Miserly Film Cameras

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by blockend, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. blockend

    blockend Member
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    Thinking about the long film leader required by Leica's Barnack cameras, I began to wonder which were the most economical users of film. My test suggests the Olympus XA series may be the Ebenezer Scrooge of the 35mm world.

    The distance between cassette and shutter, and shutter and take up spool is tiny.
    It requires no leader, film can be cut straight across saving at least two frames.
    Because there is no auto advance, a single frame wound from loading covers the exposed film.
    If bulk loading, a straight cut allows extra frames from every roll.
    For the really mean, extra film can be loaded into the cassette to ensure most of the negative sheet is filled.

    Conventional cameras loaded in a changing bag can't out perform my XA3 for film economy. Any other contenders for miserly cameras?
     
  2. AgX

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    The Apug Scrooge bulk loads and reuses a leader, sticks it to the fresh film, installs it in the camera waisting no centimeter of fresh film. Of course all done in the changing bag. And of course he reuses that endpiece too!!

    Next step is to modify a camera for scrooginess.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  3. OP
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    blockend

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    Josef Koudelka shot his famous Prague Spring photographs of the Soviet invasion on an Exakta. He used black and white movie film, and had to keep returning to his apartment (or was it a college? I forget) to re-load. Presumably this was due to storage reasons rather than a glitch with his Exakta.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Exakta/Exa with two cassettes (if this is what you are referring to) does not save film, to the contrary.
    What it does is is yielding the ability to cut off exposed film midway in the light. Each time one loses film to forming a new leader (or rather endpiece).

    Maybe though I missed the idea you have in mind.
     
  5. guangong

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    Yep! Also, there should be a way to salvage those loose tiny flake particles of film, rather than blowing them away.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Of course on should collect these for de-silvering...
     
  7. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member
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    And just think of all the wasted perforations! Appalling:surprised:
     
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    blockend

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    What I know is Koudelka had to return to base to re-fill his camera at the end of each film. This would have meant considerable delay in a volatile situation. As he was using movie stock (Orwo, numbered by hand on his contact sheets), I assume this was an economy measure. What I've never understood is whether the re-loading was down to lack of cassettes, or a characteristic of Exakta cameras which meant film wound from one chamber to another, or some other reason - perhaps he had to buy it from a college store and was short of money?

    I think he shot his early gypsy photos on the same film. Given the quality of the images, technically and aesthetically, I don't think he was missing much by not having access to Western film. The habits of serious photographers have always fascinated me. For instance the prolific Garry Winogrand would not fill his tank with film, because he believed the top film would not develop consistently, even if covered by developer.
     
  9. OP
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    blockend

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    Unperforated 35mm was available for a time, called "35". The total image area would have been significantly greater without perforations!
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

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    Just like 828 :wink: I've printed some 828 negatives, just a handful, but there's a noticeable difference.
     
  11. AgX

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    Of course the real scrooge orders un-perforated film, uses a leaf-shutter camera, which he modified for the take-up spool for transport and bored-out the gate.
     
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    blockend

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    Ah, but 828 has that terribly wasteful paper backing, plus all the packaging for an 8 exposure film!
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

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    Or a Kodak Bantam Special.
     
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  15. AgX

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    I forgot about that Bantam format, as it was not available over here. (Maybe in Scotland?)
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

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    You can reuse the backing paper, since you have to spool the film yourself. The Bantam 4.5 is miniscule, has an excellent front element scale focussing 43(?)mm lens that seems best around 20-30 feet, and when collapsed fits easily in a shirt pocket.
     
  17. All my 35mm cameras including a single frame Tessina, Voightlander Vito II, Widelux F7 and two newer Nikons use very little leader length. The 120 and 4"x5" are quite leader frugal.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

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    If you look at the ratio of image area to unexposed/waste area, the sheet film formats have all rollfilm formats beat - and the larger the sheet film the better the ratio.

    You could use grape jelly to stick 4x5 sheets in 5x7 holders and expose 100% of the film as image, ultimate frugality.
     
  19. OP
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    blockend

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    My newer Nikons are auto advance, so no chance of squeezing an extra frame. 120 can be profligate depending on format. 12 frames on 120 leaves lots of room either end. 6 x 9 may use more of the available film.
     
  20. OP
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    blockend

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    I've never used 828, but assumed there was at least one sprocket for take up and frame counting. If I owned a quality 828 camera I'd find a workaround. Is the film chamber only capable of accepting 8 exposures, or could it take more if loaded and unloaded in darkness, and backing paper space was available? Are 828 cameras light compromised in other ways?
     
  21. Mainecoonmaniac

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    It's good to be miserly. Whatever 35mm film camera I use, after attaching the leader to the spool, I advance the film 2x. Sometimes, the leader is fogged on the first 1 or 2. I also have to buy the 6 exposure 7 strip pages. I love my Olympus XA. I'm so miserly, I bought it at the thrift store for $1.50. I didn't know what I bought until I processed the negs from the camera. The lens is unexpectedly sharp with nice vignettes.
     
  22. Patrick Robert James

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    Sheet film gets you the most bang for the most bucks.... Almost nothing wasted.

    For 35mm the Minox 35 has a super short travel.
     
  23. E. von Hoegh

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    828 film had one perforation per frame, one could make a simple punch to do this on split 120 or 70mm non-perf. film. There are two spools, just like 120. The single perforation locked the advance on the better cameras, simpler cameras had the red window. My Bantam 4.5 has both.
    You could block off the red window, use paper leader and trailer like 220, and get many more exposures. I've read that you can get 14 or so exposures on the spool if you have long enough backing paper, you could cut down used 120 backing paper.
     
  24. railwayman3

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    Minox 35's need a very short leader....I get up to 39 exposures.
     
  25. Mainecoonmaniac

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    It's amazing to a cheapskate like me. I wonder if by design, there could be a camera can squeeze out an extra exposure by reducing the space between the frames? Luckily, I don't smoke. I'd probably smoke the filter too.:laugh:
     
  26. OP
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    blockend

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    120 film markings for red windows are fairly generous, so you could gain some real estate there. The unexposed ends are very wasteful. You could easily get 13 square frames, possibly 14 with a carefully calibrated advance wheel. 6 x 4.5 shots use more of the film, beginning and end, 6 x 9 uses least.
     
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