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8×11 BRASS CASSETTE REVIEW
Review and article by Julian Tanase, Minoxit.Com | 9 September 2017
Here we have a brand new model (a second one actually) of Jimmy Li’s fully operational 8×11 brass film cassette; indeed, usable (at least theoretically) in all 8×11 cameras. Some non-Minox 8×11 format cameras may have difficulties in accepting this cassette, therefore jamming may occur. So, do try this cassette on your own risk in other cameras than Minox. That been said, Jimmy’s prototype of this cassette was tested in Minox B, AIII, BL, C, LX, without any problems. Apparently, Riga has difficulties in accepting this cassette, so be warned if you wish to use it with this camera.
Inside the film wells, a black fiber layer has been affixed, in order to prevent film scratches and such. The fiber layer is not abrasive and it will keep the dust to enter the cassette. The layer is also affixed onto the lips of the cassette, so emulsion will not be damaged when film is transported onto the take up spool.
Main objectives of this review:
– How the item behaves at various temperatures
– Is the fiber coating from the insides of the cassette (cassette lips protection coating) scratching the film
– Is the film suffering from light leakage
– Ease of inserting and extraction of the cassette from the camera
– Max number of frames and film length – several film types
– Fiber coating – repeated washing
TEMPERATURE VARIANCES BEHAVIOR
I had the cassette in the refrigerator, and for a second trial, in a freezer. The refrigerator downed the cassette temp at +4*C and the freezer at -23*C.
The third trial was warming the cassette at some +38*C.
The cassette entered the camera smooth, without any grating noises or issues. From what I was able to see and check, the cassette was flush to the camera well, and during push-pull action, no noise or cassette moving was observed. Film was advancing in a normal manner and there was no frame overlapping or anything of the kind. The cassette was loaded with film, which was developed and scanned afterwards.
The cassette was taken out of the freezer, temp measured at -23*C. I put it in a Minox camera, and in it went a bit freely, which may indicate that the dimensions were reduced by the temperature. However, when camera was inverted, the cassette did not fall off, which indicate that it didn’t shrink too much. The film was not overlapped and the taking out of the cassette (both at that low temp and after 15’ of sitting in the camera, at room temperature) went smooth and without any issues.
The cassette was warmed at +38*C and went into the camera with a very small push needed. Indeed, the insertion went smooth, but not as smooth as at the room temperature. Looks like the brass expanded a little, but not to the extent of giving you a pain when to insert into the camera. I was not forced to heavy push the cassette in the camera, and I had no problems with extracting it from the camera.
After checking the fiber coating, I can safely say that it stayed on, and it was not affected by the heat. I can also report a rapid cooling of the brass. I cannot see any damage done to the fiber coating of inside the cassette. It didn’t became brittle or peeling off the metal.
I could see no scratches on the film, which means the fiber coating applied onto the insides of the cassettes are not damaging the film.
However, it is yet to be determined if an extensive use of the cassette will modify the structure and behavior of the fiber coating, especially at the cassette lips, where film is coming out / goes in the respective film chambers.
One possible issue here, after a certain length of time of using this cassette: the fiber coating can act as a retainer for minute particles of chemicals which were not dissolved completely or dust grains. However, during this first trial, I had a look with a good magnifier and I could see no such deposits accumulated. So, do not forget to wash your cassette as thorough you can, this would help eliminate any particles. But be careful not to employ powerful jet washing, it could damage the coating.
No light leakage, as far as I can see in this first film. The black coating and the good thickness of the fiber glued onto the lips of the cassettes is behaving well.
Again, only a repeated film loading and using the cassette for some length of time will determine if the fiber will remain in this condition or it will be damaged by chemicals and washing, thus scratching the film negative. This looks like a very good quality material and I hope it will give us a long use without any issues.
IN & OUT OF CAMERA
I have not encountered any issue with the inserting or extraction of cassette from the camera (if you recall, the camera used for this trial was Minox A/IIIs), in perfect working condition, recently overhauled by our good friend, Don of Dag Camera.
My main concerns were related to the moment of taking out the cassette actually, not inserting it; given the fact that the caps are staying on by the sole pressure exerted by film spool walls onto the cap itself, I was afraid that a cap or both could snap and reveal the film to light, during extraction of cassette from the camera.
However, no such thing happened while this trial was under run (although, in all fairness, I tried to make this happen with the cassette empty, and a cap did came off. But I know why that happened: once the film spools are filled with er, film, their walls are expanding towards exterior. More pressure outwards mean more stable cap).
The cassette was loaded with a 40 exposures length of film. I have not encountered any frame overlapping or advance resistance.
That said, I advise users to get a very good (read extremely sticky)tape for taping the end of film to the take up spool. Being made of very shiny brass, it’s not very adherent. The tape I use, a 9.2mm Red Tesa, is perfect. I do not advise you to use anything like Scotch tape or similar (not sticky enough).
I have found this cassette to be a very good addition to my Minox gear; it would survive a nuclear blast, not prone to breaking or bending, light-proof, not scratching the film, and so forth. Period.
With the hope that my review will help you decide for yourself, I have to remind you that this review is by no means a professional opinion or advice of an expert, and as such, I cannot be hold responsible for any damage this item may inflict upon your photographic equipment or film negatives or the like.
This review can be downloaded from here, PDF file format: