I Hate Patterson[sic] Reels SO MUCH!!!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by Henricvs, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. I finally had it, and tossed them out. I only wish I had taken a hammer to them before I put them in the trash. I recently returned to developing with these and I don't remember having so much trouble with them before. Perhaps it is my age. I don't know. It took me forever to get them loaded correctly. Sometimes longer than the time it actually took to develop the dang film. I bought the Arista ones from Freestyle and all is right with the world again. That is all.
  2. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Does anyone know if Hewes reels can fit in a Unicolor roller drum for film? I have Paterson reels right now, but with NO darkroom yet. If, when I get a darkroom going and I have trouble loading my Paterson reels, I'd like to change to Hewes reels.

    Thanks for any info.
    Henricvs likes this.
  3. I've only used stainless steel reels since middle school. They take a little practice, but last forever and once learned, the skill never leaves you.
  4. I started processing film 50 years ago, and have only ever used plastic reels (not the same ones for all that time, of course...). I clean them occasionally with an old tooth brush and detergent, and I have no problems loading them (with 35mm film).
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  5. SCL


    I've used all kinds over the years, and never had an issue with the Patterson<sic> ones. I lightly trim my leaders so they slide in smoothly and twist away - never had film buckle or stop feeding, whereas I frequently had issues with steel reels, even though I practiced with sacrificial 35mm and mf rolls I kept for this purpose..
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  6. Some folks love the SS ones and I get it. I just never have messed with them. I guess if I had started with them, I would probably feel the same.
  7. I never had problems years ago with them. That's why I think it is my age. I have lost sensitivity in my fingers in my recent years. The Arista reels have huge openings with guides, like the gutter pads in bowling for the kids. :)
  8. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I never had trouble with Paterson (note spelling) reels. I could load them in a dark closet standing up with no table before I built my darkroom. 120 film was a problem but 35mm film was easy.
    Henricvs likes this.
  9. The Patterson[sic] reels are bad, but not as bad as the metal ones that will have you pulling out your hair in no time. Have you tried Samigon developing reels ? They are easy to load and much better quality.
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  10. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Are these the reels you mean?

    SamigonMulti-Format Autofeed Reel
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2019
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  12. I still have my hair after 60 years of stainless reels. Half of it has moved to my face ;)

    Hint: Don't use the center clip. It cups the film and makes it virtually impossible to straighten and load smoothly. Hold the square end from the sides until you get a turn or two on the reel, then proceed normally.
    Gary Naka and Henricvs like this.
  13. Too late, they're now part of the ecological disaster of plastic that never goes away but sits unused in a landfill. I should have put more thought into their disposal.
  14. I think this is the problem.
    In the dark, the feel of your fingers is your eyes.
    I probably would not be able to load my SS reels if I lost much feel with my fingers.
    Henricvs likes this.
  15. AJG


    I've been using SS reels for decades--I think that loading them is somewhat like learning how to ride a bike. In the beginning there might be a skinned knee or two, but once you learn you know how for good. The Hewes reels or Nikor if you can find them in good shape used both have pins to start 35 mm film rather than clips, which work better in my experience.
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  16. I do not think the Nikkor reels came with pins, I only remember the clips.
    After a few failed tries, I gave up on the clip and used the Nikkor reels with clip like the ones without clips, I just stick the end of the film into the center and start winding.
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  17. I searched Youtube on using SS reels and see what you mean. It does look really easy. Too bad all my stuff in based on the plastic stuff. If I find an inexpensive SS tank and reel with the clip, I may try it. Thanks for the insight.
  18. AJG


    The Hewes reels are a little pricey but worth it. Not only is the locating pin system superior to a clip, but the over all construction of the reel is superior to any other reels that I have seen. If you check Photonet you will find a lot of comments about cheap reels that are bent out of the box and will never load properly. The Hewes reels that I bought over 20 years ago still look and work like new despite heavy use.
    Gary Naka likes this.
  19. Based on my experience, I would AVOID the clip.
    The clip was a bad solution to the problem. For me the clip was more trouble that it was worth, as it created yet another problem, decentered kinking. The hooks/pins on the Hewes 35mm reel is a much better solution. Too bad it wasn't around 50 years ago, when I was shooting for the high school yearbook.

    And as @AJG said, I would avoid the CHEAP reels. In general, they are not made as well, and the wires are smaller/softer, so if/when dropped, the wire will bend and the reel becomes difficult/impossible to load.
    One problem with used reels is, it is almost impossible for most people to identify an old used Nikor reel from a cheap brand X reel.

    Honeywell-Nikor was the industry standard, back in the 1970s, when I got my developing gear.
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  20. Time and again on Pnet, people have been advised against plastic tanks and reels in favour of stainless, and advised against reels using a stupid 'wrong way round' spring clip..... but will they listen?
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