SF Bay Area Large Format Photography Group Message Board › Loading 120 film on the reel

Loading 120 film on the reel

Arun S.
Fremont, CA
Post #: 5
Fellow LF'ers who shoot and develop 120 film..

Please excuse me for posting a MF question on this forum. I tried using youtube to learn this, but I did not have a successful outcome. So I am wondering if I can learn this in person, instead of trying to learn from forums or videos.

So I developed my first roll of 120 in a Sigma tank today. And as I suspected the film had stuck to the inner layer in the reel, and was heavily crumpled on the edges. In addition, there is streaking and banding in some pics. (I used HC-110 dilution H for 80% of the recommended time, but might have agitated rather vigorously).

Could someone please shed some light on how to load the film on the reel (preferably when we meetup on the 19th).

A former member
Post #: 2
My experience assuming you are using Hewes style stainless reels is to clip the end of the film into the center of the real to anchor it so it doesn't slip, then compress the film between your fingers by holding the edges with one hand so that it bows slightly - this will make it spool onto the reel as you turn the reel with you other hand. Generally if you have wound the film on too tight the film won't be close to the outside edge of the reel once you finish (assuming a 120 reel and not a 220 one) and you will have to start again. Practice makes perfect - doing it in daylight with an exposed film is key to getting the technique right.
user 13572784
San Jose, CA
Post #: 22
I second that. Use an old film and roll it up at least 20 times. Then do it 20 times in darkness. Check (in the light) that the film has been rolled on evenly. Agitation, we turned the tank about every 30 sec. but that if far less critical than having it rolled properly. Shoot severel rolls and then develop them on by one so you will be able to see your progress.
user 2818249
San Jose, CA
Post #: 9
There are two types of reels (I have both) - plastic ones, and stainless steel ones. MF is harder to load than 35mm because the base is thinner, and it doesn't want to go onto the reel as easily as 35mm.

With the plastic reels, you feed the end of the film into the start of the spiral, then twist the two halves of the reel back and forth, and it sucks up the rest of the film. My reels claim that you can put two rolls on one reel, but that rarely works out well. Sometimes the film will be reluctant, in which case using a scissors to clip off the corners of the front edge of the film can help. If the reels are not bone dry, it will not work well as the film will tend to stick to the reel.

With the Stainless reels, you load from the inside of the reel out - bow the film between your fingers and put the leading edge of the film in the central core of the reel - different reels have different ways of holding the end of the film, there might be a clip, or teeth. Make sure that the film is centered, if it is off to one side of the other, it wont spool in properly. Pinch the film gently between your fingers so that it is bowed, and slowly wind the reel up, and the film will get wound onto the reel. If it feels funny (anything other than smooth), unspool to the beginning, and start over.

I second the suggestion to practice in the light, You can practice while watching television.

Arun S.
Fremont, CA
Post #: 6
Mark, Tom and Angus,
Thank you very much for your detailed replies. As you suggested I will practice this and try again.
Hope you guys can make it to the upcoming meetup.
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