Tips & tricks – how do I get the film on the spool

At first you need a dark environment – real dark.
I like a changing bag, mine looks like a small black tend.

Then in goes the film, a scissor, the spool and the development tank.

I don´t open my film canisters anymore, usually I use a hama filmfix to get get a bit of film out.

In the bag the film comes out of the canister, 120 film get´s off the paper.

Then the most important step – the cutting of the film end. Cut nice round edges, no sharp edges. Otherwise it won´t go on the spool.

Now (without too much touching the film), reel it up with small movements or just feed it in. It will take some time. Never rush. If stuck, move the parts of the spiral a few times. Dont apply pressure on the spool. Of course the film has to be put in with the curvature right.

If there is moisture or you get the film sweats, pause. It will not work otherwise.

If nothing works, desparation hits, sweating, swearing and utter frustration arrive, you can reel the film in in the darkroom under water. Works fine. 

Some spools have a small red lever – open it before loading !

Than the spool goes on the axis, both in the tank, close the tank (CLOSE!) and then – light

Cameras – Canon prima AS-1

35 mm underwater Camera, Canon/Japan, Build 1993. 
Canon Lens 1:3,5/32 mm (0,45 bis 1 Meter), 
Autofokus, Programmautomatik, flash, motorischer Filmtransport. 

my 12 year old underwater camera

Cameras – Minolta 35 GT

A small, compact Camera with 

manuals :

some hacks, batterie etc….

Specifikations :

  • Typ 35mm Kompakt Kamera
  • Size100 mm x 61 mm x 31 mm
  • Weight 200 gramm 
  • Bild Format 24 x 36 mm 
  • Lens Minox Color-Minotar, 35 mm f/2.8, no Filter thread, Originalfilter
  • Aperture f/2.8 to f/16.
  • Focus Manueller Focus 
  • Shutter 1/500 second, longest time 1 second bei ISO 400)
  • Viewfinder with light metering needle, Indicators for overexposure and slow time
  • Film Transport „Double stroke“ Transportlever
  • flash contact  x-synchronized hot shoe.  125/ second
  • Tripod thread .
  • Batterie PX 27 [Quecksilber Oxyd] or  S27PX Silver Oxyd 6v
  • Serial number inside                

Cameras – Pentacon six

This is a medium format SLR camera, produced in the fifties.

My first step was easy – Cleaning and creaming, than polishing the leather bag I got with the camera.
Drying, it´s looking as good as new. Nearly.

Next step
The camera, big, dirty and dusty.
Dark viewfinder with scratches, nearly impossible to use.

I was sceptical.

After studiing the great site pentaconsix I stripped the camera down, with microfiber clothes, cotton balls, small amounts of oil and lots of air blowing and patience the camera improved.

After a long quest I got a new screen at Baierfoto. Switching the sreen with the included instruction war easy.

And now : there is a bright, sharp image in the waist level viewfinder. Great.

If you, by the way,  really want to freak out, visit the excellent page of Simon Hawkett, who is still repairing his P6 with a great documentation of his process….

Another good inside view :×6/inside.html

And Rick´s Pentacon six notes :

Using the camera :

The loading of the 120 film has to be under constant tension and should be done exactly as advised at pentaconsix, if you do it that way and never let the film transport lever snap back (bang), but always guide it smoothly back with the fingers after shooting, there should be no problem with the notorious  image spacing problem. Or maybe I was just lucky with my camera.


Type: Medium Format SLR
Film: 120 und 220 Film  6*6

Shutter: Cloth, B, 1 bis 1/1000 sec

Here is `“the“ great website :

127mm lens

80mm lens

Developer – Monobath

I detected the receipt for an so called monobath developer (untested by me) at

 „Wear gloves.  Use a well-ventilated space.  Warm the R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER to 80 degrees F (27C) in an external water bath.  In total darkness, immerse your exposed black & white film completely in the warm monobath for 6 minutes without agitation.  (It is safe to look at your film in the light after about 2 minutes, but be sure to continue the process for the full 6 minutes.)  Remove your film from the monobath and rinse it thoroughly in room-temperature tap water for a minimum of 5 minutes.  Hang to dry“

16 ml HC-110 USA concentrate
50 ml household ammonia (ammonium hydroxide,  5% solution)
10 ml Ilford Rapid Fixer concentrate
water to make 256 ml

Mixed by adding most of the water to the HC-110 concentrate, then ammonia, then fixer, then remainder of water to make up volume. Heated to 75 F in an external hot water bath.

I used the D96 monobath, it is quiet nice.

After using it for 8 months and about 20 films I dumped it today, just to be on the safe side.

Cameras – Belair & Instant Lomo

I got my hands on two lomo cameras,

the Belair City Slicker Medium Format
– a 6*6 medium format camera with spartan controls but fun to use and rather good image quality if there is light …

6 x 12: 4.1 x 2″ / 104 x 52 mm
6 x 9: 3.1 x 2′ / 78 x 52 mm
6 x 6: 2 x 2″ / 52 x 52 mm
120 roll film
3 Bayonet type
Aperture priority mode
EV 4-15
1/125 sec. and bulb
Supports ISO 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
X-type sync hot shoe
1/4″ socket
2x LR44 1.5V batteries
Not specified by manufacturer
1.1 lb / 500 g (without batteries or film)


Manual, kind of…

the Instant – a instant camera with ridicously small images – funny

Anleitung (manual in german):

Film – x-ray film

„A film that can only see blue and green spectra of light doesn’t get along very well with light reflecting off of red objects.
Red leaves go dark grey, red bricks go darker, and red shirts and skin blemishes become quite prominent and dark.

Top things to avoid with x-ray film: red backgrounds, red shades of lipstick, and hot lights!“

„X-ray film, when processed in standard developers, builds contrast very quickly. 
A quick glance at any x-ray shooters‘ developing times will show you that even very dilute solutions have a time of < 10 min. 

Taming contrast with green x-ray film can be accomplished with some yellow/pale yellow filtration during exposure. 
In otherwise „flat“ light, x-ray film at „N“ (normal processing) will provide you contrast equal to N+1 development with conventional films. 

„Personally, I’ve found shooting somewhere between ASA 100-200 gives me acceptable prints with silver, and ample density for carbon printing. And with the addition of a yellow filter (see image right), even more contrast can be controlled, and a little darkening of the sky can be obtaining with this naturally contrasty x-ray film“

Above quoted from    Mat Marrash

I had my „new“ 18×24 now functional and did (its dark and cloudy here) a testing with some x-ray sheets I got as a gift because they are to old for medical use.

Development in Rodinal, x-ray film is orthochromatic so under safe light red.
R09 1:25 worked much to fast, in the 2 minutes range, but this cheap old (stored at room temperature) film is not bad at all.

You see  small scratches and the dust, I did a careless quick test job cutting and loading and scanning – and the tray development which followed is alway dangerous for this film because the film is coated on both sides.


Because of the coating I was really careful loading the film, taking it out of the holder and especially moving it in the tray while developing, stop in water, fixing and washing. 
A small tip is to put the glas of some cheap frames at the bootom of the trays, so no more scratching at the bottom.
The coating is of course very vulnerable when wet, but I managed to get a few 8×10 sheets very well developed without any scatches.

Contact printing works very well.

Be aware that Tim Layton uses another x-ray film, rates it at 100 ISO, developes in Rodinal 1:100 for 6 min., his blog here :

his tips :

Fuji AD-M 18x24cm @ ISO 100,   Ilfosol 3 1+14, 20°, 8′, Rotation
Fuji AD-M 18x24cm @ ISO 64,     Kodak HC110 (1+47), 20°, 5’30“, Rotation
Fuji AD-M 18x24cm @ ISO 100,   Kodak HC110 (1+47), 20°, 7′, Rotation
Fuji AD-M 18x24cm @ ISO 100,   Pyrocat HD, 5ml+5ml+500ml, 20°, 7’30“,

Fui UM MA               @ ISO 25   Rodinal 1:50 , 10min

Fixierer Moersch ATS, Rotation

Gregg wrote this in our Lensless group on FB:

Gregg Obst I use the single-sided blue-based Carestream Ektascan B/RA in my 8×10 and have also cut it down to 4×5 on occasion….

I rate it at ISO 80 or 100 and generally dev it in Rodinal at a 1:100 or 1:150 dilution at room temp (20 C/70 F). I’ve tried various times using rotary processing but around 6 minutes at the 1:150 dilution seems to control the contrast well and still gives good shadow detail….

If you choose tray development do yourself a favor and get some cheap 8×10 glass sheets and line your trays with those to mitigate scratching if you want to experiment with the cheaper double sided X-Ray films like Fuji. A good source of cheap glass for this purpose can be found in dollar store picture frames.

You can develop under a 7w red bulb placed no closer than about 4 feet from the working surface….

Some examples:…

Andrew Bartram

Here is a copy of the email James Guerin shared with me the other day to help me along my x rayfilm journey

Hopefully others will find it equally helpful

Details on x ray – pasted from a previous email..

> The pros and cons of X-ray are:

> Pros:
> You can develop under safe light. This mean that if you under exposed you
> leave it longer and wait for the image to appear… and if you over-expose
> you pull it out of the developer early. Simple!
> Your iso is 100. Not too fast..not too slow.
> Load cassettes in any direction (note for single sided x-ray emulsions such
> as Kodak Eka-scan BR then you need to use the notches as per normal).
> Chemistry dilution is very weak so very economical. I use rodinal at 1:100,
> and 1 litre will develop about 8 sheets. (the time normal increases from 5
> minutes for the first 2 sheets up to about 6 mins for the last sheets. At 20 deg C
> This stuff is cheap! About $39 for 100 sheets of 8×10″ – or 400 sheets of
> 4×5″ (I use a paper crop to chop down 8×10 to 4×5 under the red light).

> Cons:
> This film scratches very easily during developing.
> The film is double sided, this decreases the sharpness slightly and makes
> for a dense negative if you’re not careful.
> This film is orthographic.. it is only sensitive to one colour (green or
> blue depending on the one you buy – green is nicer). Modern film is
> panchromatic, so will record the colour red as a grey mid-tone. Green
> sensitive x ray film will record red as black. Green is recorded brightly
> (trees/foliage) which works well.
> The film base has a blue tint.
> The main trick to avoid the scratches is to develop in a regular tray but
> lining the bottom of the tray with either a glass sheet (so the film slides
> over it) or a sheet of pvc (the chemistry will not annoy the pvc sheet – the
> trays are made from PVC). After a while the glass will become etched by the
> acidic developer but this doesn’t seem to cause any issues. you should use
> these glass liners on all three 4 trays – pre-wash, develop, water stop and
> fix.
> Times and concentrations are as follows for green sensitive x ray film. (20
> degrees C all solutions)

> Pre-wash – tap water; 5 mins, turn over the film at least once (2.5min per
> side). The pre-wash is essential, you will get horrible unevenly developed
> negs if you omit this step.

> Develop – Rodinal or R09 equivalent – 1:100; 6 mins, turn the film over
> every 1 min, this is the only agitation required (otherwise you will make a
> very dense negative).

If you’ve underexposed and are waiting ages for an
> image you can start agitating.. also consider upping the concentration of
> developer (bear in mind you might have other sheets to develop after so maybe
> keep this tray separate and start another standard solution

> Stop – Tap water (or stop bath – I never use stop bath). 30 secs with agitation, get as much developer off so you don’t contaminate your fixer.

> Fix – Any fixer at recommended film concentration. 1 min with agitation. (x ray fixes very quickly)
> Washing – as per your normal film process.

Generally there are massive differences in ISO, coating and responding to developers. You have to find a solution for every single brand…

Here is an example of the Fuji UM MA HD, 15 ISO (not enough light), R09 1:100 15 Min:

Fuji UM MA HD rated ISO 25 with flash, Rodinal 1:50 10 min

More light & shorter dev = less contrast…

x-ray film, ISO 25, flash, M-Comapnon, Rodinal 1:50 10 min

Tools – groundglass diy

My 8×10 groundglas broke.

Searching ebay, the prices were way too high.

But I found :

So I bought siliziumkarbid, fine grain (lifelong lasting 1000g) 600 and 800,

the local glass shop cut me a 2mm glassplate the right size, tested it in camera

and went to work for about 40 minutes.

I used a second smaller glass plate, put a sucking grip on it.

Than I put the 600 powder on the new ground glass, added some water and began to grind. Hard work for my hands . About 10 min later I switched to the 800 powder, water of course and another 15 mins later I had my glass ready.

The result : a good groundglass, but not so bright as I hoped.

A few tips I got as feed back:

The general rule is that a coarse-ground screen will be brighter, but a finely ground one will be easier to focus.

Use WD40 instead of water, its going much more easy.

Use aluminium oxide powder.

Add a fresnell screen.

Broken and grounding – comparison

For working I put an vacuum holder (from and old car something device) on a 9×12 glass plate I would have used for ambrotype. A spoonful siliziumkarbide and a few drops water, and a few drops sweat…

20 minutes later the new groundglass in my international 8×10 back :

Tools – Lensboard large format specs

Here is an overwiev of lensboard parameters as far as I got the infos :
Please correct and submit infos !


Sinar boards are quite complex. They are 139 mm square, outer rim is 4 mm thick (front to back) and 2 mm wide, recess is then 1 mm down from that, center area is 5 mm thick, recess is 3.5 mm wide. #1 hole is 35 mm, #3 is 60 mm.

140×140 mm, 3,5 mm thickness, a lighttrap on the inside


138x142mm bei 7 mm thickness (similar to the Stella von Herbst and Firl Görlitz)

Plaubel Peco Profia

166x166mm with rounded edges, the newer onees need a lighttrap on the inside

Plaubel Profia Z 13×18/5×7 : Adapterplatte auf die Technikaplatten, die gibts fertig bei Plaubel. Es gibt auch noch baugleiche 96×99 Platten von Toyo


74×81 mm : Baby Linhof Technika 6×9

96×99 mm, thickness 1.7mm : Linhof Technika 9×12 and Linhof Color & Kardan Color 9×12 ( plus Toyo, Wista, Tachihara, Shen-Hao, usw..).

129×129 mm : Linhof Technika 13×18

162×162 mm : Linhof Kardan, Kardan Super-Color

220 x220 mm : Linhof Kardan 13×18 u. 18×24

ca 200 x 200 mm : Linhof Kardan Color 13×18 u. 18×24

162×162 mm : Linhof Kardan from 1967 (Kardan Bi and later)

Arca Swiss

6×9, „Field“-4×5 and Misura : 110×110 mm

9×12 – 4×5″, 13×18-5×7″, 18×24 – 8×10″ „new“ 141×141 mm

9×12 – 4×5″, 13×18-5×7″, 18×24 – 8×10″ „old“ Oschwald (vor 1984), F-line 4×5 (1984 to ~2005) and Discovery : 171×171 mm

TOYO 4×5 C

158x158mm, 5mm thickness

Cambo SF,SC

162x162mm, rounded edges, lighttrap, 3,5 mm thick, 2,5 mm thick at the lens bore


Outer dimension of 3.64 x 3.7 inches (92.5 x 94mm),

Compur und Copal have the same dimensions 0, 1 and 3

0 = 34,5mm
1 = 41,5mm
3 = 65,0mm

The Compur 2 has 3 different possibilities.

The pneumatic Compound shutters:

Compound III: 62mm
Compound IV: 92mm
Compound V: 95mm

MILLIMETERS#0#1#3 #00**
A (Hole Dia.)34.741.865.026.6
B (Thread Dia.)32.5396225.5
C (Lock pin)*17.822.039.213.8
Thinnest board0.831.21.21.1
Thickest board3.753.758.752.7

A very good reference :