[Beginner] Loading film from clockwise spooled 35mm camera

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by The Silver Sulfur, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    Edit: This thread was intended for the B&W film forum. I don't know if this can be moved, but please keep in mind it's not related to color film at all.

    Okay, this feels like a really stupid question. And I apologize if this belongs in the 35mm camera forum. I've started doing home B&W development fairly recently, but I have two viewfinder 35mm cameras; getting the film exposed in them out of the canister and into the development tank is a piece of cake. I have a TLR; even easier.

    I also have a 35mm SLR (Olympus OM2n) and it consistently 'ruins' my film. Or, I should say, I ruin the film that comes out of it. The most obvious visible difference between this one and the other cameras is that the takeup spool inside the camera rotates clockwise, while the film inside the cannister rotates counter-clockwise.

    For some reason, the film always clumps up, kinks, or decides to stick against itself on the development spool. This results in streaking, complete lack of development, large clumps of anti-halation layer / die that stick to the film, etc.

    I've ruined six perfectly good films (and many more perfectly good exposures) this way, and it's starting to be embarassing. (Yes, just now)

    I've tried loading the film onto the development spool in the inverse direction, refridgerating the film before loading, etc. Nothing seems to make a huge difference.

    I've shot a few rolls of C41 in it, and had the lab process them - they come out fine. The OM2n is a really nice camera otherwise.

    Is this a known problem? Am I doing something wrong that's really obvious, or could I just have a camera body with a problem that the previous owner might never have noticed?

    Edit: Aaand I managed to post in the wrong forum. Sorry. Is it possible to move a thread on this board, or should I just delete this post and start a new one elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  2. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member
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    I had similar though not anywhere near as extreme problems once upon a time.

    try this: take the cassette out of the camera and leave it for 24 hours before trying to load the reel.

    it will/might/should allow the film to "relax" and load easier
     
  3. FujiLove

    FujiLove Member
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    Are you using the same reels for your B&W and colour films? If so, it sounds like the colour film is stickier than the B&W. I have endless problems with loading film on reels but have recently discovered the following helps:

    Scrub the hell out them with a toothbrush to make sure they are spotless.
    Dry them overnight, or make sure they are absolutely bone dry with a hairdryer or something.
    Run a soft pencil around the insides of the tracks. This provides a bit of lubrication for the film.
    Try and load the reel in a cool environment so your hands don't sweat and cause the film to become stickier.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber
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    Welcome to APUG.

    Are you saying that your camera imparts a reverse curl to your film?

    If so, it is normal. All of my Olympus OM cameras (4 different models currently) do exactly the same thing, and films from those cameras load into either stainless steel or Paterson plastic normally.

    What reels are you using? Tell us about your loading technique.
     
  5. OP
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    The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    @pdeeh: Thanks for your reply. I did that once (refrigerating the film for two days should have the same effect, right?). It wasn't very helpful.

    @FujiLove: Thanks for the suggestion, but the problem isn't color related (haven't tried to home process color film at all, yet). I mistakenly started this thread in the wrong forum, apologies. With respect to your other ones, the development reels work fine for 120 film and film from other 35mm cameras. I don't think it's them.
     
  6. OP
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    The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    Thanks :smile:

    Yes, the curl of the takeup spool in the camera is opposite to the curl of the film canister. If the 'tab' on the canister presses against the camera back, (as it does in most older cameras including the OM2n) this is counter-clockwise, as seen from the top.

    I use plastic AP reels. When I reverse-wind the film, I tend to make sure the lead still sticks out of the canister. I then use a dark bag and plastic AP spirals. I cut round corners on the lead, push it through the "teeth" (I've noticed AP spirals have fairly large bits that stick out and catch the first bit of film) and then crank the spirals.
     
  7. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    take the film off the cassette spool, flip the film over and load it onto the reel emulsion side out, the leader will be the last part of the film to load and protect the rest of the film on the reel.
     
  8. OP
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    The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    Well, that's one I haven't tried yet. And it sounds like it might just make the difference. I'll try that next time, thanks :smile:
     
  9. MattKing

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    darkroommike's suggestion is worth trying if your conditions are unusual (humidity, temperature) but it shouldn't be necessary.

    Try pdeeh's suggestion first. Let the film relax for a bit after taking it out of the camera. It may not need a full 24 hours.

    But I think it has more to do with your technique.

    I often use those AP reels myself for 35mm, when I'm not using steel reels. They work normally for me, but I don't use a dark bag. It is my opinion that dark bags were brought in to test our character - I hate using them. They increase humidity, and cause films to stick.

    How much have you practiced loading outside the bag, with a trial roll? You need to develop a feel for when the film is loading easily, and when it is being forced. One thing in particular that you need to take care over is ensuring that the sides of the reel are being held gently and aren't being forced away from being parallel. When you are loading the film properly the ratcheting motion pulls the film smoothly into the reel.

    Before you start loading, check that the ball bearings move freely. When you start the load, you should push and pull the film past the ball bearings.

    One of the downsides of using the dark bag is that it muffles the sound of the film being correctly loaded vs. being incorrectly loaded. That sound is quite distinctive, and provides great feedback. If there is any way you can temporarily darken a room/use a closet/load only at night it is far preferable.

    And until it becomes second nature - practice in the light!
     
  10. Theo Sulphate

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    You're talking about this film path through the camera, right:

    IMAG7763.jpg

    If so, almost every camera since the mid-1960's winds film that way (I have a few old German SLR's that do not).

    This shouldn't cause any difficulty when the exposed film is wound out of the cassette onto a loading tank reel.

    I am suspicious of the reel.
     
  11. GregW

    GregW Member

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    Let me get out my pipe, and light it. Here lay down on this couch. Well, What if the first time or two it was inexperience with the reel in the dark bag, then you mentally attached this to the camera, then each time you load film from it it is a more intense worrying process for you. You fiddle a bit in the bag, you have doubts and back up, can't get it started on the reel etc.. etc..self fulfilling prophecy. I think the closet at night suggestion is a good one. Check the reel, load it out of a dark bag. Take your time...

    caveat, I had a camera that mangled the sprocket holes a bit. Made loading the film a nightmare. Are your sprocket holes nice and clean no rips?
     
  12. OP
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    The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    I know, I discovered that in the midst of summer, loading film in 33C weather. Not a good idea. But right now, in winter, it's not much of an issue.

    That's a good tip, but like I mentioned, I've been able to load film from other cameras without much difficulty. I'll doublecheck that the film is parallel next time.
     
  13. OP
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    The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    Hmm, the camera that got me into photography, a Minolta scale focusing camera from the 1980s, loaded film the 'old' way, but it may have been a bit of a throwback. But it's good to get confirmation that it should work. I'm at the point where I question my judgement on everything.
     
  14. OP
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    The Silver Sulfur

    The Silver Sulfur Member

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    You've described my anxiety precisely. I feel like I'm fumbling around in the dark, the clock is ticking, and the pressure mounts as the film in my hands gradually turns into a soft, sticky mess. At this point I know it's going to be a bitter disappointment, but I'm still desperate to salvage what I can.

    It's not a good situation :D

    Yep, thanks for the suggestion.
     
  15. GregW

    GregW Member

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    BTW you might want to learn to load while wearing gloves- the blue latex ones, for instance, That way even if your hands sweat they won't transfer that to the film. Good luck next time.
     
  16. MattKing

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    It is the sides of the reel that need to be parallel.

    When things are going right, the film is essentially floating in the grooves of the reel.
     
  17. Harry Stevens

    Harry Stevens Member

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    Here's my pitiful ramblings .....I started developing films in 1978 and I always thread my cut off 35 mm rounded leader past the bearings on the tank reel in broad daylight and then put the film in the bag or go in the darkroom load it up with finger between canister and reel or even pull a foot of film out at a time and just load it up from the canister.....Never understood all this open the canister and remove the film......All those fingers..... Never lost a first shot,no scratches and plenty of leader already used when loading the unexposed film in the camera and I get around 38 negs from my new Ilford film .:smile:

    Also get a empty canister for my bulk film loader.:smile:
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  18. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member
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    My Pentax reverse winds the film, and I've always left a rewound film for a day or two before trying to load a tank.....if the sppol is in good condition (clean, parallel sides, etc., as suggested by previous posters), there doesn't seem a problem. I load in a dark closet rather than a changing bag.

    As regards the nervousness, I think we all had that at first. I'd suggest practicing in daylight with a scrap film (which has been wound through the camera, rewound and allowed to stand to get over the reverse curve). When you're OK with that (and have identified any issues or problems), perhaps try in the dark with an exposed, but unimportant, test film. Once you've got the confidence back that it can be done, you should be good to go.
     
  19. Rick A

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    I've been using Olympus cameras since the late 60's(pre-OM-1), and have owned nearly all the single digit models(no OM-3) and have never had any issues loading freshly exposed film onto a reel. I suspect that the OP's problem is the changing bag. Hands sweat, moisture gathers on film and reels, bad combo. Buy some black out cloth and load the reels in a bathroom or closet, toss the bag in the trash.
     
  20. Anon Ymous

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    If a closet is not an option and blacking out rooms impractical, then you can also try loading the reels at night, with all lights off, curtains - blinds closed and under blankets. I've done it quite a lot of times without any fogging.
     
  21. BMbikerider

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    My solution is to take the film completely out of the cassette and wind onto the development reel from the end that was fastened to the cassette spool. This means the end that has gone into the developing spool was the one that underwent the reverse curl the shortest length of time. Also the ends of the film are nicely radius-ed off which makes the sliding in of the film that much easier.
    Also as a help it may be that if you lightly dried the spools with a hair drier beforehand than makes the likely hood of any moisture less likely to hold onto the film.

    If you are developing B&W films by hand, think about getting hold of a stainless steel tank which usually have central loading point and will not snag. They do need a bit of getting used to but once mastered they are idiot proof.

    On the same subject there used to be a developing tank made by Leitz both before and after the war which did not have a loading reel but instead the film was attached to what was known as a 'Correx strip" the same width as the film. This was a length of clear plastic with edge corrugations that kept the film separate from the plastic. Once wound the whole thing was put into a tank and developed as normal. Absolutely foolproof and why it was discontinued I have no idea. It was far easier than any developing spiral.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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