I've been processing film for well over 50 years. Way back, plastic tanks and reels were not so good. They seemed to inhibit the efficient flow of chemistry though the reel. I had to learn to use stainless due to the jobs I had and got used to them very quickly. Now the design of plastic tanks and reels is much improved and my students all use them. Their film always looks fine. I still use stainless though. it's in my blood.
You must be one of those 3 drops people for wetting agent. That never worked for me unless I used distilled water. I follow directions and use 1:200.
Color film stabalizer will also coat up the plastic/nylon reels.
I also use a water bath and do not allow ambient temp to influence development.
I admit to being very picky and working to achieve perfection.
If you are worried about your plastic reels getting discolored, dirty, or sticky, just soak them in a weak warm household bleach solution for about 15 mins. Then rinse well and you will have clean reels. I do this every now and then.
I use stainless steel reel and tanks. Plastic reels are easy to load, but you can load them when they're wet. It does take practice to load stainless reels, but I think they're much more durable than plastic reels.
Urban legend that surfaces way too often. There is absolutely no problem with Kodak Photo-Flo, any other wetting agent or color film stabilizers or final rinses. You have to rinse the reels with warm water after processing, which should be self-evident; if you don't, of course you have some residue on them. If you fail to do that for a long time, time after time, there is a possibility of sticky residue as you describe. However, in this case, soak them in warm water and use a dish brush to get rid of it. Nothing even close to "impossible" here, just the normal maintenance.
Originally Posted by Ronald Moravec
BTW you should also rinse the steel reels even if they don't develop the residue. Still, just the normal maintenance. The developer characteristics may change a bit from carry-in wetting agent.
Isn't it a bit strange if you consider yourself as picky, and work to achieve perfection, but the normal maintenance of the equipment is too much of a burden? For me, it takes some 20 seconds during the normal clean-up. A quick rinse and a small swirl with a dish brush just in case.
However, I have seen and used those sticky reels, something other people have used FOR YEARS without cleaning them once. It took me half an hour to clean some 20 reels and now they are PERFECT again.
My film studio is an ancient single wide mobile home. And I have an ancient dishwasher in the kitchen. Every once in a while I'll put the plastic reels - disassembled - on the top shelf and run it with no detergent.
The water doesn't get too hot, and I have never had an issue with chemical abrasion because I leave out the detergent.
Works for me. YMMV.
Thanks for all the comments. I am going to buy Stainless Steel Tank and Reels from Freestyle and I will prove it.
i started using ss reels some weeks ago.
the only problem for me is the correct positioning (loading) of the film so that it really goes paralell round for round into the space between the reels.
its not allways flat and then the surfaces of the film touch each other. -> so i have parts of undeveloped film.:(
i never had this problem with plastic reels.
For 120 there's no way I'm going to ever screw again a roll in Paterson reels. I love Paterson reels. But for 35mm. With 120, old reels have a hard time gripping the thinner film, and even with cut corners, I had troubles. So I go with SS reels.
On the other hand, I will never screw again a 35mm roll in SS reels. Too tight, too small, too much risk of buckling, which means film touching itself, undeveloped spots, ruined pictures.
Horses for courses.
Before you order SS tanks and reels, check your local photo store, they might have a few used ones they will sell you on the cheep. The advantage is that they might be able to provide you with several types of Reels so that you can find the one you like best and return the rest.
Originally Posted by Henry Alive