Murray I don't develop rollfilm myself at all any more, I've had my fill of spurious issues! I just don't have the patience to do what I know I need to do to get the best results... so I just run it to a lab. They do such a wonderful quick job (same day E6/B&W/C41), and it gives me some pleasure to know that I am contributing to their ongoing operations. Sheet film I do myself, with pleasure!
35 mm usually goes easily for me, but 120 can sometimes be a serious test of patience. I went through 3 rolls of 120 for last year's WPPD and if my return to darkroom work had started like the 1st WPPD roll, I'd probably be all-dig**** today! I finally put the loose film in the tank, put the lid on and went upstairs for a break. I then sacrificed an old roll and tried loading the reel in the light a couple of times to see if I could get any hints. Went back to the darkroom and got the sucker loaded; the next two went easily.
One problem I've found is that if the film isn't quite straight, by the time I realize what's happening, crossing over the reel wires has put some crimps in the film edge that make it even harder to spool. I think I'm getting better with time and practice, but as tac describes, every now and then something gets uncooperative.
I don't have records to identify brands, but some films seem much more tightly curled than others too, that can play havoc. I normally separate the film and backing and start from the taped end. I definitely sense I'm not ready to try 220, but given the limited selection of emulsions in 220, that probably won't be necessary.
Practice, practice, practice ...
I look forward to doing 120 partly because of the spooling part. 35mm is a pain in the butt for me.
Of all the plastic reels I've played with, the Jobo ones that don't have the little ball-bearing ratchet mechanism work best for me. Also I clip just a tiny bit of each corner on the leading edge. And I'm another advocate for leaving most of the film spooled up in the paper while I work. Without the ratchet, if I feel things are going wonky, I can just pull backwards and sometimes the film with straighten out before it comes all the way off the reel. But I've never tried loading two rolls of 120 onto a single 1500 reel using the silly red clips. That just seems like an accident waiting to happen!
All that said, I don't work in a dark bag. I have a nice, big closet that doubles as equipment storage and film loading room. The top two shelves of a metal shelving unit are dedicated to film loading. This gives me two nice horizontal surfaces for roll and sheet film loading. And since my Jobo uses the magnet drive, I don't have to worry about knocking the tanks off the shelf in the dark!
I do have a couple of SS 120 Hewes reels that I like to use for stand processing. The SS tank is easier to keep a constant temperature by using the tempering bath in my Jobo.
Yashica 635. Loverly camera.
Originally Posted by Murray@uptowngallery
Hell, ,my father could have been CIA or NSA or whatever. Maybe my name isn't what it is?
I use to have beautiful design additions on my 120 film, little half moons up near the film/reel connection point... Practice, practice, practice... (and Kindermanns)
tim in san jose
Last edited by k_jupiter; 05-10-2008 at 10:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: speling of corse
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Actually, it works quite well and I did it right the first time -- seems counterintuitive, but its pretty easy to tell when to stop ratcheting the innermost reel and snap down the red tab.
Originally Posted by rwyoung
Never had film touch on these double loaded reels.
Now, I am cursed and it will never work again...
I've used a Jobo plastic reel system (without the ballbearing ratchet system) for years, with both 135 and 120, and I generally find it easy, unless I haven't done it for a while and have forgotten some of the subtleties of the process. For 120 I unroll the film from the paper backing into its own roll, then trim off the taped end with scissors, then clip the corners, and feed on. I always use synthetic cloth (cleanroom grade) liner gloves, to avoid finger marks and grease on the film. I've succeeded in processing two 120 rolls on one reel, but its important to stop winding the second roll when its trailing end just enters the reel slot, otherwise the two films can overlap.
For 135 I clip the leading edge corners a bit, but I find the angle of the clip has a lot to do with how smooth it feeds on.
I have a stainless steel reel and tank for 135, but have never used it; perhaps it's time to practice.
In the last year I processed well over 100 rolls of film, all loaded on plastic Patterson reels. At that volume, you'd think I have the system pretty much glitch-free. Well, you might think that. Every once in awhile I'll spend a sweaty twenty minutes begging the photo gods to please let me get this roll spooled. Sometimes it's because I've switched formats between 35mm or 120 and need to get reacquainted. Sometimes it's because I'm loading a particularly nasty kind of film with a very thin or curly base. (HIE, Maco or the like) But sometimes I think it is just bad karma.
Probably the best bet at times like that would be take a blank roll out to the backyard, unspool it, douse it with lighter fluid and sacrifice it, whilst dancing around the yard banging film tanks together and bellowing the ceremonial song "Kodachrome" at the top of your lungs.
Seriously, I don't know anyone who is 100% at spooling reels. It's a sad fact of photographic life.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
I use Paterson plastic reels for 120/220.
I trick I learned is to cut a piece of film box the width of the film and slide it into the groves of the spool as a guide, I do this in the light. Don't push it in too far past the ball bearings. Now when in the dark I slide the film along this card until it catches then remove the card and continue spooling.
Always works for me and beates trying to figure out where the start of the guides are in the dark.
thanks to the fellow apug'er that put me on to this a while back.
One option for 120 film is an old Kodacraft plastic sleeve with the little metal disc that has holes in it placed on top. These will fit into a normal film developing tank designed for stainless reels. I picked up a couple of these because I also have extremely frustrating moments in loading 120 onto reels occasionally. I had heard that there was some sort of problem with these developing sleeves, maybe that the original tank couldn't be inverted and this caused some sort of problem, or maybe that they had to be dried before being reused, but I haven't encountered any problems with them and loading is a breeze. Freestyle sells something that looks like the old Kodacraft sleeves, but I have only seen a picture in their catalog. Actually, since buying the Kodacraft sleeves, I'm not sure I have used my Hewes reels for 120 again. When I had problems with loading the stainless reels, it always seemed that the best shot on the roll would end up with a crimp in it.