Film Fat 120 rolls

jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
I'm getting fat rolls with a couple of medium format cameras, i.e., after being exposed, the roll is not tightly rolled back. Consequence of this is light leaks on the last few pictures.

I know this happens more on some brands, like Lomography that has a very shinny yet slippery backing, but I had occasionally issues also with Portra and now with Delta.

This is probably a long shot, but is there any hack to avoid this? Like taping the leader to the empty spool?

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Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
José, as far as I can tell, it's more a thing certain cameras do than something caused by your choice of film.

My Fuji GS645S does tends to do that too often for my taste - to the extend I always try to remove the film in the dark (darkroom or bag) and carry a metal 120 box to put it in. But I've had fat rolls on older folders as well (the Voigtländer Bessa RF being the most prone to it).

That said, I think you can avoid it by a) aligning the film well on the take-up spool (provided your camera is well enough aligned internally and the spool itself isn't skewed by default) and b) looking for a tight first couple of turns on the spool so the film has enough tension to it and there's no loose film in the center of the roll. As things stand, most of my older cameras, but alas, also the GS645S, need that kind of attention - and honestly, it's never wrong to do it properly.

Hope this helps ...

M.
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
It's many a long year since I put any film through my Mamiya Press camera, but might the problem be that the shiny spring steel flap that bears against the film backing as it is wound onto the take up spool is not be exerting enough pressure, try some gentle bending so it bears harder against the film back as it winds onto the take up spool. Just a thought.

Barrie
 

jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
José, as far as I can tell, it's more a thing certain cameras do than something caused by your choice of film.

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the input!

In my experience, yes, it is a combination of camera/film, but pending a bit more for the film side. There are some cameras like the Holgas that are very prone to this (I did find several reports when looking for a solution for my issue), but I'm now feeling it on a camera I used for many years without issues.

It can also be a user error. I've loaded my share of 120 film so should not be lack of experience, but I could be overlooking the process a bit since I don't actually feel I need to put a lot of attention to it.

The fact I believe is key here is that Kodak had the backing paper migration issues a few (2 or 3) years back. As a result their backing has now some sort of lacquering that makes it pretty slippery. We can feel it on the hand and likely the cameras also do. Lomography CN400 has some sort of production links to Kodak, so the problem (at least for me it is a "problem") on these two brands might have the same cause.

I was surprised to now experience the same with Ilford, but mentioning this in a local camera shop/lab, they did mention Ilford also recently experienced backing paper issues.

Thanks for the tips on loading, I've also started looking for some sort of light tight recipient to unload it in the dark.
 
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jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
Hope here is visible what I mean with the slippery backing, you can see the Portra is much shinier than the 400H.
 

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Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
@jssaraiva José, I know you're an experienced film shooter, and I certainly didn't want to suggest otherwise. However, this issue hit me myself pretty unexpectedly, and while I absolute concur about exploring different reasons, I found my own lack of consistency and care to be more decisive than any gear- and material-induced causes, hence my first suggestion. However, I think this thread is very valuable - and I certainly meant no offense (and take none!). I just think it pays to exclude human error before digging into more complex (and possibly more expensive or consequential) measures.

M.
 

jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
@jssaraiva José, I know you're an experienced film shooter, and I certainly didn't want to suggest otherwise. However, this issue hit me myself pretty unexpectedly, and while I absolute concur about exploring different reasons, I found my own lack of consistency and care to be more decisive than any gear- and material-induced causes, hence my first suggestion. However, I think this thread is very valuable - and I certainly meant no offense (and take none!). I just think it pays to exclude human error before digging into more complex (and possibly more expensive or consequential) measures.

M.
Hi Matt, non taken, it must be myself to apologize if my reply sounded on the defensive. It was not at all my intention, sorry.
 

jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
Regarding foam or felt, would we be talking about sticking it on the area marked red? Probably felt, option 1, at lest on a first try. Still the foam marked as 2 is pretty open and compressed nicely, it is for mirror damping, so could also do the job.

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phigmov

Probably Not Walter Kernow
Location
Aotearoa
I guess the foam can degrade and might leave residue on the film. On the other hand I guess 120 does have a paper backing so it shouldn't cause issues. If you use the camera regularly enough I'm guessing you'll catch any foam degradation before it occurs. The felt might give you a little more flexibility to add layers.

Take my advice with a big grain of salt - I have no idea what I'm talking about :)
 

jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
Hello all,

An update on this.

I've adjusted the spring steel plates and been extra careful when loading, but got another fat roll of Lomo CN40 with the Agfa Record III.

In the meantime I've also shot a Lomo CN 400 on my Fuji GSW690 (wanted to make one more roll before putting it for sale) and also got a fat roll, even if not as much.

One thing I noticed loading the Fuji is that the leader doesn't lay flat on the take up spool as the slot looked a bit too narrow for this film. This might be due to the spool brand design, but on this instance I noticed that as much as I'd try, it just crinkle a bit which might also be the root cause of this. I didn't have some scissors with me to narrow the leader a bit.

On my next test with the Agfa I'll: trim a bit the leader and tape the felt strip to make a bit more pressure.

One of the photos with the GSW690 below. One thing that happens to me a bit with this camera is that I cast my shadow on the part of the frame that on the viewfinder is obstructed by the huge lens...

002308_002308-R1-E002_1.jpg
 
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jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
Finally got an acceptably rolled Lomo CN 400 on the Agfa.

Two things were different: i) the take up spool was also a Lomo and I had no problem making the lead and the initial part of the paper being fully flat; ii) I’ve added a strip of foam on the take up side with significant additional pressure on winding (so I might try the felt latter).

Even if the result was ok, comparing with a Fujifilm 400H I also finished on the Bronica RF645, the difference is still quite relevant:

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jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
Got the results back today, unfortunately the last two frames still had some light leaking.

Looks like Lomo CN400 is a no go for this camera. It is a shame as I quite enjoy the results (example below without light leak) but getting just 6 pictures without issues out of a 120 roll is not nice....

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phigmov

Probably Not Walter Kernow
Location
Aotearoa
Have you tried taping up the outside of the camera? I've done this with a few of mine - just a thin strip of duck-tape or insulation tape around the edges where the door meets the body. I guess if the light is leaking in after the roll leaves the camera due to a loose-wind on the take-up spool then that is a whole other problem.
 

jssaraiva

Top Veteran
Location
Porto, Portugal
Real Name
José
Have you tried taping up the outside of the camera? I've done this with a few of mine - just a thin strip of duck-tape or insulation tape around the edges where the door meets the body. I guess if the light is leaking in after the roll leaves the camera due to a loose-wind on the take-up spool then that is a whole other problem.

I only today saw the negatives and I confirm the leak only occurred on the last two frames. I was not fully sure of the sequence. So it is happening when opening the camera and it being a bit loose.

Today I used a Lomo CN400 on my Pentax 67ii and the result is similar, maybe slightly better:
AC05A8FF-5DAF-40D0-88CC-37F696126479.jpeg
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
I only today saw the negatives and I confirm the leak only occurred on the last two frames. I was not fully sure of the sequence. So it is happening when opening the camera and it being a bit loose.

Today I used a Lomo CN400 on my Pentax 67ii and the result is similar, maybe slightly better:
View attachment 244534
Jose, I have another thought , on my Mamiya Press backs the spool that holds the unexposed film has a degree of tension applied to it. As well as the curved spring steel plate that rubs on the paper back of the film that I'd previously suggested to bend slightly on the pick up end there are spring steel strips that rub on the edge of the discs at either end of the spool holding the unexposed film. This is what makes the spool pop out slightly when you release it, however it might also provide a slight braking effect on the feed in spool and help to keep some tension on the film as it's being wound on which might just help to make it roll onto the take up spool a little tighter and prevent light leakage, it might be worth checking how still the spool is at the end holding the unexposed film. I trust I've made myself understandable.

Barrie
 

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