Film won't go on the reel
About a month ago I shot a roll of Agfa APX100 and tried to develop it. The problem was that the film just wouldn't go on the reel. It got stuck in the middle and I had to cut it in two and develop separately. Thinking that the old soviet tank had to be the cause I bought an AP tank (similar to Patterson's). It didn't solve the problem. Both have plastic reels.
Losing a randon frame on each roll wouldn't be a huge problem, but the Agfa somehow deforms and overlaps on the reel and causes serious anomalies. It has never occurred with any other film that I've developed. I noticed that whenever I tried to spool it onto a reel repeatedly it had curled outwards. So what could be the problem with a specific film acting like that and is there a solution?
I like my film stirred, not shaken.
I've never had that problem with any film using plastic reels. You can switch to stainless steel reels and avoid the problems altogether.
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Try runing a sharp pencil around the groves of the reel, the graphite from the pencil lead ''greases'' the groves of the reel and film slides in very easily, this is a tip passed on to me a few years ago by a long gone photographer, and something I do to this da with both Jobo and Patterson reels, and I never get a stuck film,
One other thing that helps with film hanging up is to trim the corners on the leading edge at 45 degrees with scissors or nail clippers, that way there are no sharp corners to snag on the square edged bars supporting the spirals.
Moisture drops in the spiral reels can cause the film to stick upon loading. Therefore ensure the tank and spiral are bone dry before loading a film into it, dry them before putting away. Load the film gently and slowly, don't force it or rush because it will buckle if it sticks. Take it easy, it's an acquired skill. 35mm is easier to load than 120/220, I've found.
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Is there any chance the film was rolled backwards on to the cassette, so the curl is reversed?
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I have had nothing but trouble with plastic reels. They are hard to keep clean and any deposits in the grooves can cause problems. Soak the reel overnight in a 5% solution of sodium carbonate to loosen any deposits and then use a soft bristle tooth brush. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely.
If the plastic reel continues to cause problems, invest in a SS reel and tank and practice loading it with some scrap film until you feel comfortable doing it in the dark. You won't be disapointed.
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I load film onto dry reels and I've also tried cutting the edges round. No help. It has never happened with any other film, but I haven't managed to load any of the 3 Agfa films properly that I've developed so far. I load all of my films in a similar way. It only happens with that particualr film and what puzzles me is what could possibly be wrong with film that makes it to act like that.
I like my film stirred, not shaken.
Is the reel clean? Sometimes, gunk of some sort can accumulate in the reel and inhibit loading. Even residue from PhotoFlo (or some similar post treatment) can leave the grooves in the reel sticky. Always rinse reels thoroughly after use.
Is this a center-loading reel, or a 'walk in' reel where the film must enter at the outside of the spiral and slide all the way into the center? Walk-in reels can stick if there is a drop of water in the reel. That's not a problem with center-loadiing reels.
By the way, the arguments about stainless steel are misleading - the 'advantage' of stainless steel is that they are center-loading. There are also center-loading plastic reels that are actually easier to load than stainless.
Measure the film width. Compare to other films.
It might be a manufacturing defect.
But I second Gerald's recommendation of Stainless Steel reels. Once you learn them, they are a bit more dependable.
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