126 Shooters – Part 2

So if you read part 1 you’ll remember that I am having a new love affair with the long defunct 126 cartridge film format.  Its simple, fun and cheap, but the film is no longer being manufactured (as of January 2020 at least.) So what to do about this?  We’ll as I mentioned in part 1 there is a bunch of people already, Mr Matt Melcher from the box of cameras podcast who have perfected the dark art of rolling regular 35mm film into the old 126 cartridges.

In a nutshell the process is as follows.  The cartridge is carefully opened along the seam.  Chances are if you’ve processed a film like I did in part 1 you ‘ll have this empty cartridge with the spool in it already.  Just be careful when you open it as you dont want to crack it.  That will let in light and render the whole thing useless.  The backing paper that you saved will have a mark where the old 126 film was taped on (put a bit of masking tape here if you like, its easier to feel in the dark) and should still be attached to the backing paper. If the 35mm donor film is new I snip of the curved leader and and then tape the end down to where the old film was taped on.  you’ll notice down the backing paper you should be able to see where the old film ended.  It’ll be just past where the numbers are on the reverse of the paper.

Now in the dark, roll the backing paper onto the spool and eventually the film will start to get rolled into it as well.  Keep rolling up the backing paper and film until you reach the mark where the old film was.   I roll slightly past this then snip off the 35mm film.

Now the next bit is a bit more complicated.  You need to roll the film and backing paper from the other end, not the spool end, just into itself in your hand.  You’ll then end up with a tightly rolled film/backing paper in one hand which is connected to the empty spool.  This film/backing paper roll needs to go into the left hand chamber of the cartridge, and the empty spool in the right.  Once you have done this close up the cartridge and I’d advise sealing it shut with some electrical tape.  that should 1 stop it from opening accidentally, and 2 stop any potential stray light getting in.

I realise that if you’ve stuck through all of that you’ve probably not followed it, sorry im not very good at explaining stuff through words

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