What happened to the metal 35mm film cassettes?

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NDKodak

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Did the manufacture of reloadable metal 35mm film cassettes cease? I do not really care for the ones made of plastic.
 

cmacd123

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What we were able to traditionally Buy, seems to have gone by the wayside. the last ones I got from Photo Warehouse were similar to the old Kodak Snap-cap style. The ones that used to come from Freestyle were more like the ones that Ilford and Agfa used to use before they switched to crimped cassettes, with a concave ridge to retain the end cap.
I think that the older ones were made by AP Photoplast, and the last package I did buy of those were not as well formed as they used to be. My guess is that the tooling finally was wearing out.
A note that I habitually switch the older Cassettes with a salvaged Kodak spool to give more area to securely tape the film. A Kodak spool does not work with the Photo warehouse version, but seems to bind...
 
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Unfortunately, there are only a few producers worldwide today. AFAIK Ilford is the last one in Europe and they sell cassettes to other film producers like Foma. Foma tested cassettes from other producers (i.e. Chinesse) and found the quality of them insufficient...
 

tokam

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A bit ironic that Ilford, and Kodak each sell bulk film and neither of them can provide new cassettes. My supply of 30 yo + Ilford cassettes will be dwindling soon even though I normally reload them many times.

I have a good supply of plastic cassettes which are also getting on for 30 years old. I have some new Kalt cassettes but they are a bit flimsy for my liking.

From Kodak's pricing it seems that they are keen to discourage bulk loading but I would have thought that Ilford would step up and help out here. At $1 per cassette they could be laughing, (or are they worried about wearing out their 'new' cassette machinery prematurely?).

Edit. Just thought about it. Ilford's cassette manufacturing capability is probably geared to production of crimped cassettes which aren't ideal for reloading. Probably too hard to switch over machinery to make snap-cap type cassettes.
 

Brad Deputy

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A year later, and same story. eBay has these Russian made ones sold from Ukraine, but for $20 each?!?

I picked up some plastic ones but they're just not the same. I'm having a lot of difficulty holding the velvet mouth open to slide over the film after I attach it to the spool. I use the hole punch method without tape, but I guess it wouldn't be a problem if tape were used. Sigh..
 

Steven Lee

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@Brad Deputy wow! I purchased four 5-packs for $12 each just last year. They've gone from $2.5 per casette to $20 in a year! Should have unloaded my IRA and invested in Ukranian cassettes! :smile:
 

cmacd123

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I have seen the soviet metal cassettes at widely varying prices. Might be worth checking etsy.com and e-bay every few days. - hard to come up with a good search term on either site.
 

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George from International Supplies Corp. in L.A. had a bunch of the old metal Ilford-type for sale at the Newark, CA PhotoFair. I bought 10 for my own use...should've bought them all! 🤨
 

madNbad

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What is wrong with the plastic ones?

They work well enough but the material for the light trap begins to fray after a few loadings. I started running my fingers along the the opening in the cassette to clean off any loose material so it wouldn't stick to the film. The useful life of the plastic cassette is a lot shorter than the Kodak Snap Caps.
 

snusmumriken

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What is wrong with the plastic ones?

My experience was that quite a lot of them scratched my film. I came to the conclusion that the glue sometimes oozed through the light-trap material during manufacture and caused hard spots. Culling the rogue ones was an expensive game, so ...

Did the manufacture of reloadable metal 35mm film cassettes cease? I do not really care for the ones made of plastic.
Back in the late '80s/early 90s, I bought a box of 100 non-coded plain black metal cassettes made by or for AP Photo Industries in Spain. They are the type commonly used by Ilford and Kodak in the 1970s, with ends you can remove easily using your fingernails without damaging the cassette. I have re-used them repeatedly ever since.

The company still exists (link above) and they still sell analogue equipment including bulk loaders. So it might be worth an enquiry?
 

Nitroplait

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Reuse of commercial cassettes is the easiest and most reliable approach IMO. Tape the bulk film to the lip sticking out of a used cartridge and you are good to go.
The Sovjet cassettes smells bad and the paint comes off if you tape a label on them.
Most reusable cassettes may open if dropped.
The dedicated Leica, Nikon Contax cassettes are limited to one camera type.
I use them all for fun but the reused current cassettes are my favorite, and they are free.

52004277413_7610f9ef9e_k.jpg

Left to right:

FSU cartridge: Bought from an Ukraine eBay seller. Very sturdy, semi easy to open. Smells bad. Works with most cameras, but tolerances are not too precise, therefore it can be a tight fit in some cameras. The velvet doesn't look great but works fine (so far).
Price paid <€2/each

No-name metal: - NOS bought from my local camera shop two years ago - very easy to open and good quality velvet - will probably open easily if dropped. Works in all cameras.
Price paid <1€/each

Commercial cartridge: The most convenient solution, IMO. Just tape the bulk film to the lip that sticks out. Won't open when dropped. Scratching from re-use is overly exaggerated IMO. Works in all 35mm film cameras and easy to get.
Price paid 0€/each

Ilford reloadable: Great quality but not super easy to open (and therefore less likely to open if dropped - which is good). Compatible with all cameras.
Price paid 2€/each

Leica IXMOO: Requires bulk loader that can open the film gate of the cartridge (or darkroom loading). Works only with Leica M (up to mid-production M6) and Barnack Leicas. Crazy good quality of solid brass. Likely to be mistaken for high caliber gun cartridges in airport security. Not super easy to unload.
Price paid <20€/each (but often sells up to 50€!)

Leica FILCA: Like above, but only compatible with Barnack Leica.
Price paid <15€/each

Nikon F: Requires bulk loader that can open the cassette (or darkroom loading). Works only with Nikon F (and maybe some of the Nikon rangefinders?). Great quality. Not super easy to unload.
Price paid <20€/each

Nikon F2 (AM-1): Like above, but only compatible with Nikon F2.
Price paid <8€/each (but very difficult to find at any price)
 

pentaxuser

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What is wrong with the plastic ones?

In my case it was none of the problems listed by others. It was that the plastic ones (mine were from a company called Jessops in the U.K. ) tended to cause the auto rewind motor to struggle so it would rewind to say frame 15 and stick. Pressing the button again might get it to the end but they were occasions I had to wait and open the back in the darkroom then finish the rewind by hand

I have since used old film manufacturers cassettes such as Ilford, Fuji or Kodak that I obtained from my local mini-lab and never experienced that problem again

Not an issue for those with manual rewind nor, I suspect but don't know, with those who have more powerful rewind motors such as the likes of the F5 with its large number of batteries

pentaxuser
 

ic-racer

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The reason I ask about the plastic ones is that I'm pretty sure I used to have some but I don't know what happened to them. Did they disintegrate or did I throw them out. Who knows??🤔

I do know nearly all the metal ones I have ever owned are still in service. I have about 40 metal cassettes I use randomly. Some are pretty old but still function perfectly (like the 1970s Ilford cassette in the picture).

I used to scrape a notch on each cassette after loading it, with the intent on throwing them out after some magical number. However, I stopped that practice in the 1990s and never threw any of them out. They are all still working fine.

DSC_0029 2.JPG
 

faberryman

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Build quality...
The Ilford-type metal ones are built like a Canon FTb, the plastic ones are built like a Diana.

The real question though is whether it is more likely that the top is going to pop off the metal kind or become unscrewed from the plastic kind. I have had both happen.
 

Nitroplait

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The real question though is whether it is more likely that the top is going to pop off the metal kind or become unscrewed from the plastic kind. I have had both happen.

That is exactly why re-using the current standard cassettes may be the better option.
 

blee1996

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For bulk loading, I also resorted to reusing commercial cassettes by taping the ends together and then respool. I have accumulated a lot of cassettes over the years, and you can also buy them in bulk for pennies off ebay or photo labs.
 

AgX

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The real question though is whether it is more likely that the top is going to pop off the metal kind or become unscrewed from the plastic kind. I have had both happen.

The plastic ones' caps are much more easy to close, more so in the dark.

The plastic ones' caps can be locked by tape if one wants to be on the safe side.
 

guangong

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Many, many decades ago I bulk loaded reusing Agfa cassettes. I now limit myself to Leica ( I was given a bunch), Zeiss, Minox, and Minolta 16mcassettes. Someone earlier on in this thread said that Zeiss cassettes also fit Nikon rf and F cameras. I’m going to try this out. Nice thing about the Leitz and Zeiss cassettes is that no felt is needed since film does not touch them when used in camera. Unlike the 35mm cassettes, Minox cassettes are quite fragile.
While I once reloaded used cassettes, I feel the risk of scratches, etc outweighs any small benefit in cost. Of course, if using a special film that only comes in 100ft rolls, then one must use whatever is available.
 

cmacd123

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The plastic ones' caps are much more easy to close, more so in the dark.

The plastic ones' caps can be locked by tape if one wants to be on the safe side.
Unfortunatly the newer ones seem to have problems with the felt Bunching up. When I started doing darkroom work I used to buy (Real dr. Carl) adox film mostly to save the cassettes. The cassettes then started to be available separately, and I remember seeing that some of the spools had signs that the mould had been modified to remove "ADOX" from the flange. The ones from that era did last. (the spool had just the shadow of the Logo)

when adox film started to be made in Yugoslavia as EFKE, the cassettes were slightly different and did not hold up as well.

the last pack of the old ADOX style cassettes I got had one felt come loose as I was attempting to load the cassette with film.
 
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