doesn't. This is new film purchased recently.
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Old 02-27-2017   #11
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OH DEAR. My Rolex is doomed. "The Horror"
No worries. Kodak in the Pentax 6x7.
Thanks for the head's up!
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Old 02-27-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fad gadget View Post
The Ilford emulsions all seem to be fine, I've been using new batches of their films, no issues so far.

Unfortunately, with the removal of some of the rows of numbers on the Kodak emulsions, they're unusable on many of the folders with window counters.
Ilford is making its own backing paper in the meanwhile. They have bought the machines from their former German supplier.
Fujifilm is also making its own paper.

This problem is only an exclusive Kodak problem.
Just use Ilford, Fujifilm, Adox....and you will be fine.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-27-2017   #13
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They have been revamping the backing paper and printed ink. I could see the difference in a grayer printing on newer batches of film (Ektar) and read about them removing rows of numbers to reduce the printed quantity that could offset. Having an automatic advance camera, no problem. But bessas seem to have a higher red window than the main row of numbers.
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Old 02-27-2017   #14
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Looks like there are three red window positions possible, and Kodak only allows for one window height or position. Maybe Kodak will reprint to allow all cameras that are 6x9 to be used.
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Old 02-27-2017   #15
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Have multiple folders and use color in another one. I'm not too bummed. I just developed a roll of XP2 and the negs look great.
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Old 02-27-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjlapier View Post
Have multiple folders and use color in another one. I'm not too bummed. I just developed a roll of XP2 and the negs look great.
Try a roll of XP2 in black and white chemistry, it's brilliant!

I shoot it anywhere from 100 to 640 on the same roll, depending on lighting conditions, and develop it all at 400, the rated speed.

I've also developed a few rolls in R5 monobath from New55. Some hefty grain to it, but the C41 films scan very nicely.
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Old 02-27-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fad gadget View Post
Try a roll of XP2 in black and white chemistry, it's brilliant!

I shoot it anywhere from 100 to 640 on the same roll, depending on lighting conditions, and develop it all at 400, the rated speed.

I've also developed a few rolls in R5 monobath from New55. Some hefty grain to it, but the C41 films scan very nicely.
XP2 in D76 or Rodinal?

Do you have any examples of XP2 in B&W chems?
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Old 02-27-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjlapier View Post
XP2 in D76 or Rodinal?

Do you have any examples of XP2 in B&W chems?
I do, I'll pm you a couple. Yes, Rodinal.
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Old 02-27-2017   #19
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^ You could show a few examples here if you'd like . My first roll a few weeks ago left
a rather ho-hum impression . Could be just me , plus I had to pay to get it developed in C-41 , so I'd like to see some B&W chemistry examples . Peter
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Old 02-27-2017   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto-Uno View Post
^ You could show a few examples here if you'd like . My first roll a few weeks ago left
a rather ho-hum impression . Could be just me , plus I had to pay to get it developed in C-41 , so I'd like to see some B&W chemistry examples . Peter
I tried but I'm on my iPhone and couldn't get it to work here, or in a pm...

Here's the link to a local fellow that got me interested in it from reading his blog.

http://1pt4.com/blog/ilford-xp2-stan...ed-in-rodinal/

Mine turned out very well, better in the Rodinal than the R5.
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Old 02-27-2017   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fad gadget View Post
The Ilford emulsions all seem to be fine, I've been using new batches of their films, no issues so far.

Unfortunately, with the removal of some of the rows of numbers on the Kodak emulsions, they're unusable on many of the folders with window counters.
I've experienced the transfer issues, with disastrous results. I do not find myself sympathetic to the plight of folders because for the rest of us that use cameras with mechanical counters, this backprinting provides zero benefit and only the hazard of wrecking important pictures.

But guys - let's get real. Kodak fully supported the 120 film size with ruby windows for 115 years (it was introduced in 1901 and is the longest running rollfilm format).

The move away from ruby windows to mechanical frame counters began prior to WWII with Super-Ikontas and Rolleiflexes and was pretty much complete by the mid-1960s. If you have this "I can't see the numbers" issue, you may be using:

- A camera that is more than 50 years old
- A cheap Chinese back or homebrew panoramic camera
- A Lomo or Holga

Even among these, I'm sure that some can see the Kodak numbers. There have also been reports from late last year that a second bottom track of 6x9 frame numbers are coming back for the 6x9 Bessas.

Dante
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Old 02-27-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
- A cheap Chinese back or homebrew panoramic camera
How about a Shen-Hao 617 that is about $3k with lens?

I really like T-Max 100, but haven't been able to shoot it since early summer last year. Or I should say BUY it, because it has been back-ordered and completely off production for almost a year now, due to the print-through of numbers on the paper.

If the solution for Kodak is to remove the frame numbers that work with my 617, then they've lost my business in 120. I've been shooting Acros and while I'm not as fond of it, I can live with it.

If Ilford can fix the problem and provide plenty of frame numbers, why can't Kodak??
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Old 02-27-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
If you have this "I can't see the numbers" issue, you may be using:

- A camera that is more than 50 years old
- A cheap Chinese back or homebrew panoramic camera
- A Lomo or Holga
Ooh, harsh. Particularly on a forum populated by many who

- May enjoy using retro and vintage cameras
- May resent sneering at Chinese or home-brew gear
- May enjoy dallying with toy cameras (perhaps not your taste, but it's a thing, check it out)

But you fail to address the root of the problem, that Kodak has apparently changed something that makes its film problematic for some. If they intended to abandon red window camera users, they could have eliminated the numbers entirely.

The OP and others want to use Tri-X on ancient folders. Can't blame the man for that, nor is there a need to practice gear-upmanship at the expense of others.
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Old 02-28-2017   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
I've experienced the transfer issues, with disastrous results. I do not find myself sympathetic to the plight of folders because for the rest of us that use cameras with mechanical counters, this backprinting provides zero benefit and only the hazard of wrecking important pictures.

But guys - let's get real. Kodak fully supported the 120 film size with ruby windows for 115 years (it was introduced in 1901 and is the longest running rollfilm format).
And for 114 years Kodak managed to make the numbers readable, and their competition still makes the numbers readable.

Quote:
The move away from ruby windows to mechanical frame counters began prior to WWII with Super-Ikontas and Rolleiflexes and was pretty much complete by the mid-1960s. If you have this "I can't see the numbers" issue, you may be using:

- A camera that is more than 50 years old
- A cheap Chinese back or homebrew panoramic camera
- A Lomo or Holga

Even among these, I'm sure that some can see the Kodak numbers. There have also been reports from late last year that a second bottom track of 6x9 frame numbers are coming back for the 6x9 Bessas.

Dante
It's certain that exponentially more cameras have been produced with a red window on the back than have been produced with automatic film transport mechanisms. So would it necessarily be wise for a company to cater to the relatively tiny number of cameras without red windows, over those with?

If their competition can do it right, and they used to be able to do it right, and their consumers use large numbers of cameras with red windows... why make excuses to justify a defect in the product?
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Old 02-28-2017   #25
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Has anyone contacted Kodak? I just did. [email protected]
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Old 02-28-2017   #26
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Greetings everyone - the frame numbers will soon be reappearing on the back of Kodak 120 film in more than one location. I don't know whether or not they'll be the same light gray - but hopefully there will be a set to line up with the ruby red window of a 6x9 MF folder.

Below is the reply that I received from Kodak's film rep.

***********************************************
Dear Mr. Yue,

All of our backing papers now include all three (3) tracks of 6x9 format frame numbers.

May take some time to work through the system.

Regards,

Thomas J. Mooney | Film Capture Business Manager

Kodak Alaris Inc., 2400 Mount Read Blvd., Rochester, NY 14615-03020
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Old 02-28-2017   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solinar View Post
Greetings everyone - the frame numbers will soon be reappearing on the back of Kodak 120 film in more than one location. I don't know whether or not they'll be the same light gray - but hopefully there will be a set to line up with the ruby red window of a 6x9 MF folder.
Dear Mr. Yue,

All of our backing papers now include all three (3) tracks of 6x9 format frame numbers.

May take some time to work through the system.

Regards,

Thomas J. Mooney | Film Capture Business Manager

Kodak Alaris Inc., 2400 Mount Read Blvd., Rochester, NY 14615-03020

Good but I have a roll in my 6x6 camera and will check to see if I could have used it in my 6x9.
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Old 02-28-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Ilford is making its own backing paper in the meanwhile. They have bought the machines from their former German supplier.

Cheers, Jan
Do you have a source for that information I have not seen referenced elsewhere?
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Old 03-01-2017   #29
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Quote:
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Do you have a source for that information I have not seen referenced elsewhere?
I've got that info from Ilford reps at Photokina. We've discussed that topic. They also told the paper itself is not the problem, it is the quality of the ink and the printing process.
Fujifilm is also making it by themselves, therefore their films are fine, too.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 03-01-2017   #30
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If you shoot B&W, as a last resort you might be able to carefully pop the red window plastic out, place a piece of black electrical tape over the hole on the back, and lift it in the shade when you advance the film, then stick it back down. I've done this a lot on folders that the red plastic was missing in the back.

If you shoot colour, you are screwed.
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Old 03-01-2017   #31
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If you shoot colour, you are screwed.
No, not at all.
Just shoot Fujifilm color film and you will get perfect results.
I've never ever had a single problem shooting Fujifilm's color films in my folders.
I also like their "easy loading system" and "easy end seal".
Photographers with the dedicated cameras will further benefit from their 'barcode system'.
The converting quality of Fujifilm's roll films is by far the best in the industry. Better than all competitors.
Thanks to them for innovating in a format more than 100 years old.
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Old 03-01-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Ilford is making its own backing paper in the meanwhile. They have bought the machines from their former German supplier...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLivsey View Post
Do you have a source for that information I have not seen referenced elsewhere?
Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
I've got that info from Ilford reps at Photokina. We've discussed that topic. They also told the paper itself is not the problem, it is the quality of the ink and the printing process...
Ilford backing paper is not made in house. The paper comes from an outside supplier, just like Kodak's does.

HARMAN Technical Services confirmed that information this morning, stating in a reply to my inquiry that Mobberley has "...an in house capability and manufactures all its own wrappers, this includes printing and slitting. It doesn't make the paper however, which is made to specification by a third party."

Whether Kodak purchases complete wrappers or performs its own slitting and printing is unclear at this point. Also not certain is whether the paper itself can contribute to wrapper offset or if fault lies completely with ink and/or the printing process.
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Old 03-01-2017   #33
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Quote:
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We've discussed that topic.
Cheers, Jan
I had missed that, thank you for the detail, but note a later post as I thought it very unlikely paper making to the required quality was possible nor feasible for the volume required, too small and no specialised skills at Mobberley for that.
I assume the German machine was for slitting or perhaps printing although I understand that the paper is not even in depth across the 120 frame being thicker at the edges which makes slitting more difficult?
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Old 03-01-2017   #34
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I assume the German machine was for slitting or perhaps printing although I understand that the paper is not even in depth across the 120 frame being thicker at the edges which makes slitting more difficult?
The paper is even in strength - the pressure plate and/or film gate make up for the difference (hence the switchable pressure plates for 120/220 film on e.g. Fuji and Mamiya cameras).
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Old 03-01-2017   #35
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Originally Posted by vytasn View Post
I purchased some new Kodak Tri-X 120 for my Bessa I folder and the backing paper numbers do not show up in the Bessa’s 6x9 window! I had been using Fuji Acros and Ilford film before with no issues. I had to take the Tri-X out of the camera in a dark bag and later reuse it in my Pentax 645N. Below is a comparison of Acros backing paper on top and Tri-X below. The Acros numbers for 6x9 cover a much larger range than the Tri-X ones, so do the Ilford ones. Is this new for Tri-X or have they always been this way? I guess it is another reason not to use Kodak.


I had the same problem yesterday with Tri-X in my Bessa I...
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Old 03-01-2017   #36
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Ilford backing paper is not made in house. The paper comes from an outside supplier, just like Kodak's does.

HARMAN Technical Services confirmed that information this morning, stating in a reply to my inquiry that Mobberley has "...an in house capability and manufactures all its own wrappers, this includes printing and slitting. It doesn't make the paper however, which is made to specification by a third party."
Sal, that is no contradiction to the info I've got from them. As I've written above, the paper itself is not the main problem, and of course Harman has no own paper mill.
Prodction of roll film backing paper means making / having the right ink, print it the right way, cut it etc. And that they are now doing by themselves.
Ink and printing are essential, and they told me that is not trivial (we see the problems which can occur at Kodak).
The ink has to be very special.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 03-01-2017   #37
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You'd of thought that since Kodak invented this format over a century ago , the problem is not Kodak , but all the camera makers that felt it necessary to put their own twist on the format ! Peter
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Old 03-01-2017   #38
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Has anyone besides me noticed that on 120 film the numbers for square negatives run down the middle of the paper with the rectangular numbers on the side while on 127 film the numbers for square negatives run down the side with the rectangular numbers down the middle?? Go figure. Hope this doesn't keep you up at night.
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Old 03-01-2017   #39
PMCC
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Originally Posted by Spavinaw View Post
Has anyone besides me noticed that on 120 film the numbers for square negatives run down the middle of the paper with the rectangular numbers on the side while on 127 film the numbers for square negatives run down the side with the rectangular numbers down the middle?? Go figure. Hope this doesn't keep you up at night.
Those losing sleep over this are the orphaned 127 users who struggle with slitting 120 down to 127 size. Respooling requires slitting the backing paper to size as well. A particularly masochistic subset of such loyalists are the devotees of red window cameras, who face the issue of where to place the numbers, or how to slit the 120 paper so that a usable row of existing numbers lines up with the red window. The published ISO standard that sets forth the specs for 127 and 120 roll film is useful for this exercise, but regrettably the last iteration that still contained the 127 spec is no longer current and thus harder to find. But let's not overthink this, gents. Those of us in this category are aristocrats (what Diane Arbus said about her subjects).
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Old 03-01-2017   #40
tunalegs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavinaw View Post
Has anyone besides me noticed that on 120 film the numbers for square negatives run down the middle of the paper with the rectangular numbers on the side while on 127 film the numbers for square negatives run down the side with the rectangular numbers down the middle?? Go figure. Hope this doesn't keep you up at night.
It's probably because Kodak realized that putting the red window right near the edge of the backing paper was stupid as it caused light leaks. So when 127 came out they centered it. But then the 4x4 became popular and the edge was the only place left for the next row of numbers...

Unless I'm mistaken though, 4x4 and 645 have numbers on the same edge.
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