Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1992/04/07

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To: Brian Reid <att!!reid>, leica-users
Subject: Re: welcome to our little mailing list
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 92 15:58 EDT
Original-From: hlwpk!ktw (Kenneth T Wolman +1 201 564 2866)

>Has anybody worked out a good system for how to load modern film into
>an old Leica? I find that I can't do it unless I carefully take a pair
>of scissors and cut a longer tail on the film, but I often do this
>wrong and even when I do it right it takes several minutes. Is there a
>trick? Is there a tool that cuts the long film tail (e.g. something
>sold for use with a bulk film loader?).

Funny you should ask :-).  I have owned four Leicas at one time or
another: a IIIF, IIIC and 2 M3s.  I have the IIIC and one VERY old
M3 now.  I originally dumped the IIIF because, as much as liked the
photographs, the camera was a pain in the ass to load.  I tore the
leaders on film, I tore the film right off the end of the spool.
When I decided to take a chance on a screwmount camera again in
1989, I acquired a copy of the 1950 edition of the Leica Manual for
three dollars and played it just the way they said to:

1. I got a film-cutting template.  Better camera stores do carry these 
things because some photographers who bulk-load their film need them.

2. In loaded the IIIC, I turn the camera body away from me, upside
down, pull out just enough of the threaded film so it's taut, drop
it in with the emulsion facing away, and make sure it's fully seated.
You sometimes have to jiggle the film canister a bit.

3. This is the part where I always screwed up the IIIF.  Before
doing anything else, I turn the winding knob once.  BEFORE releasing
the shutter, I turn the rewind knob slightly to make sure the film
is taut.  THEN I release the shutter.

4. Two more turns of the winding knob indicate that the film is
moving.  Then I reset the film counter to 0.

Loading these things is a pain in the neck.  A guy in Brick Township,
NJ, told me he used to get old retired people in who came in solely
to have him load their screwmount Leicas.  There is no real trick
to it except using the camera a lot and getting so you can do it
in your sleep.

Ken Wolman