Loading Efke KB25 onto reels
Oh my god I love this film... if only I could develop it!
Bought a 30.5 metre bulk roll and rolled up some cartridges in a changing bag. My first time bulk rolling, I did it by hand, winding it onto the spool until I felt it nearly full. Made a few mistakes, like rolling one cartridge backwards, spent a lot of time in the bag and it got sweaty and the film felt sticky.
Anyway, went and shot two rolls. The first one I was almost able to load it onto my plastic Paterson reel with great difficulty, but it jammed at the last bit. As there wasn't much extra film I just left it loose around the reel and put it in the tank. It came out quite nicely.
The second roll I spent a bit more effort on taking some nice pictures, seeing as it wasn't the test roll. For the life of me I couldn't load it onto the reel. Got stuck time and time again. Tried different reels, tried drying them with hair dryers, all kinds of stuff. In the end I thought I had it loaded, so I went ahead and processed the film. Opened up the tank and it was obvious I'd cocked up; a beautiful mix of purple, pink and blue (the anti-halation dye KB25 has, that I thought I'd eliminated with a 2-minute pre-soak as with the first film), bits of white undeveloped and unfixed emulsion, and one or two properly developed and fixed frames. I must take a photo -- looked impressively disastrous!
The reason? The film had jammed up when loading and it had overlapped so nearly all the film was stuck to itself and the pre-soak/developer/fix never reached a lot of the emulsion.
What do I do! I love this film but it's frustrating me so much. The film just seems to go soft and gooey and it doesn't want to load. I even found it seems to stick to itself in the cartridge after bulk loading! Have I got my 30.5 metre roll a little damp or something from humidity in the changing bag? How do I dry out the roll?
Would stainless reels fix this problem? Are there any stainless steel reels that fit in a Paterson tank? Alternatively, is it possible to load a plastic reel `stainless steel style' -- that is, from the inside-out without sliding the film...?
Was the reel clean and dry? Some times the little balls that pull the film into plastic reels have a bit of moisture behind them will stick, and not allow any movement of the ball, and jambing the film. This is the reason I (and many others)use stainless reels. With a little practice you can load spirals quickly and without problem, as there arent any little moving parts to stick.
I'm fairly sure the reels were dry; this was the first thing I suspected so I went over them with a hairdryer. One reel is brand new, only used once before, it had the same trouble.
Was the film longer than for a normal 36-roll? I have no problems with Efke films and Paterson reels.
Around about 20-24exp. The film started to jam not long after I started to wind it.
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I can't compare plastic since I've never used it, but I find the Efke films are if anything a little easier than average for loading on stainless reels.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
I too find the Efke films easier to load, on plastic reels. I think it's because the film base is thinner.
Originally Posted by ntenny
The only times I've had problems with loading film on Paterson reels have been the last two decimeters with Kodak 36exp rolls. I never use the same reels the same day to be sure that they are dry before use. The film becomes sticky and impossible to load even if there's a tiny drop of water somewhere in the spiral.
Even dry and clean plastic reels can be difficult if the humidity is high enough. If you use a changing bag in hot humid weather, the problems will probably just get worse (they do in my personal experience).
From the Fotokemika website:
So it's not the film because it has been made on regular materials and thickness.
Efke 35mm films (KB) are coated on a acetate base (130 microns plus coating). Efke roll films are coated on a polyester base (100 microns plus coating).
Your changing bag is causing the problem when you hussle some time around with the film. It's getting sweatty and over half way the film is blocked. When your spirals are clean and dry they will load but after a while in the changing back (maybe a lot of Nylon) the problem is there.
It can be very frustrating when the thing is blocked and due to nerves you tend to force the film on the reel which is always ending in a damaged film. Try to find a small dark room to put your film on the spiral and life is going to be much easier
Desiccating Humid, Sticky Film for Easy Loading
Loading roll films onto developing reels is much easier if the film and reels are perfectly dry. You can pack the film and reels into tightly sealed vapor-proof plastic bagging with a generous supply of freshly charged silica gel and leave them in this desiccated mini environment for 24 hours before loading the reels. The canisters should be kept sealed in several layers of closed plastic bagging to keep it dry when not in use.
I use the 750-gram canisters. They can be recharged every year or two by baking in a 300F (149C) oven for an hour, shut off the heat, and remove and seal the canisters when sufficiently cool. When recharged, the silica gel fully regains its desiccating properties.