Loading Efke KB25 onto reels

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by xwhatsit, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. xwhatsit

    xwhatsit Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Oh my god I love this film... if only I could develop it!

    Bought a 30.5 metre bulk roll and rolled up some cartridges in a changing bag. My first time bulk rolling, I did it by hand, winding it onto the spool until I felt it nearly full. Made a few mistakes, like rolling one cartridge backwards, spent a lot of time in the bag and it got sweaty and the film felt sticky.

    Anyway, went and shot two rolls. The first one I was almost able to load it onto my plastic Paterson reel with great difficulty, but it jammed at the last bit. As there wasn't much extra film I just left it loose around the reel and put it in the tank. It came out quite nicely.

    The second roll I spent a bit more effort on taking some nice pictures, seeing as it wasn't the test roll. For the life of me I couldn't load it onto the reel. Got stuck time and time again. Tried different reels, tried drying them with hair dryers, all kinds of stuff. In the end I thought I had it loaded, so I went ahead and processed the film. Opened up the tank and it was obvious I'd cocked up; a beautiful mix of purple, pink and blue (the anti-halation dye KB25 has, that I thought I'd eliminated with a 2-minute pre-soak as with the first film), bits of white undeveloped and unfixed emulsion, and one or two properly developed and fixed frames. I must take a photo -- looked impressively disastrous!

    The reason? The film had jammed up when loading and it had overlapped so nearly all the film was stuck to itself and the pre-soak/developer/fix never reached a lot of the emulsion.


    What do I do! I love this film but it's frustrating me so much. The film just seems to go soft and gooey and it doesn't want to load. I even found it seems to stick to itself in the cartridge after bulk loading! Have I got my 30.5 metre roll a little damp or something from humidity in the changing bag? How do I dry out the roll?

    Would stainless reels fix this problem? Are there any stainless steel reels that fit in a Paterson tank? Alternatively, is it possible to load a plastic reel `stainless steel style' -- that is, from the inside-out without sliding the film...?

    Thanks all.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,419
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Was the reel clean and dry? Some times the little balls that pull the film into plastic reels have a bit of moisture behind them will stick, and not allow any movement of the ball, and jambing the film. This is the reason I (and many others)use stainless reels. With a little practice you can load spirals quickly and without problem, as there arent any little moving parts to stick.
     
  3. xwhatsit

    xwhatsit Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I'm fairly sure the reels were dry; this was the first thing I suspected so I went over them with a hairdryer. One reel is brand new, only used once before, it had the same trouble.
     
  4. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    842
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Was the film longer than for a normal 36-roll? I have no problems with Efke films and Paterson reels.
     
  5. xwhatsit

    xwhatsit Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Around about 20-24exp. The film started to jam not long after I started to wind it.
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't compare plastic since I've never used it, but I find the Efke films are if anything a little easier than average for loading on stainless reels.

    -NT
     
  7. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    842
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I too find the Efke films easier to load, on plastic reels. I think it's because the film base is thinner.

    The only times I've had problems with loading film on Paterson reels have been the last two decimeters with Kodak 36exp rolls. I never use the same reels the same day to be sure that they are dry before use. The film becomes sticky and impossible to load even if there's a tiny drop of water somewhere in the spiral.
     
  8. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,617
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dear xwhatsit,

    Even dry and clean plastic reels can be difficult if the humidity is high enough. If you use a changing bag in hot humid weather, the problems will probably just get worse (they do in my personal experience).

    Neal Wydra
     
  9. RobertV

    RobertV Member

    Messages:
    1,057
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    the Netherla
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    From the Fotokemika website:

    So it's not the film because it has been made on regular materials and thickness.

    Your changing bag is causing the problem when you hussle some time around with the film. It's getting sweatty and over half way the film is blocked. When your spirals are clean and dry they will load but after a while in the changing back (maybe a lot of Nylon) the problem is there.

    It can be very frustrating when the thing is blocked and due to nerves you tend to force the film on the reel which is always ending in a damaged film. Try to find a small dark room to put your film on the spiral and life is going to be much easier :smile:
     
  10. Ian C

    Ian C Member

    Messages:
    724
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Desiccating Humid, Sticky Film for Easy Loading

    Loading roll films onto developing reels is much easier if the film and reels are perfectly dry. You can pack the film and reels into tightly sealed vapor-proof plastic bagging with a generous supply of freshly charged silica gel and leave them in this desiccated mini environment for 24 hours before loading the reels. The canisters should be kept sealed in several layers of closed plastic bagging to keep it dry when not in use.

    I use the 750-gram canisters. They can be recharged every year or two by baking in a 300F (149C) oven for an hour, shut off the heat, and remove and seal the canisters when sufficiently cool. When recharged, the silica gel fully regains its desiccating properties.

    http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/c...submit=y/Products/All/search=750_g_silica_gel
     
  11. Ian C

    Ian C Member

    Messages:
    724
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    On a smaller scale you could remove the film from its cassette, spool, or paper backing, place it into a dry developing tank with a packet of silica gel, cap it, and put the reel with a silica gel pack in a sealed plastic bag.
     
  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I suspect humidity and dampness are the problem. Also, try snipping the corners off the film, making sure the snips are between sprockets. And dustbin the changing bag as soon as possible, even if you must live in the dark at night and block off all the windows with layers of newspaper.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    With Paterson tanks it's crucial to make sure the two ball bearings that grip the film are totally dry, you need to use a finger nail and move them to make sure there's not a drop of water there.

    You can think a spiral is dry but if they don't move freely you'll really struggle loading any brand of film.

    Ian
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. vedmak

    vedmak Subscriber

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    to answer your question in one word -> Hewis. I started out with a patterson tank, then tried a stainless steel and never looked back. Never had a problem with any film on Hewis reel, 35mm or 120. Plus they do not crack or absorb chems like plastic, drying times is fast if you wash them with hot water.
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Having used both in 45+ years processing I'd prefer a Paterson reel any day.

    They don't crack :D or absorb chemicals either :smile: I've used just about every series of Paterson tank as well.

    Ian
     
  17. R gould

    R gould Member

    Messages:
    430
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Jersey Chann
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    An old trick with any plastic reel is to run a sharp pencil around the reels in the film groves, which leaves a film of graphite on them, does no harm to the film but makes loading film a doddle, it is something I have done for many years, and I have yet to have a stuck film,If the film does get stuck if you hav'nt pencilled the reels then try giving the reel a sharp tap, that sometimes that frees the film, The only other way I can think of is to take the film out, trim the end and start again,Richard
     
  18. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

    Messages:
    825
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    San Luis Obi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Third recommendation for trimming the end.

    By the way, Adox CHS Art 25 on the top of my list, I think this is the same recipe so I can understand your desire to get something working.

    I have a Yankee plastic tank and I have several Jobo reels (small diameter and large diameter). The films I have the most problems with are Ilford due to (I think) the stiffness and curl of the film stock. So I have to trim the ends and sometimes I have to load them backwards as in emulsion side out. Though when I do load emulsion side out it is never for rotary processing. What I find is there is enough play with the reel that as you wind there is enough twisting motion that the tips of the film catch or can catch on the spokes of the reel. As Richard alluded to, a sharp tap frees it sometimes. I no longer load plastic reels in a bag. (and I pretty much stick to 120 for roll film) I just unwind the backing paper to the point where the film is, then grab the tip of the film with my finger while standing in the darkroom and purposefully unwind the whole roll, separate the backing paper and let the weight pull the whole film straight down. I leave it in that fashion for a moment or two hoping that process helps to straighten the film. Then load on the reel. I do not do full end to end turns of the reel. Just a bunch of little ones. On the Jobo, there's no ball bearing, you have to use the fingertips on the back of the film. When the film is already past one revolution it is easier. I try to wind it up the whole way with fingertips alone. Sometimes that is doable and astonishingly easier and 10 times faster than turning the ends of the reels because the film rides dead center through the channels.

    As for metal reels comments above, I find that with the Adox film, the reels are too loose. I have lost too many rolls due to falling right out of the tracks and they stick to each other on the outer stainless tank. For me that was so depressing. I don't know about others. Maybe some people like losing their film. It happened a lot to Adox film which is thinner like your Efke (and same emulsion I believe).
     
  19. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,824
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In 50+ years, I have used about everything. The only plastic I found that loads fairly well all the time is the Jobo reels. However, a good Stainless Steel reel always loads. Nikor, Kindermann, and Hewes. I think Hewes is the only one still being made.

    East to clean and can load when wet or damp.

    If they would have had Stainless Steel for the Jobo when I purchased it new, I would have like it. I know they have it now but for the money, I am happy with doing B&W in a SS tank and color on the plastic Jobo.

    YMMV
     
  20. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, this is interesting, because while I haven't had that problem, I've had the opposite one: some common films, especially Tri-X, seem to be a little too *wide* for my SS 120 reel. Efke films are maybe slightly loose, but not problematic, and Fomapan seems to be just right.

    So I guess there are small differences in the width of a medium-format roll, and your reels are sized for Kodak and mine for Foma. It's another connector conspiracy! :smile:

    -NT
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2010
  21. vedmak

    vedmak Subscriber

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I am puzzled now, how can the reels be too loose? Are you saying that your batch of Efke is not wide enough? How were you able to shoot if the width is not right? If what you meant is thinness of the film then I do not see how it matters, since you just clip one end and then roll it onto the reel.
     
  22. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No sprocket holes in 120, so the width of the film isn't critical; as long as it's "about right" and no wider than the length of a spool, it'll work. I think it's supposed to be a nominal 60 mm, but from a quick google, it looks like people who have measured have found a millimetre or two of variance from brand to brand.

    -NT
     
  23. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

    Messages:
    825
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    San Luis Obi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well what I was talking about was different but this may also be an issue. What I was talking about is the Adox film is thinner, far more flexible. You can load the reel no problem, just like any film. Now add chemicals and a few inversions and now it comes right off the reel. I had begun to think that you can only do stand development with Adox in stainless reels/tanks. Lucky for me I have two other options, both plastic, and they work flawlessly every time, right out of the gate. Never had a problem with plastic reels except for the entanglement issue. Plus, always perfect development. Always.
     
  24. xwhatsit

    xwhatsit Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Thanks for all the great replies everybody! Lots of ideas to try here. I always trim the leader so it's square and then give it rounded corners. I don't think it's the leader that's jamming, I think it's the edges of the film sticking to the grooves in the reel itself.
    I find this intriguing -- thanks for the PM! Now, I think that the 30.5m bulk roll that I'm loading off is too moist as well, at least the outer parts. I spent maybe half an hour with my arms inside that little nylon changing bag, it got humid there in a hurry. I remember when going to put the 30.5m roll back into its black bag and box that the black plastic bag felt slippery as well.

    Is there any reason why I can't put the 30.5m roll into a bag with some desiccant as described above? What I'm worried about is drying the film out too much and the emulsion cracking or something like that -- is this a silly notion?

    I'll definitely do that with the reels and individual cartridges though.
    Aha! That sounds like a great idea. I'll definitely try that next time.

    Thanks once again everybody! Love this forum.

    P.S. Must post up some photos of the film, it's really a very visually impressive cock-up. The few frames (and half-frames) that did turn out I'm excited about, I really, really like the way this film renders greyscales. Almost grainless as well. Seems more contrasty in D76 compared to Microphen but that's no surprise; it seems to be a contrasty slow film anyway.
     
  25. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    First, if you're bulk loading your film in a changing bag without a bulk loader, you should definitely get yourself a bulk loader. You can find them used on eBay pretty inexpensively, and they'll help with the loading process immensely. Most or all of them "click" once per frame, so you know how many exposures you're loading, and you can work in daylight without sticking your hands into a sweat-inducing changing bag.

    I'll add my voice to those singing the praises of SS reels, and particularly Hewes reels. These are by far the easiest reels to load in my opinion. I am, however, very aware that this is just that: my opinion. Reel preference is very much a personal thing. Also, generic SS reels are much harder to load than are Hewes reels, and Hewes reels are sadly rather expensive. You might be able to find a bargain on eBay, though.

    For plastic, IMHO the easiest type to load is a weird Russian tank, described here. This one loads inside-out, like an SS tank, and with the emulsion side out. My tank doesn't take nearly as long to fill or drain as the one described on the Web page. Unfortunately, it's got a very serious flaw: The tank only supports agitation by rotation, which I've never mastered; I tend to get streaky, uneven development. I prefer inversion rotation, which you can use with most modern plastic tanks and (AFAIK) all SS tanks. Some people prefer agitation by rotation, though, and if you're one of them, you could go looking for one of these oddball Russian tanks on eBay. (Check the seller's other items, too; you might be able to pick up some filters or lens caps or whatever and bring the per-item shipping charge down.) It's also conceivable you could get one of these reels to work in some other tank, but be careful; some tanks' light-proofing depends on a post that's integral to the reel, so swapping reels, even if the replacement fits, might result in light leaks.
     
  26. xwhatsit

    xwhatsit Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have a bulk loader -- bought one for $1.50 on a local auction site, mainly just to get the nice 20-30 reloadable cartridges that were bundled along with it. Not so keen on using it if I can avoid it, mostly just because of the fogging of the last few frames and the danger of scratching (not so much from the loader itself, it's a Watson-type without rollers, but from putting the film through yet one more trip of the felt light-trap of the cartridge).

    Next time I either bulk load or load film onto the reel I'll do it in the closet.

    I like the look of the reel on that Russian tank. I like the concept of loading a stainless steel -- it seems a dicey practice to try and push a metre or two of thin flexible film through a tightly-coiled reel from the outside in. Anybody ever tried to load a plastic reel stainless-steel-style? I might give it a go with a scrap roll of film when I get home. I'll keep my eyes open for a stainless steel tank and reels -- are there any reels out there which fit onto the spindle of a Paterson tank? I rather like mine.