Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/07

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Subject: [Leica] RE: Stainless vs plastic.
From: "BIRKEY, DUANE" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 13:44:29 -0500

I started out using Patterson plastic tanks in College, I discovered a 8 
reel tank that I though would be a great time saver.  It was wonderful 
except that the bottom reels always seemed to be overdeveloped or had 
streaking.  After it happened a couple of times I asked my Photography 
mentor what I should do.....  He said get metal tanks.   When I looked at 
a plastic reel I saw that the support pieces between the spirals are much 
wider and more frequent than the metal ones and in theory at least 
provide less even development.   The biggest problem with a 8 reel tank 
is it takes too long to pour in chemistry.  

I made the change and I've been using SS reels and tanks ever since.   I 
can load them faster than most people can load plastic and I now use two 
4 reel tanks to do my B&W.  The trick is curve the film slightly and to 
do a slight push pull as you load the reel.  As long as the film slides 
freely you know it's loading right.  You can also feel the sides of the 
reel to see if it is loaded properly. if it is misloaded, you'll feel a 
part that sticks up more.  Stainless tanks may leak a bit,  but that's 
another good reason why we all wear plastic gloveswhen we are handling 
chemistry...... Right  Luggers.....!!!

Jobo has some compact plastic tanks that work fairly well and are a bit 
easier to use than the Patterson.   They require a lot less chemistry to 
fill as well.  Which is the other main argument in my eyes against 

My photography students are all using plastic, just because it's a 3 
month class and well most have never used a real camera, nor B&W  let 
alone had to develope film and make prints.... they have a hard time 
loading even plastic reels in the dark.  

Duane Birkey

HCJB World Radio
Quito Ecuador