Originally Published in The Minox Memo
Series 2, Volume 2, Number 1, Winter 2003


D. Scott Young

Editor's Note: Last issue we looked at a selection of film slitters. This time, MHS Secretary Scott Young tackles one of them and survives, barely. Here is his report.

I 've reloaded an awful lot of 35mm film, but until now I'd never slit any for use in other cameras. I had recently purchased a pair of John Birkby's "Zipslit" devices, one for Minox and one for 16mm film. My first slitting experience was interesting, to say the least, and I hope that some of what I learned may be useful to other first time users of film slitting devices.


First, the math: it cost me approximately US $1.20 to purchase a plastic Minox film cartridge. Since I anticipate getting about 6 reloads per cartridge before it becomes unusable, this works out to about 20 cents per roll of film for the cartridge itself.

A single roll of 36 exposure color print film in 35mm size cost me about US $3.50, and will yield four rolls of 36 exposure Minox film, once slit, cut and loaded. This works out to about 88 cents per Minox roll for the cost of the film. So far, I'm at a cost of US $1.08 for a 36 exposure cartridge of Minox film.

The Zipslit device cost me US $38.00, including the shipping and handling fees. I'm going to assume, based on the solid construction of this handy little device, that I can run 25 rolls of 35mm film through it before it has to be disposed of and a replacement purchased (the Zipslit is intended to be an inexpensive, disposable film slitter. The blades are neither interchangeable, nor can they be re-sharpened without a special jig and experience, according to inventor/producer John Birkby). Since I'm getting 4 rolls of 36 exposure Minox film out of each 36 exposure roll of 35mm film, I take 4 x 25 = 100, and divide 100 into the $38.00 cost of the slitter. This works out to be 38 cents, which I then add to the $1.08 cost so far for a roll of film. My total cost for a 36 exposure roll of Minox film comes to $1.46 per roll.

Your actual cost may vary, depending upon the brand and type of 35mm film you chose, but I can't realistically see you having to spend more than $2.00 a roll for home slit Minox film even if you're using fairly exotic film stock. The $1.46 I spend in slitting my own is a huge savings over the $8.00 or so I would pay for commercial Minox film.

Continued in The Minox Memo, Winter 2003, Volume 2, Number 1, Series 2.

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