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  1. #1
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Any hints/tips to loading 120 reels?

    I've got my first my first roll of MF hanging now to dry and man what a difference compared to 35mm! That being said, loading reels is a PITA compared to 35mm. The roll I developed today was Ilford HP5 120. Anyone have any tips/tricks to loading 120 film? Should I pull the film off of the paper backing prior to loading my reel? I loaded mine today still attached to the paper backing, just separating as I went a long, and it took me a few tries to load the reel. I'm sure this is due to my inexperience but, just curious if anyone has any tips to help make the process easier. Thanks in advance.

    Aaron
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    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isn’t the decisive moment or anything like that – it’s getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Probably just practice. I usually roll the film on and separate it from the paper as I go. Be sure the reels aren't bent, and I recommend Hewes reels.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  3. #3
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Thank David I wasn't sure if I should separate as I go or separate before loading but, is definitely a whole other ball game compared to loading 35mm. Of course though, I thought 35mm was hard to begin with...LOL Guess I'll just have to get out and shoot a lot more. Makes for a good excuse "Honey I need to shoot some more so I can learn to load reels"
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isn’t the decisive moment or anything like that – it’s getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  4. #4
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I separate it and tear it off first.
    If you are talking stainless reels, getting the film centered before starting to wind is key. Plastic or Stainless, I agree that practice is the path to success.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  5. #5
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Assuming stainless steel reels:
    Unwind the film backing paper until the end of the film is exposed (in the dark of course!). Pick up the reel which you have previously laid with the clip nose pointing to the left (assuming you are right-handed) and lay about 1-2 cm of the end of the film on the upright part of the reel which is just to the left of the clip. If you now pull the film back slowly, you should feel the point where the end comes off the upright and rests against the clip. If you now push down with your thumb on the clip through the film, the clip will open and you can push the end of the film approx. 1 cm into the clip and let go. The point of this is to get the film correctly oriented up/down relative to the reel. You should now find that if you press lightly with your finger and thumb on the sides of the film, it will bow outwards a little and readily thread into the reel. To feed it, turn the reel while keeping the film hand stationary.

    If you have gotten the film started right it will load very easily. At the end of the film detach this from the backing paper. I prefer to pull the tape off the backing paper, leaving it on the film and folding the sticky end over onto the end of the film. If you pull the tape off the film, there will be a noticeable blue flash of static electricity (which doesn't seem to harm the film) and you might rip the film!

    Regards,

    David

  6. #6

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    I do it both ways. If I haven't rolled a film in awhile, I usually take the film off first. One or two rolls that way, then I don't bother. Secret is to get the film well centered on the reel. And cheep reels aren't worth it.

    Hewes are suppose to be good, I am a Kindermann fan myself. The thing I hate most are plastic reels.

    tim in san jose
    Where ever you are, there you be.

  7. #7

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    I find 120 much easier than 35mm, once you get used to it, less fiddly and the film is shorter.

    My method - extract the film first, gently peel off from the backing, lay the tape back over the film and wind on from that end. The tape makes the edge and corners firmer and easier to wind on. Make sure you pull the film well past the ball bearings, before you start winding, and always make sure the ball bearings are moving freely (and the spiral is completely dry) before you start. I use plastic reels and find them fine.

  8. #8
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I use plastic reels and just hold the film and let the roll drop on to the table (clean of course!) and walk the film on to the reel letting the paper backing curl up. I rip the backing paper off at the end and usually pull the tape off the bottom of the film, but if it's hard to remove I just fold it over.

    That's just the way I do it: I claim nothing for it other than that...

    Bob.

  9. #9
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I use plastic reels in a changing bag with no problems. I sometimes carefully remove the paper from the tape and use the tape to attach a second roll.

    The reel has to be totally dry. any moisture will cause the film to jam. I run an artists paintbrush around the spirals of mine occasionally to clean it.

    For some reason, I find it easier to load two 120 films than one 36 exposure 35mm film.


    Steve.

  10. #10

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    I do the same as Steve. Ensure that the reel is really dry to start. The only problem sometimes is locating the start of the film in the reel but this improves with practice.
    Regards,
    John.

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