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Superior Bulk Film Company 8mm film tank


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#1 Toaristero Moumati

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 04:49 PM

Hello. A probably silly question to follow. I just got a film tank made from the Superior Bulk Film Company of Chicago that states 8mm on a sticker. Is this apropriate for super 8 film? The thing is that the available space of the reel is not 8mm but around 16mm. Is this a tank for double 8? Will it be ok with 16mm film? Thanks in advance. Greetings from Greece!
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#2 Charlie Peich

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:12 PM

Hello. A probably silly question to follow. I just got a film tank made from the Superior Bulk Film Company of Chicago that states 8mm on a sticker. Is this apropriate for super 8 film?


Hello Toaristero! Welcome to the forum.

I copied a page from a Superior catalog from the late 50's early 60's that shows what I think is the tank you have, the "Powell Tank". Superior didn't date their catalogs, just used a number, so this is from Superior Cine Manual No. 58 (the 58 could have been the year). As I recall, Superior offered this tank for a long time. I have a couple of other catalogs that are newer, but can't locate them at this time.

Sadly, there are no instructions for using this tank in the catalog. I do believe they offered a Super 8mm version in the late 60's.

Love the statement: "Join the many thousands who are processing their own film".

Hope that answers some of your questions.

Greetings from Chicagoland!

Charlie

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#3 Toaristero Moumati

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 05:30 PM

Hello Toaristero! Welcome to the forum.

I copied a page from a Superior catalog from the late 50's early 60's that shows what I think is the tank you have, the "Powell Tank". Superior didn't date their catalogs, just used a number, so this is from Superior Cine Manual No. 58 (the 58 could have been the year). As I recall, Superior offered this tank for a long time. I have a couple of other catalogs that are newer, but can't locate them at this time.

Sadly, there are no instructions for using this tank in the catalog. I do believe they offered a Super 8mm version in the late 60's.

Love the statement: "Join the many thousands who are processing their own film".

Hope that answers some of your questions.

Greetings from Chicagoland!

Charlie

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Yes, that's the one! It looks like my tank. The reason I made the previous questions is that while the sticker on my tank says 8mm, I have seen the same tanks for sale on ebay having stickers that says "Super 8". The clearance of my tank is around 16mm so according to the catalog you posted, the tank can be used with both 8mm and 16mm films. I have no experience with movie film processing but this must be the case since the russian lomo tank can be used for both 8mm and 16mm and the reel is not adjustable. Or am I wrong?
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#4 Charlie Peich

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 07:04 PM

Yes, that's the one! It looks like my tank. The reason I made the previous questions is that while the sticker on my tank says 8mm,


I think the tank you have is fixed for 16mm wide film. The regular 8mm film actually starts out as 16mm wide film, or as it was called "Double 8mm". It came in 25 foot length rolls, 16mm wide. After you ran it through the camera exposing 1/2 of the film or 1 side of the film, you flipped the roll over and ran it through the camera again to expose the other side of the film. When the film was processed, it was then slit in half to the 8mm width, then spliced together on a 50 ft reel. Check out this wiki explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_mm_film

Superior did have a super 8 version that was fixed at 8mm wide and could handle the 50 ft length. Here's a listing for the Super 8 version of what you have. It shows the Superior tank sold by a company called SOS in New York. Check the different dimensions between the 2 tanks.

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If you want to process Super 8 film, you'll need to get a tank that is set for that width, or is adjustable between 16mm and Super 8. I'm sure the one you have will not adjust down to 8mm width.

The 8mm label on your tank is correct, as that tank is set for the double 8mm film (16mm wide) and holds the standard 25 foot reel. If the tank was for 16mm film, it would hold at least a 100ft spool and be able to take 100 ft of film.

Hope that helps!

Charlie
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#5 Toaristero Moumati

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:47 AM

I think the tank you have is fixed for 16mm wide film. The regular 8mm film actually starts out as 16mm wide film, or as it was called "Double 8mm". It came in 25 foot length rolls, 16mm wide. After you ran it through the camera exposing 1/2 of the film or 1 side of the film, you flipped the roll over and ran it through the camera again to expose the other side of the film. When the film was processed, it was then slit in half to the 8mm width, then spliced together on a 50 ft reel. Check out this wiki explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_mm_film

Superior did have a super 8 version that was fixed at 8mm wide and could handle the 50 ft length. Here's a listing for the Super 8 version of what you have. It shows the Superior tank sold by a company called SOS in New York. Check the different dimensions between the 2 tanks.

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Thanks, it seems that I bought a 16mm tank after all. Now I must buy and a 16mm camera to use the tank. As for my super8s, I will continue to process bucket-style :(




If you want to process Super 8 film, you'll need to get a tank that is set for that width, or is adjustable between 16mm and Super 8. I'm sure the one you have will not adjust down to 8mm width.

The 8mm label on your tank is correct, as that tank is set for the double 8mm film (16mm wide) and holds the standard 25 foot reel. If the tank was for 16mm film, it would hold at least a 100ft spool and be able to take 100 ft of film.

Hope that helps!

Charlie


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#6 Michael Carter

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 09:23 AM

Has anyone had success using these tanks?
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#7 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:04 PM

Hi Michael, yes, I've used both versions of these tanks.  The Super 8mm version is quite easy to load, perhaps the easiest to load reel type design out of all the ones I've ever seen and used. The Double 8mm version is a bit trickier to load, must be done slowly and carefully, since the film likes to jump out of the spiral groove.  I have found that wiping the spiral reel and especially the clear platten top underside, it will allow the Double 8mm (16mm width) film to slide more easily into the grooves without jumping track/groove.   As for processing, do NOT use the chemical port!  It's is way to slow to fill and drain, and will cause all kinds of uneven processing.  The best way is to have all your solutions and wash water ready and to temp, go dark, remove the lid and remove the film from the tank and set it aside somewhere safe.  Fill the tank with your solution, set the timer, add the film and initiate agitation, up and down, side to side etc.  Continue processing in the dark and have a wash tray nearby to remove film for wash/rinses.  Once you're past the dark only stages you can turn the lights on.  It is quite possible to get good results by replacing the tank lid once initial agitation has been completed, and then you can turn the room light on.  Agitation can be continued via various movements of the tank on the table top, similar to using a single reel NIKOR type still film tank, also via side to side movements, and gentle rocking of the winding shaft.   I do recommend highly that before the dark processing stage ends, have all items set for the next step, go dark, then remove the lid, watch your timer, and then remove the film holding at an angle for draining, rotate slowly while draining, then into your large wash tray for rinsing etc.   Pour chemistry out of the Film Tank into a container, rinse it well, fill with your next chemical, and reinsert your film after setting the timer for that stage.  A lot of how much you're in the dark stage will depend on whether you're processing Negative or Reversal film.  With care, these Superior/Powell/ESO-S tanks will deliver quality results, one roll of film at a time.  I still use these, in addition to other processing tanks and reels that I use, as well as the LOMO tanks.   I've used these Superior Bulk Film design processing tanks for nearly 40 years now.  Keep in mind, that the Double 8mm tank will only hold about a maximum of 33 feet of film for anyone contemplating using it for 16mm film processing.  And IF doing 16mm film, IF processing Super 16mm film, load it so that the sprocket holes are in the spiral reel, otherwise there will be processing artifacts due to turbulance in the groove.  Do make sure to prewash all film with good agitiation to make sure the film is not stuck to the spirals, and make sure to load the film emulsion outward, thus the tension on the film will be base side against the spiral.  Good luck!


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