Why should I trim the film leader for IIIf

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by d._chan, Sep 6, 2000.

  1. I recently purchased a IIIf BD with a guide to help trim the leader. The manual shows how it should be done. I did not have any problems loading my first roll since it's similiar to the Minox GT-X. I did not trim the leader on that roll and could not understand why I should. That and the other rolls I've loaded had no problems. Is it okay to load the camera just using the leader on current rolls of film instead of measuring the correct length as per the manual?
  2. There was a time many, many decades ago when 35mm film was bought in
    bulk rolls and the photographer then had to load each cassette himself
    (you can still buy film in bulk rolls today), which meant trimming the
    leader. But in most of our lifetimes film has come in individual
    cassettes already trimmed. I have never had any problem loading my
    Leica 111G.
  3. The screw mount Leicas require a leader trimmed longer than
    normal to ensure that the film loads correctly. The number two
    cause of screw mount failures is pieces of film jamming the
    works. The film catches on the edge of the film guide or shutter
    gate and then the camera's sprockets can break off small pieces
    of film. These pieces lodge themselves in various inappropriate
    places internally, causing, or waiting to cause, damage and lock
    ups. Ask any good Leica repair person and they will, after
    throttling you for loading incorrectly, confirm this. If you have to
    the ABLON trimming plate already it only takes a second to do. If
    you do not have a trimming plate you can cut the leader by hand.
    Trim it back far enough so that, with the film leader in the take up
    spool, the trimmed part of the leader extends back past the
    shutter gate. Make sure you do not cut through a sprocket hole
    making a sharp brittle edge. Today's misload that jams so that
    you have to reload the film may well result in a repair being
    needed months down the road. If you insist on not trimming the
    leader then you must fire the shutter on "T", remove the lens and
    guide the film carefully into place. It has always seemed easier
    to just trim the leader. Here are a few URLs that discuss this at
    greater length and one that illustrates several loading
    techniques ( and other interesting LTM stuff).






  4. Works fine for me just cutting the end off square with no leader at
    all. That's what I always do when I bulk-load film, and it goes in my
    Canons the same way.
  5. I've wondered about that, but never had the guts to try. The problem
    usually happens when the upper corner of the cut making the leader
    becomes folded over and broken off in loading the camera (since the
    back doesn't open, you can't control it). This is almost certain to
    happen if you let it, especially given that the film has a bit of
    curl in the right direction to help. When I tore down my IIIa to find
    out why the slow shutter speeds had died this was exactly the piece I
    found jammed in the slow speed gears. And there was another wrapped
    in with the shutter curtain.
  6. I never trim the film leader for my IIIf.

Share This Page