info on readyload : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I would like to get more information on using readyload sheets. I work for a week at a time far from a dark room, I think readyload sheets may help. I have searched the Kodak and Ilford sites with no luck on specifiec information

-- marc fleischman (, December 26, 1999


i regularly expose over 100 negs per day at some fairly remote locations. the kodak readyload system has been a nearly perfect solution for my needs. i no longer have to load my own film holders, and i can carry 200-300 negs at a time if i need to. the system is very easy to use. each film packet has two negs enclosed in a sleeve that acts as the dark slide. the readyload film holder is standard size and is inserted in the back normally. then you insert a film pack until it seats properly. you pull the sleeve (dark slide) out to a marked point, expose the neg, push the sleeve back in, pull the entire packet out, flip it over, and do it again on the opposite side (2nd neg). it pays to be careful as you seat each film packet in the holder and as you reseat the sleeve after exposing a neg.

-- jnorman (, December 26, 1999.

There has been a lot of criticism of the Readyload system in the large format equipment news group as being unreliable (light leaks primarily). That hasn't been my experience. I've never had a problem with mine. If you decide to use them I'd suggest that you buy a new Readyload holder - Kodak apprently has made some changes over the years and I think some of the criticism has come from people using older versions that they bought at a pawn shop for $2 and that they expect to work like new. Also, I think it's important to follow the instructions meticulously. Finally, don't try using Readyload film with the Polaroid 545 holder. This is a tempting way to save money and space and Kodak includes instructions for doing it with the film packs. However, while a few people seem to get away with it, most have found that this combination does lead to light leaks no matter how careful you may be. Break down and spend the extra $50 or so for a new Kodak holder.

-- Brian Ellis (, December 27, 1999.

i have been one of the more vocal critics of the Kodak Readyload system. a system that even Kodak tech reps acknowlege is problem (i.e., light leak prone). For the record. My first Kodak Readyload holder was purchased new and the two subsequent (mark II and Mark III?) holders were given to me by Kodak tech reps. The problem never was solved to my satisfaction (failure rate never got below 25%) and i have retreated to the 100% reliability of the Fuji Quickload system. Unfortunately Fuji hasn't seen fit to release the Neopan 80 Quickload product in the USA (it is availible in Eurpope and I assume also in japan, if not the rest of Asia.)

-- Ellis Vener (, December 27, 1999.

Like Ellis, I have suffered from chronic light leaks using Readyload, despite very carefully following Kodak's instructions and various users' advice.

In my holder, you can see daylight leaking through the loading slot past the film packet! Others' widespread claims of success make me wonder if my unit (supplied by a Kodak tech rep) is of an older, leakier design.

How many generations of Readyload holder have there been? Is there a practical way to tell them apart?

-- Sean Donnelly (, December 28, 1999.

the light leakage problem stems from improperly re-seating the sleeve after exposing a negative. my colleague also had this problem when first learning to use the readyload system. since i rely on this system professionally, i cannot afford to miss any shots due to equipment malfunction. once you become familiar with the holder and how it works, you can quite easily ensure that the sleeve is securely seated before you remove it from the camera. the second potential failure point for the readyload system is the small internal metal clip which catches the metal end of the film packet (to hold the negatives in place while you pull the sleeve) - if the clip does not catch the end of the film packet, you may pull the entire packet partway out when you think you are just pulling the sleeve out. again, i make a simple check with every exposure to make sure the neg is in place. i have run thousands of pieces of film through the readyload system, i use it all the time, and i am very comfortable with it. i have been through three holders so far - i think the original holder which had a metal film-plane plate was the best. i use tmax 100, and have not tried the fuji system, but it sounds like other folks like it so it is probably pretty good too, and if you prefer fuji film, give it a shot.

-- jnorman (, December 28, 1999.

I remember seeing a while ago mention that the Calumet Photographic web site had excellent instructions on how to best use the Readyload system. I personally have no experience with Readyloads because of my preference for Fuji emulsions (although I do wish NPS was available in Quickload). I can second the previous opinion that the Fuji system works without problem.

-- Larry Huppert (, December 28, 1999.

jnorman: I assure you my problems with Readyload have nothing to do with improperly seating the packet or engaging the clip. In mine, light enters the film area through the loading slot, resulting in severe fogging at the end opposite from the clip. This is a widely reported problem.

-- Sean Donnelly (, December 29, 1999.

I have owned all three (I think that is all there are) generations of ReadyLoad holders. Failure rates dropped dramatically with the latest version, which can be identified by a black, rather than chrome, pressure plate. While reliability is better, my major complaint with the ReadyLoad holder is film alignment. The holder was not designed to account for the strip of white cardboard which acts as a stop when withdrawing the packet. This causes an obvious curve in the sheet of film with one end of the film displaced from the plane of best focus. While I don't photograph planar objects, this curvature of the film plane has produced some obvious out-of-focus results on real world images. I have abandoned ReadyLoad and now use exclusively the Fuji Quickload system, film packets and holder, which has functioned perfectly for me.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, December 29, 1999.

sean - sorry, i didn't read your first comment well enough. after reading these remarks about problems with the system, i thought i would research it a bit with kodak. sure enough, i was not able to find ANY information on the kodak website about the readyload system or film holder, much less any discussion of problems and fixes for the reported user concerns. i wrote a long email to kodak support, and linked this discussion for their reference. when they reply to me, i will post their response here.

-- jnorman (, January 02, 2000.

two persons from kodak have called me in the last couple of days to talk about the readyload system, the user-reported problems and the ways in which kodak has tried to address user concerns, and getting some information about the system on their website. they were very knowledgeable and professional, and were very interested in hearing about my experiences with the system and also what others at this forum had experienced with it. based on some of the comments we had here, i suggested that they might also offer a more professionally- oriented holder, ie, constructed of more durable and reliable materials, that would be more appealing to those who need a more heavy-duty piece of equipment. they are preparing some information to send me, which i will post at this site under a new heading as soon as i receive it.

-- jnorman (, January 10, 2000.

I sometimes find it hard to believe that a product that so many seem to have trouble with is still a topic for discussion. I admit the thought of a readyload product that works is a great idea and one that I would embrace, were it 100% reliable, but it still remains that lack of emulsion choice (particularly in B&W) forces me to use conventional holders anyway. Perhaps if T-Max 400 were an available choice I could jump on this bandwagon again in the hopes that Kodak would get all the bugs out. Until then, I will continue to load holders. Aside from an occasional speck of dust, they appear to work pretty reliably.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, January 11, 2000.

Let's hope that, if Kodak is really going to improve the Readyload system, it fixes its film-positioning problem simultaneously. For those unfamiliar with this deficiency, it results from the design's failure to account for envelope thickness. When pulled out to expose a sheet, envelopes force the film an unacceptable 0.025" further away from the lens than what's required, i.e. 0.190", at the holder's packet insertion end. Doesn't sound like much, but results in an amazing focus shift, especially with shorter lenses. Those of you who were contacted should call Kodak back and make some waves.

-- Sal Santamaura (, January 12, 2000.

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