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[Rollei] Me and my Rollei16 (2): without cartridges!

> I had to face three problems:
> 1) find some film: not so easy, but not impossible
> 2) find some cartridges: nearly impossible - but not always necessary...
> 3) develop the film: found three ways af doing it - the hard, the easy and
the best way

As I already said, problem two has been solved, with some imagination and
help from a RUGer (thanks once more to Jose Menendez!). Now I have some
cartridges for 16mm film (by the way, the film size that the Rollei 16 uses
is also known as "Super 16") and, despite what I write in the following, I
feel comfortable with them.

But before receiving the cartridges, I I was so eager to test my camera that
I used it... without cartridges.

To understand how this is possible, you must open the back of the camera.
The back carries also the Pressure Plate - I write this in capital letters
because it's one of the best I have seen on any camera, and surely the
largest in relation to the film size - 57x16mm for a picture size of

The film rails are very long and, together with the oversized pressure
plate, ensure a perfect film flatness.
On the left there is cave where the film cartridge will be put, while on the
right there is the receptacle where the exposed film will be pushed by a
ratchet gear, the film advancing device.
As the film is not attached to a receiving roll to keep it tensioned while
loading, it could curl badly, making it almost impossible to close the back.
To avoid this, along the film rails there are two pins with slots under
which the film is to be put; this ensures that the film remains flat and can
be correctly engaged by the advancing ratchet.
To load my film without a cartridge I cut a 60cm long piece, wound it in a
tight coil and placed it in the cave on the left, passing it also under the
two slotted pins. Did this in complete darkness and - voilà - my camera was
ready - for disaster.

My first film was badly fogged; a quick recognition inside the camera -
using a loupe, I must admit - revealed that while there are good gaskets and
light traps on the right side, where the exposed film will be wound "naked",
no gaskets are installed on the right, where the film cartridge will be and
insure the impermeability to the ligth; without cartridge, that's why my
film had been fogged.

The workaround was a piece of black heavy paper, 19x50mm, taped on the
bottom of the left cave and curled to mimic the cartridge; this trick works
perfectly and I run several films through it with no more light leaks and
film fogging.
Of course, without a cartridge no rewinding is allowed, and you must load
and unload the camera in complete darkness, and this sometimes may be

That's all for tonight; tomorrow I will write something about 16mm handling
and developing.