Quote Originally Posted by laroygreen View Post
Hey guys,

I have a very perplexing issue loading 120 film into the Patterson development reel (and from searching the forum, I can see that I am not the only one with this issue). I have given up trying to do it consistently; after hours of practice, watching videos and reading posts - trying all kinds of home remedies, it still takes me 40 MINUTES sometimes to load one roll, and even after doing that, the roll is usually not properly loaded and can't be scanned properly (and I live in a very hot and humid place, so it is very uncomfortable and you can only get so naked )

I routinely develop 4X5 sheets and I can load my Mod54 in less than a minute (typically 5 minutes if I take my time), so I just don't get why using the Patterson reel is so hard. Now, I've given up completely on getting the Patterson reels to work and I'm not ever interested in using them ever again for anything because it is awful rubbish (albeit it works fine for 35 mm, but I don't shoot that very often)

Anyways (enough venting) I have seen recommendations to use Hewes steel reels, as well as getting the Samigon reels which have a "fool proof" guide for loading - but nothing conclusive and still seems hit and miss. I think the Samigon might work because I believe my main issue is simple getting the film lined up straight when entering the reel (120 film is very floppy). But, is there anything else I can try, like maybe an auto loader or something?

Shooting film is fun, developing it should be equally fun! I have a backlog of important rolls that I am afraid to develop and it is getting to the point where it isn't making much sense to shoot medium format (which is a shame as I love using my RZ67). Any help please!

Sorry for spewing words but after trying to load film this morning, I have lost all composure for at least the next 24hrs!
What 120 film are you trying to load?

ILFORD film is easier to load than most as the substrate doesn't try to coil up as much as films like Kodak, Fuji, Foma, Adox, Agfa etc. and so it is reasonably easy to load as it is coming off the spool.

With the "livelier" films take the whole film off the spool, peel the tape off the backing paper, fold the sticky side over the film so that it reinforces across the film's leading edge and so stiffens it. Then holding the taped end of the film feed it into the spiral, preferably holding the spiral so the film is going away from you. Basically, for the first two or three inches you tow the film into the spiral. Then hold the spiral's outer edges in the normal way and twist away until all the film is loaded.

As has been said earlier, the spiral must be completely dry.


Don't give up on your Paterson reel. They are a damned sight easier to use than stainless reels...

RR