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  1. #1
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    In spite of the fact I've developed hundreds of rolls of film, this is a real beginner question. When spooling the film onto a plastic reel, I always use a finger to keep the film "straight out" from the spool, so that the film spools on in a more or less straight line. If I try to do it without touching the film, the roll of film ends up against the spool, and I can't get it on the spool.
    Tonight it occurred to me that I might be in danger of scratching the film, since my finger has to go on the emulsion side. Before hanging the negatives I use my fingers to pull off excess water, as some others here do. My question is, is this also ok before developing, or am I asking for problems.
    TIA,
    John

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    My guess is if you have developed 100's of rolls of films without problems then your method works for you, so if you are confident that you can develop film with predictable results why change?

    I have been using tow of my fingers as a film squeegie (sp?) for nigh on 40 years without any problem. I just make sure my fingers are not dry, and have never had a problem. My fingers are sensitive and before I start I rub them together to make sure there nothing that can scatch the film.

    - Mike

  3. #3
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnywalker
    When spooling the film onto a plastic reel.
    .... since my finger has to go on the emulsion side. Before hanging the negatives I use my fingers to pull off excess water, as some others here do. My question is, is this also ok before developing, or am I asking for problems.
    John
    What kind of plastic reel are you using, specifically?

    Are you loading the film inside out, with the emulsion side facing *away* from the center spool?

    When I load, the film goes on normally, emulsion side *in*, so that any scratches that do occur are on the backing - still a problem, but less than damage to the emulsion itself.

    I've used both JOBO and Patterson tanks. I really like the ball-and-ramp feature of the Patterson reels, but I nearly always develop film in the JOBO processor, so the need for JOBO reels and tanks.

    I would avoid trying to remove excess water with fingers. One (1) drop of Edwal LFN, a wetting agent, added to the last wash will minimize water spots, and I would strongly suggest a squeegee built for that purpose, and then sparingly, before air drying.

    Hmm ... "Is this also Ok before developing" ...? I don't quite understand ... are you trying to remove water from a pre-soak before developing?
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #4
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    Patterson reels, emulsion side facing into the centre of the reel. The film curls down, so my finger has to go on the emulsion side to straighten it to get the film on the reel. In other words I use my finger to hold the curled film away from the reel while spooling it on. The film uncurls over my finger before going onto the spool, and it's the emulsion side that touches my finger.
    Re "ok before developing" means I use my fingers on the film after development to remove excess water (as do others, separate topic sort of), but is there any difference using your fingers before or after development - in other words is the emulsion side less liable for scratching before development?
    I haven't had a problem so far, so it's probably a non-issue as suggested, but I'm curious now as to how others do it.
    John
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  5. #5
    fhovie's Avatar
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    There is ideal and there is practical. Ideally, you don't touch the film. Practically, you make sure your hands are very clean and very dry. A several minute presoak will likely remove whatever your fingers left on the emulsion before the developer gets there.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  6. #6
    clogz's Avatar
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    As far as I understand the first bit of the film is the piece that was sticking out of the cartridge when you bought it anyway and so cannot have any image on it. So why worry?
    After washing I use a squegee that has been thoroughly rinsed beforehand. Again never a problem.
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  7. #7
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    With plastic reels I keep my thumbs over the triangles where the film goes in so it doesn't jump out of the track... If you hold it like that, I can't imagine how you could put your finger under the film?
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

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    Assuming we are talking about medium format film:

    What I always do to avoid curling is twist back the first bit (about 1 cm) of the film, so it sort of 'uncurls'. It works fine, because the film winds onto the reel perfectly. I have never had any problems with scratching.

    Also, I never use a squeegee on 120 rolls, but just soak them in demineralised water with a few drops of wetting agent before hanging them up to dry.

  9. #9
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    I'm trying to visualize what is happening as well. Are you working with 35mm film, and the leader is "curling" under?

    If so, an effective remedy is to cut the leader off, leaving a square end on the entering film. I do that as a matter of course.

    I'm still not sure of what is happening - I've developed - oh I don't know ... more than 1000 rolls of film by now, and have misloaded the tank - probably 4 or 5 times - always by the film "jumping out of the tracks" in the reels.
    I don't think I have ever touched the film emulsion when loading.

    BTW - I am a perfectionist - trying to keep that drive toward *absolute* within reasonable bounds. Newly developed images on wet film emulsion are at their softest, most delicate state ... and I choose to risk them as little as possible; therefore for very little cost I use a dedicated film squeegee (sp?)- and wet it in the final wash/wetting agent before *light* and one-time use.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  10. #10
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    I'm using 35 mm film. I load the film onto the Patterson reel after taking it out of the film cartridge and cutting it square.

    Because I'm loading the film from the film cartridge reel to the Patterson reel, it wants to curl. To keep it from curling I use my finger. I only need to do this on the last half of the roll because the weight of the film keeps it more or less straight on the first half.

    In other words, the film is still tightly curled when it leaves the reel of the film cartridge and without straightening it somehow I find it difficult to load the Patterson reel. I hold the curled film a couple of inches away from the reel with one finger. The film uncurls over my finger just before going on the Patterson reel.

    So what I'm wondering about is if I'm in danger of scratching the dry, undeveloped film with my finger and if so how do others do it?

    I'm obviously not explaining this well. Wish I could draw a picture!

    John
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

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