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  1. #11

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    I feel the edges of the film after putting it in the clip in my Nikor reels, and carefully push and pull until the film is accurately centered in the reel. That's the key to getting started OK. While using the clip can be optional in the 120, as you go to the larger 116 (70mm) and 122 sizes (I have and use both), it becomes essential. No question that by the time you're up to 122 film (about 3.5 inches wide), loading is pretty tricky.

    Your reels must be absolutely square, parallel and not twisted. One drop to the floor, and they are toast. (Well, maybe the Hewes reels are tough enough to get away with that.) That can be checked on a flat table with a machinist's square.

    This, of course, makes buying used Nikor reels (the only way to get them now) a bit of a gamble.

  2. #12
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Stainless steel - Nikor, Hewes, Kindermann. I used plastic for eight years, found stainless steel, and now I'm giving away my plastic reels.
    After you learn how to load the stainless steel reels, it's easy. I've kinked two rolls out of maybe 50, and that was in the beginning.
    It's better to buy top quality right away, so that you don't have to do it all over again later on.

    Good luck!
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #13
    Ian David's Avatar
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    I like simple things that are built to last.
    The beauty of the SS reels, if you buy a decent set and don't make a habit of dropping them, is that they will last you a lifetime. So one day, when nobody is making decent film processing equipment anymore, you won't be caught looking around for a new set of reels.
    SS reels/tanks also don't absorb any chemistry and are simple to clean and dry, so carry no real risk over time of chemical cross-contamination. Not sure if plastic gear does, but SS certainly doesn't.
    You will never break or crack a steel tank.
    If you spend a bit of time practising with SS reels in the daylight, and then in the dark, you will soon get the hang of loading them in a way that works for you and will never have any trouble doing it in the darkroom.
    If you decide to buy more reels, I think second hand ones are a gamble. I would forego a couple of beers or coffees and use the few bucks saved to get new reels.

    Having just posted this, I see that Thomas has just made some of the same points... great minds think alike!

  4. #14

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    I had a plastic reel - I forgot what brand - that loaded the film by rotating the two sides back and forth in opposite directions. It also came with a plastic can that you could put a thermometer in. I hated it and used it only once. I always used the stainless steel reels/cans and bought the plastic thing because it looked interesting, but it wasn't any easier to use than the stainless reels. I think the truth is I don't like plastic junk and that's what it reminded me of - something gimmicky.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by panastasia View Post
    I had a plastic reel - I forgot what brand - that loaded the film by rotating the two sides back and forth in opposite directions. It also came with a plastic can that you could put a thermometer in. I hated it and used it only once. I always used the stainless steel reels/cans and bought the plastic thing because it looked interesting, but it wasn't any easier to use than the stainless reels. I think the truth is I don't like plastic junk and that's what it reminded me of - something gimmicky.
    ******
    Sounds like the old Ansco tank. Used one for years before I melted the reel drying it in the oven so I could get quickly on to the next roll. I found I liked them very much after reading an old instruction book that said it could take two 620 rolls at the same time. Eureka! the end of my 220 film loading problem. After Ansco got out of the biz, the unit was made by others--iirc, Star-D was one of them. They actually worked pretty well, and the one clear spiral allowed doing the reversal exposure for E-3 Ektachrome and Anscochrome (remember them?) without taking the film off the reel.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by iandavid View Post
    I like simple things that are built to last.
    The beauty of the SS reels, if you buy a decent set and don't make a habit of dropping them, is that they will last you a lifetime. So one day, when nobody is making decent film processing equipment anymore, you won't be caught looking around for a new set of reels.
    SS reels/tanks also don't absorb any chemistry and are simple to clean and dry, so carry no real risk over time of chemical cross-contamination. Not sure if plastic gear does, but SS certainly doesn't.
    You will never break or crack a steel tank.
    If you spend a bit of time practising with SS reels in the daylight, and then in the dark, you will soon get the hang of loading them in a way that works for you and will never have any trouble doing it in the darkroom.
    If you decide to buy more reels, I think second hand ones are a gamble. I would forego a couple of beers or coffees and use the few bucks saved to get new reels.

    Having just posted this, I see that Thomas has just made some of the same points... great minds think alike!
    Anyone know where I can buy a SS tank and a couple of reels in Canada, they seem to be getting harder to find.....
    Paul Schmidt
    See my Blog at http://clickandspin.blogspot.com

    The greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years is not digital, it's odourless stop bath....

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    ******
    ...allowed doing the reversal exposure for E-3 Ektachrome and Anscochrome (remember them?) without taking the film off the reel.
    Yes! I do remember Anscochrome. First color reversal processing I ever did. Still have the slides somewhere around here. They even made an ASA 500 speed film. Back in the day that was tremendously fast.
    Frank Schifano

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    ******
    Sounds like the old Ansco tank.
    To be honest, I think I messed up part of the roll on the first try, so I really didn't give it another chance - user error. It was more like the fox and the grapes.

    I can tell you're an Ansco fan.

    Paul
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fschifano View Post
    Here is an example of the reel that comes along with the Samigon tank mentioned by dwdmguy. Believe it, loading 120 or 220 film onto one of these things is a lead pipe cinch as long as the reels are clean and completely dry. It's the extra wide flanges that make them work so well, so don't settle for the other brands.
    These reels and tanks are marketed under a number of different brand names. Most frequently I've found them under the "AP" brand.

    Matt

  10. #20
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fschifano View Post
    Yes! I do remember Anscochrome. First color reversal processing I ever did. Still have the slides somewhere around here. They even made an ASA 500 speed film. Back in the day that was tremendously fast.
    *******
    Yup; and with grain the size of bowling balls. Now it would be very "in" because it is "artsy." I wonder if your Anscochrome is still visible? Mine gave up the ghost years ago.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

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