Surprised by how bad some stainless 120 reels are
I thought I was being clever saving a few bucks on a no name SS 120 reel. It's been a very long time - maybe 30 years - since I wound 120 film onto a reel, but this thing was a nightmare. I can't wind it in the light with my eyes open! I had no idea how bad some reels have been made.
So, I stopped trying to be clever and forked over a few extra bucks to get a Hewes ss reel. Totally different. Could almost wind it with one hand. The Hewes is how it should be. Slightly odd clip, but the spiral is right on.
Good Afternoon, CBG,
I may been fortunate in not encountering any 120 reels I found to be poorly made (35mm is a different story), but I have no doubt that some clunkers are out there. Hewes reels are praised pretty much unanimously, and justly so, but, as I've posted previously in other threads, I have also found the Kinderman reels (both 120 and 35mm) to be of excellent quality. Nikkor reels are also well made, but I don't like the "springy-thingy" at the core, so I normally don't use them.
Last edited by Konical; 09-04-2009 at 05:11 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Icomplete entry; accidental "Enter."
I too heeded internet advice and bought the Hewes at the outset. Money well spent. The difference is even more pronounced for 35mm reels. When I had to use other brands in a photo class recently, I couldn't believe how poorly designed most of the motley collection was. One even had a sharp spike in the middle to hold the film, which must have been invented by emergency room doctors to drum up business.
With the Hewes reel, you will spend more money, but you will only spend it once.
I bought my SS reals back in the early 80's and have been using them ever since.
Brand ???? I was living in Europe, some local stuff, maybe Kinderman.
Hewes I came across on this site, but the old ones still need no replacement.
Guess I have been lucky and carefull......
All the 120 reels I have are the cheap Japanese variety.
I found a problem loading SS reels is getting the film -exactly- centered in the spring clip. So, seeing as how there is always more than one solution, I stopped using the clip.
I put an inch of the film into the 'cage' in the center of the reel, hold the film against one of the uprights as I start the first turn so it doesn't pull back and then wind the film on.
The same technique is used with the Honywell Nikor (one K, no relation) made in MA 35mm reels - they have a wire bail around three sides of the cage so the leader doesn't stick out. The instructions are to stick the end of the film in the cage - no clip - and wind away. It works.
The Hewes 35mm reel clip that engages the sprocket holes is a work of genius - though so obvious I wonder why it wasn't thought up a hundred years ago. It ensures the film is centered and also allows a bit of float .
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I haven't used Hewe's reels but have a wide variety of reels obtained over the years, the only reel I can't use is one that has a weld broken on the starter wire. If you have the money buy the best you can get. I guess I'm just used to the imperfections and have honed my technique to accommodate the differences, and not all film stock is the same some is a little harder to load than others.
$6.99 or $23.99 ?
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
You'll easily save 17$ in time cost over your darkroom lifetime using Hewes reels. I recommend to support quality manufacturers and not poorly made crap.
Originally Posted by Curt
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
Well, such devices were thought up a hundred or so years ago: I found it hard to understand that so many 35mm reel makers had passed on the advantages that the sprocket holes in 35mm offered when the motion picture industry had been built on them.
Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan
BTW in motion picture technology there are negative and positive sprocket holes. The ones employed on negative "still" film look more like positive movie film.
(the new employees in the cutting room were sometimes sent to the lab to ask for a can of sprocket holes)
Regards - Ross
I am fortunate to already own, in good condition, Kindermann and Nikor SS reels in both 35mm and 120 and really like them. Recently, I purchased a couple of Hewes in 35mm and I like them as well.
I cannot say the Hewes are better than the Kindermann and Nikor, however, the fact that you can buy Hewes new eliminates a potential problem.
If you buy any used, it would be better to try before buy and if you cannot, you can end up with a problem reel in any brand.
I have to agree with those who prefer the old Nikor reels. I have only one 120 nikor reel which I bought in the early 1970's. I decided I needed another one, bought one which has proven to be real PITA. Buy the right one the first time and spend the extra $$. It will save a lot of grief.
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