To the OP:
Originally Posted by Darkroom317
Your problem is quite simple. There is only one "T" in Paterson. If you don't spell their name properly, they misbehave.
I agree with Darkroom317. The extra wide flanges mean that the reels he recommends work well for me, while the Paterson reels give me fits.
Those Arista Premium reels are available under a number of names. In my case, they came branded as "AP". It may be that the Samigon reels you are referring to are the same as the Arista Premium/AP reels.
In addition to relying on the wider flanges, I involve the tape that attaches the film to the backing paper in my loading procedure.
I first unroll the entire roll, topping when I encounter the tape.
I then carefully peel the tape from the backing paper, leaving it attached to the film.
I then fold the tape over the end of the film, leaving a film edge that is rendered more stiff - that is the edge I feed first into the reel.
I start the film into the reel by first inserting it into the reel until it reaches the bearings. I then pull that edge an inch or so past the bearings.
I then advance the film fully into the reel using the ratcheting procedure. Alex Muir is right - it is important to avoid pushing the sides of the reel together, as they must be parallel to each other.
And Rick A is correct - there is no way I could load these reels in a changing bag. If necessary, night is your friend. Film on loaded reels in a tank will happily wait for one or more days before you develop it.
As for SS reels, I can load them, but can't use the clips. So the film doesn't stay put when I use my homemade rotary processing.
“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
Loading plastic reels usually boils down to two issues - sticky slots or ball bearings, and not being able to get the film aligned while getting it into at least the first 2/3 of a rotation of the reel.
These days I use Jobo reels, so there are no ball bearings, but the balls must move freely on Paterson reels. Running some cloth and possibly graphite along the slot can help, and definitely do not put wetting agent on the reel - dump the film out into a jug for that.
The reverse crimp on the end of 120 film helps me load, too. I was told that by someone I used to know, who was told about it by someone else, probably all the way back to George Eastman 8-). Make sure you get the film aligned evenly at the start. It ought to push onto the reel for at least half a turn. I also leave the film on the spool and just coil up the backing paper as I go.
I still have the odd film that seems to be particularly malevolent, but I usually win in the end!
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Ditto There is an inexpensive device made of sheet SS that cups the film to make insertion on the reel very easy.
Originally Posted by Too old to care
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I usually use the Arista reels and the wide landing strips are nice to work with in the dark. I am also in the habit of loading two rolls onto one reel, taping the end of the first to the beginning of the second. This is certainly less nerve-wracking than using the Paterson reels. I recently bought 3 new Paterson reels and have found them surprisingly well behaved and have even managed to double load a roll without any problems.
I quickly developed a 'style'. Instead of trying to lead both edges of the film into both flanges simultaneously, I keep the one side still and crank the other away, as if were winding on. Then I load one edge into the flange and then I wind the other side back, slowly feeding the second edge of the film in. Then i pull it through and begin winding on. I know it's hard to explain, but it works for me, even when taping two rolls together.
Fold the taped end back against the curl
This is HUGE!!! I read it on this forum. This place is great for practical advice once you get past all the philisophical debates.
Unroll the entire roll of film and separate it from the backing paper. Fold the tape over the end of the roll. Now this is important. Bend the taped end of the roll back on itself near the end. Basically take the curve out of it. Now load that end first. With a dry reel that solved my loading problems. It can still be a bit finicky to get started but it doesn't hang a third or half way through for me anymore. I no longer dent my film and cause those semi circles and I don't use the SS reels I own. Try it and let us know how it works for you.
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I think I learned this here on the forum: take scissors and nip the corners of the leading edge. The film then feeds into the Paterson reel much more easily. You can't make too large of a nip or you may cut into your negative frame.
This helped me tremendously to get the film on the reel.
@frank: Sometimes I struggle just to get it in (dear lord ) but after getting it in, It seems to get snagged half way or run off the track.
@Rick A: Yes I have a changing bag, but because of the heat and humidity, I don't think I can handle being in a room (I have a small space under the stairs, but I have to keep the door open to let air in and I'm not in a position to modify the space in any real way). Would a changing tent work?
@Matt King: They are lucky I chose not to really express myself . As for the bending back tape, I tried it once, and all the film in that batch had dissolved tape over it. Not sure why, it might have been because the film I tried it on was old so maybe the tape was close to decaying already.
Consensus seems to be (other than trying to fix the infernal things) the SS reels. They look harder to me, but I don't mind giving it a shot (takes about 2 weeks for items to get to me though, so I rather be reasonably sure before ordering). I saw a video on Youtube of someone loading a Hewes and it did look slick and easy.
@drkhalsa: I tried this, and it does help, but my biggest issue is the inconsistency of the thing, which makes it hard to plan my day when I know I have film to load. So, while all these tricks do work, they don't seem to work all the time and the reels themselves are just idiotic
I hear you. I have been quite frustrated myself and have plenty of unprocessed 120 film to practice with so anything learned here from your thread will be put into use.
I use same one - they are excellent and easy for loading.
Originally Posted by Darkroom317