Loading and unloading

 Sheet Film into the Holder.

Film package 

This is how a film package looks like.
The film package exist out of three boxes: Cover, bottom and inner box with plastic bag. 

Inside the plastic bag we'll find a hard cover containing the sheet films separated by sheets of paper.
Always open in full darkness.
Tip: keep notes about the number of used sheets on the outside of the box.

If you are new to analogue photography it is very important to know how to load film into the holders.
It has to be done in completely darkness and in the next pages I'll tell you how to do it and how to prevent failures.

It is a good idea to make yourself familiar with loading sheet film into a film holder. As said it has to be done in completely darkness and if you don't have a darkroom, you may work with a portable darkroom tent or build one out of wood. Darkroom tents can be found on eBay.
Daylight testing - eyes wide open

1) to practice start with a sheet of film (old useless negative) with open eyes in daylight.
Open dark slide by sliding one of both dark-slides partly out of the holder. Open the rear hinged bottom slot and slide the sheet film with the notches on the right side up into the guides and move the sheet film all the way up until it stops. Close the hinged slot and slide the dark slide down into its  position.

2) try the procedure again with closed eyes.

3) finally practice the procedure in the dark room, bag or tent or a dark cabinet.



Take one of your film sheet holders and clean the inside from dust. The holder is equipped with two dark slides. Each of them with a white or metal top and a black top to distinguish if the film has been exposed or not. Make sure that the white or metal side is up.
If the silvered or white side is up, you know that the film is unexposed. After exposing you should turn the dark slide around and the black side will be on top.
This is to prevent double exposures.



The following procedure has to be done in total darkness.

Draw the dark slide with the silvered top halfway out of the holder. You may have to turn the safety lock hook on top of the holder first.

Take a sheet film out of the package in full darkness. 

Open the hinged bottom slot of the dark slide and slide the sheet inside the holder between and below the guides.

Make sure that you insert the corrugated side on the right side up into the open holder.

That means the notches on the right side up see picture on the left.



Make sure that the sheet film slides in between the sliding groves. You do that by the feeling.

Please check and double check with your fingers to make sure the sheet film is well positioned.

Check by tilting the negative a bit.

Once the sheet film is in position push it all the way up, you may close the hinged slot and push the slide all the way back into the closed frame.

Make sure the hinged slot can not be opened after the dark slide has been pushed back all the way into the holder.

Lock the dark slide by turning the hook on top of the holder.

After having loaded the holder make sure to close the sheet film box.

Switch the light on and you may place the holder on the back of your camera.

After exposure,

Unlock the holder or slide and remove it from the back of your camera.

Unloading after exposure
in full darkness.


After exposure and having pushed the dark slide back into the holder, secured by turning the hook over the end of the dark slide, you may unlock the holder from the back of the camera, 

Place the holder in de dark tent. Make sure the tent is light tight. Preferable work in dimmed room, avoiding direct sunlight.

Draw the dark slide halfway out of the holder. Next tilt the sheet film with the nail of your finger and grab the edge of the film to pull the negative out of the holder.




Open the dark slide grab the negative and pull it out of the holder.

Tip: Use an empty film package to store the exposed films temporality before loading them into the developing tank.


Developing the exposed film.

Film developing can be done in a daylight developing tank, but the film has to be loaded in total darkness. Filling the tank with film developer and afterwards with water and at least with fixer, can be done in daylight. The whole developing, washing and fixing process finds place in the daylight tank. There are lots of websites which teaches the best way to do that.
Personally I develop in a very practical new designed developing tank for 4 sheets. Exclusively for 4x5 inch. 

The new designed 4 sheet processing tank of Stearman.
Saves time and money and most of the times a better alternative than the huge 6 sheet tanks.
The SP-445 film processing system process up to 4 sheets of 4x5 inch at the time and uses not more than 475 ml of solution. 
My favourite mix is 50 ml Tetenal Ultrafin and 425 ml water. Any other good mixture would do as well. 
No need to wait until you have plenty negatives to start up processing as 1 to 4 sheets is enough.
It is a great invention and I'm very happy with it.
if you are interested please contact the inventor.




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