Recommended Roll Film Developing Reels

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jay Decker, May 3, 2009.

  1. Jay Decker

    Jay Decker Member

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    In another thread, I learn that some of the difficulties that I have had loading 120 roll film onto stainless reels might, at least partially, due the reels that I am using. I have difficulty keep the film the track through the entire roll and consequently end up with half moons on the developed film. Has anyone else had this problem? Have new reels helped? What brand of reel do you like?

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
  2. trexx

    trexx Member

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    Old Nikor, not sure if new can be had new aqnymore, are good. Same to with the available Hewes.

    Good reels make a world of difference.

    TR
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Jay,

    For 35mm, Hewes are best, Kinderman an extremely close second. Both have reliable means of securing the film at the core of the reel. For 120, I find Kinderman reels superb; they have a puncturing pin to secure the film. I don't have any Hewes in 120, but others recommend them highly. I avoid any reels which have just a "springy-thingy" at the center, but not everyone agrees with that. We have a number of APUG Forum threads which discuss this topic in voluminous detail. You will find a variety of detailed opinions, expert and otherwise.

    Konical
     
  4. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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  5. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    Jay, I had the same problem as you until a few years ago I bought two Kindermann 120 SS reels from B&H along with the film loader. The film loader is the key to the whole operation. I now load 120 flawlessly and fast. Unfortunately, B&H nor anyone else I can find still sells these very high quality reels with the loader. You might try ebay. I believe I paid about $40 per reel plus maybe like $10 for the loader. Worth every bit I spent.
     
  6. Ian David

    Ian David Member

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    As stated by other posters above, Hewes SS reels are excellent in both 120 and 35mm.
     
  7. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Here is an example of the reel that comes along with the Samigon tank mentioned by dwdmguy. Believe it, loading 120 or 220 film onto one of these things is a lead pipe cinch as long as the reels are clean and completely dry. It's the extra wide flanges that make them work so well, so don't settle for the other brands. The Samigon tank linked to in the earlier post will accept only 1 reel at a time when set for 120 film. Since these reels fit virtually any plastic tank out there except for the Jobo tanks, getting a larger tank is an option if that suits your needs. The only downside I see is that the plastic tanks need a bit more chemistry to cover a 120 reel than the equivalent stainless steel tanks. Developer is cheap - cheaper than a ruined roll of film to be sure. The rest or the chemistry you can use to near exhaustion, so no waste there.
     
  8. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    I think that the trick to loading a 120 size stainless reel is to get the film centered between the top and bottom parts of the reel and perpendicular to the vertical pieces in the center. If you put one finger on top of the reel and the other on the bottom near the center, you should be able to feel whether the film is sticking out the same amount on either side after you clip it to the center posts. Getting it perpendicular to the center posts is more difficult, but you should be able to feel whether it pulls toward the top or bottom after feeding it on one turn or so.

    Obviously, a bent reel will make it impossible to get the film to go on straight. The Hewes reels that I have use the same type of bent wire clip as my generic ones except the they have the clip going in the oposite direction. This seems to make it easier to adjust the film so that it is centered. Even better is the old Nikor reel which holds the film between a small spike and a flat blade. Once you have the film centered this device it automatically feeds perpendicular to the center posts because it can pivot on the spike.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I have various 120 SS reels. When I "graduated" from plastic, my SS were a dickens to load without half moons: UNTIL I stopped attaching the film under the center clip on advice of a colleague who taught basic darkroom at the time. It seems to make the film self-centering.

    As with 35, the key is getting just the right amount of curl in the film: that comes from practicing in the day time with a junque roll. After then, it becomes second nature.

    Sometime early on I had bought a Prinz loading outfit which attaches to the edge of a work surface; has the proper ss film-bowing-template; and a spring-loaded rolling crank: the whole schmier. I tried it once and went back to my low-tech way. Ennybody wanna bah ah almost new loader.....?
     
  10. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I know the problem and was going to explain my technique, but it's exactly what Peter just described, so I'll add one more thing I do. I carefully stuff the end of the film under the wire clip then give the film a gentle tug to get it lined up. I then make sure I can feel the edges of the film on the outside of the reel during the first complete turn, similar to what Peter described. It should go on easy from that point on as long as you don't pull on the film as you turn the reel.

    Paul
     
  11. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    I feel the edges of the film after putting it in the clip in my Nikor reels, and carefully push and pull until the film is accurately centered in the reel. That's the key to getting started OK. While using the clip can be optional in the 120, as you go to the larger 116 (70mm) and 122 sizes (I have and use both), it becomes essential. No question that by the time you're up to 122 film (about 3.5 inches wide), loading is pretty tricky.

    Your reels must be absolutely square, parallel and not twisted. One drop to the floor, and they are toast. (Well, maybe the Hewes reels are tough enough to get away with that.) That can be checked on a flat table with a machinist's square.

    This, of course, makes buying used Nikor reels (the only way to get them now) a bit of a gamble.
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Stainless steel - Nikor, Hewes, Kindermann. I used plastic for eight years, found stainless steel, and now I'm giving away my plastic reels.
    After you learn how to load the stainless steel reels, it's easy. I've kinked two rolls out of maybe 50, and that was in the beginning.
    It's better to buy top quality right away, so that you don't have to do it all over again later on.

    Good luck!
     
  13. Ian David

    Ian David Member

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    I like simple things that are built to last.
    The beauty of the SS reels, if you buy a decent set and don't make a habit of dropping them, is that they will last you a lifetime. So one day, when nobody is making decent film processing equipment anymore, you won't be caught looking around for a new set of reels.
    SS reels/tanks also don't absorb any chemistry and are simple to clean and dry, so carry no real risk over time of chemical cross-contamination. Not sure if plastic gear does, but SS certainly doesn't.
    You will never break or crack a steel tank.
    If you spend a bit of time practising with SS reels in the daylight, and then in the dark, you will soon get the hang of loading them in a way that works for you and will never have any trouble doing it in the darkroom.
    If you decide to buy more reels, I think second hand ones are a gamble. I would forego a couple of beers or coffees and use the few bucks saved to get new reels.

    Having just posted this, I see that Thomas has just made some of the same points... great minds think alike!
     
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  15. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I had a plastic reel - I forgot what brand - that loaded the film by rotating the two sides back and forth in opposite directions. It also came with a plastic can that you could put a thermometer in. I hated it and used it only once. I always used the stainless steel reels/cans and bought the plastic thing because it looked interesting, but it wasn't any easier to use than the stainless reels. I think the truth is I don't like plastic junk and that's what it reminded me of - something gimmicky.
     
  16. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Sounds like the old Ansco tank. Used one for years before I melted the reel drying it in the oven so I could get quickly on to the next roll. I found I liked them very much after reading an old instruction book that said it could take two 620 rolls at the same time. Eureka! the end of my 220 film loading problem. After Ansco got out of the biz, the unit was made by others--iirc, Star-D was one of them. They actually worked pretty well, and the one clear spiral allowed doing the reversal exposure for E-3 Ektachrome and Anscochrome (remember them?) without taking the film off the reel.
     
  17. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Anyone know where I can buy a SS tank and a couple of reels in Canada, they seem to be getting harder to find.....
     
  18. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yes! I do remember Anscochrome. First color reversal processing I ever did. Still have the slides somewhere around here. They even made an ASA 500 speed film. Back in the day that was tremendously fast.
     
  19. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    To be honest, I think I messed up part of the roll on the first try, so I really didn't give it another chance - user error. It was more like the fox and the grapes.

    I can tell you're an Ansco fan.

    Paul
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    These reels and tanks are marketed under a number of different brand names. Most frequently I've found them under the "AP" brand.

    Matt
     
  21. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Yup; and with grain the size of bowling balls. Now it would be very "in" because it is "artsy." I wonder if your Anscochrome is still visible? Mine gave up the ghost years ago.
     
  22. j-fr

    j-fr Member

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    Damaged SS reels?

    If you have troubles loading a stainless steel reel, it could be because top and bottom of the reel are not absolutely parallel. Could be that the reel has been dropped at the floor at some time?

    j-fr

    www.j-fr.dk
     
  23. Jay Decker

    Jay Decker Member

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    Excellent question. The reels had not be used for thirty years (they had not been used since I was in high school). After some careful measurements, they are fine still parallel, square, and no bends. I also tested with a roll of film and found that my problems arise with getting the film equally spaced between the top and the bottom. If I get the film spaced equally, I do not have any problems. I find that I have problems getting it spaced correct and then captured with the wire spring mechanism.
     
  24. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Last time I looked, they were pretty good. A little faded, sure, but still there. Of course, they've been in the dark most of these years and have been projected only a few times.
     
  25. NavyMoose

    NavyMoose Member

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    After a long hiatus, I'm getting back into black and white film processing. I have my old Kalt SS reels and tanks for 120. I'm struggling with re-learning how to put film into the reel. I'm doing it in daylight for the moment and I can't get the film into the reel without the film being in the wrong track or kinked.

    I'm squeezing the roll with my right hand while turning the reel with my left.

    I have a feeling these are just growing pains and I should do a lot more practice before processing an important roll.

    After seeing Hewes mentioned, I remembered being told about those reels and they are superior to Kalt. Checking the photo I found online, it looked very similar to my Kalt reels. Is the price difference worth replacing my Kalt reels with Hewes?

    Thanks!

    Navy Moose
     
  26. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I can only speak for Hewes reels in the 35 mm. size. They are far superior to the other brands of stainless steel reels of various manufacture that I've used in that size by a wide margin.