Why buy cheap reels for your precious images?
Are the reels bent?
Even if the are perfect, you must practice, practice, practice loading over and over and over again to learn to load film correctly.
First practice with a dummy roll many time while watching the reel. Then try doing it in the dark many times till loading becomes second nature.
You must teach your body how to load film with little effort.
Wow---I couldn't disagree more. I almost gave up on 35mm because I couldn't get the film loaded on the reels without having it "jump the tracks" and stick together. I'd be spending what felt like an hour sitting in the dark, spooling film on and feeling a little kink and going "oh hell" and backing up a little, and eventually finding things so fouled up that I had to unwind the whole thing and start over...and at the end it STILL wouldn't be loaded right and I'd lose a third of the roll. (And always the best pictures. You know.)
Originally Posted by Anscojohn
Bought a couple of Hewes reels and haven't had a significant problem since. As far as I can tell, the big difference is that my el-cheapo reels were made with a finer gauge of wire; the slightly larger wire on the Hewes reels makes a huge difference in keeping the film in the track.
Your mileage may of course vary, but if you can reliably get a clean load on reels like my old ones, my hat is off to your patience and dexterity.
this is kind of funny.
i have some hewes reels and some cheep ones.
i can't stand the hewes ones, and it more trouble
than it is worth getting the film to stay in the
little grabby-prongy things in the center of the reels.
i never use them anymore, only cheep-ones ... and the plastic
yankee ones + plastic ones for the unicolor drum --
i never use them either, they are all bit of a pain in the neck.
but, as they say ... YMMV
The trick is to get the film going straight in the first turn, after that it's just a matter of turning the reel as you guide the edges of the film with your fingers (the turning reel is what pulls the film past your fingers while the tips of your fingers are touching the reel). Be carful not to squeeze the the film too much, or it will kink laterally and cause little black crescent shaped marks on the film when developing.
Originally Posted by ntenny
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
You may be able to work successfully with the cheaper reels if you practice enough, but Hewes reels have a great reputation for a reason. A couple of things I have found about practice, if you sit down to practice loading the reels with a roll of film you won't be as relaxed and it won't feel as familiar in the darkroom if you stand up to load the reels in your darkroom, try either practicing while standing or find a way to sit in the darkroom to load film. Manual dexterity varies a lot from one individual to another and some people cannot get the hang of loading film until they can relax while doing it. You may have to practice quite a few times in day light and maybe many more times either with your eyes closed or in the dark before you get comfortable with it, don't stop your practice just because you have done it correctly a few times, you may have to get really comfortable so that you aren't stressed out by the loading routine. You sound like you have gotten off to a start in film loading where you associate film loading with frustration. I still mess up my loading at times when I am too tired, distracted, or frustrated about something else. With Hewes reels it makes a difference whether you cut the film straight across or at an angle. If you cut the film at an angle it is much more difficult to load the film. You can prove this to yourself in daylight by trying to load film that has been cut at an angle. Another related issue is loading the film in Hewes reels in the first sprocket hole on your film, if you load farther along than this you end up with a stiff little piece of film sticking out in the film path when you bring it around to wind it on. You can reduce failures by holding the reel in your right hand with your thumb over the end of one of the pins that goes into the film sprocket holes and inserting the bowed film with your other hand. You can feel whether the first sprocket hole is going over the pin that way and you can then move your thumb over to check whether the other sprocket hole is seated in the other pin. If you then pull gently and slightly wiggle the film from left to right you will be able to tell, with practice, whether the film is going on straight before you start winding. If you do this in daylight you will be able to see what happens when the film is not loaded straight at first. If you don't like loading it that way, load any way you like but stick your thumb or a finger in before you start winding to see if there is too much film extending beyond the pin and reload if you need to.
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The most important advice here is to practice, practice, practice! When I switched from plastic to steel reels, after reading a similar thread here on APUG, I started in the daylight to see what I was doing. Never had much luck with my eyes closed; maybe just uncomfortable that way as Doug suggests. The real breakthrough for me was practicing while reading APUG! Eyes on screen, hands under table... got very comfortable that way. Now it's second nature. Hope this works for you.
Using a Hewe reel, there's no such challenge (or for that matter any challenge.) The Hewe has hooks that lock into the sprocket holes of the film. Place the cut film end on the reel stem (where the hooks are located), then roll! Straight is the only way it will turn out. Nor is there any possibility of a slip. All the way through, 5 seconds work. I got it right the first time, and every time since. Did not need to practice!
The trick is to get the film going straight in the first turn,
BTW, Hewe reels says "Made In England" on them.
Last edited by jackc; 04-10-2008 at 04:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have found that running my fingers along the outsides of the spiral, starting from the centre and moving outwards, every couple of turns helps to check if the film is not going on straight. If I feel film protruding outwards then i know that it is not going in straight. Sacrifice a roll and practise. Like the others before me have recommended, do it in daylight where you can see what you are doing first. Then try it with your eyes closed. Once you learn how to do it, you will wonder what all the fuss was about.
I use Kindermann reels and have some other brands. An easy way to load them is to warp the film just enough to fit in the reel. Don't use the clips, if you do, you are likely to get the film cocked slightly and it won't spool without crinkling. Just put your thumb over the clip. Hold the film loosely between the clip and your thumb. Once you make the first turn the film will spool easily. Remember to keep the film warped.
I just want to put in my two cents, again, about all the "knowledge" concerning "cheap" ss reels. I started loading with "cheap" reels (Spiratone--anyone here remember Spiratone?) when the only "good" reels in the US were Nikor. And that is Nikor with one "k" and it has nothing to do with the Japanese company. At any rate, Kindermann reels were not around in the benighted areas of New Jersey where I lived at the time if I could have afforded them. I could not afford Nikors, btw; and Hewes was still an unknown--perhaps they were not even in business then? At any rate, I am still using all of the "cheap" reels, as well as Kindermann and Hewes I have acquired over the years. As long as the ss reels don't have welding blips on them--; and as long as they are not bent; they are all look the same in the dark.
Give the newbies a break. Tell them to practice, get the hang of it, and get on with it. Harrumph!
John (world-class curmudgeon), Mount Vernon, Virginia USA