Hi guys, wanna ask something about Film development

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Soul, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. Soul

    Soul Guest

    I'm going to try developing my TMAX film inside the school's darkroom(ahh
    yep , it'll be my first time) , but i'm kinda worried that I would scratch
    my film while loading on the wheel , what i can do in order to avoid this
    thing from occuring?

    thanx alot in advance

    Soul, Jul 26, 2003
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  2. Well, the best thing is to use a throw away roll to
    practice with.
    For the most part there is little problem with scratching
    when loading tanks. The technique depends on the kind of
    tank. Some plastic tanks are loaded by feeding the film into
    the outside of the reel. A good way to make this easier is
    to cut the corners off the end of the film. That will help
    keep the film from binding in the spiral.
    Stainless steel tanks are loaded by fastening the film to
    the center of the reel and winding into the spiral. The
    technique is to hold the film by the edges and put just a
    little pressure on it to cup it. The film is gently pushed
    into the spiral while rotating the reel.
    For roll film remove the paper backing by winding the film
    into a roll and allowing the paper to wind into a separate
    roll. When separated gently tear the film from the backing
    at the tape. The tape is meant to tear and some will remain
    on the film. This is fine, the tape will stiffen up the end
    of the film. Again, cutting off the corners may help thread
    the film.
    35mm film is actually easier to load because it is thicker
    than roll film so it has less tendency to buckle while
    loading it.
    The film is removed from the cassette either by simply
    pulling the end out and cutting it off at the film gate. If
    you leave a little film you can reload the cassette by
    taping the new film to the remainder.
    The other method is to take the top off the cassette. Some
    cassettes have removable tops, some have staked on tops.
    Removable tops are removed by simply squeezing the cassette
    and pulling the top off or by bumping the long end of the
    film spool on the bench. Kodak spools must be opened with a
    bottle opener or similar tool, or again, simply pull the
    film out and cut it off.
    After getting the film out, cut off the loading tounge
    (the narrowed part of the leader). Cut the corners of the
    end going into the reel. The film is threaded onto the reel
    exactly the same as roll film, the technique depending on
    the type of tank and reel.
    If your hands are clean there is very little dange of
    scratching the film. It is possible to leave stress marks on
    the film if its kinked. This is much more common with roll
    film because of the thin support. Usually, kinking happens
    near the end of the film first threaded into stainless steel
    reels. Cutting off the corners will help prevent this.
    Again, try to find some scrap film, developed or not, and
    practice with the light on so you can get a feel for what's
    going on.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 26, 2003
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  3. Soul

    John Guest

    Practice on a roll that you don't care about first. Often photo stores
    will have rolls of outdated film on their counter which are heavily discounted.
    Pick one up for $1 or so and sacrifice it to your education. First roll it on
    with the lights on and your eyes open. Next Close your eyes and try doing it.
    You'll be surprised how easy it is.

    Also note that T-Max is a hardened film and doesn't scratch easily.


    John S. Douglas, Photographer
    John, Jul 26, 2003
  4. A couple of additional suggestions from my experience:

    Avoid touching the film surfaces while loading - the edges (no image area)
    are fine - when you load a reel you can let the edges of the film slide
    between two fingertips to help guide it on. Just don't touch the emulsion
    side, which should be towards the reel hub.

    Practice with a junk roll with the lights on, then with the lights off.

    If you have difficulty loading film on a metal reel, use a plastic
    ratcheting one. Some represent the ability to load a metal reel in the dark
    as the true "litmus" test of a darkroom wizard. Ain't so. While there are
    good reasons to use a metal reel, a plastic will work fine at least to begin
    with, and they are easier to load.
    Pieter Litchfield, Jul 26, 2003
  5. Soul

    Hemi4268 Guest

    , but i'm kinda worried that I would scratch
    Scratching will not be your problem, kinking will. Kinking lives a half moon
    dark images through the film. If it happens in the sky you might think it's a
    UFO. I assure you it's not.

    Hemi4268, Jul 26, 2003
  6. Really? I find the plastic ones a total bear to load. Mine keep
    jamming, no matter how clean I keep the ball bearings.

    I love my Nikkor stainless steel reels. I can load them upside down in
    a roller coaster (with appropriate dark bag of course).

    Karen Nakamura, Jul 26, 2003
  7. message
    This seems to vary among users. I like SS reels. Some
    prefer plastic. Long ago I used an Ansco plastic tank of the
    walk-on kind where the reel is turned back and forth to
    load. These are pretty easy to load but can't be agitated by
    inversion. I found the push-in style plastic reels a bear as
    you say but didn't know the trick of cutting off the corners
    then. In general I prefer SS tanks and reels but that's only
    me (and you :) )
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 26, 2003
  8. Soul

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Not all plastic reals have ball bearings. OTOH I bet easy is a function of
    what you're used to using. With enough pratice aren't they all easy to use?

    Nick Zentena, Jul 26, 2003
  9. Karen:

    My suggestion to try plastic reels was based on several articles and
    instructors' remarks made to me that beginners often find plastic easier at
    first. I have found that (1) trimming the film end straight between spocket
    holes and (2) using only dry reels makes a big difference. I have used
    Patterson plastics, and they seem to work fine.

    I found that my bad first experience with metal was the result of using
    light gauge school reels and tanks - the reels had been dropped so often
    that it was impossible to find a straight one. Made loading almost
    impossible. There are, however, excellent heavy gauge metal reels which
    would be a good place to start.
    Pieter Litchfield, Jul 27, 2003
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