35mm Technique

So you have a great medium format camera, and you’re looking for cool things to do with it. One of the coolest things you can do is load 35mm film into it. So what is so cool about going back to tiny little 35mm frames? Well, your image gets printed on the full frame, which works out to be 55x35mm. This is much wider than your average 35mm shot. But the best thing for me is that the image gets printed over the sprocket holes, resulting in fantastically interesting pictures.

35mm Three Crosses by Peter Thomsen

That’s hot! How do I do it?

For this mod you will need the following items:

– A medium format camera
– 35mm film
– Some thin rubber bands
– Foam – 2 chunky squares and a thin strip
– Black tape
– Scissors
– Changing bag or darkroom for unloading your film

See the video at YouTube

Note: 35mm must be unloaded and rewound into its canister in complete darkness. Failing to do this in complete darkness will ruin your film! If you don’t have a completely dark room, you can buy a changing bag. These aren’t expensive, and come in handy if you ever get film stuck in your camera.

How do I advance to the next frame?

You use Nicolai Morrison’s wonderful 35mm Advance Guide.
There is a small printable table for 6×6 mask.

How do I get prints?

Unfortunately, getting prints from 35mm experiments is not the easiest thing in the world. The reason for this is that the width of each image is much wider than photo labs are used to dealing with. As a result their scanners cannot print the image properly. If you ask for prints, you’ll most likely get the center portion of your image only, which defeats the object of running 35mm through a camera.

When you get your film developed, you could ask for a contact sheet. This is a sheet of paper with your negatives printed onto it as one long strip. You can then scan this paper to produce prints.

An even better method is to scan the film using a scanner set up for medium format film. This will allow you to scan in the whole strip of the film, including all the sprocket-hole goodness. You can then take this file on CD to a photo lab and get prints done. This will probably work out more cost-effective than having all of the images printed anyway.

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