Is there a good way to soften old tightly curled film before trying to put it on a developing reel? I just destroyed an exposed cassette of 110 film. It was so curled that it kept jumping out of the track on my reel and I tried so many times the film finally broken in several spots.

In particular this was Fuji Color C-41 200 ISO 110 film. (I have several more rolls I plan on shooting and I'd prefer to develop at home.)

  • 2
    If it's so brittle it broke while winding onto the developing spool, it may not produce usable images. – Jim Garrison Jul 13 '16 at 4:32
  • Have you tried a different reel? The standard Paterson reels that come with the super4 system (I think that's what it's called) seem to be known for being difficult when using 110 film. There are several that make it much easier. – laurencemadill Jul 13 '16 at 8:12
  • I do have the Paterson 4 system right now. Do you have a suggestion on what band is better? – Matthew Whited Jul 13 '16 at 14:16
  • It's 110 so i don't expect fantastic results. (I was going for the lomo look which is why I was using expired films.) But I've had a few found films that were old and crunchy too. I was really just wondering if something like a presoak before putting film on reels would be okay. – Matthew Whited Jul 13 '16 at 14:26
  • Seeing that you already have a ruined film at hand, you could experiment with it. Try immersing it in photo-flo/wetting agent (diluted appropriately). – Roflo Jul 13 '16 at 17:03
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Most roll film is constructed using CTA (Cellulous Triacetate) which has little curl memory. Some films are constructed using PET (polyester). PET has strong curl memory however it is difficult to initiate a tear with PET. This makes it ideal for high speed machine developing and automated printing as these machine handle hundreds of films splice together under tension. High speed photofinishing was the idea behind 126, 110 and the Advanced Photo System (APS).

Your best bet is to send the films off for process by a lab that handles theses films with a continuous film process.

If this is not practical, try soaking the film in a distilled water bath. Dry the film by hanging with a weight. All this must be done in total darkness. That will not be easy. If this fails to take out the curl, add a few drops of glycerin to the water bath.

Best of luck!

  • I guess I'll have to try this in the future. The hardest part as you said will be the drying. I currently use a changing bag and do not have any light tight rooms in my house :/ ... thanks – Matthew Whited Jul 13 '16 at 17:44
  • Work on a table in a dark room (not necessarily perfectly dark) and inside the changing bag put a small pot with lid on its side, already filled with distilled water. Work inside the bag to move the film from roll to pot. Close the lid and carefully retract your hands from the bag. – FarO Aug 7 '16 at 10:10

As a note, I changed from a Paterson 4 tank to an old Yankee Clipper II tank I found on eBay. The next roll (while just as curled) went on the Yankee reel smooth as silk.

My recomendation for anyone else that wants do develop 110 don't mess around with a Paterson reel hack. Just get the right equipment.

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