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Thread: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

  1. #1
    Rain Dance's Avatar
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    B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    Looking to get B's 4x5 reel or the SP-445. I already have a paterson 3 reel tank. The sp-445 has a lot of glowing reviews, the B's seem relatively new and loading it seems pretty simple. Economy in chemicals used is not an issue, as I only use HC110 or Rodinal as of right now.
    visit my Website : www.raniedib.com

  2. #2

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    Re: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    I use both; never had any issues with the B's reel, but have had occasional emulsion gouges from the film hold-down clips on the SP-445 holders. I do like the fact that the Paterson tank fills faster, even though it requires more chemistry. I should probably mention that I use inversion agitation with the Paterson/B's reel combo. No experience with the "processor" unit he sells.

  3. #3
    Rain Dance's Avatar
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    Re: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    Yes I am planning on doing inversion for now. I have never tried continuous agitation, but I am interested in that too.
    visit my Website : www.raniedib.com

  4. #4

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    Re: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    I’d also suggest considering the 20th Century Camera reels. I’ve only used their 2.25x3.25 and 6.5x9 reels, but I like them quite a bit. Like the B’s reel, they are designed to fit in a Patterson tank.

    While I like the SP-445, and it’s easy to load, I don’t like filling it or getting the lid on or off. It also doesn’t seal as well as Patterson tanks do.

  5. #5

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    I can't recommend it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Dance View Post
    Looking to get B's 4x5 reel or the SP-445. I already have a paterson 3 reel tank. The sp-445 has a lot of glowing reviews, the B's seem relatively new and loading it seems pretty simple. Economy in chemicals used is not an issue, as I only use HC110 or Rodinal as of right now.
    I just developed 12 sheets in a Paterson 8 tank, Rollei Ortho 25@16 in Rodinal 1+100 10min. They came quite good, even without presoak. BUT: there are a lot of very long and deep scratches on the back of all sheets. The negatives are all completely unusable. I'm pretty annoyed about this. Very angry in fact. I know I shouldn't post in anger, but this is really sub omni canone. If you definitely want to ruin your negatives, get this.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7

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    B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    I donít personally recommend the Bís. Itís given me uneven development at times and scratches on the film (not from my hands; I always use gloves and only appear with the Bís).

    The SP-445 has been flawless and it may drip one or two drops but Iíve never had real issues sealing it quite nicely if you press it to remove air right when you close it. They publicized doing this I think after their version 2 or so (and I wish the hadnít glued a paper to the tank saying this, took me a while to remove the glue long after the paper was gone since inevitably the tank gets wet; I hope they donít do that anymore).

    I am sure itís possible to get good results from the Bís but I gave up after a few trials. In comparison I never had issues getting good results with the SP-445 from the first batch.

  8. #8

    Re: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    Key success points for using the B's film reel based on over eight months of experience and successfully developing many sheets of film or ruining them due to my user error:

    - Using the B's film reel without using the B's 3D printed processor is impractical because you can half your chemistry needs with the processor. The processor pays for itself in just a few developing sessions.
    - Proper insertion and extraction of the film is paramount. Practice with a bad sheet until its natural. It is not difficult to do, but you must become fluid to avoid damaging the negative with hamfisted attempts. I speak from experience.
    - Push the film out from the reel by flipping it upside down and using the gap between your fingernail and fingernail bed to press the film up from the notch gently. I circled the notch in red in the inserted image:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    - If you use the B's 3D printed processor and 500ml of solution, for the love of God, swiftly pour your developer and mount the Patterson tank on the processor to avoid uneven development. Just a few seconds of haste can lead to obvious imperfection. The telltale sign will be a wavy line that separates a dark side of the neg from the light side.
    - The B's reel should last you an eternity. I have used it for C-41, ECN-2, and B&W. The processor has a shelf life limited by the strength of its glue and your diligence with keeping it dry. I need to reglue some of my parts. However, it can function correctly without them glued.

    I have made every mistake possible with the B's reel and processor in the last eight months. Once you are comfortable with loading and unloading the reel, you will achieve perfect results. I enjoy the processor because it allows me to use 500ml for up to 3 rolls of 135, two rolls of 120, or 6 sheets of 4x5 in the same Patterson 3 tank.

    Poor results are likely user error. That is not to say that this system is flawless, user Daniel Casper Lohenstein. When in doubt, test, test, test.
    Everyone under the sun has an opinion about your work, but yours is the only one that counts.

    https://certainexposures.com

  9. #9

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    Re: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    That is, of course, the pinnacle: exposing people who already have the damage anyway. Whoever gets involved and ends up looking back at ruined negatives, and has to admit that it was a stupid idea to use such junk, will get exactly this answer: practice, practice, practice, and if it doesn't work out, it's your own fault.

    They call what you see in the negatives micro scratches. Supposedly you are not supposed to see them when you enlarge them. Voodoo. Or rocket science. I have a condenser enlarger, and you can see that. - But who exactly wants that on a hard-earned negative? I have got this on the whole batch. I already developed over 500 sheets and 500 films in my life

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Certain Exposures View Post
    Key success points for using the B's film reel based on over eight months of experience and successfully developing many sheets of film or ruining them due to my user error:

    - Using the B's film reel without using the B's 3D printed processor is impractical because you can half your chemistry needs with the processor. The processor pays for itself in just a few developing sessions.
    - Proper insertion and extraction of the film is paramount. Practice with a bad sheet until its natural. It is not difficult to do, but you must become fluid to avoid damaging the negative with hamfisted attempts. I speak from experience.
    - Push the film out from the reel by flipping it upside down and using the gap between your fingernail and fingernail bed to press the film up from the notch gently. I circled the notch in red in the inserted image:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	B's film processor notch.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	52.1 KB 
ID:	206728

    - If you use the B's 3D printed processor and 500ml of solution, for the love of God, swiftly pour your developer and mount the Patterson tank on the processor to avoid uneven development. Just a few seconds of haste can lead to obvious imperfection. The telltale sign will be a wavy line that separates a dark side of the neg from the light side.
    - The B's reel should last you an eternity. I have used it for C-41, ECN-2, and B&W. The processor has a shelf life limited by the strength of its glue and your diligence with keeping it dry. I need to reglue some of my parts. However, it can function correctly without them glued.

    I have made every mistake possible with the B's reel and processor in the last eight months. Once you are comfortable with loading and unloading the reel, you will achieve perfect results. I enjoy the processor because it allows me to use 500ml for up to 3 rolls of 135, two rolls of 120, or 6 sheets of 4x5 in the same Patterson 3 tank.

    Poor results are likely user error. That is not to say that this system is flawless, user Daniel Casper Lohenstein. When in doubt, test, test, test.

  10. #10

    Re: B's 4x5 reel, experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Casper Lohenstein View Post
    That is, of course, the pinnacle: exposing people who already have the damage anyway. Whoever gets involved and ends up looking back at ruined negatives, and has to admit that it was a stupid idea to use such junk, will get exactly this answer: practice, practice, practice, and if it doesn't work out, it's your own fault.

    They call what you see in the negatives micro scratches. Supposedly you are not supposed to see them when you enlarge them. Voodoo. Or rocket science. I have a condenser enlarger, and you can see that. - But who exactly wants that on a hard-earned negative? I have got this on the whole batch. I already developed over 500 sheets and 500 films in my life

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	_D2X7899.jpg 
Views:	58 
Size:	34.3 KB 
ID:	206736
    Hello Daniel,

    I can understand your frustration because no photographer likes to see their hard work tarnished. I conducted several live streams where I developed 4x5 negatives with the B's 4x5 film reel and never experienced such a severe scratching problem. Again, that does not guarantee that your user error is to blame. Here are two theories I have about the cause of your problem:

    • I wash all my film reels before each use to help eliminate dust and remove any particles that could end up on the film. A possible cause of this scratching problem is that you had debris in your film holders or the film reel itself. Theoretically, the debris could cause major scratching while sliding the negatives in and out of the B's film reel thanks to its design. An SP-445 or tray development would be less punishing if dirty, assuming either was your prior tool.
    • It could be that your 3D printed reel has unusually rough internal slots in all six ports. You could test this by rubbing an unexposed sheet inside each slot of the holder and observing it for coarse scratches. I doubt BenoÓt would deny you a refund in light of that evidence.

    Otherwise, there must be an element of user error, misfortune, or a design flaw that you can trace by examining the reel and developing more sheets. By the way, I am just a photographer like you - not a representative of B's film developing materials. Testing is valuable because when you know what conditions a problem occurs under and how to "solve" it, the onus shifts from you to the creator to find a solution. If it does end up being user error, testing makes it easier for the creator to diagnose. The effort can lead to improved versions in some cases.

    The image below is a scan of a self-portrait I took on a 4x5 negative that I developed with the B's 4x5 reel. I observed the image at 200% in Lightroom, and I could not see any observable micro-scratches. The negative does not display visible scratching like yours. Again, our units might vary. That is why I suggest you test and find the root cause. If the issue repeats itself multiple times despite your best efforts, then that's valuable information for BenoÓt and potential users.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Certain Exposures; 12-Aug-2020 at 16:59. Reason: I removed an attachment to a broken image link.
    Everyone under the sun has an opinion about your work, but yours is the only one that counts.

    https://certainexposures.com

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