Inside an Agfa Rapid Cartridge

Emboldened by having two ‘D’ cartridges, I decided to dissect one to see what’s what.

Somewhere, I saw a complete Rapid tab letter to film speed chart but I can’t find it (I hate it when I do that). The charts I can find skip ‘D’.

One camera had CT18 film in it and had a supply side cartridge ‘D’.
This photo shows CT18 as being ISO 50.
The chart I found (A=25, B=25, E = 64, G=100, H=125, J=200, N=400) puts ‘D’ between ISO 25 and 64.

From this, I can be reasonably confident that a ‘D’ tab is ISO 50.

Edit: Found a more complete chart: A=25, B=32, C=40, D=50 E=64, G=100, H=125, J=200, N=400

D-tab cartridge

D-tab cartridge

I used to think the copper fangs helped hold the cartridge together. Once I really started looking at it, I decided they would interfere with the film if that were the case. Maybe they hold the felt in place?

Copper fangs -- What do they do?

Copper fangs — What do they do?

It took me a while of pretty close examination to figure out that the ends are crimped on over a lip on the body of the cartridge.

Carefully working the end off.

Carefully working the end off.

Success and not too mangled!

Success and not too mangled!

This is a bit of a surprise.

This is a bit of a surprise.

There is an inner spool.

There is an inner spool.

The spool fits inside these springy bits.

The spool fits inside these springy bits.

The springy bits are attached to the cartridge by the fangs.

The springy bits are attached to the cartridge by the fangs.

The film is guided by (goes inside) the springy bits and around the outside of the plastic spool. No wonder it was so hard to push in a 24 exposure roll of film.

Speed tab rivets.

Speed tab rivets.

The system seems really complex but Rapid film was designed to drop in and wind without having to insert the film leader into the take-up cartridge. The spool/springy bits system would allow the film to exit flat across the feed sprockets and roll up inside the take-up cartridge without binding.

I think I can make a workable cartridge out of plastic.



The film:

For Rapid cameras that produce 24mm X 24mm images, this film is 16 exposures. The overall length is 23 7/8″ or ~ 60cm.

The leader is 1 3/8" or about 3.5cm.

The leader is 1 3/8″ or about 3.5cm.

The tail, marked "EXP", is 2 3/8" or about 6cm.

The tail, marked “EXP”, is 2 3/8″ or about 6cm.

The leader and tail are textured to stiffen them.  It probably helps the film not slip into the cartridge too.

The leader and tail are textured to stiffen them. It probably helps the film not slip into the cartridge too.

That’s it for now for my mini-adventure with Rapid film.