steel reels--loading problems
Ok i've tried the steel reels/tank twice now with 35mm and 120 and if they feel like they've loaded ok, the negs come
out all blotchy and stuck and horrible. When loading the film goes on off center or (not a round wheel) or i have a 36exp
roll and come to the end of the reel and still have 10 frames left!
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 ?
have you practiced in the light with old film until you load them perfectly? then closed your eyes to practice "in the dark", and checked your result?
Lol, I just went through this.
You're just going to have to get to practicing.
However, the trick is getting the film started right.
On the 35mm reels, make sure that the film is hooked in both film sprockets. Pay attention to how the film flowing into the reel after it is hooked and take your time.
On the 120 reels, again make sure you start good.The film should lay nice and flat in the clip. The clip should clasp film and not feel bouncy.
On both reels, make sure you are bending the film ever so slightly. If you don't bend it enough, it won't go in smooth. If you bend it too much, you'll get overlap.
You can always tell if your loaded right by touching the sides of the reel. If it feels like the film is "sticking out" the edges, you have overlap and you'll need to unwind a bit.
It is very normal to have a little over lap when your winding correctly and have loaded it right. So, you just need to unwind it a bit and adjust.
Hope this helps.
Why do you want to use stainless reels? I understand that they can be dried quickly or loaded wet by those with high-volume film throughputs, but for those of us who are developing a film or two a week, why would we want to torture ourselves with stainless reels? I've got a couple (they were free!) but find them a hassle to load even with film that's not trying to curl the wrong way and in broad daylight (hence they've gone up in the loft). You say you love the white plastic Paterson reels (so do I - along with the Johnson's black Bakelite ones!) so why not stick with them? Why change a winning formula? If you need more developing capacity there are enough plastic-reel tanks for pennies on the dreaded ePay.
To answer your question ("Am I retarded?"), you're using film, so by definition that's not the case!!!
Steel reels really have to be in good shape (not bent or warped) and totally dry in order to work right. The "wings of the tie-fighter" have to be perfectly parallel, if you'll excuse the star wars reference. These are not the droids you're looking for...
I inherited my original darkroom gear secondhand and most of those reels were cheapos and warped to the point of frustration. I gradually replaced them with hewes reels which have seemed to hold up much better. I still have a crap 220 reel that is troublesome, but I just developed the last 2 rolls of 220 in my cache last week (with the same issues you described in the op - even with careful reeling).
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Practice, practice, practice. Start with a roll of wasted film in full light and watch what you are doing, then do it in the dark. If you still have problems, check this ad out:
Plus, the little tabs on the 35mm Hewes make them far easier to load. Even the 120 reels are easier, though you still just have to be sure the film goes into the clip straight; as long as it does, it should go right on. In my experience, if you're going to use steel, the Hewes are totally worth the extra cost.
Originally Posted by drumlin
I have used steel reels for 35mm and 120 for 41 years with no problems (actually the same Kinderman reels). As mentioned practice. Another suggestion is to clip the "front" end both sides especially 120 on an angle, slightly curve the film as you put it under the clip, start it and put the reel on the counter top and lightly push forward while maintaining the curve. The film will pretty much load itself. With 35mm if the leader is tapered , cut it flat and cut the end as with 120 and do the same to load the reel.
I had this problem and switched to Hewes reels I bought second hand from a one semester photo student. The trick with Hewes is to get the film in the slot at the center of the reel. Very simple after that. But, yes, as previous posters noted, practice in the light.
All the above is good advice. When I load, I hold the reel in my left hand, and keep a finger lightly on the film. That way you can feel if it starts to kink. Some films, and from reverse winding cameras, I find it easier to load the film from the spool end instead of the trailing end. I find Ilford Delta films work better this way. I just roll the film up in my hand to where it's taped. (hands must be clean and dry!). Finally, practice helps. I've been doing it for 60+ years and occasionally I still mess one up.