Film mangled in the can?
Tonight I developed a roll of Tri-X, and…well… it didn't feel right between my fingers—it felt like it was mangled. I'm new to all of this, but I've spooled all of my rolls successfully in the past, and I've gotten used to how it's supposed to feel.
Once I took it off of the reel, I found out it is mangled! The sprocket holes are crimped on themselves for ~3-4 frames, a few of the frames have dark spots where the developer never made contact with it, and some of the first inch or so looks like someone crumpled it up. It looks like it was chewed up by a machine. Luckily, most (85%) of the roll came out fine (in fact, it looks like my best roll yet), but I'm a little annoyed. I can't imagine how my camera could've mangled the film this badly (especially the sprocket hole crimps—those look like they could only be caused by heavy machinery), and I certainly didn't mangle it that badly getting it onto the reel.
Have any of you had this problem with Tri-X? Is it more likely that my camera chewed up my film? Should I complain? (I love Kodak, so I don't want to complain. (; )
By 'the can' do you mean that you processed the film in a stainless steel tank - perhaps using a stainless steel reel?
Sounds to me like an error in loading the film into the processing reel. A relatively common problem with stainless steel reels. They take skill to load - and the only way to acquire the required skill is to practice. And even then you have to swear at the film occasionally.
If the film was damaged in the cartridge it would have been difficult to operate the camera. The film probably would have gotten hung up in the film path.
If it was damaged in the camera, it would have been difficult to rewind the film. It probably wouldn't want to go back into the cartridge. In either case you would have known something was wrong. Did you notice anything?
What kind of camera is it? I can't think of any late model 35mm. camera that would damage the sprocket areas the way you describe. (Not that there isn't one. I just don't know of any.)
Thus, I would have to agree that the damage occurred some time between taking it out of the camera and loading it into the canister.
It sounds to me like a loading problem. 35mm films, especially 36 exposure, are pretty long, barely a degree or so of misalignment at the start can throw things pretty far out of kilter by the time you get to the far end. Some SS reels (Hewes!) are easier to load than others. And old/used reels that may have been dropped can add problems from an almost unnoticeable bend in the spiral.
In the midst of a long ago discussion, I measured the spacing between the spirals at four different points around the circumference on my 120 reels and discovered the tolerance on the el-cheapo that makes me crazy was about four times sloppier than the Hewes that usually works like a charm. That seems to confirm it wasn't just my imagination. But lots of practice helps too. Films with unusually large amounts of curl can be frustrating also. After you do more of it, you may recognize the feel, and even the sound of the film edges scraping past the spiral that can indicate whether or not things are going correctly.
I remember once after ten minutes of frustration stuffing the bare film in the tank, putting the lid on and taking a half hour break. Thankfully it went better on the second pass!
If you are using plastic reels, using a hairdryer on the reels for a minute to make sure they are as dry as they get just before you start spooling the film on them has solved all my problems with buckled film.
You said "it didn't feel right between my fingers" so this implies you were not looking at the film because you were loading it onto the reel, in the dark, before processing. If so, this is were the problem occurred. Get a blank roll and practice, practice, and practice. Getting a Hewes reel, if SS, would be a large plus. If plastic, in my experience, only the Jobo reels are acceptable. Good Luck.
Your description sure sounds like the kind of mangling in the reel that happens as DWThomas says when you don't align it at the start.
I occasionally get a few mangled sprockets from camera. These can contribute to jumping a rail on the reel - which can lead to mangling.
Happens with and without experience. Most of the time it works for me. But as you know, it's fairly easy to "tell" that it happened. Sometimes it will take me several attempts to get it right once I have gone astray. I will unreel and re-start and proceed carefully until it feels right.
And sometimes the first "bad" winding will crimp the film making it more likely, exacerbating the problem.
Is there any reason at all to use these metal reels, with the Jobo- and Paterson-style plastic ones around?
Especially the Jobo one seems foolproof with 35mm film.
Each has its pluses and minuses. I prefer SS reels and tanks. I've used both.
I don't know how much this applies to the case of the OP, anyway I deem appropriate to remind that film tends to become brittle in very cold weather, which happens frequently now for those of us able to see the North Star. Rewinding it in the cartridge with a very fast action (in "reporter style" or with a fast motor) might damage the film. The damage might be, I imagine, not so bad that the film doesn't re-enter inside the canister, but bad enough that it gives problems during the reel loading phase.