I too find Patterson plastic reel is best suit for me in the 35mm and 120 world. I tried the SS reel, but it just not my cup of tea.
what I do is remove the 120 film from paper back completely, line up the reel's intake notch, and insert the film in just a bit, hold it there and use other hand to pull the film pass the ball bearing, you will feel the tension change. then the rest is easy, just start twisting the wheel to load the rest of the film.
anyway, light on practice is important and so does a dry wheel. Good luck!
I picked up a Gepe 120 tank and reel at a photographica show last year. The reel is plastic, but loads from the centre like a SS reel. It also comes with a film loader/guide that clips onto the reel.
You clip the loader/guide onto the reel and put everything in the darkbag. I then separate the backing paper from the film, letting the film curl under my hand. Then push the film through the loader and clip it onto the centre spike. You then hold the loader and wind the reel. 15s later, one film correctly loaded. Even works when the reel is damp and with creased film (which failed to load on another reel).
Hewes make a similar loader for their SS reels (see here )
One of the reasons, I think, that some people find the plastic reels more difficult then the steel reels, is that the plastic reels flex more.
If you are using the plastic reels, practice in a manner which concentrates on keeping the sides parallel. That requires a light touch, with even pressure from both hands. I think that for some people, this comes naturally.
If you can't make the plastic reels work, the steel reels have some real advantages.
You may find consideration of my circumstances (and how I've dealt with this problem) useful to consider.
As I've mentioned before on a couple of threads, I have limited strength and dexterity with my right hand. As a result, I am not able to use that hand to guide the film on to the reel, I have to use it to hold and rotate the reel, while the left hand is used to handle the film. Because of the limited dexterity in my right hand, it is difficult for me to hold the plastic reels in a manner that keeps the sides parallel - they flex slightly, and go slightly out of alignment with each other as I try to feed the film in.
The steel reels, being more rigid, don't have this problem for me. Unfortunately, the clips are another problem, because all of my 120 reels have clips that need to be activated by the hand that is not feeding the film .
I've tried to come up with a method of activating the clips, using the fingers of my left hand (the one feeding the film in) but so far have not succeeded.
From the descriptions here, it may be that the Hewes reels would be usable by me - but I don't have a source nearby that would allow me to try them out first, and they are somewhat expensive to import on spec.
By the way, I have no problem using the steel reels for 35mm, at least the ones (Nikor and imitators?) that do not have a clip, but instead a slot that the film goes into and crimps slightly, thus holding itself to the core. I think that it is the additional stiffness (relatively speaking) of the film base, and the narrower width, that makes this possible.
I am working on trying to develop the necessary feel to be able to position the 120 film on top of the clip, and to load it smoothly enough as to have it stay in place due only to the slight friction this entails, but so far have had imperfect (although improving) success.
If all else fails, I can go back to my 120/620 Kodak developing aprons, but I would prefer to use the reels.
Good luck, and keep practicing.
It's all about practice and what you're used to.
Originally Posted by Daniel Lawton
I have never used a Stainless Steel reel (never even seen one) but normally I have no problems loading a plastic reel.
As I said previously, the most important thing is to have dry hands.
During Winter I can load a reel in a changing bag before the bag gets too sweaty, but during spring and summer it's impossible. Outside humidity at 80-90% and temps around 90-100 do not make for happy 120 loading in a bag.
I do the loading in the darkroom with the bits in a tray. Anytime my hands get too hot & sweaty I just wave them around :-)
Another option, although limiting in other ways is the Agfa Rondinax 60 (and Loadamat 20 and similar) daylight loading and developing tanks. They are not suitable for inversion agitation, you just have to keep winding the little wheel.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I use Hewes reels. I think they are easier to load than the generic stainless ones I have. My method is to unwind the film from the paper backing and pull the tape loose from the paper. I leave it on the film and fold it back to the film. I load the tape end first into the spring on the reel.
Originally Posted by colivet
I use plastic reels and usually have no problems. Sometimes when I'm doing a batch of film I don't dry the reels properly and the film sticks...120 and 35mm. This has been mentioned previously so ensure a dry reel. I also use a small nail clipper and clip off a small part of the edge of the film (again 120 & 35mm) at the tip. This creates a rounded edge and offers less resistance to the reel and slides on easily.