how to load 35 mm on steel reels?
if this has been covered somewhere else on Apug, let me know .. Otherwise,
I just bought the cheapest steel reels I could find and I tested a roll. I clipped the end into the center, but rolling seemed kind of difficult and how in the world am I going to know in the dark if the film is going on smoothly and not doubling up in the circles?
I bought these generic reels from B+H for about 9 dollars apiece...
So, these would be the reels with the clip in the centre, as opposed to the two little hooks which the Hewes reels use. The clip ones are much harder to load. If you are practising in the light, you can see if the film is going on evenly and you can feel it too so that you will know what it feels like when it is properly loaded in the dark.
using steel reels isn't difficult, but it isn't easy the first few times you do it
sacrifice a roll of film ...
cut the end off straightish, and clip it in the center. make sure
you orient the reel to go the right way around
look at the end of the reel and make sure the way you are going to spin
the film is the same way the reel spirals ...
curve the film slightly between your thumb and index finger so it is bowed
and slowly turn the reel and the film should load onto it.
i usually keep the film taut and every once in a while push the film into the reel
to see if it moves backwards / is not bound up.
with the lights on you should be able to see the film loading .. and get the hang of it
if loading the film is easier with the reel resting on a table top instead of
holding it in one hand and the film in another i have heard of people doing that as well.
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The way I usually do it is to let the reel roll on the table, steadying it with my left hand, and I push the film onto the reel, with the film I'm holding in my right hand parallel to the table. You should feel a little play in the film as you push it in.
Try it first with the lights on, then with your eyes closed, then in the dark. When you can do it a few times in the dark with no mistakes, you're ready to roll.
Hewes reels are more expensive, but they're also easier to load than cheap reels. Kindermann is good too, as long as they're not bent.
Two words: Hewes Reels. Get yourself 1 more than you think you need.
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well, you know what they say ... buy cheap, pay twice ... hmm or i can go return these, I guess ..
Having used "cheap" reels for more than 40 years, and also presently owning Kinderman, Nikor, and Hewes, let me say that there is no need to get any others. So long as your reels have no obstructions such as blips of weld, and so long as they are not bent, let me assure you that in the dark they are all the same: sometimes a bit cranky until you get the "feel." It is a question of getting the film centered on the clip, then bowing the film slightly with your "strong" hand and turning the reel away from the film. There is a knack and once you get it you are home free. Practice, practice, practice, with a roll of film. Do it in the light and watch how it goes in. When that is comfortable, begin doing it with your eyes closed. One thing I found helpful with 35mm reels is this: rather than pushing down on clip, reach underneath the core and pull the front of the clip down with a finger or fingernail. Then you can feel the film going in over your finger or knuckle. Getting the film on straight is the key; then winding with the proper slight bowing. It's like whistling; once you teach yourself how to do it, it becomes second nature.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
On your way to return...take a test roll. Try before you buy. Okay, I know that the general preference is for steel reels, and Hewes at that, but I've felt your pain and suggest you look at the vinyl reels. I'm absolutely delighted with my Paterson reels. You just push the film, spiralling inwards, and I find this works for me. So take a piece of test film with you and try every type they have.
With 120 film, I found it easier to push film into steel reels as long as I trimmed the corners of the leading edge. (I can hear the laughter from the more experienced APUG members!)
My brother prefers steel reels for 35mm, and for him just the weight of the cartridge is enough tension to properly thread film, and he can do it single-handed. But again, he's a real photographer.
One thing I find helpful is the sound. As you load the film onto the reel, if it is going on properly it makes a sound that is different than if it is binding.
I also make a point of pushing and then pulling slightly throughout the loading process - if it is going well, it just walks in, whereas if it isn't, you will feel it bind almost immediately.
It is necessary to practice, but it is really important to learn the feel (and sound) as soon as possible.
Also, when you are learning, don't switch between a variety of film brands. The base that the film is on really makes a difference on how the film loads. After you get good with one type of base, it is reasonably easy to adjust to something different, but when you are first learning ...
With respect to the type of reels, personally I prefer the ones without clips or hooks, but instead a "C" shaped area that the film goes into, and then crimps slightly (hard to describe).
Good luck. Once they begin to work for you, steel 35mm reels are the best to use (IMHO).
P.S. I have a very different experience with the 120 steel reels!
I have always thought that trying to explain how to load a SS reel was akin to explaining how to ride a bike. However, R.W.Behan in his book "How to be Positive about the Negative" gives about the best and most entertaining advise I have ever read. "-- it can only be mastered by practice and that practice must begin in the daylight where you can see what you are doing wrong and finally what you are doing right. Sacrifice a roll of film. Then practice in the darkroom until you have your own personalized technique perfected, consistent and comfortable. The only advise I can offer at this point has something to do with Positive Thinking: maintain an aggressive and confident demeanor, seize the initiative early and maintain it and rely neither on faith nor on hope but only on your own innate ability, sentience, dexterity, practice and competence. You will prevail: countless others have before you."