New Fuji Quckchange holder, holds 8 pieces of sheet film!greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
Finally Fuji has introduced a film holder that holds packets of 8 pieces of 4x5 film, similar to the old 6 load film holder. It seems like a very ingenous design and will most likely keep the film flatter vs a conventional holder. You can use any film in the holder and what's really great is you only need one holder which you then insert your packets (8) of film into it! Great for field work and compact backpacks. RW site has extensive review and pix of it... scroll halfway down the page to read!
Has anyone tried this yet?
-- Bill Glickman (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 2001
Wow! This is VERY big (and good) news! Thanks for posting it, Bill; I'll be eager to hear users' reports....
-- John (WhitmanDesign@aol.com), September 11, 2001.
"I'll be eager to hear users' reports.... "
So do I ! I wonder how it will take repeated reuse of the cartridges over the years and how easy it is to load. But if it keeps it's promises, it should be a good way to use bulk film instead of the more expensive QuickLoad.
-- Paul Schilliger (email@example.com), September 11, 2001.
I have had this unit for over a week now. First I took it apart and studied the mechanics of it. Then I shot 8 sheets of film and developed them.
The Robert White website has some good information and I urge you to take a look. These units have been available in Japan for a few years now. For some reason Fuji will not distribute them anywhere else. Luckily for us RW got his hands on them. Here are my initial thoughts..
The holder is very solid. A very high level of construction, almost all metal. However, the film cartridge is plastic and needs to be shown a little more care.
Reloading the cartridge with your own film is a little fiddly the first couple of times. As with most things, it becomes easier the more you practice it.
Once you look inside it you can see how it shuffles the film sheets around. Part of this mechanism has the added feature that the sheet of film you are shooting is kept very flat using a few 'spring like things'
It is also very foolproof in taking you through the 8 sheets. It stops functioning when the counter hits 8. This very easily reset. It doesn't need a screwdriver as RW suggests. You can do it with your fingernail.
The unit is very light-tight, as you would expect. I waved the cartridge and then the holder around in bright sunlight, no leaks.
I am very impressed with this unit. If I am shooting more than 5 or so sheets I will definitely be using it. Purchasing extra film cartridges is also a good idea.
Hope that helps a little, if you have any specific questions fire away.
-- Stephen (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 2001.
Awesome! An updated Grafmatic!
Just order one from RW so should have it tomorrow.
I'm off to the Middle East next week, weighed down with 12 DDS and 400 sheets of Provia. Think I'll squeeze this unit into the rucksack and see how it performs in the desert. Will report back next month after I get back. Huge thanks to Bill for the tip-off.
-- Stuart Whatling (email@example.com), September 12, 2001.
Am I missing something? The 8 sheet holder's been available here in Japan for ages, I think; in fact it's only a month a so ago that I posted a question here asking if it was any good. Is this a new version?
-- Gavin Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 12, 2001.
Top quality sashimi has been available there in Japan for ages too - that didn't stop people over here getting really excited when it started arriving on these shores!
Yes it seems it is the same holder. But it's arrival in the west is quite a breakthrough.
-- Stuart Whatling (email@example.com), September 12, 2001.
According to Fujifilm's website, you can get Provia 100, Astia 100 and Velvia in QuickChange. If you want something else I guess you can always load a magazine yourself, although can you actually get an empty holder? Is it something you can open up yourself without destroying it, or is it an APS cartridge type idea where Fuji lock everything up so you have to go to them for processing? Can't think they'd do that, because for 4x5 they've surely got to cater for people doing their own processing.
-- Gavin Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 12, 2001.
Gavin, the cartridge, as per RW site can be re used. However, they do not sell empty carts... I think they want to sell the more expensive film which is sold pre loaded in the carts. RW claims, although the carts are not desgined for re loading, they easily can be used that way. YOu just have to use a screwdriver and pry something open... he describes it well on his page...
-- Bill Glickman (email@example.com), September 12, 2001.
The film cartridge containing 8 sheets can be easily emptied and reloaded. You do NOT need a screwdriver to pry anything open. You simply press down on a recessed button/latch at the end of the cartridge and empty the contents. The sheet films are housed in holders which are easy to refill. There is a counter on the cartridge which needs to be turned forward to show sheet 1, this can be done with a fingernail, a pencil or just about anything. It requires a gentle touch. Fuji designed these cartridges to be easily opened without being destroyed. They took no measures to stop them from being used again with fresh film.
The RW site explains the product well, though gives no detailed proceedure for reloading the film (last time I looked). However, non of this is rocket science and a quick hands on session is all you need to discover how to unlock the cartridge.
-- Stephen (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 13, 2001.
Sounds for me like to early christmas!
-- Armin Seeholzer (email@example.com), September 13, 2001.
The holder and three film packets arrived from Robert White yesterday morning (210 quid altogether including P&P - fantastic customer service as ever) and I've spent the day trying it out.
Suffice to say, I'm hooked.
Firstly I would suggest that one should simply regard the film packets as reloadable cartridges. I'm tempted to stockpile a whole load before Fuji change their mind and make them non-reloadable! Although it might not be how Fuji are marketing it, I see this as basically a hugely improved two-part grafmatic. Though the holder is 360g, the cartridges themselves are very light (250g) so it's painless to slip a couple of extras into a bag.
As far as ease of reloading goes, after about an hour's playing I found that I can unload-clean-reload the 8-shot cartridge quicker than I can do the same things with 4xDDS. I would strongly recommend that you sacrifice one film packet by unloading it in daylight to see how it works - then you can use those sheets to practice reloading in daylight before doing it for real. The mechanism is pretty straightforward but unless you've the fingertip tactile sensitivity of a blind person or a card-sharp, it's best to be able to see what you're doing the first few times
When you need to unload the cartridge, start by turning the film counter to "1" using your fingernail. Then with the lights out (I've been doing this in a Harrison Pup tent and it didn't feel cramped), place the packet with the slide up and the handle end away from you. Feel with your thumbnails for the two vertical grooves on the end facing you and push down on these to release the catches - you can now pull off the end. Provided you've reset the counter to 1, you can also now pull out the slide (it locks on "E") and the 8 septa pop up. Each septum has a large cut-out in the corner where the film-type notches are - it's easy to pick up that corner of the film and just pull it out of the septum. Don't try sliding the film out - the open end of the film-gripping slot is quite tight - instead just slide a finger underneath the film and it pops out easily.
Reloading's just as easy - again, it's better to bow the film slightly and 'pop' it into the septum, rather than trying to slide it into the grooves. The edges of the septum are textured so by running you fingers around it's easy to feel if the film's in properly. Note that the open end of the septum (where the film notches are) goes back into the holder at the open end, ie away from the handle. I know I've made all that sound complicated but like I said, even after only one day, I find these cassettes easier to load & unload than conventional DDS.
In use, the holder's great. Solidly made and with a nice professional feel to it. Gut feel is that the design means it holds film at least as flat as a conventional holder - probably flatter. If you're in a hurry, moving on to the next sheet takes about a second. The ONLY criticism I have is that the lip which keeps the holder in position on a sprung back isn't quite as deep as I'd like - once or twice it popped back out again so I've got into the habit of using the graflock grips as well. Secondly, you can't pull the dark-slide all the way out. Some people might see that as an advantage but I normally use the dark-slide as a lens-shade. When you pull the slide out to reveal the next sheet, slide it back in again straight away before taking the photo (it goes back in BEHIND the film), otherwise it acts like a sail and blows about in the wind. Don't forget to give it another pull-push after the shot to move that sheet to the back of the stack. Oh and the instructions are not much good unless you can read Japanese but thankfully it's all so easy to figure out that you don't need them.
Well done Fuji and thanks again Bill for letting us know about it. I'm looking forward to trying these out in the desert next week!
-- Stuart Whatling (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2001.
... though having said all that, it's not fool-proof. But then again, what is in the LF world? Indeed I suspect that the reason we all love large format photography so much is that every single aspect of it gives us ample opportunities to remind ourselves of our own fallibility.
My three major balls-ups so far with the Quickchange holder have been; 1) Not realising that you HAVE to slide the dark-slide back in BEFORE taking a shot - or you'll fog one corner of the whole stack. (8 sheets wasted). 2) Not realising that you've got to pull-push the whole caboodle again after taking the shot (in order to cover up the exposed sheet) before taking the holder off the camera (only 1 sheet wasted but oh, the humiliation of taking the back off and seeing, not a black piece of plastic, but an exposed sheet of film staring back at me.) 3) Spending a morning shooting local architecture and getting home to find that I'd put the stack of reloaded septa back into the cartridge upside down - so only one corner of each sheet got exposed. (8 sheets wasted).
I dare say this list will grow - though I do still maintain that there's fewer opportunities to screw-up with the Quickchange than there are with conventional holders.
-- Stuart Whatling (email@example.com), September 15, 2001.