See, this is how it starts, first it's a camera, then a simple batch tank, then they move onto the harder medium format stuff, and pretty soon they are on large format. There are worse things you could be spending you money on, you made the right choice welcome to the "I can process that myself" club, glad to have you, now encourage others to join. This is how we get more people hooked, um, er increase membership.
"Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
"Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"
Thanks to everyone giving advice on what to use and buy. I will start looking for some stuff and getting some chemicals together. I have seen some of the uTube videos that show how to do the Illford stuff. guess I need to stop watching and start doing.
Thanks for the link on the tent, I think I will be much more comfortable with that versus a bag.
Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D
I have a 120 Nikor tank and reel that I have been using since 1962. It is still in great condition. Don't drop the reels. If they get bent, they are toast. I've bounced a few 35mm reels, they were scrapped years ago.
Originally Posted by photoncatcher
If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.
Which ever reels and setup you go with, nothing substitutes a fair amount of practice. For loading film in the reels, I would go with whatever gives you the most space to freely move your hands, film, etc. without feeling stressed or "claustrophobic." Keeping calm and steady hands and mind is one of the first keys to getting film loaded (wait till you try some foma or forte in 135 - that stuff curls like a spring and is a PAIN to load. The darkness hid the obscene gestures, but I'm sure my neighbors learned some new and interesting vocabulary).
When I first learned, I blacked out a storage room and sat on a stool with my stuff spread out nicely on a small table. Now a changing bag does the trick.
I would also recommend sacrificing a new roll to practice with in the daylight. It sounds rough, wasting a roll, but better to waste one with nothing on it than several that you've already shot
There are some very helpful youtube videos on loading film.
Don't give up.
I believe I have figured out what is causing the problem with the Rondinax 60. I'm not sure, but I think it's worth one more try. If it doesn't work I'm gonna send for a Hewes reel and an Arista tank from Freestyle. Thanks again for the comments and the support.
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The AP plastic tank from freestyle has worked perfectly for me. And the reels work for 127 as well as 120 and 35mm. Couldn't be easier.
My only complaint is the plastic tanks require a lot more chems than the little stainless ones. I have not yet managed to load a stainless reel successfully.
I should add that by taking the two plastic reels apart and glueing them back-to-back I was able to make one to develop some old found 616 film from the 50's. I have not seen 70mm stainless reels anywhere (nor 127).
As to stainless tanks/reels - it's the route i chose and there is a bit of a 'practicing curve' to get the hang of it.... However, i have the Hewes 120 reel and once i actually get the film clipped in straight (kinda hard to see inside the bag!!), the film just slides in place as i roll the reel - it's soooo easy. I also have a couple 35mm no-name-brand SS reels and they seem *much* more tricky than the Hewes 120....
Also, i sure wish i had the spare $ for one of those changing tents at Adorama. My hands get a little on the sweaty side as i fiddle about loading the film - the tent would allow more 'room' for everything to breathe...
Chazz, I have two Loadomat60(predecessor to the Rondinax tank and exactly the same) daylight tanks and the work just fine. Leitz had a 35mm version as did Agfa, so you know they must work. I think scratches might come from the insert film guide (the removable red colored thingy the film starts in) You could take some 600 grit wet/dry paper and smooth this area out and I bet the scratches will be gone. I don't use my tanks very much, but they do serve a special purpose for me. I have a full operating darkroom at home, but I also have a cottage in the far north of Michigan with no darkroom and that's where my Loadomat tanks are at. That said, I do 99.99% of my processing back home in my darkroom since it's much nicer and easier. After reading over all these post I will give my two cents. First, the Rondinax tank is do-able,but in my opinion not the best. Second, the best advice given here is what Nick and others have said about Hewes reels. For years I used different SS reels and got by, but would occasionally have crescent marks and film touching problems. They usually came when I was in a hurry and as you can guess are irreversible. Being a little "Dutch" prevented me from buying the Hewes reels as my thinking went "they look just like my Nikkor reels, but cost way tooooo much". Well, I finally broke down and bought a 35mm Hewes reel on the "bay" and tried it. I couldn't wait to get out of the darkroom and onto my PC to order another 35mm Hewes and two 120 Hewes reels. Yes, they are that good! The difference between night and day. The only trick with the Hewes is tabbing the film in the center of the reel. I put it(the film end) under the tab and then slide in sideways(back and forth) until I feel it being centered as close as possible. I then try to load and if it doesn't go on like butter it isn't centered. So, I back off a little and re-center. This all takes just a few seconds and is no real hassle. Hewes reels are some of, if not the best, money I have ever spent in my darkroom. I know(from experience) that Hewes reels look just like all the rest, but that just ain't so. JohnW
Originally Posted by chazz
I have a couple of the load-o-mats and a couple of the 120 Rondinax units as well. The design is identical, but the construction material is different.
The Bakelite construction of the Load-O-Mat is superior to the polymer thermoset material of the Rondinax. I don't use them "regularly" like they were designed to be used, but I did fool around with them enough to know that 1) They work and could be your only tank if necessary, and 2) The Bakelite was a better material than the polymer. It just turned smoother and loaded better every time.
Life would be adequate faced with a future of nothing more than a zone focus Bessa, APX, Rodinol, and one of these tanks. If I got to choose I would choose the Bakelite Load-O-Mat 20.
Originally Posted by chazz
Been there. Let me explain, and then offer a solution that others may cringe at.
But first let me offer that a SS or a Patterson style tank isn't a bad investment.
The 35mm Rondinax merely feeds film onto the developing spool and the knife blade cuts it to disconnect it from the factory cassette. Nothing ever sticks to cause the accordion problem like the 120 tank.
You can see that with the 120 processor the film spools into the little receiver compartment when you are pulling the backing paper out. This is the step where you have trouble, and this is the step that I meant where I noted in my previous post that Bakelite was a superior material to polymer.
What happens with the polymer, and doesn't happen with Bakelite, is that the very flat back of the film becomes electrostaticly attracted to the very flat polymer receiving chamber. And since they're both so flat they present a *LOT* of surface area to stick together. And modern film is thin and crumples.
First, technique is important. If you can pull the film smoothly so it doesn't stop it is less likely to get stuck. But don't pull too fast either. This one of those, "Man you're just gonna have to practice it yourself" things.
Second, knock down the very slick mirror like finish on the inside of the receiving chamber. You absolutely do not want it to be rough and scratch the film. But if you can take a piece of 600 grit sand paper (this is where others may cringe) and gently scour the inside of the chamber it will have less contact area with the film as you're pulling the backing paper. Just make sure that it is smooth to the touch with no sharp point.
The best surface "feel" you could get would be about like the inside of a piece of CPVC pipe.
Now, having said all that, let me reiterate that either SS or Patterson style tanks aren't a bad investment.