12 Exposures

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One advantage of film over digital, for some people, is that the limited number of exposures helps them slow down their photography, resulting in a better hit rate. And one advantage, for some people, of medium format film over 35mm film is that having 12 exposures to work with, rather than 24 or 36, helps them slow down even more. 

35mm film has been sold in rolls of 12, 18, 20, 24 and 36 exposures, and maybe other lengths. Today the only choices are 24 or 36 exposures – with only one exception I know of. If I want to work with 35mm but don’t want to wait until I’ve taken that dozens of pictures to see my results I have three options: develop the roll before I shoot all of the frames, buy short reloads of some film stocks from Photo Warehouse, or bulk load my own film.

I am using up my small stock of factory load film, mostly 36 exposure rolls, and in almost every case I develop the film with no more than 12 frames exposed. (I cut off half the length in my changing bag anyway because the very dilute Rodinal developer I use doesn’t have the capacity to develop a 36 exposure roll with the 250ml of solution in the little Kindermann tank.) 

I recently found that Photo Warehouse sells 12-exposure reloads of some film stocks. I just ordered 10 rolls of Tmax 100, a film I’ve been wanting to try since I saw some beautiful prints a friend made using it.

And I have standardized on 12 exposure rolls for my bulk loaded 35mm film. I usually carry a second loaded cassette in my jeans coin pocket when I go out to take pictures, but I seldom use it. 

I am working on posts describing my experience with bulk loading 35mm film and with developing film with Rodinal. Watch this space.

3 thoughts on “12 Exposures”

  1. T-Max 100 is highly underrated in my opinion. It is a truly gorgeous film, especially in high acutance developers like Rodinal. If what I was after was supremely sharp and nearly grain-less photos (even in 35mm at typical print sizes), TMX would be my film of choice. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

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