Why are Paterson Reels so hard to load for 120 film and so easy for 35mm?
New to developing film. Yesterday I developed 4 rolls of 35mm with my new Paterson Super System 4 Universal tank and 2 reels. Loading 35mm was easy. Today I tried for almost 2 hours to load 120 film on the Paterson reels. Practiced in the light, and then in the dark. Then tried to load 120 film in the changing bag. Reels were dry, but never could get more than 1/2 a roll on without binding. I finally gave up. Ended up wasting 2 rolls of film and this made me very grumpy! I watched several you tube videos and searched apug before trying. I can see that I am not alone in my frustration for loading 120 film!
I could try the cardboard feeding ramp tip for the Paterson reel, but i am about ready to consider the Samigon reel http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...feed_Reel.html
or switch to stainless steel system for 120. If we took a poll, what percentage of you folks use stainless?...Thoughts?
Last edited by BardParker; 05-13-2012 at 11:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I'm fine with 35mm on plastic reels, but I LOVE my Hewes stainless reel for 120. It does take practice (find Jason Brunner's video on it), but it's so much easier than plastic for 120, imo.
I find the reels you linked to to be much easier to load 120 on then the standard Paterson reels.
You should be aware, however, that they are available under a number of different names: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/55043-...eveloping-Reel
I do not, however, use a changing bag. I've been loading film for decades, but changing bags and I don't get along.
If you lack a darkroom, you may be able to load film in a closet, or with lights turned off at night.
PS - I find the steel reels much easier than plastic for 35mm film, but cannot make the clips on steel 120 reels work for me.
“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
120 is tougher than 35mm.
I do find stainless easier but there are tricks to loading plastic reels.
I clip the leading corners at a 45, doesn't take much.
The other thing is that I bend the leading edge back, two creases, 1 about an 1/8 or so back the other about a 1/4. Basically just trying to flatten out the curl.
My reels don't have ball bearings either. Just use my fingers to hold the film as I rotate that side forward.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I've used Patterson reels for a bit over 30 years. For me there is no problem loading either 35mm or 120 film. The 120 film is loaded with the taped end first so there is a little more rigidity and less curl. As Mark said I also clip the edges at a 45 degree angle. The tape has never caused any problems during processing or drying.
I did try the stainless steel reels as well and never could get the hang of it. Old dogs and new tricks sort of thing.
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I use plastic reels and have used a change bag (these days have darkroom). When using a change bag it heats up (and gets humid) very quickly (after 2hrs it would be like a sauna in there) making the reels sticky. Can be done but not easy if your just learning.
In my experience, it is the leading edge's corners that create the issues. Put simply, I find that they rise slightly and run into the radiating "spokes" of the reel.
As Mark suggests, clip the corners from the leading edge. Or, as I do, when the film binds up, simply feel for a raised film within the spool, push it back down (less than 1mm…) and keep going.
Loading does get easier with practice...
Run a sharp pencil around the inside of the groves on any plastic reel before loading a film, 120 or 35mm and the film will just slip in no problems, I have done this for years, and the tip was given me by a photographer of long standing,
I don't think I would manage spooling 120 inside a changing bag. No problems though in a reasonably spacious darkroom. Try blinding a closet for a makeshift darkroom.
Changing bag would be a PITA in my opinion. I use both Hewes reels in 35mm & 120 and late model Paterson tanks for 35, 120 and 4x5 via a Mod54 insert.
As good as the steel tanks and reels are for 35 & 120, I find the Paterson tanks that much better in every way, loading, fast filling and draining, no leaks and better options for agitation. I also love using them with the temperature probe for my R&H Designs Process Master-II, a perfect match. I don't need to do anything to the film in terms of trimming or any of that, can almost always get two rolls of 120 loaded in under 5 minutes.
It takes a bit of practice with either system and you can get really fast with either like I have, but I think the Paterson system is more dynamic once you really get cranking, the ability to soup 6 perfect sheets of 4x5 as easy and mess-free as any other format is some major icing on the cake.
"I'm the freak that shoots film. God bless the freaks!" ~ Mainecoonmaniac ~