With 120, I often leave the tape on the end to give a little more "stiffness" to the film. That way I can feed onto the reel much easier over the balls.
I have no idea whats the proper way to load 120, as I am the ones that figure stuffs out along the way. If others say using the taped end, i suspect you unroll the whole thing from the spool before you load it? I don't know but here's what works for me. 1st adjust the wheel to 120 size and match the 2 notches/opening/balls on the reel. 2.) start unrolling until the beginning of the film 3.) i can either tear the paper off from there or just leave it rolling separately. 4.) locate the notches and start feeding the film through it, can even use both hands and fingers to "sit" the film in since finger prints doesn't matter on the first couple inches, start ratcheting with the fingers on the opening on the reel to keep the film down. The film should roll in there fine and the backing paper should roll into its own roll. 5.) tear the tape off the end, and finishing ratcheting it in. The closer I keep the spool to the reel the "flatter" at the beginning it is. I can also compare the spool to the wheel holding them next to each other while doing that, feeling how perpendicular they are.
I am looking for a parts Synchro Compur #00.
A little time in preparing the end of the film is what is required.
First, the film end is normally quite curved. It is best to straighten the last 20-30mm. Not hard to do, but you need to be careful not to damage the emulsion with your fingers, in the first or last frame. No need for it to be fully straight, but its curl should be larger in diameter than the tank reel.
Second, using a pair of scissors, cut two small 45 degree pieces off each edge of the lead of the film. These 2 tricks have never failed me. But they do require a little practice. I would suggest you practice first with an old film, in normal daylight.
The Arista reels that Darkroom317 posted the link to are easier for me to use than Paterson reels. I attribute that to the wider flanges. If you are looking for them in a location other than Freestyle, you should know that they can be found under a number of brand names (mine are labelled AP).
Whether you are using plastic or steel reels, I find the following works best for me:
1) wash your hands thoroughly, and then dry them thoroughly;
2) if you can work with cotton gloves, do so. Otherwise, keep your hands clean and dry;
3) arrange the film, reel and tank on your work surface, and then turn off the light;
4) begin unrolling the film. Once you reach the first end of the start of the film, start rolling it up separate from the backing paper;
5) eventually, you will reach the beginning (the taped end) of the film. Carefully peel the tape from the backing paper, while leaving it attached to the film itself;
6) if you are using plastic reels, fold the tape over the end of the film, so as to create a stiffer end, for insertion into the reels;
7) if you are using a steel reel with a clip, determine first if you are able to operate the clip. If so, fold the tape over in the same way as for plastic reels, and insert the taped end in the clip. If you cannot use the clip (like me) leave the sticky end of the tape loose, and use it to stick to the reel near the clip;
8) feed the film into the reel in the way you practised.
Hope this helps.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
When loading 120 / 220 in a change bag i use the following- basically loading the left edge then the right edge of the film into the grooves.
Of the two reels one has a narrower spindle - i hold this in my right hand.
Start by rotating the right hand away - means the two ball bearings and the throat / groove where the film goes in are NOT lined up across the spindle.
I start the film off on the left reel and feed it in until it goes just past the ball bearing - you can feel the tension change.
Then rotate the right hand reel back towards you feeding in the right edge of the film into the throat / groove.
May need to hold the front / leading edge of the film with the fingers of your left hand.
The film in now in both grooves and the usual ratcheting motion feeds the film in.
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There was a device from nova which made starting the film a doddle, I don,t think they make them anymore but a look on the dreaded Ebay might turn up some, Richard
I use the reel of AP, which fits in some tanks. Here is a link to it (unfortunately in German) AP reel. AP reels work very easy. The only problem: In the fixer they tend to leave air bubbles at the downside. They don't affect the image. But if they bother, you can overturn the reel after half the fix time.
I have several tanks, the easiest to use is the old Kodak ARO tank that has a sort of plastic sleeve with dimples along the sides. You unwind this, its like a sligthly oversized film, really, and then in the darkroom, wind this on with the film inside, the dimples create room for the film and developer.
Only downer is that the dimples tend to make undeveloped marks along the very edges of the film.
I have spools for both 35mm and 120 film.
With a little dexterity you should be able to get the film wound onto both the Jobo and Paterson spools, have you tried with a practice film i daylight? Its sometimes an eyeopener!
Presumably there is not enough feeling left in your fingers to feel the little 'snick' as the film goes in the groove of the reel ? That is an unfortunate problem and you have my sympathy. The plastic reels with the wide flange would help (some people have mentioned the AP brand, but there are likely different tradenames in different markets) and you can probably use those successfully. Having bought a few, as they were cheaper than the Paterson ones, I'd say that the flanges are almost too big for 35mm, and even for 120 you can cut them back a bit when you have decided how big they really need to be.
The main awkwardness though, is getting the film out of the reel after development. The only practical way is to open the two halves of the reel and pull it apart, instead of the (normal?) way of bowing the film slightly and letting it ease out of the grooves. That opening action is not going to be a reliably non-scratching way of getting your film out, especially if you ever use an old style unhardened emulsion (Efke for example), but it seems that many people do it all the time. Maybe opening the reel submerged in wetting-agent solution might help.
I also have a couple of old JOBO tanks : #1136 and #1236, they have a specialfeature in the spirals, compared to Paterson and copies of those:
On each halve of the spirals there is a lowered ridge, now when you start in the film, you pass that ridge and then over a small kink in both tracks, at first my films sort of bounched back from the kinks, and I thought all was lost.
Until i discovered I could use my thumb on top of the film sticking up from the ridge, and nudge it past the little kink. After that it was just a matter of rocking back and forth lifting pressure from each ridge in turn, and securing the film onto the spiral that way.
This works so fine that my larger twin-35mm tank is reserved for 120 film only, it works much better (for me) than Paterson spools and its copies.
This was known as the JOBO 1000 range of developing tanks, dunno if they still are available, they should be!