Your favorite tank & reel

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Digidurst, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Hi everyone :smile:

    I have a Jobo (#1520) tank as well as an Omega tank. They both include plastic adjustable reels that will accept 35mm or 120. And they are both a real pain in the arse to load.

    So I'm curious to know what folks think about the Patterson tanks or maybe the stainless tanks and reels.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Digidurst,

    I've posted on this general topic in the past. A Search should locate what's already there, so I'll just put a brief summary here.

    If you want plastic, Patterson isn't bad. Tank can crack (I know--mine did once when full of solution!) if vigorously banged on the counter to dislodge air bells; use pre-soak and be gentle with the tank. Fine for 35mm, but I had problems with uneven development near the edges of 120 film.

    I much prefer SS. Loading is easier, chemical volume is a bit less, and cleaning is a snap. No strong preference on brand for the tank and lids, but avoid Nikkor or Nikkor-type reels with the very inadequate spring device in the center; Kinderman (spike in the center) is vastly preferable, and while I've never used them, Hewes is usually highly recommended also.

    Konical
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Personally I like the bigger Jobo tanks. The fact they can handle everything up to 4x5 is a bonus. If you want to try SS reels then you can get them for your Jobo 1520 tank.
     
  4. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Thanks for the idea, Nick, but to tell you the truth I am not too impressed with the Jobo tank either. I don't like the way the lid snaps on (if that makes sense). I know that Jobo is a popular brand but I fail to see the attraction - just personal preference.
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    When the Patterson starts to leak you'll like the Jobo lid :smile: I'm not sure what about the lid you don't like? Lift the ring. Push it down. Seat the ring.
     
  6. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    If you like plastic, try "Brand X" it is a common house-brand which has gone by the names: AP, Beseler, Samigon among others. They have an extra wide-mouth loading platform that makes rolling 120 into the feed-slot a snap. As Konical said, the Hewes for 35mm are very nice (expensive, but if it's any indication, many limited budget schools use them) strong and they have 2 sprocket-catchers rather than the stuff-it-in-the-center-and-pray clips and punctures etc.
    -Brad

    P.S. See my avatar <<<<-------- for photo of the AP version. This one is nicer than the Samigon version as it has "O" rings built-in rather than just resting on the tank-top. Makes sealing excellent and leaks not a drop.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2005
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    I too prefer the steel reels. Unlike Konical I dont have a problem with the Nikor reels or tanks I dont use the spring clip in the center of the reel. I find these easy to load and after not using some for about 10 years (largeformat jones) I loaded some reels like I had never stopped.

    lee\c
     
  8. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Stainless Steel tanks and reels are the way to go. They last forever and cannot absorb any chemicals and discolor like plastic can. Plastic lids are preferable to SS ones which tend to leak. Also the SS lids and caps are matched to their bottoms and are therefore not interchangable without leaking. Therefore it is best to scratch a letter or number on all three SS parts so that things do not get mixed.
     
  9. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    I'll second Brad on those AP/Samigon/etc reels. If you want to go plastic, those are by far the best I have ever tried. In fact, I choose them over SS for 35mm each and every time. When dry, they are better than SS, in my opinion. They are certainly a million times easier to load.

    They work great for 120, as well, but since I only have 2 at the moment I have been using SS for 120 just to handle the volume of my weekly dev sessions.

    allan
     
  10. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I use SS tanks with SS lids. I've had them for decades and never and a leak, (liquid or light).
    As far as reels, any SS wire reel that I have used has been fine but the Hewes are heavier duty and their system starts the film centered and straight which is the most common (and frustrating) problem for beginning SS users.
    I still use Jobo for rotary processing of 4x5 film in a reasonable amount of solutions but I do roll film exclusively by inversion.
     
  11. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I agree witih the prevailing opinion that stainless steel tanks are superior to plastic. But life is a bit more complex that that.

    There are three kinds of lids for stainless tanks - plastic lids, stainless lids with stainless caps, and stainless lids with plastic caps. Someone has pointed out that stainless lids with stainless caps tend to leak - yes, that's true, but as long as you have a sink to work it, that's more nuisance than fatal flaw. Plastic caps tend to not leak, but they are not without problems. They usually have a small plastic tab on one side - I had the experience of the plastic tab breaking off a cap a few months ago. Makes it very difficult to remove the cap.

    Stainless reels are OK - and the Hewes brand is clearly the best available. But even the brand-X steel reels are better than the chintzy walking-in (ratchet style) plastic reels. There are really only two potential problems with steel reels. The first is that if they are bent, so that the two faces are no longer parallel, then it becomes difficult to load them. Fortunately, it's possible detect this problem visually, and it's usually possible to carefully bend the reels back to something approximating their original condition.

    But all steel reels, even brand new ones, have the problem that the cross section of the wire making up the spiral is circular. That means that the cross section of the groove between wires (that the film must go into) has curved edges. Those curved edges tend to encourage film to pop out of the groove. With practice, you learn to compensate for this tendency.

    About 27 years ago, I purchased a pair of plastic reels that were designed to function like steel reels - they load from the center out (they do NOT ratchet), and their diameter is the same as steel reels so they can be used in steel tanks. But the key difference is that the cross section of the spiral grooves is square - they don't have curved edges. So fillm goes in and stays in much easier than with steel reels. Unfortunately, the distributor (Durst) abandoned the product line and I haven't been able to find any of these in years.
     
  12. Jimi

    Jimi Member

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    I have used old jobo stuff. It's dated way back, bottom of the tank says "made in W.Germany". I like the tank. It can take 2 35mm reels. When I had it, there were only one reel. I bought new to accompany it, but the old one is definitely better. Much easier to load film in it. But for 120 I use the new one, because it can be loaded with two rolls of 120.

    Have tried 3x35mm Paterson few times and it didn't do it job of keeping liquids inside. Maybe bit easier to load, but nothing big, at least anything I could remember.
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I would prefer the Patterson reels for being easy to load; their ball-and-ramp system is unbeatable.

    I use mostly JOBO 1500 and 2500 tanks - necessary for the CPP2 JOBO Processor. Difficult to load? Not especially - I don't even think of it much any more. The key is practice, the more it is done, the less burdensome it will be.

    THe JOBO Plastic reels do not *not* absorb anything. Occasionally, I'll disassemble them and give them a good scrubbing, especially in the tracks, with dishwashing detergent and a high-tech instrument - an ordinary tooth brush.
    It's a good idea to do that with any reel.

    If you drop a plastic reel, it will not stay bent. I know - I know - you CAN straighten stainless steel reels. The point is: I don't have to.



    .
     
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  15. jon

    jon Member

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    I'm a recent convert to the SS tanks. I was always put-off by stories of how difficult they were to load etc. For 120 though I find the SS reels way easier than dealing with my AP or old GAF reels... 35mm takes some getting used to, but it's not as bad as some of the talk you'll hear. Plus as it's been said, cleanup is a cinch and you can re-use the tank quickly.
     
  16. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've only been doing my own film development for about half a year, but I've tried two types of both plastic and stainless steel reels in two tanks. Here's my ranking of reels (best at top):

    1. Hewes stainless steel reels -- The easiest to load by far (except for the several rolls I tried to load backwards, which loaded amazingly far given the extremity of my error).
    2. Patterson plastic reels -- Usually easy to load, but occasionally a roll just develops a lot of resistance partway through, which slows down the loading process a lot.
    3. AP plastic reels -- These are virtually clones of the Patterson reels, but the plastic feels a bit different. They seem to have resistance problems slightly more often; I've had to cut two rolls and develop them on two spools twice before I got a Patterson reel. The Patterson and AP reels seem to be interchangeable; certainly both can be used with my AP tank.
    4. Used non-Hewes stainless steel reel -- I got two of these with a used stainless steel tank, and I've only managed to load a roll without problems once. They may be slightly bent, so I don't think I'd say that all non-Hewes stainless reels are worse than the plastic reels I've used, but the ones I've got certainly are.

    Note that my experience is only with 35mm film. In addition to the reels, the tanks have plusses and minuses. Aside from the wider mouth of the plastic AP tank I've got, my used stainless steel tank with plastic cap wins hands down. It requires less chemistry (so it's cheaper to use), is easier to agitate one-handed (so I can grab for a funnel or whatever while agitating), and is less leak-prone than my plastic AP tank. Some people cite the fact that many plastic tanks let you take the temperature of the solution while processing, but I've not found this to be practical. Maybe if my thermometer registered more quickly it'd be a plus, though.

    Just for kicks, you might want to check out this site, which describes a Russian tank and reel. The reel has grooves on only one side and must be loaded emulsion side out. The tank must be agitated by turning a knob counterclockwise (clockwise causes the film to unspool), and has a ~2-minute fill and drain time. Personally, I'd be interested in having one just for the novelty value, but it doesn't sound very practical.
     
  17. photomc

    photomc Member

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    The tanks and reels are like children...Don't have a favorite (the others might get a complex, you know)... :D

    Seriously, have never used anything but SS tanks and reels. Learned to use em in 1974, stopped processing film in 1977, started back in 2002..just like I never missed a beat. Only changes have made, is retired the SS lids and replaced with plastic ones and those Hewes reels....oh, yeah..they are the best. But don't tell my Nikor reels..don't want to have to take them to therapy!!
     
  18. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I have used the old metal top Nikor tanks, an old cheap Yankee plastic tank, Paterson tanks, Jobo tanks, the spanish made AP/Samigon tank, Kindermann tanks, and the generic SS tanks that you see around with a scalloped edge plastic lid.

    I have used plastic reels from Yankee, the Jobo 2501 reels, Paterson, and AP/Samigon. I have used SS reels from older Nikor, Kindermann, generics, and Hewes.

    For plastic, I could live with the AP/Samigon and Paterson about equally. I quit using Jobo for film when I got the worst conceivable agitation pattern with the 2501 reels and dilute Rodinal on a CPE-2. It generated standing waves that went nearly halfway across the 35mm frame and caused major differences in development. I believe the 2501 reels were abandoned, and newer ones have a completely different film holding arrangement. Jobo told me the 2501's were not a defective design, so I quit buying film equipment from them. I only use that system for color prints now. The Jobos (IMO) also take too much chemistry for hand inversion. If you use a wetting agent like Photoflo after development, it sticks to plastic reels and makes them hard to load even after drying.

    For SS, I like the Kindermann tanks and plastic lids with Hewes reels. The Kindermann lids seal well enough that I can agitate fixer and wash water on a Beseler motor base (horizontal) with no leaking. They also have a continuous lip around the cap that eliminates the problem with broken tabs that Monophoto mentions. The Hewes reels are heavier guage, so don't bend nearly as easily as lesser reels, and that also makes them easier to load. Two prongs on the Hewes 35mm reels catch sprocket holes in the film and square it up for loading. Kinderman reels are OK, but I don't like the plastic film "catch" they use nearly as much as the Hewes method. I can start a Hewes reel a lot faster, and the film almost self-feeds on the larger diameter guide wires.

    Kindermann reels have a small diameter hole in the center plastic core, and don't work on the older SS stacking rods with a loop on the end.

    Calumet (APUG sponsor) has a deal on a generic SS tank (2x35mm roll size) with lid (with the breakable tab mentioned earlier), two Hewes 35mm reels, and a package of 25 archival negative pages for 35mm, all for about $50. Not a bad deal, and I think it's billed as a student special package. Calumet also has better prices on individual Hewes reels than
    B&H.

    I can get the AP/Samigon 2 reel + tank kit locally for about $15 as a house brand.

    Overall, I do prefer the SS, but I've been loading them for over 30 years, so that's not an issue for me.

    Lee
     
  19. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Ha ha ha! My lips are sealed :wink:

    Thank you for your insights, everyone! You've been most helpful
     
  20. derevaun

    derevaun Member

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    I've used stainless and plastic but haven't experienced that revelatory moment in which one is better than the other. I mostly reach for the funky Kustom plastic tank, just because its reel adjusts from 16mm to 120.

    If I could just piggyback a related question: what tanks fill and empty fast? I have yet to get a rhythm that gets my times between solutions under control. I pour out with one hand and have the next solution ready in the other, but from cap off to cap on it's still a lot more than a minute. I don't want to blame my frustrations on my tank, but I'd sure like to try a faster-pouring one while I get the engrams together.
     
  21. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Tilt tank to a 45 degree angle, helps a lot. Search for previous thread (about 2 weeks ago) with quite a lot of other ideas and tank/lid preferences for pouring speed.
     
  22. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The only one I have a well-known time on is draining the Kindermann lid. It drains a full liter in about 10 seconds. I don't have a fill time, because I'm not watching the timer when I fill, and I start counting development time just as I cap it and start the first inversion.

    I recall the AP/Samigon being pretty fast, and have actually read an entire article about how fast the Paterson System 4 drain/fill speed is (can't recall where). I think consistency is more important than speed unless you're dealing with very short development times, or perhaps a very long tank.

    If you need to get things in and out of the developer fast, and your darkroom setup allows it, try using two tanks and transferring between pre-soak / developer / stop with lights out.

    Lee
     
  23. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I'll admit that an SS tank is not exteremly fast to fill and drain so I just go for consistancy. When I had a truly dark darkroom I used a series of tanks without tops filled with my solutions and put the reels on a lift rod. I'd just drop the film reels into the solutions, tap to remove the bubbles and agitate using the lift rod. Not a daylight process but virtually eliminates the fill/drain time variable.
     
  24. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    One more weigh-in. I go with Kinderman tanks, Nikkor reals. As a bit of trivia, the true Nikkor real did not have springs in the center, just a piece of heavy SS wire that wrapped around three sides of the "box" formed by the supports in the middle. (the ones with the springs were all knockoffs). It was the only place you could insert the end of the film and loaded fantastically easily once you got the knack (5 minutes). Unfortunately, they cost twice what the ko's did, and eventually went South. Very hard to find, but the best, in my book, no springs, no clips, simple.
     
  25. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    I've not been long in the developing world, but I am more than happy with my 1 euro Gepe 120 tank. It has an "easy loader" that looks like a plastic version of the Hewes loaders. I even managed to load a badly kinked roll and salvage some shots. You feed the film through the loader and close the holder on the centre of the reel. Then, just wind the reel and remove the loader. Reel (sic) easy!

    I also use this tank to develop 9x12cm and 5x4" sheets one or two at a time.

    I also have a Loadamat 20 which is like anm Agfa Rondinax tank. Daylight loading of the film as well as adding and draining chemistry. I've not really used it yet, though it may be worth sacrificing a roll.

    I haven't got a 35mm tank yet (the Gepe only has a 120 reel).
     
  26. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Earlier this year I changed from 120 processing in Paterson tanks to SS tank and Hewes reels. The Hewes reels are the duck's guts, made to last forever. My tank has a plastic lid, but I've just ordered a new tank with a SS lid (Samigon), and some 35mm SS reels and more 120 SS reels (not Hewes).