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There are cameras that can tag the film and save capturing data associated with the tag (like a predecessor to EXIF). Are there any film cameras that took this a step further and tagged film (some method like perforation of the film) and used this to enable mid-film rewind and a later unwinding to the same position? This technology lets you use multiple films with different sensitivity without hassle.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

That was one of the features of APS (Advanced Photography System), but it wasn't implemented in all APS cameras. Not to mention that film for APS is devilishly difficult to find, and not exactly available in a wide range of types and sensitivities these days. There was a magnetic recording medium provided in the film system for this purpose (along with format notations — APS-C vs APS-H vs pano, for instance — and date/time recording, etc.) APS also provides smaller negs/transparencies in all of its formats than 35mm, so it's probably not a great choice for "serious" photography.

You can, however, manage something similar with drive-incorporating 35mm cameras having an auto-rewind function. There is almost always a "leader out" rewind option on any but the cheapest consumer-oriented cameras (that may mean finding a manual and setting some DIP switches in the battery bay), and the auto-load first frame position is consistent. At 8 sprockets per exposure, the interframe advance is also consistent. That means it would just be a matter of labelling the film canister for the last-used frame number and shooting (with the lens cap on, of course) your way through the frames that have already been used. At worst you'd have to sacrifice a single frame for safety's sake.

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APS also provides smaller negs/transparencies in all of its formats than 35mm, so it's probably not a great choice for "serious" photography. Is that a "serious" statement? –  BBking Feb 26 at 13:40
    
@BBking - yes, it is. You don't get different rules of physics and chemistry for differently-sized frame sizes; the constraining factor for resolution is grain size where film is concerned, and for any given emulsion, the grain size remains the same. With digital, you can trade off dynamic range against sensel size to make very acceptable pictures with nearly the same level of detail (within limits) with smaller sensors; with film, the "sensel" size is always the same, so you give up resolution when you go smaller. It's like shooting a full-frame camera in crop mode. –  user2719 Feb 26 at 23:09

Since you don't directly specify film format, you can find what you need with medium format cameras that use interchangeable backs. these backs hold the film light tight, and have a removable blade that is used precisely to seal the back and allow the photographer to swap roll (either mid-roll or not makes no difference, as far as I know).

I didn't find any free image for posting here, but you can find them on google (q=film+back).

Typical cameras that use these backs are the Hasselblad 500 series.

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The "removable blade" is called a "dark side". Most of the 6x6 and 6x7 "box" SLRs used interchangeable backs; the Pentax 67 (the "Texas Nikon") and most rangefinders didn't, and 645s tended to use inserts rather than backs (you could get extra backs for most of them, but they made Hassy backs look cheap, and that's not easy). Bronicas are good 6x6s with very decent lenses (Tamron) and tend to be significantly cheaper than other brands in the same condition. –  user2719 Feb 26 at 12:34

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