35mm in Agfa rapid cassettes

[Canon EOS 3] Agfa Rapid

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.

[Canon EOS 3] Agfa Rapid

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.

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8 Responses to “35mm in Agfa rapid cassettes”

  1. Dries 23 September 2011 at 14:26 #

    Beste Filip,

    Als ik me niet vergis kan ik je in het Nederlands aanspreken?
    Ik vroeg me namelijk af of je je negatieven van je rapid camera ook effectief hebt laten afdrukken? Ik heb voor de eerste maal exact hetzelfde type van toestel gebruikt. De negatieven zijn ontwikkeld en ze zien er goed uit. Nu blijkt echter dat die rapid negatieven bij de grote labo’s niet meer afgedrukt kunnen worden (omdat ze iets kleiner zijn dan de standaard negatieven).
    Weet jij toevallig enkele adressen in Belgiƫ waar ze nog rapid negatieven kunnen afdrukken?

    Alvast bedankt!

    Dries Verlodt

    • Filip 24 September 2011 at 00:08 #

      Hey Dries,

      I mailed you with some info.

      Kind regards


  2. Karel 15 June 2012 at 04:05 #

    Few question :

    1. Is possible only using 1 rapid canister?
    2. After finish shooting with the camera can this film process in modern way or must be process manually in dark room?


    • Filip 19 September 2012 at 23:07 #

      I don’t know if you can only use one canister. Never tried that.

      The film can be brought to any shop just ask for the canisters back

  3. joerg 19 September 2012 at 22:21 #

    thanks alot! im anxious to test my camera -

  4. Amber 24 March 2013 at 00:12 #


    Thanks for sharing the above!
    I am wondering where I am most likely to find the cassettes? I hope to pick a few up so that we can begin having fun/experimenting with the Agfa Rapid system of shooting.

    Incase it matters, I live near Vancouver BC, Canada.


    • Tim 7 June 2013 at 17:29 #

      Hey Amber,
      to find any original cassettes might be a heavy quest and noone will know how much money you will have to spend if found any useful ones.

      A solution for this are the comparable SL cassettes by the company ORWO, a former AGFA factory for photography films in GDR. This company produced such films until 1992. Still a lot of them are available on ebay. Just search for “ORWO SL” or “ORWO NP20″. But please note: NP20 stands for the kind of film used in these cassettes. Today, c-41 is common, but the East German guys used this format. Anyway, just in case to get the canister, this is all yu need. Search on ebay.de and maybe you’ll find someone shipping international. I’ll cross my fingers for you.

      Hope this will help.
      Best regards from Cologne


  5. gaia 2 May 2013 at 18:41 #

    I’m Italian. where I can buy “35mm Agfa Rapid cassettes”

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