Developing & Loading the 120 Film...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by RebeccaSC, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. RebeccaSC

    RebeccaSC Member

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    Hello,

    I have done a search already so if I'm treading old ground I apologise there didn't seem to be a specific answer to my question.

    I've just shot and developed my first roll of 120..... yay...... and I'm pretty relieved to say it wasn't too bad - bit stressful but in time like the 35mm it'll get easier I guess.

    I shot 12 pix obviously but only got 9 and a damaged tenth one. Here's the question - on 35mm you get the film leader to load in the camera and then to use when loading the spiral on 120 you're dealing with paper. Loading the camera was ok loading the spiral was a different matter.

    Do you cut off the paper completely?, Or do you load the spiral using the paper (tried this it was impossible - too bendy)

    I guess when I cut off the paper I fogged the last two & a bit pix taken - are you meant to load the spiral in the pitch black darkness then coz with the 35 mm you get the chance to at least put the film in the spiral.

    I'm sorry this is so wordy I know what I'm trying to say I just hope you do too!

    Pretty pleased with my first effort though - I know its practise

    Many thanks
    Rebecca

    http://www.rebecca-sichelcoates.com
     
  2. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    << Do you cut off the paper completely?, Or do you load the spiral using the paper (tried this it was impossible - too bendy)....>>

    In the changing bag, I have the exposed film, reel, and tank.

    I unroll the film from the paper backing. It's held there with masking tape. I make 2 rolls, one of paper and one of film. I put the masking tape onto the paper and set it aside. You can tell the difference between paper and film by feel / stiffness / positition.

    Then I load the film onto the reel.

    A suggestion - sacrifice a roll of film and load it in the light. See and understand what you're doing. You do that, and you probably won't lose any more pics to developing.
     
  3. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Hi Rebecca,

    I unroll until I can feel the film, separate the paperbacking a bit and start the reel loading (film only) and cut the paper when reach the point where they are taped.

    Cheers

    André
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Yup in the dark. I tend to leave the paper on until I get to the end of the roll. Then pull it off. In other words I load the unattached end first letting the paper hang free. Then pull the paper off. Fun to watch the sparks :D
     
  5. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Hello Rebecca,
    It is all a matter of practice, although it must be said that loading 120 is a bit more difficult than 35mm. A nice gadget that may help you can be found on www.novadarkroom.co.uk and it's called the Nova Spiral Easy Loader.

    Hans
     
  6. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Rebecca,

    The most common practice is similar to that outlined by DougGrosjean, except that many people peel the tape from the backing paper and fold it over the end of the film. Doing that stiffens things a bit and generally simplifies loading. You haven't mentioned the reels you're using, but I've found those with a spike in the center to puncture and hold the film are greatly superior to those which use the oft-found "springy-thingy" instead. Kinderman reels have the spike. With minimal practice you'll soon find that loading 120 is about the simplest thing to be found in darkroom work. 220--now that's sometimes a different story.

    Konical
     
  7. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    <<< .... except that many people peel the tape from the backing paper and fold it over the end of the film. >>>>

    Thanks for the tip! I'm going to try it that way next time. Kicking my own butt for not thinking of it myself.
     
  8. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    Are you using stainless steel or plastic spirals? Either way they have to be loaded in total darkness of course. I'm another one that prefers to detach the paper before loading the spiral (preferably one with the centre spike), but there are options. Like most things, it's easy once you get the hang of it!



    Richard
     
  9. nc5p

    nc5p Member

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    On the stainless steel spools as I roll the film on I test the tension every so often. If the film is loose it is correct, if it is tight, something is wrong. Just unspool a few turns and do it again.
     
  10. wirehead

    wirehead Member

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    I dono. So far I've found 120 easier to load than 35mm...
     
  11. RebeccaSC

    RebeccaSC Member

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    I used the plastic paterson/jessops 35mm spiral that can be adapted to use 120. All the advice above is very helpful thank you.

    Is there no leeway then with putting the first bit of paper/film in the spiral - does it really need to be pitch dark - as I said with the 35mm you get the film leader bit to at least get you started. Is the first bit of film proper you come to literally the last photo you took?

    I didn't remove the paper all the way off first time I guess if you do that of course it needs to be dark - that worries me because then the film gets all caught up and spirally but then I suppose as its not as long as 35mm its easier.

    Like you all say practise makes perfect - many thanks for the advice I do appreciate it

    Regards
    Rebecca

    http://www.rebecca-sichelcoates.com
     
  12. Amund

    Amund Member

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    No leeway at all!....
     
  13. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    No, Rebecca, you have to do it all in the dark. When I was starting developing, I used one roll to load it in the light while watching. Then I tried the same roll several times with my eyes closed tightly (while still in the daylight) so as I could check what went wrong, if anything. I did it some 2 or 3 times. Then I went to the darkroom and did it for real on the film I wanted to develop. Yeah, I was a bit nervous, but everything went OK. Now there is no problem loading only by feel of fingers (and I have loaded not that many rolls).

    As to how> I only unstick the film in the darkroom, unroll it until I feel the film itself starts, then start loading only the film on the reel. I let the paper hang freely. When I come to the sticker joining the paper and film, I peel it off and let the paper fall down. Then I finish the loading of the film. I think (but I can be wrong), that this way you minimize the amount of possible fingerprints/dust spots/scratches on the film. Others might think contrary, though...

    Just do some practice and you will not mind the dark...
     
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  15. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    There is only about an inch, two at the very most, between the start of the film and the last image, so unfortunately, however careful you are, you can not start the film on to the reel in the light.

    My method with the Paterson plastic reels is to "pull" the film on to the reel rather than try to push it. The film can be too floppy to overcome the resistance of the ball bearings when pushing it. Grab the end of the film between thumb and finger (you have about an inch before the image starts) and pull it into the guide slots. Pull it about 1/2 of the way around and then use the normal twisting action to get the rest of it on the reel. I usually tear the tape off the paper at the end and fold it over the film.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  16. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    No matter what type of reel you use what counts is practice, practice, practice. Use an old roll of film and practice in the light until you can load the reel easily.
     
  17. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I seperate the paper before I load the film, but ONLY if I am going to join up 2 rolls to load onto one reel (effectively turning it into a 220 length film) - I do this most of the time though as it is more economical with both chemicals and time.

    If I am only developing one film, i leave the paper flapping until I get to the sticky then as already said, tear off the paper and fold the sticky over.
     
  18. Will S

    Will S Member

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    A couple of things to look out for - pulling the tape off of the film often causes a spark. OTOH, I have always been told to get it off of there as you don't want the glue coming loose during the development process and sticking to the film. If you pull off the tape slowly it doesn't spark (usually).

    Also, I've always thought loading 120 on a stainless steel spiral was a lot easier than 35mm, but to each her own.

    good luck,

    Will
     
  19. wirehead

    wirehead Member

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    I dono. I managed to get my first roll of B&W onto the reels without wasting a single roll of film.

    But then, I'm weird. :tongue:
     
  20. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    << I seperate the paper before I load the film, but ONLY if I am going to join up 2 rolls to load onto one reel (effectively turning it into a 220 length film) - I do this most of the time though as it is more economical with both chemicals and time. >>>

    Leon, I'd never thought of that or heard of it. Going to have to try that, too.

    Would be wonderful to cut chemistry and dev. time in half (overall) by doing 2 rolls at a time.

    Thanks!

    Doug Grosjean
     
  21. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    The sparking only fogs the film under the tape – I've never seen it spread any further. And yes, definitely don't leave it on when processing.

    I prefer S/S reels – with the Paterson type there is always the danger of kinking the film while pushing it into the reel. I would advise you to turn off the light before you even break the tape on the film: if you drop it with the tape off and the light on you have every chance of ruining the film. (actually I use a changing bag, but mutatis mutandis...)



    Richard
     
  22. RebeccaSC

    RebeccaSC Member

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  23. catem

    catem Member

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    My way is to unroll carefully until you can feel the film, then hold the film only and let the rest hang down - I usually leave it (the paper backing etc) on while I get the film on the spiral as it gives a little weight and helps (a bit) with the curl of the film. You can pull it on a half reel manually before beginning to wind with the spiral. When I get to the end I just tear the rubbish off, which you can do easily without scissors.

    Once you're used to it, I find 120 mm easier than 35mm - less fiddly, shorter film, and you don't have to get it out of the cannister....Good luck

    Cate
     
  24. rshepard

    rshepard Member

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    You've been told all the secrets but one: load in complete darkness (I, too, use a changing bag), separate the film from the paper (I pull the tape carefully off the paper and fold it over the end of the film), and load carefully. If you use a small nail clipper to cut the corners off the leading edge, it loads on the reel much more easily because the corners do not catch.

    I use the Jobo plastic reels and this system works well for me. I've not yet cut off a finger with the clippers in the changing bag, and it does make the feed of the film from the outside very easy.

    Rich
     
  25. wirehead

    wirehead Member

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    ooooh. I like the tip of using clippers instead of sisors to round the edges. I'll have to try that next time.
     
  26. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    It is a good idea to pull the backing paper of the film gently as the marking tape can produce quite impressive static sparks.

    David.