"Leader Out Modified" F4

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by charles_swanson|1, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. I am looking for a good F4 (not that I need another body), and have found one that is "leader out modified". I have researched, and now know what this modification is, BUT..... I still dont know WHY one would make this modification. This is an easy question, but I don't have the answer. Somebody tell me.
  2. If you are switching films during a shoot, it is very helpful. Whenever you take out a cartridge before finishing all the frames on it, you write down the number of frames you shot. Then you can return to the cartridge, advance the film past everything you shot, and continue using it. If the leader goes into the cartridge in the usual way when you rewind, and you want to finish using a cartridge, you (typically) have to use a film leader retriever, which is slower and, once in a while, a pain.
    The disadvantage of having your camera set up this way is that it may increase your likelihood of mistaking a partly used cartridge for a new one, so that you shoot over frames you have already shot, creating undesired double exposures.
  3. SCL


    The other "advantage" is if you develop your own film, instead of opening the cartridge to remove the film, or using tape or a leader retriever, you can just pull it out (my daylight developer attaches to the film leader in a sealed chamber and begins the development process). Other than that...what Hector said above. BTW I love my F4 (which doesn't have the mod you mentioned).
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Right, this was a common question during the film era. Back then, I too often had the need to switch rolls mid way to use a different type of film, and I always used a marker to write down the number of frames already exposed on the canister.
    However, the F4, F5, etc. have manual film rewind, so I just rewind manually until I heard the click when the film leader left the in-take spool. On bodies such as the N8008, F100, etc. where there is no manual rewind, the modification was necessary.
  5. "I still don't know WHY one would make this modification."
    Neither do I, unless one is just too lazy or in too big of a hurry to rewind the film manually. It came from the factory with a leader out "modification". :)
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well Michael, not everybody has mastered the art to rewind manually just enough to leave the film leader out. A couple of times I have gone a little too far and the whole thing unintentionally went into the canister.
  7. Well Shun ... if you own an F4, one of the responsibilities arising from the privilege of possessing a flagship profession SLR is learning how to properly rewind the film. Otherwise, one should hang their head in shame and trade it in for an N55 loaded with Kodak MAX Zoom 800. ;-) :)
    But I do understand that there are valid reasons for desiring a motorized "leader out" option.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Michael, I still own an F4 (which is no longer functional, my only Nikon body that has completely failed) and an F5 (which is still working fine but I haven't used in several years) as well as an F100. I have goofed on rewinding on both the F4 and F5, maybe once or twice on each. I have also forgotten to rewind altogether and opened the back to change film, maybe 2, 3 times in 3+ decades of shooting film .... :-(
  9. When the F4 was top dog I had friends who shot for a couple of the local papers. They where required to turn there film in with the leader out. If I remember right they had told me that this was also a requirement for submitting film to AP.
    Doing it with the motor was probably much easer for them.
    To the OP
    I think I would stay away from a leader out modified camera just on the chance that it has been a press camera. To say they treat the pool equipment poorly would be an understatement.
  10. FYI, the F3 had the option of the MF-6 back which allowed "leader-out" film rewinding when used with the MD-4 motor drive. I'm not sure how it worked, but basically it had two electrical contacts that sent a "stop" signal to the MD-4 when the film leader passed a (light?) sensor in the camera back.
  11. The main reason for this would be either, as already explained, 1) to be able to write a note on the sticking out leader, or 2) for lazy processing.
    Some idle film processors want to be able to just grab the leader of the film and rip it out of the cassette via the felt light-trap. Sorry, but this is just plain lazy and bad practice. For a start it might leave grit trails down the film that would otherwise not be there, and it also means that if the very last frame has been squeezed out of the film it's going to get cut off. The proper way to remove film for developing is to lever the top off the cassette, remove the spool and unwind the film without passing it through what may be a dirty light-trap a 3rd time. This adds all of, what, 15 seconds to the time to handle the film in processing.
    Personally I used to wind the film back "leader out" and then rip the end of the leader through to ensure I didn't reload an exposed film. Looking back, I'm not sure why I didn't just wind it all the way in - just a habit I suppose.
  12. Have been shooting tens of thousands of rolls of film as a pro.
    Now I`m trying to tell with my bad english why to leave the end of the film visible .
    If one rewinds the film completely inside the cartridge the soft tissue/cloth in the cassette collects all dirt in ones pocket etc. Then, when the leader is taken out by moistening another piece of useless film with saliva the tissue/cloth gathers dirt and film will be scratched.
    If one does not rewind the film completely there are usually no scratches.
    It is very hard to break the cartridge in darkness, it´s much faster and easier to wind the film on a spool when the end is left outside.
    (Huh what kitchen english, sorry)
    Jore Puusa
  13. If one does not rewind the film completely there are usually no scratches.
    It is very hard to break the cartridge in darkness, it´s much faster and easier to wind the film on a spool when the end is left outside.​
    I agree. I have always left the leader out and loaded the spiral from the cassette. The advantage is that you can start the film into the spiral with the light on. In 30+ years I have never seen any scratches caused by this. The film has already passed through the light trap twice in the camera and possibly once in the factory. Another pass through is not going to do any harm.
    (Huh what kitchen english, sorry)​
    Nothing wrong with your English!

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