Recommended Roll Film Developing Reels
In another thread, I learn that some of the difficulties that I have had loading 120 roll film onto stainless reels might, at least partially, due the reels that I am using. I have difficulty keep the film the track through the entire roll and consequently end up with half moons on the developed film. Has anyone else had this problem? Have new reels helped? What brand of reel do you like?
Old Nikor, not sure if new can be had new aqnymore, are good. Same to with the available Hewes.
Good reels make a world of difference.
D-76 is a standard developer, although not one I use.
Ansel Adams - The Negative
Good Afternoon, Jay,
For 35mm, Hewes are best, Kinderman an extremely close second. Both have reliable means of securing the film at the core of the reel. For 120, I find Kinderman reels superb; they have a puncturing pin to secure the film. I don't have any Hewes in 120, but others recommend them highly. I avoid any reels which have just a "springy-thingy" at the center, but not everyone agrees with that. We have a number of APUG Forum threads which discuss this topic in voluminous detail. You will find a variety of detailed opinions, expert and otherwise.
I've dispised using SS rolls and I came across these and LOVE the wide and deep guide...
They fit in the Peterson tanks as well and you can buy the reels seperate.
Jay, I had the same problem as you until a few years ago I bought two Kindermann 120 SS reels from B&H along with the film loader. The film loader is the key to the whole operation. I now load 120 flawlessly and fast. Unfortunately, B&H nor anyone else I can find still sells these very high quality reels with the loader. You might try ebay. I believe I paid about $40 per reel plus maybe like $10 for the loader. Worth every bit I spent.
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As stated by other posters above, Hewes SS reels are excellent in both 120 and 35mm.
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. The Samigon tank linked to in the earlier post will accept only 1 reel at a time when set for 120 film. Since these reels fit virtually any plastic tank out there except for the Jobo tanks, getting a larger tank is an option if that suits your needs. The only downside I see is that the plastic tanks need a bit more chemistry to cover a 120 reel than the equivalent stainless steel tanks. Developer is cheap - cheaper than a ruined roll of film to be sure. The rest or the chemistry you can use to near exhaustion, so no waste there.
I think that the trick to loading a 120 size stainless reel is to get the film centered between the top and bottom parts of the reel and perpendicular to the vertical pieces in the center. If you put one finger on top of the reel and the other on the bottom near the center, you should be able to feel whether the film is sticking out the same amount on either side after you clip it to the center posts. Getting it perpendicular to the center posts is more difficult, but you should be able to feel whether it pulls toward the top or bottom after feeding it on one turn or so.
Obviously, a bent reel will make it impossible to get the film to go on straight. The Hewes reels that I have use the same type of bent wire clip as my generic ones except the they have the clip going in the oposite direction. This seems to make it easier to adjust the film so that it is centered. Even better is the old Nikor reel which holds the film between a small spike and a flat blade. Once you have the film centered this device it automatically feeds perpendicular to the center posts because it can pivot on the spike.
I have various 120 SS reels. When I "graduated" from plastic, my SS were a dickens to load without half moons: UNTIL I stopped attaching the film under the center clip on advice of a colleague who taught basic darkroom at the time. It seems to make the film self-centering.
As with 35, the key is getting just the right amount of curl in the film: that comes from practicing in the day time with a junque roll. After then, it becomes second nature.
Sometime early on I had bought a Prinz loading outfit which attaches to the edge of a work surface; has the proper ss film-bowing-template; and a spring-loaded rolling crank: the whole schmier. I tried it once and went back to my low-tech way. Ennybody wanna bah ah almost new loader.....?
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
I know the problem and was going to explain my technique, but it's exactly what Peter just described, so I'll add one more thing I do. I carefully stuff the end of the film under the wire clip then give the film a gentle tug to get it lined up. I then make sure I can feel the edges of the film on the outside of the reel during the first complete turn, similar to what Peter described. It should go on easy from that point on as long as you don't pull on the film as you turn the reel.