If I may add my 2 cents... I started out years ago with the plastic reels and tank. During warm/hot humid weather the film could be really difficult to snake onto the plastic reels, especially when I used a film changing bag. Out of frustration one night, I smashed my first plastic reel and tank. Nothing like ruining a roll of film because you can't get it onto the reel. I wasn't set up to do tray developing at the time.
I then got a Patterson tank and it was much better, but still found the film would want to occasionally jam or lock up before I got it loaded all the way, even when I trimmed the sharp corners off the leading edge of the film. They just seemed to sometimes snag on the reel spokes - not always, just sometimes.
After practicing with a test roll of film a few times using a stainless steel reel, I determined it was better for me.
i have both, but use stainless more often.
a friend told me once that plastic is better
mainly because your hands will warm up the chemistry
in a stainless tank between the time you start and the time you stop.
while that might be true, i just find it easier to use metal reels, and
only use plastic when i am in a pinch ...
I'd start with a plastic tank and reel. They are easier to load and less likely to give you problems in the beginning. Patterson reels and tanks are good.
You don't need a changing bag. After all these years, I hate changing bags.
I just find a dark room/closet and load it in there. Much easier.
I no longer own plastic tanks or reels and I find stainless steel to be easier to use (kindermann and hewes reels) but there's a learning curve. The plastic reels work fine, especially until you get the hang of things.
Loading cheap stainless steel reels is hard, especially if they are bent. The clips are all wrong, in the wrong spot, missing, etc. Kindermann's are excellent, and there is a 35mm kindermann film loader that makes it extremely simple to load.
I like plastic. If you drop a SS reel there bent and never get them to work right again. I have 30 year old Paterson reels and tanks and they work just fine. Also with SS tanks it takes much longer to dump out developer when you develop 3 or more rolls of film you start getting uneven development.
Hewes reels, Kinderman tank and lid.
Better in every way.
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SS Hewes -- last you a lifetime, easy to load with a little experience/practice.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
Jobo & Paterson. Maybe 90% of the time Jobo, Paterson 10%. Both plastic. Both work. I learned on Nikkor tanks and reels. I have Nikkor clone tanks and reels for 35mm & 120 but have not used them.
sorry, J, but i gotta disagree with you. Canon is better in my humble opinion.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
I do agree with you on one thing though, and as my reply to this thread, get the Hewes double (16 oz) tank with twin Hewes 35mm reels. the tank will also take 120 film if you decide to do that as well
I use plastic primarily. There are a few stainless reels and tanks in the darkroom (inherited from other photographers who gave me or my father-in-law stuff) and they get used in a pinch, but not often.
One thing I like about Paterson tanks: you can buy huge tanks. I have four different size tanks (one fits 2 35mm, one 3, one 5 and one 8) so I can do large batches of film. The bigger tanks take a little practice to get used to, but I get great results out of them. They save a lot of time when I get behind in my processing.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
I like stainless, but it's harder to roll. I would start with plastic especially if you are doing B+W as temp doesn't need to be maintained. Stainless is better/more durable in the long run.