Patterson Universal Tank or Stainless Steel?
I am wondering what tank the MF users are mostly using when developing film and why you may prefer one over the other. As a new MF shooter, I freqauently crimp the first frame adjacent to the retaining clip when loading the film onto the reel. With the Patterson tank, though I've never used one, I think this is avoidable.
I started loading 120 on Paterson reels and tanks just because that is what I used for 35mm. I found that loading 120 onto the Paterson reels was a nightmare and left me with some damaged frames.
When I cracked my Paterson tank I decided to bite the bullet and try stainless steel; I had the tanks and reels, I was just afraid to use them.
I have not replaced my Paterson tank and probably never will. 35mm on the stainless reels is not as simple as with the Patersons, but 120 is far, far easier with SS.
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I switched from Patterson to Jobo when I need something for 4x5. Now the same tanks handle everything from 35,120,220 and 4x5.
It was different when I first switched but now it's second nature.
Just this past weekend I developed three rolls of 120 -- one in a Paterson, and two in stainless (same tank, at the same time). I don't find a whole bunch of difference in loading them. The Paterson uses more liquid for the same amount of film, but not a bunch more -- 500 ml for 120, compared to about 920 ml for two rolls of 120 in my tall stainless tank.
My personal preference is for stainless, and I'll use that unless, like this weekend, I have one roll that's a different film from the other and want to load them all in one sitting, or have more than two rolls of 120 to load. I don't like the large free volume inside the inversion cap of the Paterson, which completely uncovers even 120 during an inversion (though with the Paterson design, it's likely not a big problem in terms of surge marks or bubble production); I'm slightly concerned that using the same exact technique as in my stainless tank will result in stronger agitation effect because of the huge amount of liquid movement, and push up my contrast compared to my low agitation process in stainless. I also don't have a second reel for my Paterson, so 35 mm with a partially full tank runs the risk of the reel working up the core and leaving the film partially uncovered.
So, with my particular needs, I prefer the stainless -- not because of anything to do with loading, but because the tank design and small free volume fits my technique.
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Good Morning, Chuck,
I'm on record in other threads as having a strong preference for stainless steel. As noted above, 35mm loading onto SS reels takes a little practice, but really isn't difficult; 120 loading onto SS reels has to be the absolutely easiest procedure around. Use high quality reels with a puncture-type center arrangement (e. i. Kinderman) for locking the film into place. If you go with plastic, Paterson is good.
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I use and prefer stainless steel. Although I started with plastic...
Once you get used to working with SS, you'll appreciate the benefits. (If you need them at all)
1. That I can develop 18 rolls of 120 at one time in a basket/deep tank
2. That I can quickly dry them with a towel and do another 18 right after..
3. That I can load them faster (this comes with practice)
4. I think there is less chemistry use in tanks, but I tend to develop larger batches so I don't use the small tanks for 120 anymore...
Is there a reason for switching to you?? If you have a system that works, why change it?
If I could have the Patterson bottom fill tube and quick dump action and the SS strength and metal reels I would be in heaven. I do not like those patterson reels, even if they are adjustable. At times my right hand does not work right and I drop things. The patterson's don't survive well.
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I've always used Paterson tanks for 35mm and 120 B&W and colour processing, but just a couple of weeks ago bought my first SS reels and tank for 120. I would have to say that once you've secured the end of the film with the clip, the SS reels are much easier to load than the Paterson ones.
I had a lot of problems with surge marks and inconsistent development with the metal reels. It was probably just my inexperience. When I went to the paterson tank, the development was always much more even. Sometimes I have problems loading film onto the reel. Mostly, I find that if I soak the real in clean water overnight after developing, then dry the reel, I have no problems.
I started with Paterson but after a couple of years I went with stainless. After using steel reels and tanks for nearly 30 years, I wouldn't use anything else. You have to be careful of some cheap steel reels, however. Some of them come with crappy clips and some of them come bent right out of the box. I've been pleased with "High Grade" Kalt reels sold by B&H. They're relatively cheap but well made. Hewes reels are great but they are expensive. I've used 35mm Kinderman reels but I disliked the center clips.