Tips for hand winding 220 film on stainless steel developing reels?
I'm not that great at winding 120 film on stainless steel developing reels. So, I'm a little apprehensive about winding a few rolls of 220 on stainless steel developing reels, which have smaller diameter wire coils that are spaced closely together.
Anyone have any tips or suggestions?
You can get plastic tanks and reels for developing 35mm and 120/220 film from Adorama, Freestyle, and probably others places as well. They're not perfect, but, after struggling for years to get the hang of metal reels and losing more negs than I want to think about, I finally said the hell with it and moved to the plastic reels. (Well, I also started shooting 4x5, too. )
Use Hewes reels and practice. I find Hewes 220 reels easier to load than cheap 120 reels, so I usually use them for 120 as well.
I felt making the first bend was crucial. The spring tends to just grab the center of the film and the edges 'flop' a little, making them not line up with the start of the spiral. One thing I do with my reels is to pull the film back on itself to get it to fold or crease, right at the spring. This pulls the ends of the film up and helps direct them into the start of the spiral.
I'd sacrifice a roll of 220 for practice, then spend some time practicing in daylight. Give it a few tries each day, at first winding on eyes open, then switching to eyes closed. If you get stuck, try to feel what's happened before looking, then look and see what happened so you can correct. You'll wind on line a pro in no time...
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I've loaded about 100 rolls of 220 onto steel reels for a big project recently and I can tell you it's a royal pain. It really requires practice and patience.
a. Hewes reels are MUCH MUCH easier than other reels I've tried. They are almost as easy to load as 120. Cheaper reels (that have maybe been dropped and bent) can be a nightmare. If you are going to be regularly shooting 220, it will be well worth your while to buy some Hewes reels.
b. Get a reel and a bad roll of 220 film and practice. It's worth ruining a roll of film for this. Do it many times with your eyes open, then with your eyes closed, then in the dark.
c. VERY important: when you sit down to actually load some good film, do a few practice loads first with your bad roll. This will get you in the groove, so to speak, by toning up the muscle memory in your hands.
d. once in the dark, be patient and take your time. If the film feels like it's going on wrong at any point, don't force it. Just stop and unwind back to where it was going right and start again. Really, you've got to be patient or your going to end up with wrinkled film and un-developed frames.
If you're going to do a lot of 220, look on ebay for Nikor (sp?) 220 reels and tanks. They are like oversized 120 reels and tanks. It is no harder to load them than 120 reels, just takes a bit more time.
Good Evening, Jay,
I agree with Vince's comment about 220 loading being a royal pain, especially compared to loading 120 which I consider about the simplest and quickest of darkroom procedures, but I must admit that I rarely use 220, so lack of practice is likely my main problem. Jim is exactly right about the larger reels. They are made of thicker wire and are somewhat easier to load than the standard-sized reels. Their main drawback is that they won't fit into the typical film washer. As always with loading, getting the film straight at the beginning is the key to success.
Originally Posted by Jay Decker
I tried standard-sized reels like you have; also over size Kinderman 220. Just a no-go for either. I finally had to just shoot a blank at the middle of the roll, cut the film in the dark, and load on 120 reels.
What I DID find is an set of instructions which said that my old Ansco-type plastic reel and tank can take two separate 620 rolls. So, I sez to meself, sez I; well then, it should take a 220 rolls. And, yes, it does.
Some where along the line I acquired a Prinz SS reel loader; but I have never tried it. I just stick to 120 film and all is well.Ennyone wanna buy a Prinz loader?
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Thank you for the responses. I glad that try to load a roll of good exposures on the fly. At this point I am wondering if the TXP 220 is worth dinking with. While the idea of not having to load film as often is appealing, I do not feel that I would be missing anything by not shooting TXP in 220. The image below was shot with TX 400 at an EI of 1250 and developed in Diafine. Would I get anything much better with TXP?
I do have a number of 220 SS reels. Is there anyway to determine if the are Hewes?
And, one more question... any one interested in a reasonable deal on 10 rolls of fresh TXP 220?
Last edited by Jay Decker; 04-25-2009 at 11:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.