How to acheive tightly wound 220 rolls in a Mamiya 7II?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by randall cherry, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Hi All,

    After my earlier post on preventing light leaks around the edges of
    finished rolls of 220 film, I've decided that I should make sure I:
    1) load/unload the film in subdued light; 2)store the film in
    subdued/no light, and; 3) make sure the film is tightly wound onto the
    roll before opening the camera back to remove the finished roll.

    I know how to achieve #1 and #2.

    How do I achieve 3# with my relatively new Mamiya 7II? I've tried
    continuing to wind the film for a bunch of strokes of the wind lever
    after the film has released from the feed spool to no avail. I've
    also tried winding the minimum number of strokes to just get the paper
    trailer to wind onto the take-up spool with inconsistent results, too.

    To this end, I've noticed that the Mamiya 7II has a little metal disk
    or "button" on the left-bottom-exterior of the camera body. The
    camera-interior end of this button is engaged with the spool holding
    the unexposed portion of film, and turns as the film is wound onto the
    take-up spool.

    I am thinking I could add some extra tension to the film as it is
    wound by gently dragging a finger against the button while winding the
    film after a shot? Has anyone tried this? Does anyone know if this
    is a recipe for disaster?

    Does anyone have other suggestions for assuring tightly wound film on
    the take-up spool for 220 film in a Mamiya 7II?


  2. Randall,

    The other thing I remember about winding 220 is that it is very important that the start leader is threaded carefully so that the film loads 'squarely' at the beginnining. ie. Not so that is is pressing harder against one side of the take-up spool than the other, as this will cause a strong tendency for the winding film to 'ride up' the edge which will result in loosely wound film, thus allowing light in after removing from the camera.

    Another check you might carry out is to ONLY unload your 220 film in the darkroom room and load direct into the dev tank. This will check that your camera is not at fault.
  3. Randall loose take-up can be a problem with the 7, yours is no different to anyone else's. When you load the film, keep it square as previously suggested, but keep firm tension on the roll with your left thumb as you wind to the start mark. Not too much tension, though. The wind-on mechanism on the 7(11) is not very robust and can (will at some point) fail.
  4. My P67 has "loose wind", issues with 220 as well. I load it in very subdued light only, and I wrap the shot rolls in foil in place them back in their boxes.
  5. Use Fuji films, as the paper leaders have a hole that gets held in by a prong on the Fuji film spools. They really do work amazingly well at creating tension and thus, better film flatness.
  6. I do like Steve, lightly add a little tension with my left thumb while winding up to the start mark. I've always done the same with all my 120/220 cameras I've ever owned. I also treat 220 just like 120 and have carried rolls for weeks in a clear plastic ziploc bag. Never had a problem with either kind of film. I suspect if you get loosely wound 220 in your Mamiya 7 there's something out of whack. I'd get it fixed. (My 7II winds both 120/220 nice and tight.)
  7. Thanks everyone!!

    I do try to make sure the film starts onto the take-up spool well-centered, and I apply some extra drag while winding up to the "start" arrows.

    I always fix any major misalignments while starting the film onto the take-up spool. However, there have been times when the film started crooked, and I couldn't nudge it all the way back to center without starting the threading process over. At those times, I simply assumed it was "close enough" and the film would center itself in the first frame or two, so I just continued on.

    So it sounds like I need to be more careful when starting the film:

    After inserting the leader into the slot on the take-up spool, I slide the film leader up/down the length of the take-up spool until it looks close to center to my eye. Sometimes, after I align the film, it de-centeres a little as I start to wind. Then, it is hard to re-center the film after it has wrapped a few times onto the take-up spool.

    BTW, I have noticed the difference between the film leaders for Kodak, Ilford and Fuji. The Fuji leader is a little easier to load due to the little hole in the leader catching on the hook in the take-up spool.

    Any tips on the best/easiest way to start 220 film onto the take-up spool so that it is well centered? For example, is there a clever little fold I could put into the leader to help it center when loading? Should I start the film immediatly under tension, or let it wind with no tension for the first few wraps of film?

    I feel like the young Jedi Knight trying to master the basics of The Force. Help me Obi Wan . . .
  8. uk


    Hi Randall,
    Film tightness -

    I've suffered from this many times from slack films and know from it to be a
    problem common to many users.

    Some believe it is a consequence of the film type and especially winding onto a different
    make of spool. Personally, I think it is due to double action stroking which releases the
    tension half way thru the wind-on.

    I don't belive it is a problem with your camera that can be repaired, but rather an issue of
    design and manufacturing tolerances. I had my Mk1 inspected by the importer and he
    found nothing wrong.


  9. Randall - Steve's suggestion, putting slight tension on the film roll with your left thumb while winding on to the take-up spool, is the most important advice to follow. That's based on my personal experience with years of using Pentax 67 and Mamiya 7 cameras. Applying that pressure to make the first few winds nice and tight is much more important than centering the film on the spool. I don't really even worry about that.

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