Don't use Shanghai Film, I guess... Did I mess up my Yashica D?

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RLangham

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I've just had a strange experience with some bottom-shelf Chinese 120 BW film, Shanghai Pan 100 or 200 (don't remember). I loaded it into my Yashica D about a year and a half ago. I think it may have been the very first roll I loaded into it, as I've basically never used the D. Vaguely I remember at some point before the seventh frame the winding knob got incredibly stiff to the point that it hurt to turn even gripping it through my shirt.

I promptly forgot all about it and shot mainly 35mm since then.

Pulled it out today, clipped on my new Kodalux L meter (I especially like the incident light metering) and went out to shoot. After frame seven, I pressed the release button and found once again that it was incredibly difficult to turn, and began to remember something about it being that way before.

I finished the roll, having a bunch of fun doing incident metering for the first time in forever, but struggling with the winder. I found it especially hard to turn the knob the last few turns to wrap the film up in the backing paper.

When I got inside I opened the camera and found a mess. The film had torn loose from the backing paper, stayed wrapped the first spool, and was rubbing against the backing paper and creasing up into the gap between the gate and the takeup spool, apparently pinched.

So first of all, don't fall to the temptation of using this bargain film. If I remember right my Medalist may not have liked it either.

Second, do you think this could have damaged the frame-spacing mechanism of the Yashica? There's no visible damage to the gripping wheel or anything else on the inside, but I know first hand how temperamental 120 film transport mechanisms can be.
 

Donald Qualls

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Just for curiosity -- did you find evidence of the tape that holds the head end of the film to the backing? Or was there tape at the tail end of the film? I ask because this sounds like what might happen if the film had gotten attached at the wrong end (or was loaded backward, i.e. reloading an exposed roll, but that seems less likely with an experienced 120 user).
 
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RLangham

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Just for curiosity -- did you find evidence of the tape that holds the head end of the film to the backing? Or was there tape at the tail end of the film? I ask because this sounds like what might happen if the film had gotten attached at the wrong end (or was loaded backward, i.e. reloading an exposed roll, but that seems less likely with an experienced 120 user).

No, the tape was ripped off near the header, exactly where it should have been, just weak and on bad paper.

Before I was good at respooling 120 to 620 I used to roll 120 to 620 one way and then load it into old 620 plastic box cameras being careful to pass the now leading edge of the film across the film gate by hand in the darkroom. One time it got caught anyways and made a godawful mess similar but not the same as what I saw here.

I wouldn't call myself an experienced 120 user though. My two Yashica TLR's have been my only automatic 120 cameras (i.e., with frame spacing and auto stop), and I shot one roll with the 124g before realizing it was ruined.
 

Sirius Glass

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I remember hearing about Shanghai film not have the tape or strong enough tape at the beginning of the rolls. Ditch the Shanghai and switch to Ilford and Kodak. Yes they cost a bit more, but they do not have reliability problems because they actually do inspections during making the film. Worth it.
 

Paul Howell

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I doubt that the Yashica is damaged, just peel the film out and put in a new roll. I use Foma 400 and 200 as well as the occasional Tmax 400 and never had an issue with my D or 124.
 

ic-racer

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Yes, if the film is not firmly attached to the paper it can jam. I was stupid enough as a teenager to try to rewind a 120 roll in my Rollei SLX (motor drive). Of course the free end of the film did not make it through the film gate and jammed the camera. The gears stripped before the fuse blew. Luckily this was back when the SLX was a current model and could be serviced.
 
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Haven't used Shangai film too much (about 4 rolls or so) but didn't had any quality issues. Still have a couple of the 10 rolls I ordered before Covid. That said, Foma film on 120 is quite good and probably a bit cheaper so vouch for Foma. I don't think the Yashica is damaged in any way. They are simple enough so hardly anythiing that could be broken for such an event.
 

rulnacco

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I'm swearing off Shanghai, too. Despite the lower cost--and the fact they make 220, which I *love* to shoot (I have loads of 220 color film in the freezer; no more black and white, alas)--it's just not worth it compared to Ilford or even Kodak.

I've had some weird emulsion issues a couple times with it. And one roll I got, when I opened the box I found the tape used to keep the film secured before loading (it looks like plain ol' brown masking tape--and they only use a dab of it, basically) had come loose, so the film had partially unwound inside the box, and was rather loose for a good bit of the roll. The first two exposures were affected by light leaks on the edges.

FP4+'s tonality and grain are better, and I've not had any quality control issues at all with Ilford's film, nor with Tri-X. And then there's the smell, the curliness, and the lack of frame numbers of the Shanghai. I'd love to give a reasonably priced film manufacturer a chance; but if you make a product that's crappy a good bit of the time, you're not going to keep my business.
 
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RLangham

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They are simple enough so hardly anythiing that could be broken for such an event.

You and I may have different thresholds for simple!

A roll film auto-advance mechanism is not what I would consider simple, especially as I have had both a Kodak Medalist and a Yashicamat 124g turn out to be unusable specifically due to a problem in that mechanism that was not apparent from the outside. It's actually been bad enough that I wish there were "modern" or Rollei style TLR's (unit rack focusing, thumbwheel exposure controls, et cetera) with ruby windows and manual frame advancement. It just seems like the more reliable solution.

I just hope no undue strain was put on the gripping wheel mechanism...
 

Sirius Glass

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I recently heard that Shanghai is only good for practice loading reels in daylight and later in the dark. The 220 film is especially go for that. Warning do not load Shanghai film into cameras and film backs if you value your equipment! Jes' sayin'
 
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You and I may have different thresholds for simple!

A roll film auto-advance mechanism is not what I would consider simple, especially as I have had both a Kodak Medalist and a Yashicamat 124g turn out to be unusable specifically due to a problem in that mechanism that was not apparent from the outside. It's actually been bad enough that I wish there were "modern" or Rollei style TLR's (unit rack focusing, thumbwheel exposure controls, et cetera) with ruby windows and manual frame advancement. It just seems like the more reliable solution.

I just hope no undue strain was put on the gripping wheel mechanism...

Like everything, context matter. They are simpler than say Yashica 124g or Rolleiflex 3.5F. No shutter autock and no film detecting rollers, no advance lever, etc.

Event though they are simpler than said cameras, I wouldt attempt to fix them. Still pretty complicated for my clumsy fingers.

Ditto on the gripping wheel. I hope it is ok but have some faith on old japanese beast :smile:
 

Dan Daniel

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Well, I guess one good thing is that you now have a roll of backing paper to use for testing the camera? :smile:

The D is a pretty basic mechanism inside. Do a test, but good chance that it will be fine.
A roll film auto-advance mechanism is not what I would consider simple, especially as I have had... a Kodak Medalist... turn out to be unusable specifically due to a problem in that mechanism that was not apparent from the outside.
You can use the red window on the Medalist for frame spacing, And disabling a defective counter system isn't hard if it is binding up[ the system. Well, fixing a defective counter system also isn't hard, but that's another day...
 
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RLangham

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Well, I guess one good thing is that you now have a roll of backing paper to use for testing the camera? :smile:

The D is a pretty basic mechanism inside. Do a test, but good chance that it will be fine.

You can use the red window on the Medalist for frame spacing, And disabling a defective counter system isn't hard if it is binding up[ the system. Well, fixing a defective counter system also isn't hard, but that's another day...

No, the flimsy paper was torn and I made it worse pulling everything out of the camera. It's in shreds now.

I think next week when I don't have so many bills due I'm gonna order a pack of fomapan or something like that.

As for fixing the medalist or working around it... It had too much else wrong with it. Paperweight now.
 

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I bought several rolls of Shanghai GP3 in 220 recently for my Yashicamat 124G. I've had no problems with loading, shooting or unloading. The film is okay, but I need to shoot more before saying if I like it or not. I do like the 220 length. I had a model shoot last month and it was so nice to be able to shoot 24 frames before changing film.

Jim B.
 

momus

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QC issues are aggravating when they pop up. I used that film in 120 format years ago and never had that problem, but things change. It gave me some nice shots, not sure I shot enough of it to get it properly dialed in.

It's a film that doesn't mind heat though. I once twisted the faucet the wrong way and washed the film in the tank for over a half hour at around 130F, came out fine.
 

Donald Qualls

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Ditch the Shanghai and switch to Ilford and Kodak. Yes they cost a bit more

Or use Fomapan or .EDU Ultra (same film, different box) -- barely more than Shanghai, much less than Kodak/Ilford, and in my experience (hundreds or rolls over the past twenty years) 100% reliable. I've seen QC complaints here, but never seen a roll in my own process that gave those problems.
 

Tel

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I tried some Shanghai 5x7 sheet film 'way back and kind of liked it. (It was cheap back then.) So I bought a brick of GP3 in 120 from the same seller (in Taiwan as I recall) and it turned out to be the stuff with the backing paper print-through issue. Numbers and dots all over the emulsion. Never went back--my go-to cheap film since has been Arista/Foma. Chunky grain but no QC issues.
 

Sirius Glass

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Or use Fomapan or .EDU Ultra (same film, different box) -- barely more than Shanghai, much less than Kodak/Ilford, and in my experience (hundreds or rolls over the past twenty years) 100% reliable. I've seen QC complaints here, but never seen a roll in my own process that gave those problems.

I have never used .EDU Ultra or Fomapan so I do not have an opinion of them.
 

Donald Qualls

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I have never used .EDU Ultra or Fomapan so I do not have an opinion of them.

Especially if you bulk load 35 mm, but also in preloaded cassettes, 120, and sheet film sizes, it's almost always the least expensive film in a given format, at least in the USA. And despite being old enough to have developed my own Verichrome Pan, I find it looks good. The 100 is better than the 400, but the 400 isn't bad, IMO.

If saving money on photography isn't important to you, it might not be worth the effort to learn how to get the most out of Fomapan, but if it is...
 

Nitroplait

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EU pricing for Foma film is ridiculously low given what the other players charge. And the quality is fairly consistent - at least I haven't had reason to complain.

I wouldn't waste my time on questionable producers with poor QC.

I use bulk loaded Foma 200 as 35mm test film - I think the 30m bulk rolls from Ilford cost almost 3 times more last I checked!

I prefer Foma 200 (over Foma 100 and 400) for 4x5 - a format where the price of my favorite FP4+ has gone through the roof in recent months.
Foma 200 has finer grain than Foma 100, but differs a bit in character - not to everyones liking.

I am not yet priced out of Ilford's 120 products but I'd be totally OK if I had to resort to Foma - should it come to that.
 
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RLangham

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Never went back--my go-to cheap film since has been Arista/Foma. Chunky grain but no QC issues

Fomapan grain doesn't bother me, even for 35mm. It's what I have in my Watson loader right now... 200 or 100, I can't remember but I shoot the 200 @ 100 anyways.

I just happened to find a deal on Shanghai once that beat what I could get fomapan for in 120. Otherwise I wouldn't have messed with it
 

Nitroplait

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Fomapan grain doesn't bother me, even for 35mm. It's what I have in my Watson loader right now... 200 or 100, I can't remember but I shoot the 200 @ 100 anyways.
Yeah. I think all Foma’s films are best shot at half box speed.
 

MattKing

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Nothing could ever beat the J&C 120 film that I bought a 20 roll box of many years ago - it curled like spring steel when you developed it!
You needed 4 hands and tape to get it into the enlarger's negative carrier!
 
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