1. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I haven't been in a darkroom in decades...soon I will be getting back.

    I didn't remember having problems rolling 120 film onto stainless steel reels when I was 18.

    I shot a roll for WPPD last week, and it came out of the camera with the paper facing the lens (that's another story).

    I had it processed, and sure enough it was blank, one big 6x75 cm or whatever frame.

    So I thought, cool... lemonade...I'll use that to practice spooling onto reels.

    I have some Nikor and Nikor 'style' reels, including a 220 one , 'just in case'.

    Not too bad on the 120 with the lights on, but I had no idea what kind of feedback I was supposed to be sensing that normal loading was happening (so I can tell in the dark), but I guess I'll become more perceptive with practice.

    2-3 times, & I thought I was ready to try the 220 reel (with a 120 length strip). I think that is going to take about 50x for practice. I can't even get the film under the tiny spring clip without several tries. Avoiding the spring clip didn't seem too fruitful either.

    Hmm, maybe I can shoot 120, then cut it into strips and do it in trays :D
     
  2. tac

    tac Member

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    You have my sympathy -
    I've been rolling 120/220 on ss reels for decades- sometimes it just will not cooperate- frustration seems too weak of a term.
     
  3. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    When I was assisting in the early 80's an RIT grad came to town looking for work. I was the usual assistant for two studios, but when both needed an assistant at the same time, they would use other people. This new person came in to work one morning for the first time at one of the studios saying he knew how to load RB and Hassy backs. The photographer went through a couple of product shots using multiple models and pulling backs off the camera early because they felt wrong when advancing film. In the middle of the third back he double checked the loading and found the paper facing the lens in all three backs he'd used.

    So at least you weren't charging a photographer good money to blow film, shooting time, and a few thousand in modelling fees. That's a pretty high price for three practice loading rolls.

    Good luck getting back into the darkroom.

    Lee
     
  4. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Just practice a bit, rolling 120 film on a straight 120 reel is very easy to do. Rolling a 220 roll on one of those tight 3 inch 220 reels is near impossible. Or actually in my experience, completely impossible.
    Dennis
     
  5. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I remember in high school there were two kids with 120 and everyone else had the dropped & dented 35mm reels to fight with.

    I had a Yashica...124? that had a 35mm insert. The other kid had a Hasselblad she hated, but wouldn't trade it either. Rumor had it her father was a CIA photographer. Never confirmed that. Maybe her name wasn't her real name.
     
  6. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I used Kindermann SS reels for years, and eventually got proficient with them. The trick is to only use ones that aren't bent, that means that you can't drop them...EVER.
    Some years back I changed to Paterson system 4 reels and tanks, much, much better, especially with 120 film.
    So, keep practising with your SS reels, don't give up...... or maybe just go plastic.
    Tony
     
  7. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    I went off to the uni-darkroom to develop a roll of 120 a few weeks ago. The school use plastic paterson reels for everything, and I use stainless steel at home, so it'd been a good two years since I loaded a plastic reel. 20 minutes in the little film-loading room swearing and sweating and I finally got it in there (it was just curly and wouldn't take up). It actually came out fine, but I've started bringing my own S/S reels with me. With practice it's just second nature, but I'd say one in every dozen rolls just decide to be frustrating.
     
  8. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    One of the best investments that I have made is a loader for my Kindermann SS reels. Perfect loading every time, and fast too.
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I went through this just last night, except the other way round, sort of. I've mostly been using 120 for the past year or so, but just shot a roll of 35.
    It took three reels and using both ends of the film to get it loaded. While 120 feels pretty flimsy if you are used to 35, my hands had forgotten how small 35 feels if you're used to 120.

    As for loading 120, I like to unroll it completely while separating it from the paper, then start spooling it from the taped end, leaving the tape on. The extra stiffness of the tape helps in getting it into clip. One exception might be with Kindermann reels, at least the one I have has a large metal spring, and the tape almost adds too much thickness. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I always avoid that reel in favor of the ones with wire clips.
     
  10. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Interesting, I tend to unspool 120 just enough to catch the end and cup it with my right hand. Using plastic reels, Patterson-type, I place the index and middle finger over the feed slot and curve the rest of my hand around the reel. It is then fairly easy to point the film edge toward and under my fingertips, thus starting the film feeding on the reel. Once it is a few inches onto the reel, I then pull off about 6 more inches of film, ratchet it up and repeat until I hit the end and tear it off the paper.

    I feel keeping the paper on as long as possible lessens the chances for inadvertent scratches, but thats probably just a rationalization...
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Murray I don't develop rollfilm myself at all any more, I've had my fill of spurious issues! I just don't have the patience to do what I know I need to do to get the best results... so I just run it to a lab. They do such a wonderful quick job (same day E6/B&W/C41), and it gives me some pleasure to know that I am contributing to their ongoing operations. Sheet film I do myself, with pleasure!
     
  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    35 mm usually goes easily for me, but 120 can sometimes be a serious test of patience. I went through 3 rolls of 120 for last year's WPPD and if my return to darkroom work had started like the 1st WPPD roll, I'd probably be all-dig**** today! I finally put the loose film in the tank, put the lid on and went upstairs for a break. I then sacrificed an old roll and tried loading the reel in the light a couple of times to see if I could get any hints. Went back to the darkroom and got the sucker loaded; the next two went easily.

    One problem I've found is that if the film isn't quite straight, by the time I realize what's happening, crossing over the reel wires has put some crimps in the film edge that make it even harder to spool. I think I'm getting better with time and practice, but as tac describes, every now and then something gets uncooperative.

    I don't have records to identify brands, but some films seem much more tightly curled than others too, that can play havoc. I normally separate the film and backing and start from the taped end. I definitely sense I'm not ready to try 220, but given the limited selection of emulsions in 220, that probably won't be necessary.

    Practice, practice, practice ... :D

    DaveT
     
  13. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I look forward to doing 120 partly because of the spooling part. 35mm is a pain in the butt for me.
     
  14. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Of all the plastic reels I've played with, the Jobo ones that don't have the little ball-bearing ratchet mechanism work best for me. Also I clip just a tiny bit of each corner on the leading edge. And I'm another advocate for leaving most of the film spooled up in the paper while I work. Without the ratchet, if I feel things are going wonky, I can just pull backwards and sometimes the film with straighten out before it comes all the way off the reel. But I've never tried loading two rolls of 120 onto a single 1500 reel using the silly red clips. That just seems like an accident waiting to happen!

    All that said, I don't work in a dark bag. I have a nice, big closet that doubles as equipment storage and film loading room. The top two shelves of a metal shelving unit are dedicated to film loading. This gives me two nice horizontal surfaces for roll and sheet film loading. And since my Jobo uses the magnet drive, I don't have to worry about knocking the tanks off the shelf in the dark!

    I do have a couple of SS 120 Hewes reels that I like to use for stand processing. The SS tank is easier to keep a constant temperature by using the tempering bath in my Jobo.
     
  15. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Yashica 635. Loverly camera.

    Hell, ,my father could have been CIA or NSA or whatever. Maybe my name isn't what it is?

    I use to have beautiful design additions on my 120 film, little half moons up near the film/reel connection point... Practice, practice, practice... (and Kindermanns)

    tim in san jose
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2008
  16. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Actually, it works quite well and I did it right the first time -- seems counterintuitive, but its pretty easy to tell when to stop ratcheting the innermost reel and snap down the red tab.

    Never had film touch on these double loaded reels.

    Now, I am cursed and it will never work again...
     
  17. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I've used a Jobo plastic reel system (without the ballbearing ratchet system) for years, with both 135 and 120, and I generally find it easy, unless I haven't done it for a while and have forgotten some of the subtleties of the process. For 120 I unroll the film from the paper backing into its own roll, then trim off the taped end with scissors, then clip the corners, and feed on. I always use synthetic cloth (cleanroom grade) liner gloves, to avoid finger marks and grease on the film. I've succeeded in processing two 120 rolls on one reel, but its important to stop winding the second roll when its trailing end just enters the reel slot, otherwise the two films can overlap.

    For 135 I clip the leading edge corners a bit, but I find the angle of the clip has a lot to do with how smooth it feeds on.

    I have a stainless steel reel and tank for 135, but have never used it; perhaps it's time to practice.

    ~Joe
     
  18. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    In the last year I processed well over 100 rolls of film, all loaded on plastic Patterson reels. At that volume, you'd think I have the system pretty much glitch-free. Well, you might think that. Every once in awhile I'll spend a sweaty twenty minutes begging the photo gods to please let me get this roll spooled. Sometimes it's because I've switched formats between 35mm or 120 and need to get reacquainted. Sometimes it's because I'm loading a particularly nasty kind of film with a very thin or curly base. (HIE, Maco or the like) But sometimes I think it is just bad karma.

    Probably the best bet at times like that would be take a blank roll out to the backyard, unspool it, douse it with lighter fluid and sacrifice it, whilst dancing around the yard banging film tanks together and bellowing the ceremonial song "Kodachrome" at the top of your lungs. :D

    Seriously, I don't know anyone who is 100% at spooling reels. It's a sad fact of photographic life.

    Cheers,
     
  19. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I use Paterson plastic reels for 120/220.
    I trick I learned is to cut a piece of film box the width of the film and slide it into the groves of the spool as a guide, I do this in the light. Don't push it in too far past the ball bearings. Now when in the dark I slide the film along this card until it catches then remove the card and continue spooling.

    Always works for me and beates trying to figure out where the start of the guides are in the dark.

    thanks to the fellow apug'er that put me on to this a while back.
     
  20. Doug Webb

    Doug Webb Member

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    One option for 120 film is an old Kodacraft plastic sleeve with the little metal disc that has holes in it placed on top. These will fit into a normal film developing tank designed for stainless reels. I picked up a couple of these because I also have extremely frustrating moments in loading 120 onto reels occasionally. I had heard that there was some sort of problem with these developing sleeves, maybe that the original tank couldn't be inverted and this caused some sort of problem, or maybe that they had to be dried before being reused, but I haven't encountered any problems with them and loading is a breeze. Freestyle sells something that looks like the old Kodacraft sleeves, but I have only seen a picture in their catalog. Actually, since buying the Kodacraft sleeves, I'm not sure I have used my Hewes reels for 120 again. When I had problems with loading the stainless reels, it always seemed that the best shot on the roll would end up with a crimp in it.
    Good Luck,
    Doug Webb