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  1. #1
    Dean Taylor's Avatar
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    re: processing 35mm film--getting it onto the spool

    hi all--

    student question: how does it happen that the film winds into the spool with enough space between the turns so that enough developer (fixer, etc.) reaches all the emulsion? Or, said another way--is it an ongoing issue that film DOES, in fact, all too often touch the wind ahead/behind and, thus, keep enough developer from reaching the surface?

    Are there any particular tanks/spools to be avoided or sought?

    thank you

    Dean Taylor

  2. #2

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    If it's properly on the spool, the spool keeps the adjacent winds of film far enough apart. The entire trick is to get it on the spool properly :-) A time-honored technique, regardless of what kind of reel you use, is to take a length of scrap film (or some old uncut negatives) and practice loading the spool in the light until you're confident you can do it in the dark.

    My favorite spools, and I'm not alone, are the Hewes stainless steel ones. The trick with loading SS reels properly is getting the end of film down at the center squarely centered and started correctly. The Hewes design makes that almost too easy. Then it's just a matter of getting good at slightly bowing the film as it walks onto the spool as you turn it.

    Duncan

  3. #3

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    Dear Dean,

    As Duncan said, if you're going to use stainless steel reels, you're going to have to practice. Those that get the hang of it swear by them.

    Neal Wydra

  4. #4
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Alternatively, the Paterson plastic reels, the ones with the big plastic "landing-zone" (as I will refer to it as) are nearly fool-proof and ideal for beginners. You get it started and then just twist it back and forth.

    I use both types depending on how many rolls I've got to do at once.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neal View Post
    Those that get the hang of it swear by them.
    And everyone else swears at them. At least, I did, until I got the Hewes reels. They're more expensive, even used (when you can get them) but totally worth it. Much easier to use than anything else I've tried.

  6. #6

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    MANY years ago, I used a type of reels where film gets wound into a plastic reel with a clear plastic tape in between. In this type of reels, you wind this tape and the film together into a reel without groves. Dimples on the tape keeps it from touching the film.

    I had, on few occasions, had inconsistent development - and thought it was because not enough chemical was reaching the film.

    With stainless steel reels that I use now, I never have such issues.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #7
    fotch's Avatar
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    What ever you choose, you need a scrap roll to practice with. Generally, an old expired roll of film of the size (35mm, 120, etc). Practice makes perfect and will help you avoid being frustrated when you are trying to develop you film.

    Good Luck.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    The grea tthing about plastic "self-winding" reels is you don't have to remove the film from the cassette first. Do not rewind the leader back into the cassette, then just pull enough film back out to clip the end square then insert into the loading ramps until it catches in the pawls, turn off the lights and wind the film onto the reel. When you reach the end, clip the film free of the cassette, finish spooling and drop the reel into the tank and close it up. Now you can turn the lights back on and process.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  9. #9

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    make sure when you practice you close your eyes and turn the room lights off
    it really helps a lot

  10. #10

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    John,

    To this day, I go into darkroom and CLOSE MY EYES when I load the film. Otherwise, it feels wrong. My fingers get more sensitive when I close my eyes. True story.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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