I'll admit to never using a Hewes reel. I have some Kinderman stuff but haven't tried it yet. If you want to stay plastic, Jobo reels (the 1500 series) are a piece of cake to load. You can use either the push or twist methods to load the film. I typically push the film onto the reels and can load five reels in about 5 minutes from throwing them into the changing bag to getting them out. They are starting to get real expensive though probably because of this. I have seen a few ebay auctions lately and I am seemingly sitting on a gold mine!