I have a couple of the Samigon reels, in addition to a large stack of Patersons. It's a bit easier to start a 120 roll on the Samigons, but you still need to clip the corners of the film or else there is some risk that the film will get hung up before loading fully.
Originally Posted by BardParker
More generally: after using Paterson reels for about 30 years now - some of my reels date back to around 1980, and are still going strong - I have no desire to change to stainless, even for 120.
(1) practise many times, several days (!) in daylight, really try to find the best way that fits your hands and make you succeed loading the film to the reel, choose a way of ditributing the things in front of you such that itshould be able to go into the bag.
(2) Keep our eyes on how you work with your hands with the reel and the film.
(3) Put your hands, film and reel into the changing bag.
(4) Keep your eyes open and look at your hands reel and film AS IF there wasn't any bag, just as you have seen the whole operation several times before.
(5) Load the reel!
This is a method that works excellent for me at least, working in total darkness. Tried for several years to "remember" with my hands in the total darkness in the darkroom, but was often frustrated by being so clumsy. Detected that things run smoosly if I just open my eyes in the total darkness as acted AS IF I saw the whole thing in front of me - I'm not clumsy in the total darkness anymore!
I have used Paterson reels for more than 40 years with no problems.
Key to successful use with 120 (I load two rolls on each reel as they are long enough for 220 which I used to use for commercial jobs):
The reels need to be absolutely bone dry - any moisture will cause difficulties.
You need to check that the ball bearings move freely - any resistance will cause problems using the reels.
My practice has always been to open the backing paper to the point that you reach the start of the film then fold the very start of the film over and crease it so that, when you offer it up to the reel, it is more rigid.
This works for me and I concur with the previous poster's practice advice which I have successfully used with students.
I hope you find the method that works for you very soon so that you can get on with enjoying your photography.
I also use Paterson reels with 120 film. I clip the corners, and bend the leading edge a little, so that it doesn't curve so much. Normally I will also develop two 120 on one reel. This can be done by using the tape on the first film to attach the second one. It takes a little practice to do, but it saves a lot of time.
Usually I don't have problems with 120 film, but I have two Paterson reels which are very difficult to load with 120 film, so I only use those with 35mm, and even then they are a little tight.
I hate Paterson reels for 120 but love the white Jobo plastic spirals, especially as they take 2x 120 on each reel without requiring the films to be taped together, they have a small dividing clip, but I really like the Paterson Super System 4 tanks for semi-stand processing so I had a neighbour who is a toolmaker skim the paterson centre column down to the same diameter as the centre hole of the Jobo spirals. The Jobo spirals will not fit the Paterson tanks without this mod.
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I love my Paterson. I have one reel that is always a bit stubborn, but the rest work like champs. I suspect it is the ball bearing causing problems, but usually I just live with the slight tightness. But you can't beat the Patterson overall, as others have said. I love it for stand development.
If they are perfectly dry (I sometimes use a hairdryer) they are no problem. If not totally dry, several new swear words can be invented whilst trying to load them.
My favourite is the Kaiser reel with its extra large tabs aiding the entry of the film into the spiral.
Wow, so many great tips!. I think my main problem may have been the humidity that built up quickly inside the changing bag. After 1-2 minutes, it felt like I was working inside a sweaty rain poncho. The reels were new and totally dry, and loaded fast in an open air-conditioned room. I had the open film reel looped around my left little finger, and was pulling the leading edge into the reel with my right hand. This worked great in the open, but was a disaster inside the bag as the film stuck to my hand and wouldn't roll onto the reel. Needless to say, last night, I was "very angry", like the Marvin the Martian cartoon. My wife was laughing at me fumbling inside the changing bag. Since it was Mother's Day, I had to be nice and not say what I was thinking!
Today, I will try again in a dark, air-conditioned closet and use the wealth of advice offered here. My daughter gets home from College this week. She is an Art/Photography major in college in North Carolina. I bought her a used Hasselblad 500C/M on apug classified, (in great shape- thanks, illumiquest!). The 2 wasted rolls were my first trial rolls with the Hassy, but I'm not giving up easily! She will be really surprised when she gets home!
Like mentioned above here - Jobo is the way to go, changing bag or not - they are the easiest to load in all formats, especially 120.
The Samigon reels are fantastic - probably the best darkroom purchase I've made. Loading onto Paterson reels isn't too bad, but the Samigon was a no-brainer and I'm so glad I purchased them.