Paterson vs stainless steel reels??

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by GRHazelton, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    I'm moving into MF with my recently acquired Pentax 645N. Now comes processing the BW film!

    I've used Omega/Kinderman whatever stainless steel tanks and reels for 35mm in the past, and in a burst of enthusiasm I bought a 120 reel for the tank.

    Having read some cautionary tales about loading 120 on stainless steel reels, I wonder if I should use my ancient Paterson? The stainless would save some chemicals, but the Paterson would maintain temperature better.

    And then there is fumbling with film in the dark....

    Any opinions or advice out there?
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    I have found that 120 is easier with ss, reels, and in fact most of my students do as well. I am not sure if it is because i use them or they have discovered that for themselves.

    just find a test roll and practice and all should be fine.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    If your Patterson reel work for you, great.

    I have had some problems years ago with plastic reels.

    Since I started using Hewes steel reels, I have had no problems.

    Steve
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I've used both extensively, and professionally so heavy usage.

    Never had an issue with Paterson reels and that's all I use these days, but you do need to keep them clean. Some of my Paterson reels are probably about 40 years old and still load easily. (I have far earlier as well).

    Ian
     
  5. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The trick to using 120 with SS reels is to be very, very sure the film is centered on that little clip in the center before winding the film on. If the film is off center at the middle it will kink and dimple as you try to wind the film.
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I really like stainless steel reels, ever since I bought Hewes ones. Earlier I used no-name hand-me-downs, and they were not straight, and it was a pain in the a$$ to use them.
    Hewes 35mm reels are self centering, and it's very very difficult to NOT get the 120 film straight into the reel as well. A dream come true for me, and I did have some problems with the Paterson reels. That could have been down to my technique rather than the reels themselves, though, and Paterson has worked very well for others, so don't disregard them.

    - Thomas
     
  7. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    It's obvious why the Hewes 35mm stainless reels work so well. I can't for the life of me see the reason their 120 stainless reels work so much better than everyone else's... but they do! A big vote from me for the stainless route, but only with the Hewes reels.


    Duncan
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I never use SS reals, but I have used Patterson and so far been pretty decent as for 120 film.

    Jeff
     
  9. tokengirl

    tokengirl Member

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    I have always used Hewes stainless reels, they have never let me down. The first time I used the 120 reel, I had my hands in the changing bag for a LONG time before I had a bit of an epiphany, and I've never had a problem since.

    Lay the film flat on top of the little bars (circled below),
    [​IMG]

    so that it looks like this
    [​IMG]

    press the clip to open it and just slide the film in a little and release the clip
    [​IMG]

    and then the film will wind right on.
    [​IMG]

    This is incredibly easy to do by feel in the dark. Practice with a spoiled roll in the light can't hurt.

    Hope this helps just one person that has been cussing out stainless 120 reels in the past. :tongue:
     
  10. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I tried to load 120 into a paterson once, after about a half hour I ended up tossing my unspooled film into the tank and capping it so that I could open the dark bag and toss in my SS tank and spool, 3 minuets later I was headed for the sink to start the processing.
     
  11. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    During one of these discussions a couple of years ago, I compared my no-name reel with a Hewes I had recently bought by measuring the width between the spirals at several points around the circumference of the reels. I used vernier calipers that could measure to 0.001 inches. The variation in that dimension for the no-name was about three or four times the magnitude of the Hewes, so I assume that could have a lot to do with the difference.
     
  12. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    My preference is SS. Never used the Hewes, but as you see, they have quite the following. Even slightly bent SS are perhaps good for winding ribbon or extension cords on, but not your film. I like to start the film at the taped end, other than that, Nicholas's advice about making sure the film is centered is critical.
     
  13. pinhole_dreamer

    pinhole_dreamer Member

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    I have to use the Patterson. What with arthritis and some serious nerve damage (70% in my right arm/hand alone) I no longer have the coordination to use steel. The only issue I've had with my Patterson is that I didn't clip the tail evenly. Once I got that sorted out I had no problems.

    I think either reel is fine, ss vs. Patterson. It's a personal preference.

    By the way, what's the best way to clean my reel?
     
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  15. Troy Hamon

    Troy Hamon Member

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    The stainless steel reels are much more finicky for 35mm (unless you have the Hewes reels...they're the bomb...I don't use anything else anymore) than for 120 because of the length of film that is being wound on. The longer the roll, the more opportunity for any off-center effects to make life difficult. If you use 135 in SS, 120 will be no big deal. I have Kinderman reels for 120, they work great as well, but the cheap 120 reels work okay even. Always nice to have the good ones though.
     
  16. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I tried to buy SS 120 reels locally but couldn't find any and I was in a hurry so I got a Paterson Super System 4 tank and reels and honestly I have only used my nice old Nikor SS reels once or twice since getting the Patersons. I find the Patersons to be easier and it is impossible to mess up frames by having them touching which does happen occasionally with my old SS reels. SS is more economical for sure but to me avoiding ruined frames is worth the extra chemicals. Both are very quick to load with practice but as I said it seems the plastic ones are more foolproof (yes, I am sometimes a fool and mess up my SS loads).

    For color work with higher temps again I like the plastic reels, they hold the heat better.
     
  17. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    There are times when my Patterson reels have driven me crazy with 35mm - not clean enough, stiff film, floppy film, etc. So I bought a Hewes. Used it for the first time yesterday. NICE. But for 120, I'd get any ol' 120 SS reel. Always preferred SS for 120 no matter who made the reel.
     
  18. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I wanted steel at first as I said but then was deparate as I needed to test a camera so I bought plastic and I find it is very easy now. Put the leader in and then just back and forth... I find the ball bearings are pretty much useless so I pop them out though.
     
  19. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use patterson myself. I too just pull the film in the first inch or two and then back and forth like hpulley writes. I don't have a problem with the ball bearings in Patterson brand reels, but I had a patterson-like reel where they corroded and were trouble.

    To clean them, I just soak them in water for a while after photoflo. Then I set them on the shelf to dry.

    Nothing wrong with the stainless reel systems, I just don't need both.
     
  20. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Precisely. I had trouble centring the film using SS reels with the spring in the middle until I discovered a 120 SS reel that has a hinged clip instead of a spring. I think the brand is LPL. Now loading 120 is a breeze: insert the "taped" end of the film over the centre support and under the clip, apply the clip, and start winding. Film will be centred and square every time.

    I couldn't find a picture online to share with you, and I don't have the reel handy to take a picture. Sorry. P.S. for 35mm it's Hewes all the way:smile:
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It's a matter of preference. I'd just go with metal, since you already have the tank. If you cannot stand it, maybe try to borrow a plastic tank and reel to see if you like it.
     
  22. hoshisato

    hoshisato Member

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    I use Paterson reels, but I always make sure to warm them up with a hair-dryer before use which I found to help a lot; this solved all my problems with these reels for both 135 and 120 format.
     
  23. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    Hewes for life, baby. They've never let me down so far...
     
  24. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Paterson vs stain steel reels??

    Thanks, folks! I had heard the Hewes brand elsewhere spoken of highly. My 120 reel is from Freestyle and looks like a bigger version of my 35mm reels, with the same sort of clip. I have one stainless reel with NO clip which seems impossible to load! I tried a loader which clips to the reel and has a curved channel to guide the film. Even in the light it didn't want to load.

    Interesting that people seem to find 120 easier to load on SS than 35mm.

    I think I'll try the stainless, but have my Paterson in reserve.

    BTW, I wonder if running Paterson reels through a dishwasher - air dry cycle! - would clean them up? I imagine the stain mine have makes little difference, except aesthetically.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Regarding running reels through a dishwasher:

    1) Dishwasher detergent is quite harsh, so be cautious;
    2) Some dishwashers also dispense a rinse aid - probably not a good idea for reels.
     
  26. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I wouldn't run plastic reels in a dishwasher. The stain is fairly permanent. You could soak them in oxiclean or something if you realllly wanted. Some of mine have a nice beige stain instead of white from use and it has zero effect on cleanliness or image quality.