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July 22, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Loading a Plastic Film Reel

Religions have been founded based on the debate over using plastic or steel reels. Personally I like the AP plastic reel. I find them easy to use and at this stage I have about 10 of them so I always have some dry and ready to go.

Always make sure they are fully dry before you use them as the film will stick to the plastic if they are wet.

I think that there is only so much that you will learn by watching a video of this but it gives you and idea of what to expect when you get into the darkroom.

This gets easier every-time you do it.ย My advice is to sacrifice a roll to practice in the light first.


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  1. christian harkness / Jul 23 2014 12:29 am

    I agree – I like plastic reels better too – however, as you implied, people have VERY strong opinions about this. Two things I do a little differently. One – I pry the film container open with a bottle opener, applying it to the side opposite of where the center protrudes. Two- after cutting the leader off, I cut small 45 degree snips at each end/side of the roll of film.

    • Aware of the Void / Jul 23 2014 5:16 pm

      The 45 degree snips seems like a cleaver move – I will give that a try. Top tip – Thanks

  2. phrenzel / Jul 23 2014 2:58 pm

    good one, I always opened my cartridge with a bottle opener and removed the film, but I’m going to try this. Cutting that film blind and getting an even cut has on occasion been problematic. I think with the bulk of the film in the cartridge it will be easier.

    • Aware of the Void / Jul 23 2014 4:10 pm

      Hi Pherzel, I find with most of the film in the can it is easy enough to keep track of the end – let me know how this works out for you.

  3. Moni / Jul 23 2014 3:28 pm

    I refuse to like this post because steel reels are clearly superior. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Though, I will admit, I like the way you pry open the canister. I will have to try that next time.

    • Aware of the Void / Jul 23 2014 4:11 pm

      Note books, no note books….steel reels verses plastic reels this war is really starting to take shape ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. deirdremarieosullivan / Feb 11 2015 9:56 am

    Finally getting around to finding time to dedicate a day to looking further into film development.
    I have a redscale film in the camera not quite finished yet.
    I need to make sure I have everything down to a T before I attempt the development ๐Ÿ™‚ Will be quite an achievement for me and will be happy if I succeed … THERE CAN BE NO MISTAKES LOL


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