Film mangled in the can?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by keyofnight, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    Tonight I developed a roll of Tri-X, and…well… it didn't feel right between my fingers—it felt like it was mangled. I'm new to all of this, but I've spooled all of my rolls successfully in the past, and I've gotten used to how it's supposed to feel.

    Once I took it off of the reel, I found out it is mangled! The sprocket holes are crimped on themselves for ~3-4 frames, a few of the frames have dark spots where the developer never made contact with it, and some of the first inch or so looks like someone crumpled it up. It looks like it was chewed up by a machine. Luckily, most (85%) of the roll came out fine (in fact, it looks like my best roll yet), but I'm a little annoyed. I can't imagine how my camera could've mangled the film this badly (especially the sprocket hole crimps—those look like they could only be caused by heavy machinery), and I certainly didn't mangle it that badly getting it onto the reel.

    Have any of you had this problem with Tri-X? Is it more likely that my camera chewed up my film? Should I complain? (I love Kodak, so I don't want to complain. (; )
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    By 'the can' do you mean that you processed the film in a stainless steel tank - perhaps using a stainless steel reel?

    Sounds to me like an error in loading the film into the processing reel. A relatively common problem with stainless steel reels. They take skill to load - and the only way to acquire the required skill is to practice. And even then you have to swear at the film occasionally.
     
  3. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    If the film was damaged in the cartridge it would have been difficult to operate the camera. The film probably would have gotten hung up in the film path.
    If it was damaged in the camera, it would have been difficult to rewind the film. It probably wouldn't want to go back into the cartridge. In either case you would have known something was wrong. Did you notice anything?

    What kind of camera is it? I can't think of any late model 35mm. camera that would damage the sprocket areas the way you describe. (Not that there isn't one. I just don't know of any.)

    Thus, I would have to agree that the damage occurred some time between taking it out of the camera and loading it into the canister.
     
  4. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    It sounds to me like a loading problem. 35mm films, especially 36 exposure, are pretty long, barely a degree or so of misalignment at the start can throw things pretty far out of kilter by the time you get to the far end. Some SS reels (Hewes!) are easier to load than others. And old/used reels that may have been dropped can add problems from an almost unnoticeable bend in the spiral.

    In the midst of a long ago discussion, I measured the spacing between the spirals at four different points around the circumference on my 120 reels and discovered the tolerance on the el-cheapo that makes me crazy was about four times sloppier than the Hewes that usually works like a charm. That seems to confirm it wasn't just my imagination. But lots of practice helps too. Films with unusually large amounts of curl can be frustrating also. After you do more of it, you may recognize the feel, and even the sound of the film edges scraping past the spiral that can indicate whether or not things are going correctly.

    I remember once after ten minutes of frustration stuffing the bare film in the tank, putting the lid on and taking a half hour break. Thankfully it went better on the second pass!
     
  5. hoshisato

    hoshisato Member

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    If you are using plastic reels, using a hairdryer on the reels for a minute to make sure they are as dry as they get just before you start spooling the film on them has solved all my problems with buckled film.
     
  6. fotch

    fotch Member

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    You said "it didn't feel right between my fingers" so this implies you were not looking at the film because you were loading it onto the reel, in the dark, before processing. If so, this is were the problem occurred. Get a blank roll and practice, practice, and practice. Getting a Hewes reel, if SS, would be a large plus. If plastic, in my experience, only the Jobo reels are acceptable. Good Luck.
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Your description sure sounds like the kind of mangling in the reel that happens as DWThomas says when you don't align it at the start.

    I occasionally get a few mangled sprockets from camera. These can contribute to jumping a rail on the reel - which can lead to mangling.

    Happens with and without experience. Most of the time it works for me. But as you know, it's fairly easy to "tell" that it happened. Sometimes it will take me several attempts to get it right once I have gone astray. I will unreel and re-start and proceed carefully until it feels right.

    And sometimes the first "bad" winding will crimp the film making it more likely, exacerbating the problem.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Is there any reason at all to use these metal reels, with the Jobo- and Paterson-style plastic ones around?
    Especially the Jobo one seems foolproof with 35mm film.
     
  9. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Each has its pluses and minuses. I prefer SS reels and tanks. I've used both.

    Peter Gomena
     
  10. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I don't know how much this applies to the case of the OP, anyway I deem appropriate to remind that film tends to become brittle in very cold weather, which happens frequently now for those of us able to see the North Star. Rewinding it in the cartridge with a very fast action (in "reporter style" or with a fast motor) might damage the film. The damage might be, I imagine, not so bad that the film doesn't re-enter inside the canister, but bad enough that it gives problems during the reel loading phase.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Stainless will maintain temperature better. Depending on time of year (my DR can be as low as 60 degrees in winter), and length of development (if over 10 minutes, or so), I sometimes opt for stainless.
     
  12. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    To each his own on the reels, I use stainless and always have, but they do take a bit of practice. Use a no good roll of film (before or after development) for practice. As Bill and DWThomas say, you have to master the first entry onto the reel. There are many different kinds of SS reels, with different "catches" at the beginning. The simplest and best in my opinion were the original Nikkor reels, no clip, just one open side at the core, but these are hard to come by. The ones with clips and springs can be tricky. One thing to remember - once the film is kinked at the beginning point, it is very difficult to continue, might as well cut a clean edge and start again.
    Also, if the two spirals are not parallel in plane to each other, or bent in any way (can happen from dropping the reels), you will have problems. If you can push-pull the film as you load, you are probably on right. Also, I find it best to move (rotate) the reel when loading and keep the hand holding the film stationary.
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I all the years that I have used SS reels I have never had a problem. I did however screw up a few films trying to use plastic reels. As mentioned it helps to practice a few times with junk film. Still some people just seem to be digitally challenged. :smile:

    Once you kink the film it is impossible to get it to load properly. The trick in this case is to load the film starting with the other end.
     
  14. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    Ah! That sucks—but if it's most likely my fault, I'll take the responsibility. I'll see how things go with my next roll.

    For reference: I use a SS tank with Hewes reels—they are used reels, but they've been easy to load up until now. I shoot with a Pentax MX, and it's been pretty easy to work with so far as well. Also: I don't have many temperature problems as it rarely ever gets below 35ºf here in Seattle, and my apartment usually stays an even temperature year-round.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2012
  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Well, you've got the feel for it when it's right... and when it's wrong.

    There aren't any other ways for it to reel.

    FYI, I have and use an infrared scope to do a lot of darkroom work... But reeling film is no easier with the viewer, it almost makes it harder.