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Do You Have to Trim the Film Leader on Modern 35mm Film Cassettes to Load Leica III ?

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I trimmed the leader when I first started shooting with my IIIc and it was a hassle so I tried it without trimming, didn't have a problem, haven't done it since.

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I trimmed the film leader by eye with scissors, roughly using the attached picture as a guide, and it loaded without problem. Next time, I'll try without trimming first aand see how it goes. This is the first time I've loaded film into the camera to try it out. Wish me luck.

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Ive never even seen a 111 or any screw mount in the flesh. I understand people trim the leaders but what it the reason behind it?

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The reason is that the film clears the top set of sprockets as you load the film (the trimmed length is at the bottom of the camera as you load it - don't forget the LTM's only have the baseplate unlike an M which has a rear flap that opens up when you remove the baseplate).

 

All film used to come with a long leader, I remember them starting to sell it with short leaders around the late 70's/early 80's.

 

People do manage to load them without trimming but there is always a risk that you wont engage the film correctly or worse that it will damage the shutter or get torn in the camera. I have also seen a method to load by inserting a card into the film gate and slipping the film over that, but it takes moments to trim the film and FWIW I'd rather stick to the original intended method.

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Ive never even seen a 111 or any screw mount in the flesh. I understand people trim the leaders but what it the reason behind it?

 

Trimming the leader simply makes it easier to get the film into the correct position. I also worry that with an untrimmed leader there's a chance of a tiny shred emulsion or backing being scraped off and ending up in the works.

 

Unlike the M series the screw mount cameras don't have any form of opening back and therefore no way to lift the pressure plate off the film rails. You have to remove the take-up spool, attach the end of the leader to it, and then insert the cassette, the spool and the film between them simultaneously, making sure that nothing jams and that the performations line up with the sprockets before you replace the bottom plate.

 

Doing this while walking or on horseback is good fun - more so if you're using an ever-ready case, because the neckstrap is attached to the case and not the camera (until about 1930 Leicas didn't even have have strap lugs).

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It usualy goes OK without trimming the leader, don't force it all the way home if resistance is felt. To be sure open the shutter (on T, no lens) and watch the wide part slip under the film gate, you can give the film a poke through the 'lens hole' to persuade it home if needed.

 

A (now deceased) friend of mine spanned the leader length change and didn't even notice, carried on as normal and never had a problem. ignorance can be bliss!

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Guest flatfour

I always trimmed the leader on my III. I was told that if you don't trim there is a risk of a small piece of the film coming off and getting into the blinds - then you need a full strip down. I have had this problem mentioned to me by several screw users so I just didn't want to take the risk. You might be lucky. I always used my Ablon.

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I've gone back to trimming the leader after using the card method of sliding the film over the gate. I did get film jams and torn sprocket holes on the film

, so for me the old way seems that bit safer.

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Funnily enough, I've gone the other way.. I started by trimming my leaders, then forgot on one occasion and put in an untrimmed film. The result was that the film got torn, fortunately there didn't appear to be any damage done to the blinds.

 

I now use the card method, with untrimmed film and have had no problem as yet. I've a '37 Leica II and my routine is...

 

  1. shutter speed dial to Z.
  2. press and hold shutter, whilst inserting thin card (I use an old National Trust membership card).
  3. release shutter.
  4. set release arm to R.
  5. insert film leader in to take up spool and then fit the whole thing in.
  6. remove card, set release back to A and then wind on.

 

Seems to work for me, but can I now expect a whole series of "My God man! What are you thinking..?"

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I primarily trim the leader but am careful to make sure the resulting edge is clean (so as to avoid catching the film on any surface).

 

However, I have used the "card method" when traveling since its difficult carry sharp objects. I would suggest you learn to be proficient using both methods. Or, I could just trim all the leaders before leaving!

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Here's what I've done: I made a full size (to scale) copy of the drawing and cut it out. Then I glued it to two layers of cardboard (for a thick edge) and then cut the cardboard to the shape. I now have a template I can use to trim the film leader with an exacto knife by running the knife along the edge of the template while holding the film underneath. I just tried it and it works great. Cost = ZERO. So, I'll just cut any quantity of film all at one time and always be ready.

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I have used the card method since I was first allowed to load my father's Leicas in the mid 1950's. My IIF (bought new by my father in 1953) is still going strong on its original shutter blinds, so the risk of damage must be quite low. Two points - if you use a shiny card the process goes better and always round the corners, if the card does not have rounded corners. In the UK the floppy National Trust Membership card works perfectly. I normally have my wallet with me, and there are always one or two cards in there that work. I rarely carry a pair of scissors with me.

 

Wilson

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<snipped>

 

People do manage to load them without trimming but there is always a risk that you wont engage the film correctly or worse that it will damage the shutter or get torn in the camera. I have also seen a method to load by inserting a card into the film gate and slipping the film over that, but it takes moments to trim the film and FWIW I'd rather stick to the original intended method.

 

This is a real risk and one which Sherry K. profited by thanks to my stupidity with my IIIG. I now carry an Albon

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I have said it before, and I shall say it again - if you were meant to use a card to facilitate loading there would be a Leica accessory for the purpose - a "CARDO" or something.

 

Instead we have the ABLON...

 

Enough said.

 

...except... a footnote for those who refer to using a National Trust membership card. Do you not find it ironic to use a card for an organisation that does not allow photography inside its' premises...?

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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I have said it before, and I shall say it again - if you were meant to use a card to facilitate loading there would be a Leica accessory for the purpose - a "CARDO" or something.

 

Instead we have the ABLON...

 

Enough said.

 

...except... a footnote for those who refer to using a National Trust membership card. Do you not find it ironic to use a card for an organisation that does not allow photography inside its' premises...?

 

Regards,

 

Bill

 

Bill,

 

Yes it does really irritate me that I can't use a camera inside NT properties. I think a lot of it comes from the blazer/twin set clad types who run these shows (in contrast to the wonderful unpaid volunteers who man the properties). I used to come across a lot of them when I did UK motorsport. They had never driven a racing car in their lives but would tell you at great length how you should. I could understand if they said "no flash" but then I suspect a majority of the people you see with P&S digitals or camera phones don't know how to and/or are not interested in turning off the flash on the camera.

 

I accept that using the card has a risk but in the hundreds of films my father must have put through his various Leicas from say 1937-38 when pre-loaded cassettes became common up to 1976, no damage occurred. I must have also loaded well over a hundred films this way. My father's two LTM Leicas are still working perfectly with their original curtains. The ABLON templates would have originally been for shaping bulk film, after loading into the original reusable Leica cassettes. My father told me he gave up on ABLON's as he kept leaving them behind after putting them down to load the cassette into the camera, after trimming the leader.

 

Wilson

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Bill,

 

Yes it does really irritate me that I can't use a camera inside NT properties. I think a lot of it comes from the blazer/twin set clad types who run these shows (in contrast to the wonderful unpaid volunteers who man the properties). I used to come across a lot of them when I did UK motorsport. They had never driven a racing car in their lives but would tell you at great length how you should. I could understand if they said "no flash" but then I suspect a majority of the people you see with P&S digitals or camera phones don't know how to and/or are not interested in turning off the flash on the camera.

 

The one that really sticks in my mind (and my throat) is Lacock Abbey...

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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Yes it does really irritate me that I can't use a camera inside NT properties. I think a lot of it comes from the blazer/twin set clad types who run these shows (in contrast to the wonderful unpaid volunteers who man the properties).

 

Partly IMO it's that the blazers and twinsets pay too much attention to the lawyers. Everyone who uses a camera is potentially casing the joint whether for burglary, arson or terrorism - or failing that is potentially getting in the way of other visitors. So if the NT allows casual photography they lawers will advise that it risks giving the insurers an out on the grounds of contributory negligence if the treasures are stolen or if someone trips over a photographer and falls down the historic stairs.

 

Not that that makes it any less irritating.

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Plainly, it can be done with or without the trim. In my own experience, the trim makes it much easier. On top of that, without the trim you risk torn bits of film fouling up the curtains. Good luck

John W

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