|Originally Published in The
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.
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.