Loading SS film reel

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by zackesch, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    I picked up a Kalt SS reel and watched a view how to videos on youtube. My reel has a wire clip, but I havnt been using it. I pinch the film and rotate the reel to feed the film. about every half rotation, i gently push and pull the film to see if its moving freely or not.

    Where im having issues is im having trouble with the film buckling, or the next rotation of film laying ontop of the last. Any ideas?

    EDIT. After reading 2 reviews on my reel, others are having my issue. Turns out the welds are kicking the film out. Im going to return my reel. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/71023-REG/Kalt_NP10110_35mm_Stainless_Steel_Reel.html

    How much simpler is loading a plastic reel to a SS?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2012
  2. 131802

    131802 Member

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    Hewes stanless steel reels aren't foolproof, but I've had fewer problems with them vs the spring-clip reels you tried.
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Get some scrap film and practice loading. First do this with your eyes open and then with your eyes closed until you can do it consistantly with your eyes closed. If the scrap film kinks throw it away and use another piece. Kinked film will never load properly.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    All reel styles require some learning and practice.

    I use both stainless and plastic. I find stainless less fiddly but both types are very usable.

    The big reason I use plastic is because I use a JOBO processor for C41 and WD2D+. When developing with DD-X in hand tanks stainless is by far my preference.

    Different brands within each style can be better or worse. The Hewes reels http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Developing-Tank-Accessories/ci/12148/N/4077265214 have a great reputation. Mine work great.

    In plastic I like JOBO's but they don't fit in my stainless tanks.
     
  5. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Being very well made is one advantage Hewes have over other stainless reels but the loading start is a more important feature. The two sprocket tabs that catch the roll ensure that the film is centred on the reel and will *minimize* buckling and overlapping. Experienced loaders will know when this happens and just back up a few turns and continue.

    They may cost more but will pay for themselves over years of use.
     
  6. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    I returned the Kalt reel and found another photography shop within my area that carries darkroom supplies. After talking with one of the staff members and using my dummy roll of film, I decided to go with a plastic tank. I will try SS when i become more comfortable with developing and enlarging.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    So you've traded for a different set of skills to learn, that's cool. Now you get to learn how to cut and straighten the leader and properly wash and dry the reel so that the film doesn't catch, stick, and jam.

    Depending on the brand you may also get to see how much "fun" ball bearing advance can be. I prefer no bearings, just let my fingers do the walking.
     
  8. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    I picked up the SS reel yesterday. Tried the reel, and I found out it had a mfg defect. I returned it, went to another shop that stocks darkroom supplies and thats when I tried the plastic reel. I liked the plastic. I did try another brand ss reel, but still liked the plastic system.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2012
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    While it will cost you more, (ok, a lot more) Hewes reels are worth the money it will cost to buy one. Wires are thicker so there is less chance of film going off track. Also the "hook" system to start the winding is easier to use.

    If you are going to commit to the stainless steel reel system, I would recommend it.

    Each type require you to acquire a feel for your reel. The last thing you want to do is go back and forth between different types and makes.
     
  10. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    The Hewes reels are worth the premium. I've used SS reels for nearly thirty years and when I switched to Hewes reels some six years ago I cut my loading time in half. That's a few hours time spent doing something other than backing up and re-winding loading poor quality SS reels.
     
  11. WayneStevenson

    WayneStevenson Member

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    Quality brand reels are definately superior. But the most important part about getting the reels to work is getting your film on square from the beginning.

    If your film buckles on one of the first several turns, you didn't start square. Feel the ends of the reel for film sticking out near the center. It will tell you how much you need to adjust when you back off to the clip.

    If your reel allows it, don't use the clip and rather stick it in center that doesn't have anything blocking it. It will usually square up the film for you automatically while you start reeling it.

    You can get some older ones that don't have any clips. Those are by far the easiest to get started.
     
  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi zackesch,

    Loading a plastic reel is easier to begin with... But as WayneStevenson says, the important thing with stainless steel reels is to get the film started square and centered on the reels. I don't know exactly but I imagine you have 1/16th inch tolerance on the centered-ness. By feel, as I start the film under the clip, I feel left and right to make sure it's equal.

    After that, I listen for crinkling and of course if the film finishes dimpled or if the film runs out before the spirals run out (35mm/36 exp should finish on the last spiral). If there is a winding error - there is no option. Unwind all the way to the core and start over more carefully.

    On a good day the film always goes on right the first time. On a bad day I have to unreel and re-reel three times. With gloves on and careful handling, there is no harm done. But there is risk of fingerprints if you do it bare handed.

    Good luck, you can choose plastic if you want. You've gotten some good advice (dry reels load easier because water will cause film to bind).