Steel Reels, Steel Tanks VS. Plastic Reels, Tanks

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by DF, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. DF

    DF Member

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    I've allways used plastic reels/tanks for developing film, and would like to try steel for the first time. Just by looking at steel reels, it would seem they'd be much more efficient than the plastic - more open space for the chemicals to flow through in and out/back & forth/up& down - whatever style you agitate by.
    Is it they're more $$expensive? Are they so harder to load? I can allways practise...
     
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I use the Paterson reels only because I'm used to them, but one of these days I'm going to try the metal ones.

    Jeff
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, DF,

    Do an APUG search on the topic. It's one we've really beaten to death. Opinions, well-informed and otherwise, abound and should easily provide all the background you need for making a choice.

    Konical
     
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  4. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    It matters not, really. Just a tank that empties and fills fast. Paterson, Honeywell, whatever.
     
  5. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    I started out with plastic using 35mm. After being forced to use steel in a class, I found steel reels easier and faster. Granted it took three or four runs before I felt that way. We used hewes reels.

    I've only used plastic for 120 but at some pint want to try steel.

    In order to really know, I think a person just has to try both and decide for themselves.
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    GEEZ, not again! Doesn't anyone think to look in the archives. This subject has been talked to death.

    All you will learn is that those who use plastic like plastic and those who use SS like SS. Haven't really seen a definitive reason presented for using either one.
     
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  7. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Steel is the way to go, especially for 35mm. Far easier to load and they last forever (just don't drop them).

    I have to admit that I find it easier to load 120 on to plastic. Maybe I just need more practice with the steel reels.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I use ONLY paper reels... (just kidding)

    I use steel. Hewes 35mm reels costs more to buy but they are SO easy to load. It is well worth double the cost of ordinary ones.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You could put this thread into the Ethics and Philosophy forum, because the question is essentially one of religion :wink:.

    For me, I prefer SS for 35mm, and the wider flange plastic reels that fit in Paterson tanks for 120.

    And for convenience, I use those wider flange plastic reels and Paterson reels for 35mm too.

    Have you tried film aprons?:whistling:
     
  10. rhcgn

    rhcgn Member

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    I use Jobo (plastic) drums and reels, which are particularly useful when you develop colour. The bleach/fix component releases gas and hence pressure and the Jobo lids have room for expansion build into the lid. Systems without expansion would most likely leak in that case. Also, plastic gives better insulation and thus keeps the process temperature more stable. I have not seen metal systems with that feature, but that does not mean they are not out there.. Apart from this, its all a matter of preference and what feels right to you.
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In threads like this often one model out of a group is taken to form an opinion.
    Seen the variety of models and the different applications (see above), it would need either a lot of experience or a reguled test to come some decent conclusion.

    Futhermore there seems some bias simply due to spread of types in the local market.
     
  12. damonff

    damonff Member

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    For 120 and 220 I use plastic reels from Freestyle. For most 35mm I use Hewes. The cheap steel reels are terrible. After I bought Hewes reels I couldn't believe how easy they are to load.

    You have to experiment and use what works for you.
     
  13. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Instead of preferences, let's just lay out a few characteristics. They can be seen as pros and cons, but really there are ways to work around each.

    Plastic/Paterson
    1. Sometimes the lids leak a little ("burping" the lid seems to help)

    2. Much faster fill/dump times than SS - ideal for uniformity

    3. More parts to break/crack

    4. Plastic reels are often cited as being more prone to air bubbles

    5. Plastic reels can be difficult to load wet (remedy - dry them)

    6. Assuming all parts are plastic, no problems using selenium toner etc.

    Stainless
    1. Durability (the older Kinderman stuff at least) - I'm still using the same one my father bought in the early 70s. This may not apply to current systems. The cheapo Chinese tanks are thinner, often with the bottom being a separate piece of metal, and the lids do not seem to fit as tight.

    2. No leak problems (subject to quality of lid)

    3. Relatively slow fill/dump times through the daylight lid. It's ok for small tanks, but particularly for a tank any bigger than two-reel capacity I would strongly suggest filling the tank first, dropping the reels in and then putting the lid on.

    4. Good reels (Hewes, Kinderman) are a breeze to load - even wet. Although I still don't know why anyone would load dry film onto wet equipment.

    5. SS will conduct heat from hands more efficiently than plastic. Several easy remedies - tempering bath, wet hands in cold water before agitation cycles, grasp the tank with balled up paper towel between hands and tank, gloves etc.

    6. SS may or may not cause problems for things like selenium toning of negatives. I don't have a definitive answer on this. But worth thinking about particularly with cheaper, lower quality SS.

    So, obviously you can use either and get the same results in the end. They just work a little differently.
     
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  14. fotch

    fotch Member

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    "But worth thinking about particularly with cheaper, lower quality SS, or if chrome flakes off the reels - I've seen this happen."

    SS does not flake off, chrome is not SS. Maybe made to look and or sold as SS?
     
  15. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Well I saw the shiny stuff flake off some supposedly stainless steel film clips so I don't know what the deal was there.

    I've edited my post to remove that part so there's no confusion.

    thanks
     
  16. albada

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    Michael R 1974, thanks for the excellent posting of pros and cons. I would add two more, and these are the two reasons I switched from Paterson to SS:

    1. SS uses less chemistry. For one roll of 35mm, it's 210 ml versus 325 ml.
    2. Paterson has more parts to clean and dry when you're done.

    Regarding loading: After practicing a few times, SS has become just as easy for me to load as Paterson.

    But plastic may be better for this: If you have a plastic 220 reel, then you can load two 120 rolls onto a single reel. Push the first roll as far into the spiral as possible, then load the second roll. OTOH, I haven't actually tried this and I don't know if my adjustable reels can handle the length of a 220.

    Mark Overton
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Chromed surfaces are more bluish, SS is more yellowish.
     
  18. vysk

    vysk Member

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    Steel

    Fought with plastic when I learned developing, fought with plastic last week (after a decades long gap from darkroom)/

    Took all my plastic reels and traded them for steel.

    Steel reels forever, as far as I'm concerned.

    ....Vick
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    What plastic reels did you trade for what steel reels...?

    see post #12
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Mark:

    This works fine with either Paterson or the Samigon/AP/Arista Premium reels and Kodak 120 films (I do it with Plus-X and TMax 400).

    There is at least a bit of space between the end of the first roll and the beginning of the next.

    I wouldn't suggest doing it with rotary processing - in my experience films are more likely to wander with rotary, and may end up overlapping.