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Developing medium format

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by tazio35, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. tazio35

    tazio35 Well-Known Member

    I've been developing my 35mm black and white film for a while and would like to dev the 120 film from my Holga myself. How do I load the spiral without the holes in the edges of the film and how does the backing paper come off?
  2. OneTen

    OneTen 'Two Breakfasts'

    The film is attached to the backing paper at one end only, this is the end that feeds through the camera first. So when the whole roll is exposed and you load it on to a spiral, the backing paper just curls away and the end of the film is free.

    You just have to feed the film on to the spiral. With Jobo spirals this is a lot easier IMO because they are designed to let you grip the edge of the film as it is loaded. The more film on the spiral, the more there is to grip and the easier loading becomes.

    My advice would be to sacrifice a cheap roll of film and have a go in daylight so you can see exactly what is happening. Don't forget that an unexposed roll will have the film taped to the backing paper, it might be best to run it through the Holga first to simulate it being exposed.
  3. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    With the Paterson spirals (with balls in the lead-in) there's no bother, the balls grip the edges of the film, it loads exactly like 35mm film.

    The trailing end of the film is loose. In the changing bag, start unwrapping the backing paper, when you can feel the film come loose load it into the spiral, then back-and-forth until the stuck end of the film is reached. Tear the tape from the backing paper (the tape stays stuck to the film, this doesn't matter), advance the film wholly into the spiral, assemble the tank with the spiral inside, remove loaded tank, scrap backing paper and spool from changing bag.

    Don't forget that more liquid is needed for a 120 film!
  4. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Unless you use one of the older Paterson tanks which have a smaller diameter when it will be the same quantity :D
  5. tazio35

    tazio35 Well-Known Member

    I use Diafine, so I'll just throw in loads. :D

    Thanks for the advice, folks.
  6. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    ... in which case a 35mm spiral won't fit?

    BTW my Paterson "System 4 Universal" tank (circa 1974) (takes two spirals set for 35mm, otherwise only one) has imprinted on the bottom:

    35mm or 126, 10 oz. (290 ml) per film
    127, 13 oz (370 ml) per film
    120, 17.5 oz (500 ml) per film

    Despite this, I did on one occasion ruin a 120 film by only using 290 ml of developer - a quantity I was used to pouring out when developing 35mm, which I did a lot more of. Which is why I wrote the warning.
  7. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Indeed, but if you use a Paterson Major II tank, which will only accommodate a 20 exposure 35mm film, you can develop a 120 film with 300mm, which is admittedly 10 cc more than the Universal requires.

    I therefore use the Major II for 120 and the more modern tanks for 35mm. Of course the newer designs are faster pouring, but that is only really an issue if your development times are very short.
  8. Mojo_66

    Mojo_66 Well-Known Member

    Glad I'm not the only one! :D
  9. mart1st

    mart1st Well-Known Member

    One good tip is, unlike 35mm film where you push the film into the spiral, it is easier to hold the neg in between the finger and thumb and pull it into the spiral.
  10. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    The Paterson Universal spirals work differently - the ball is in a tapered groove, it grips the film edge going one way but not the other, you just twist the two halves of the spiral back and forth and the film loads itself. No contact with human hands except to get the first couple of inches in, which is always done by pulling on the "leading end". Unloading, you just pull the loose end outwards and let the film pull out between the spiral "plates", again minimal hand contact, the bit of the film where images are formed never touches anything (except hopefully the solutions!).

    And it works exactly the same way for all film types.
  11. mart1st

    mart1st Well-Known Member

    Thats what I said, just pull it in to start
  12. Rhys_Hardwick

    Rhys_Hardwick Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the tips. It seems I have started at the same time as Tazio. I developed my first two films yesterday, HP5 120 film and Delta 3200 120 film. It was much easier than I thought it would be, and less smelly. And the negs came out well, too.

    I didn't realise that you could just twist the paterson loader though. I'll do that next time. I was just pushing it in!
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    You do need to make sure that Paterson reels are ABSOLUTELY dry* before loading, and 120 is always a touch more tricky as it's more floppy, but basically it's not hard.

    * If I'm developing a second film with the same reel, I dry the reel with a hairdryer first. it took me a very long time to realise that even slightly damp reels are close to impossible to load, whereas dry ones are simple.
  14. NorthernMonkey

    NorthernMonkey Well-Known Member

    I'll second that.

    I've creased a couple of films, ruining the end 1 or 2 frames, by not using totally dry reels. The law of sod dictates that it will always be the best picture on the roll that has the mark on it.
  15. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Spare reels are cheap enough, so personally, rather than faff about drying wet ones, I prefer just to have enough to complete a full session without re-using them. Of course you do still have to be careful not to mix up the wet with the dry.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I quite agree - I've got 10 or 12. But I still sometimes need to dry a couple.
  17. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    I run out of room to hang the drying films before I run out of reels - that's not so easy an issue to resolve. :)
  18. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I know that one, too. They end up being hung from the lightshade in te spare room. :eek:

    My problem is always that I tend to save films up for ages, then have a marathon session - it's the only way I can ever find time. A dozen films take up a lot of space - and I always end up using clothes pegs, too. It's one reason I like Rodinal - for the keeping properties.
  19. Rhys_Hardwick

    Rhys_Hardwick Well-Known Member

    Ha ha, that'll be why then. Loading 120 film the first two times was fine, worked a treat. When I came to my third roll, however, it became so stuck I ended up pulling the film in two (I can get frustrated occasionally) ;)

    A very useful piece of advice, thank you.
  20. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Well-Known Member

    I found a fairly easy work around for that one. I have attached several strips of wood to my darkroom ceiling with little metal hooks screwed into them that will take Patterson film drying clips. I have capacity for 20 films, although, in fact, I've never done that many at once. I have two air filters in the room that produce near clean room conditions whilst the films dry, to avoid dust problems. Incidentally, I too get round the damp reel issue by having a lot of reels. They aren't that expensive.

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