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  1. #11
    Todd Adamson's Avatar
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    I'm fairly new to film, and have tried both. I was surprised to find the steel ones are easier for me. And Hewes are better, and easier to load, then the others. The caveat being that a couple of kinds of film seem to be harder. I have a lot of trouble with old expired film which wants to curl severely. I also seem to have issues with 35mm film that came out of one of my Pentaxes with the "magic finger" film starters, which roll the first bit of film in the wrong direction. In these two situations, I usually end up resorting to the plastic reels.

  2. #12

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    Good quality reels make a big difference. There were lots and lots of cheap reels made. For someone already skilled in loading they will work okay if in good shape. But the cheap ones were flimsier and a lot less likely to be in perfect shape; even a relatively slight bend or dent makes a difference. The better quality reels are sturdier, but still need to be in good condition for easy loading. I like Nikor, but also hear a lot of people recommend Hewes, and there are a number of others.

    Don't give up. I have Jobo, and have used Patterson plastic, but unless I'm running color (where I want the Jobo) I grab the ss. They are quick and easy start to finish.

  3. #13

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    On top of practicing, I suggest inspecting your reels carefully to make sure they are not bent or damaged in any way. Just a little of bend will make the film come off tracks and stick to each other. I discarded few reels that were out of shape myself.

    Also, when you are done winding, don't let go the film all the sudden. It will spin somewhat inside the reel (you have to see this) and the force sometimes causes the film to come off track IF the reels are bent slightly.

    Hewe's reels are very nice for 35mm. Wires are thicker so less chance of bending or film coming off tracks.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #14

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    The only time I have ruined a roll of film was when I used a plastic reel. I have used SS reels for decades without a problem. But avoid cheap brands which may create problems.

    But that being said there do appear to be some people who are just "digitally challenged."
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  5. #15
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezwriter View Post
    LOVE the Patterson white plastic reels -the ones with wide starter section, not the thin ones. But can't get the hang of
    the steel reels. am i retarded or too clumsy or ?
    NO! I've processed 120 for almost 20 years in stainless reels, but never quite got the hang of 35mm stainless reels. (120 seems to snap right in with no problem, unlike 35mm.) So I keep one plastic Paterson tank and two reels handy for the odd roll of 35mm, which is maybe 2 a year, tops.

    That being said, I occasionally run into trouble with a 120 reel (out of about 20 that I own). If I have trouble loading it, I mark it with a sharpie and put it back on the shelf. Second time I have trouble with it, it goes into the trash. SS reels (esp. 35mm) can look straight but actually be bent, or a bad design, or whatever. If it doesn't work, it's gone!
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
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    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  6. #16
    declark's Avatar
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    I'll second the recommendation about Hewes reels. I have several steel reels I bought off eBay and they are fine, but the new Hewes 35mm I recently bought is a dream to load in comparison. Never tried the plastic, always heard such horror stories of jamming if there is just the hint of moisture. I practiced a bunch on scrap rolls and that is probably the key. I also feel the outer surface of the film as I'm loading it to see if it feels circular, if it starts to feel oblong I know it's jumped the track and I back up until it starts feeling round again. Have loaded a couple hundred rolls and I can only think of one instance where I got overlapping frames.

  7. #17
    fotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drumlin View Post
    ....and totally dry in order to work right. T
    Not true, at least in my experience. This is true with plastic however, SS will load if its wet or not completely dry. If it will not load, there is another problem, as others have pointed out. JMHO
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  8. #18
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I find no-name "C" slot SS easier for 35mm, and the AP/Arista wide flange plastic reels easier for 120.

    Go figure.

    One further suggestion to add to the "practice, practice" suggestions above - pay close attention to the sound of the film as it loads correctly into a SS reel. It makes a gentle scraping sound as it slides in between layers of reel. If it goes astray, you will hear the change.

    Hope this helps.

    PS Actually, I can load the 120 SS Hewes reels fine - I just cannot get the clip to engage properly. So the film tends to escape.
    Matt

    “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

  9. #19
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    I gave up on steel years ago when I bought a Jobo and some tanks, and discovered the Jobo plastic reels were the best, easiest to load reels I'd ever used. I now use the 1500 series when I want to do inversion processing, and (mostly) the 2500 series for rotary processing. I haven't used a steel reel since the early 90s and if I ever do again it will be too soon.

    The only advantage I can think of is that steel can be dried quickly with a hair dryer and re-used immediately where the plastic needs a while to dry thoroughly. You can't heat them too much and even if you heat them gently the design makes it harder to get the last drops out. I neatly solved that problem by buying plenty of reels.

  10. #20

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    If you absolutely must use SS reels then you'll have to decide which ones are best for you. I have used many kinds and always thought my Nikkors were the best and at the time they were. I would still have problems on occasions, but just kept plugging away. A frame or two lost here and there finally got to me when one of those frames meant something. I had known about Hewes reels for a long time, but being Dutch I never wanted to shell out the extra dough for them. Besides, I was a Nikon man and I didn't think the Hewes reels would be that much better. There I go thinking again! Well, the only reels I own now are Hewes reels. Are they that much better? Yes, and not only that they are worth the extra dough. I've also used the plastic cheater reels and they work just fine too, but like I said, if you gotta use SS use Hewes. You won't know how good they are until you get sick of screwing around with other SS reels. JohnW

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