Loading film back to back

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Donald Qualls, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I've heard many times about the old trick of loading two strips of film back to back in a single stainless reel. Today, loading film for the first time (since returning to photography 3 years ago) outside a changing bag, I tried it. I had no problem getting the two rolls of 120 back to back into the stainless reel (in fact, did it twice, to fit four rolls in a quart size stainless tank), and the development of the images (in slightly stronger developer than I usually use with 120, because I now had the same amount of film in the tank I'd have with 35 mm) was excellent, but I found, when I opened the tank, than the backs of the two rolls had contacted each other -- on one reel, for most of the area of the films -- and as a result, the blue (antihalation?) dye in the TMY didn't come off in the developer and fixer to the extent it usually does.

    I was able to remove the dye by rerolling the film singly onto stainless reels and soaking it in a bath of sodium sulfite and sodium carbonate, as I do after tube developing sheet film, but this is a significant pain with roll film, and I can't see this trick ever having been a time saver for a photographer if it required this kind of extra handling.

    So -- is there a special trick to keeping the two rolls from "protecting" each other's base sides, or is this a trick that should only be done with stiffer 35 mm stock (which seems likely to present developer capacity issures), or am I just missing something?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hmmm... maybe it works better with older style films that didn't have the T-max dye. Another option is to load them sequentially on 220 reels, which I've done once or twice, and it's worked okay.
     
  3. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Not that I've tried, as I have got plenty of time to screw up developing one roll at a time... (just last night, I independently discovered solarization)
    Wouldn't it be easier to tape the two rolls end-to-end and load onto a reel taking 220?
     
  4. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    And wouldn't it be even better if I actually READ your second comment here? :rolleyes: Disregard, going through a caffeine low...
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah, but once you get the hang of it, how about 4 120 rolls on a 220 reel!
     
  6. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    What, so I can screw up all four in one go? Nah, I like to enjoy the process of opening the daylight tank to pour out the developer... And as an aside, how come MY solarization doesn't look anywhere as cool as Man Ray's? Where's Lee Miller when you need her...
     
  7. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Well, I own two tank/reel combinations that will accomodate 220. One is a huge Nikor stainless; I'd have to tape the film together before starting to load which (to me) looks hard to do in the dark and get the film parallel enough for the second roll to wind in smoothly -- and then I'd need 1.3 liters of soup to cover the four rolls. The other is my Paterson System IV, in which I could wind in the first roll, push it another half turn, start the second, and then apply the tape (or use the tape already present from attaching the film to the backing), but that tank only holds a single 120 size reel, so the only gain over my quart size stainless tank, with one film per reel, would be developer economy (and economy is not that big a deal or I'd just work up a time for HC-110 at 1+159 dilution).

    What I'm after is mostly the ability to process four rolls in one run without spending more money on equipment (right now, I'd have to give up film to buy hardware -- a bad tradeoff). OTOH, if someone could point me to a screaming good deal on the tank and core only (no lid, stir stick, or inversion cap needed) for the two-reel version of a Paterson System IV, that would solve my problem, since I have a second (Beseler Universal) reel that fits this tank and will also take 35 mm or 220-length film. Not really interested in the Spanish "copy" tank; it's much slower to fill and drain than the genuine Paterson. A two quart stainless tank and one more 120 reel would also do the job, though then I'd need to get some bigger graduates, and that's back to spending money... :tongue:
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Stainless tanks are really cheap on eBay, and the lids are pretty much standard, so if you find one missing a lid, all the cheaper--just buy another lid or use one from another tank. I've managed to accumulate a collection of tanks that hold from 1-12 35mm reels (which I use mainly for medium format, so up to 6 120/220 reels) this way. They're pretty indestructable, so not much downside to purchasing used.

    NB--it sounds like you have an old-style Nikor 220 tank, which was larger in diameter than a standard tank. Modern 220 reels from Hewes and other companies will fit in a standard tank.
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    I think this was / is a viable technique in 35, less so in 120.

    Don't think in terms of doing 2 or 4 rolls at a time... imagine having a hundred rolls and a deadline. Then, doing 8 in a tank, instead of 4, at a time isn't so crazy. But those days are gone.

    Sometimes this was accompanied with an ethanol soak and heat drying.

    Thereby hangs a tale.
     
  10. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I have occasionally managed to feed two 120 films end to end onto a Paterson spiral when I've been in a hurry and run out of tanks. It seems to work.

    David.
     
  11. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Yep, to my eye, it's now looking like the next size Paterson is the way to go -- just have to find a used one I can afford, with the core still in it. Taping the two films together as they feed in should prevent overlaps; I'm not sure I'd trust just pushing the first film to the center and then loading the second.

    Obviously, Jobo reels would be ideal, with their little tabs that can be pushed in to separate two 120 films on the 220 reel, but they're expensive and don't fit Paterson tanks (or so I've been told). I might have to see if I can invent something like that as a modification to a Paterson or Universal reel...