Thirty-five millimeter film commonly comes in rolls of 12, 24 or 36 exposures.

The “professional” thing is to use rolls containing 36 frames. For me however they are really a pain in the butt. I’ve been shooting the 24 exposure rolls for a while now simply because they’re available locally. But I’ve really come to prefer them, and here’s why.

Negative pages for 36 exposure rolls which are made to fit in regular binders don’t hold the entire roll. You end up either throwing away a couple frames, or double sleeving (usually scratching them in the process). They do make pages which will hold the entire roll, but they are oversized and require specially-sized binders.

I recently found that PrintFile makes negative pages which hold seven strips of four frames each, which is an entire 24 frame roll of film. And they fit into a standard binder.

Secondly, since finding the pages holding strips of four frames I simply allow the labs to cut and sleeve the negatives in their normal manner. Many times I’ve asked a lab not to cut the negatives (so I could cut them in six frame strips later) only to pick up my film scratched all to hell because of poor handling.

I’ve had labs stuff the uncut film into one of their photo envelopes. I’ve found my film tightly rolled up inside a film can. I’ve found my film wound up with a rubber band around it. Fixing scratches on my negs rates very high on my “un-fun” list.

Letting the lab to cut it in their usual four-frames-per-strip minimizes confusion and the chance the film will be damaged.

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