35mm in Agfa rapid cassettes
We have several cameras here that were made to use the rapid system designed by agfa to load film. It’s a proprietary system but it’s basically 35mm film in a special cassette. The biggest difference is that in 35mm the film is pulled towards the take up spool and you have to rewind the film after you finished the roll. While the rapid system is designed to have 2 identical cassettes and the film is pushed from one cassette to the other. Your empty cassette becomes the next take up cassette.
Although you can’t find new film anymore, you can still put some 35mm film in the cassettes and it’s not that hard. You’ll need 1 cassette, a 35mm film, scissors and a changing bag or completely dark place.
The first step you can do while still being outside the changing bag. You have to remove the small part or the leader of the 35mm film and cut the film in a slightly round shape, as you can see in the photo above.
Step 2 has to be done in the dark. Take the 35mm film and start pushing it in the agfa cassette. It may seem hard to do this at first but after a short while you’ll get the hang of it. At a certain moment you’ll notice, you can’t put anymore film in the agfa cassette. This won’t be the end of the 35mm film, so you’ll have to cut it. Leave about 3-5 cm of film out of the agfa cassette, cut and at this point you’re free to get in the light again. Now cut the remaining part of the film again like we did in the picture. This is to make it easier to push the film in the cassette when loading the film.
That’s it, you can start shooting rapid cameras.
There are however a couple of drawbacks, for example most agfa camera’s are half-frame camera’s and are made for film with a length of about 14 full 35mm frames. On most rapid cameras there is no way to set the ISO, because most cassettes contain a metallic strip, which indicated the speed of the film. However I can’t seem to find a definite guide explaining which length corresponds to which speed. So to be sure, try to use 100 or 200 iso film, or get a completely manual rapid camera. It’s hard to tell which film is exposed and which one isn’t, you might to want to write something on leader of the unexposed ones. When you have the film developed by a lab, ask for your cassette back.
An as always with articles like this, have any questions feel free to ask them.