When I first bought the leatherman Squirt S4 a mate of mine (an action film watching, swears at football on the TV and drinks a lot of lager type mate) told me I had bought a “girls multi tool”. My response was to explain that I hadn’t bought the girls tool I had bought the photographers tool. 7 or 8 years later and I’m still using it, and to this day it continues to prove more and more useful within this hobby of mine.
Having recently acquired a Barnack Leica and not wanting to get it wrong I had a quick read online about how best to load film into it. The little picture on the inside of the baseplate shows a long thin leader, I’d been told by it’s previous owner a trimmed leader was useful, and read online it helped. Stubbornly I ignored the advice, and actually had no problems at all… But when I brought up the subject on the “film photographers union” Facebook group I was informed once again, that yes, a trimmed leader is necessary for an easy loading process. Which means either trimming leaders before I go out, or carrying my Leatherman squirt S4… Which is attached to my house key, and has a pair of handy scissors folded into it.
If you read my recent article on recoding dx barcodes, you will have read me suggesting a sharp implement to scratch away the black patches. Leatherman squirt S4 has a little knife folded into it. I also mentioned cutting little squares of electrical tape… Scissors again.
Developing your film at home is another area it comes in handy. I’m not sure how others approach the problem of getting the film out of the canister? Possibly with a leader grabber? Not me, I use the can opener in my leatherman and pop the end of the things. Then use the scissors to cut off the leader for easier feeling into the reel. And to cut the film off the spool.
Any photographer who uses rickety old vintage cameras will know the frustration of a bit falling off in the field? Leatherman Squirt S4 has a bunch of screw drivers tucked away for reattachment of rogue rewind knobs.
All in all, a little tool like the Leatherman Squirt S4 is a pretty useful thing to carry around as a photographer. But don’t forget it’s also useful for keeping those finger nails neat and tidy … You can even pluck your eyebrows with the tweezers. I mean, lend it to your wife so she can pluck her eyebrows with the tweezers … 🙂
Unfortunately it looks as though this model has been discontinued but there are plenty to choose from that look fairly similar.
Cheers for reading!