Time to go with stainless steel?
Old 07-30-2011   #1
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Time to go with stainless steel?

Very frustrated right now.

The good news is that I have three rolls loaded and ready to be processed, later today or tomorrow.

The bad news is that I have 4 more to go, and I am too frustrated to try to load them onto reels and into tanks. (maybe too much coffee this morning, but I am blaming the reels)

2 rolls are just refusing to load onto multiple reels. I use Paterson System 4 stuff. I have had problems in the past with film binding while loading, but never like today's ordeal. One roll actually has ripped along the edge and is a total lost cause to get onto a plastic reel at this point.

So, are the same problems encountered when using SS reels? Do you think I could get my ripped roll on to a SS reel? Should I just let the caffeine get out of my system and give it another go?

I don't think there are any actual shops around me anymore who may have darkroom stuff, so that means if I do want to try SS it will have to be next weekend after I make an order from B&H or Freestyle.
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Old 07-30-2011   #2
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Frustrating! This is with 35mm film? Something wrong there! Many folks have no problem loading SS reels; I can manage 120, but found 35mm too difficult compared with my Paterson reels.

You do need to keep the Paterson reels clean and free of any Fotoflo residue. I scrub mine with an old toothbrush occasionally, and rinse them under very hot water after every use. Also check that the little ball-bearings move freely in their slots.

Are you working in a changing bag? That makes everything much harder. Try it in a dark room with some working space, at night if necessary.
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Old 07-30-2011   #3
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I often feel the same with 120. It's difficult finding steel tanks in the UK. Lots of SS reels are available. I wonder if there're any SS reels compatible with plastic tanks, ie don't allow light in.
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Old 07-30-2011   #4
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Hewes reels, at least in 35mm size, are available with a centre hole sized for Jobo tanks.
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Old 07-30-2011   #5
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35mm Chris... I do give my reels a good washing after use, even sometime run them trough the dishwasher without detergent to get off any gunk. I agree, I think those little ball bearings are the problem. I checked them all before trying to load this film which is one of the reasons for my ire. My reels are all a few, 5 or more, years old. I guess they may have to be replaced every once in a while.

Any hope for my torn roll? Ideas?
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Old 07-30-2011   #6
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i 'FEEL' for YOU...

I once read a thread by Mfogiel/Marek giving High Praise to SS reels
so SILLY Me ran out & bought a set...worst negs I ever developed
first of all It took me near an hour to roll the two....
once developed I had so many Scratches the negs were RUINED
I was only able to salvage one shot which lucky for me
the Scratches seem to Add Character to the Shot...lol

so I Happily went back to my Paterson Tank and Plastic reels
In ALL honesty I have NEVER had a problem with them ...fast , smoooth, EASY to roll...Pure Ease & pleasure ...

I must have been nuts to have switched for a Day...
Cheers- H
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Old 07-30-2011   #7
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my free reels will get the tooth brush treatment today in hopes that will make the situation better.
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Old 07-30-2011   #8
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I've put thousands of rolls thru stainless reels. Practice on a dead roll to get the feel of it. The key seems to be that your hands and the reels and films must be clean and dry. Humidity will make the film stick and not slide smoothly. Perhaps that has been part of the difficulty. Good Luck, Joe
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Old 07-30-2011   #9
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needless to say I HATE SS reels....
here is the only shot I could salvage...the scratches seem to work here
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Old 07-30-2011   #10
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I didn't even know it was possible to scratch negatives when loading them onto a stainless steel reel.

I round-filed my System 4 kit due to the pain of loading easy-load reels, and due to the annoying dribble of solutions I kept getting on my hands when trying to invert the tank - and the cramp in the ball of my thumb when I tried twiddling instead. A Kindermann tank and Hewes reels made the whole process so much easier, and left far fewer dents in the walls from frustration-propelled equipment.

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Old 07-30-2011   #11
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[quote=ruby.monkey;1675533]I didn't even know it was possible to scratch negatives when loading them onto a stainless steel reel.

Dear Rubymonkey
If there's a First Time Disaster with Film/Developing I'm bound to have experienced it...

Best- H
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Old 07-30-2011   #12
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Are you using a changing bag Rover? ... that seems to be a frequent factor in loading difficulties
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Old 07-30-2011   #13
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I have always used a changing bag. I find my eye hand coordination is much better using one. Some how when I go into a dark room I grow extra thumbs. I don't think that is a factor in my situation.
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Old 07-30-2011   #14
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Plastic reels are the easiest for me. I've used only plastic for decades. They do have to be perfectly dry, though, or are a real pain. Even really high humidity (common here in East Texas) can be a problem. I give them a good going over with a hair dryer to be sure they are dry if there are any issues. Never have gotten along with stainless reels.
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Old 07-30-2011   #15
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In an effort to compound my problem I have packed a few rolls of film along with my M6 into a bag and I am heading out to run some errands. If things go right I will have more film to load onto my disobedient reels when I return in a couple hours.

Thats a good thing, right?
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Old 07-30-2011   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rover View Post
I have always used a changing bag. I find my eye hand coordination is much better using one. Some how when I go into a dark room I grow extra thumbs. I don't think that is a factor in my situation.
I've never used a changing bag, but among my friends they are a common factor in loading difficulties ... I wondered if humidity or heat were a possible cause.
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Old 07-30-2011   #17
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I too use a Peterson system, and, while it is the best system for me, the little ball-ratchet thing doesn't always work as it should. My experience is this: 1) any more than about 10 minutes in the changing bag/tent and the humidity rises high enough that the film gets sticky; 2) those ratchet balls must be cleaned regularly and you must check to make sure they move freely before going in the bag; 3) it is actually easier to ditch the ratchet mechanism. Start the film in the track and instead of ratcheting the film in, simply grasp the edges of the film and gently push it in. It will slide in with ease, the reel will not rub against the emulsion, and there are no ratchet ball issues. I find that it goes just as fast as ratcheting, even when the ratchet works perfectly!
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Old 07-30-2011   #18
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There is a HUGE difference in my experience between cheap (freestyle) SS reels and expensive (Hewes) ones. I tried both and hated the cheap ones - I was NOT even able to load film on them after 1 hr trying. I throw them and got Hewes one - now I have 4 of them. I've loaded hundred films on them and it's another world: super easy - almost fun - and never had a scratch. Just get Hewes reels.



Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
i 'FEEL' for YOU...

I once read a thread by Mfogiel/Marek giving High Praise to SS reels
so SILLY Me ran out & bought a set...worst negs I ever developed
first of all It took me near an hour to roll the two....
once developed I had so many Scratches the negs were RUINED
I was only able to salvage one shot which lucky for me
the Scratches seem to Add Character to the Shot...lol

so I Happily went back to my Paterson Tank and Plastic reels
In ALL honesty I have NEVER had a problem with them ...fast , smoooth, EASY to roll...Pure Ease & pleasure ...

I must have been nuts to have switched for a Day...
Cheers- H
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Old 07-30-2011   #19
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If you do chose to try SS reels, do not cheap out. Buy HEWES only. Anything else will fail. Personal experience.

I came from Patterson. After learning how to load SS reels (check youtube), I would never go back. It's super easy and you will never have jammed film. 120 with the clip is a bit more problematic initially.

Best of all, I only rinse after using them. They won't go yellow they won't cake up, and as long as I don't step on them, I will never need to replace them. You can even use them if not perfectly dry.
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Old 07-30-2011   #20
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Humidity... I was above my one cup of coffee in the morning limit, and the caffeine does raise the body temp, and therefore perspiration. That could be a factor. I just washed my free 6 reels, toothbrush used heavily to make sure the bearings are free and cleaned. I will let them dry well and try again tonight or tomorrow morning.

I guess I have sweaty hands and forearms.
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Old 07-30-2011   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daninjc View Post
There is a HUGE difference in my experience between cheap (freestyle) SS reels and expensive (Hewes) ones. I tried both and hated the cheap ones - I was NOT even able to load film on them after 1 hr trying. I throw them and got Hewes one - now I have 4 of them. I've loaded hundred films on them and it's another world: super easy - almost fun - and never had a scratch. Just get Hewes reels.
Thanks for the ADVICE...
I am PURRfectly content with my Paterson Plastic Reels...never a scratch or a problem
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Old 07-30-2011   #22
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OK, Since I am all thumbs when it comes to loading plastic, let along SS reels, I Pre-load the reels in day light... that's right, I shoot off like 4 blanks at the beginning, and leave some leader out when I rewind (well, I have the Contax G1 option 3 to leave the leader out on auto rewind).

I then rip the beveled end off, so I know it is an exposed roll..

I pre-load the reel (s), and then put then in the changing bag with the tank, lid and center post... I am done on 5m with rolls all the time.

Give it a try...Oh, I make sure I pre-load the film about 1/2 way around the reel.
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Old 07-30-2011   #23
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My tale of woe -

My Paterson reels have been really difficult to load as late, I think because of high Summer humidity, and not drying as completely as they should. So I bought a new Samigon tank with "fool proof" reels.

The first time I loaded them, never was anything so easy! My problems were over!

Until the next night - I had of course cleaned the new reels and let them dry overnight, but again I don't think they were completely, completely dry. The f--ing film simply would not load, even worse than the Paterson reels! I had to put the loose film in the tank, fetch the Paterson reels, and struggle with them. I managed to get the film loaded and developed on the Paterson reels (which were now REALLY dry owing to lack of use).

What about using a hair dryer (on low of course) to make sure the reels are really, truly, honestly dry?

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Old 07-30-2011   #24
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Are SS reels a standard diameter?
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Old 07-30-2011   #25
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Changing bag + humidity + gummed up plastic reels. There's your problem. Seriously, try ditching the changing bag. (And brush your reels like you've done.)
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Old 07-30-2011   #26
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I also trim the leading end into a rounded shape, helps with Paterson Reels, I always make sure no sprocket holes are cut through... so the edge can't hangup either.
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Old 07-30-2011   #27
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I have a plastic Kaiser tank and reels and they are fine. Occasionally some gunk builds up on them and they get sticky, in which case I run them through the dishwasher (just put them in with the dishes). Also, I agree with the above in that if I take too long with my arms in the changing bag then the humidity builds up and they can get sticky. Best to have everything at the ready and make it snappy.

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Old 07-30-2011   #28
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SS reels are marginally easier to work with but the learning curve is frustratingly steep at the beginning.

I've noticed that when using Roger Luo's 100% cotton changing bags I don't get the dreaded sweaty hands syndrome.

If everything else fails place the reel and the film in a bucket filled with water. I've used that trick a few times and it has worked for me.
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Old 07-30-2011   #29
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Rover,
A changing bag is usually more trouble, but if you insist on it, I suggest that you leave the film leader out at the end of the roll, precut and pre load on the reel before inserting in the bag.

The reels cleanness is crucial. from time to time, I clean them with acetic acid, and once I even tried bleach which seemed excellent. I think both the water and emulsion residues are your enemy. If you can see the grey residue left by the films on the rails, it's time for a serious cleaning.
I ALWAYS have two or three spare reels when I load, and if one is resisting, I don't fight it, I take another one. From time to time, I just throw away those who give me the most trouble.
Good luck
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Old 07-30-2011   #30
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Stainless steel reels are the Way, the Truth and the... um... Dark, at least for 35mm. Actually I prefer plastic for 120, and quite honestly, I don't mind plastic for 35mm either. But reels really do need to be clean and dry, and stainless reels are easier to get or keep that way.

As for Hewes vs. The Rest, yes, I'll sing the praises of Hewes as loud as anyone, but they aren't the only decent reels. No others are as good, but I have several non-Hewes reels that work perfectly adequately.

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Old 07-30-2011   #31
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In our apt we have around 30 degrees Celsius at midnight and 70 ~ 80 % humidity and using a changing back (I have no chance to build a darkroom space anywhere) means that loading two rolls (135-36) must be finished within max. 5 minutes otherwise the film will get sticky from the humidity and direct contact with sweat.

Under these conditions I avoid plastic reels (Patterson 4 system) for 135 film and use stainless steel reels, recently mostly the cheap ones from LPL. The only "trick" with stainless steel reels is to roll the film onto the reel while it has to be pushed into the rails of the plastic reels.
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Old 07-30-2011   #32
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Well, I am back. The one shop I know of in the area is closed for vacation.

I will order some SS and give that a shot. I have no problem starting the film onto my reels, the binding is happening mid roll. I think I definitely have a residue issue.

I did get to expose a dozen or so exposures, so things seem brighter.
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Old 07-30-2011   #33
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Ever since ditching (actually, ripping my hands out of, throwing to the floor, and stomping on) my changing bag I have been able to easily load 135 and 120 onto cheap plastic reels in a dark bathroom in a minute or so. The changing bag is now used to block light under the door of the dark room (it's much better for that purpose, it seems).
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Old 07-30-2011   #34
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Quote:
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35mm Chris... I do give my reels a good washing after use, even sometime run them trough the dishwasher without detergent to get off any gunk. I agree, I think those little ball bearings are the problem. I checked them all before trying to load this film which is one of the reasons for my ire. My reels are all a few, 5 or more, years old. I guess they may have to be replaced every once in a while.

Any hope for my torn roll? Ideas?
Hi, I used to suffer all the time then read a tip that has worked everytime since - get a soft toothbrush and give the dry reels a good brush inside and out (especially around the bearings (Paterson)) and that should be that.
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Old 07-30-2011   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby.monkey View Post
I didn't even know it was possible to scratch negatives when loading them onto a stainless steel reel.

I round-filed my System 4 kit due to the pain of loading easy-load reels, and due to the annoying dribble of solutions I kept getting on my hands when trying to invert the tank - and the cramp in the ball of my thumb when I tried twiddling instead. A Kindermann tank and Hewes reels made the whole process so much easier, and left far fewer dents in the walls from frustration-propelled equipment.
Plus one for round-filing the Patterson PITA tanks and reels (I used them for years before discovering the joys of SS. Same problems as the OP) AND Plus One for Hewes Reels! I have bought many Nikkor Tanks over the years and I have tried a Kinderman tank, I think. SO easy!
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Old 07-30-2011   #36
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Nikor or Hewes reels.

With my 50 year old Nikkors, I have learned to place them on the counter with the spirals clockwise and the onside one ending at 7 o`clock. Pick up and keep the top towards yourself and the film goes in the top.

If the spirals are anti clockwise, the film WILL NOT LOAD AND YOU WILL WRINKE THE EDGES. One you do this, load the other end properly and hope the wrinkles load on the outside wraps .

After each wrap or two, I do a little push pull with the remaining film to make sure the wraps are loose. If not, the wraps are touching and you will get trouble.
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Old 07-30-2011   #37
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Brooks or cheap brands are worthless. Sell for scrap metal.

Yes all are standard except for some made for extra long rolls like 250 foot or movie film.
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Old 07-30-2011   #38
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I just ordered a couple tanks and SS reels to use along with my Paterson stuff. I needed a thermometer too so this just gave me an excuse.

I processed the three rolls I had loaded and will give another three a try tomorrow morning. The balance can wait for the SS when it arrives.
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Old 07-30-2011   #39
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I did go Hewes by the way.
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Old 07-30-2011   #40
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I ABSOLUTELY cannot load film onto plastic reels - it binds, rips folds and never, ever goes all the way in. On the other hand, I rarely have a problem with cheap stainless reels*. But the secret is patience. Friends of mine who (successfully) use plastic reels suggest that you dry them with a hair blow dryer just before use, even if they do not appear damp.

* Printz and Nikor. The secret is to stuff the end into the center of the reel, and hold it in place with a finger until you have gone all the way around. Forget about that clip thing - I remove them from my reels (the absence of the clip is the only advantage to the expensive Hewes reels as far as I can tell.) Then, every other revolution or so, push the film into the rails. If it doesn't go, back up a rev, and do it again. This will prevent 'lane crossing' and getting those undeveloped blobs that are an indication of spooling too fast.
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