Cutting your own format from various film stock has long been a good source of getting fresh film for our weird cameras :-). However, we seldom encounter the right contraption which would enable us to get proper results (exact width, even edges, little or no stratches, use common film thicknesses, and so forth). What do we want? THE RIGHT FILM ! When do we want it? NOW! How do we want it? FRESH & ALREADY SPOOLED ! No more no less, heh? Good God…
The Minox Acmel slitter was the king at one time, and for many, it still is. However, is plagued by blade replacement issues, scarceness on the market, and above all, the price. Very expensive for what it is, to say the least. Nonetheless, a good slitter, and a very sought after machine.
The market picked up quickly, so various models started to appear: the Ray Pepalis model, Hektor’s slitter, Vince Chan’s type, and others tried their hand at inventing, improving, and otherwise publicizing various personal approaches to cuting 9,2mm from many film formats (mainly from 35mm, but there were slitters cutting from 120 format down to 9,2mm).
As a novelty, one Roy Burton has a cool Youtube clip, where he shows his home-made Minox slitter:
Personally, I never tried the above mentioned machines. Either couldn’t find them to buy, or I didn’t liked the look of the contraption. Anyways, I have a strong feeling that the aforementioned slitters, besides the largely marketed Minox Acmel, never made it to the public market, being prototypes or not even fully operational. If anyone has other knownledge regarding the marketing of these slitters, please email me so I can update this page, thanks!
Having said that, I did used two film slitters back in the day: the Zipslit and the Al Doyle models. The Zipslit was the one I preferred: solid build, good blades (they dulled after some 6 years fo constant use), it was the slitter I really could use and use and use. The Al Doyle is all right, but the black paper used to cover the part where film makes contact with the slitter surface makes it somewhat flimsy and cheap, not to mention the paper can drawmoist from the air and thus scratching the negative emulsion. Still using it, but not very often.
OK. Ladies and gents, enters the Jimmy Li with his own contribution to the Minox and film slitting community: Jimmy’s own film slitter.
Seen here: Model I (the one w/out a crank handle) and Model II
I have received a sample of this exquisite machine and I can tell you right now that it surpasses everything I used up to this moment in time. OK, I haven’t use the rollerblade cuting technique, although this design is not new to me. What I meant is that I haven’t seen or used something so…professionally made.
What amazes me is the ease with which the sharp rollers cut the film at a laser-like precision; the feeling of solid, “old style” construction (remember? back in the day when things were manufactured with care and responsability, making them to resist 1000 of years:-); the obvious craftmanship, the shine of the stainless steele…all (and more) makes you say “I want one of these slitters”.
Shown here, near the Jimmy Li slitter is an Al Doyle machine, probably for differences display purpose.
Why choose the Jimmy Li slitter, over those available on the today’s market:
Manual for Type I
Manual for Type II
MINOX NEGATIVE WALLET
Obviously, Jimmy didn’t stopped here. He managed to revive the beautiful and more than necessary Minox wallet, for preserving those cherished negatives. More on the wallet here.