Film Developing Trick: The Little Clip from Hell

tankI’m a fan of things made in metal: Shiny, solid, durable and long lasting. In a world of film photography, a metal developing tank is a choice for those who want to develop film old school style. Also, it’s “environmentally friendly” and economical because it only needs 480 ml liquid for developing 2 rolls of film, less than a plastic developing tank. So if you’re old-school, go-green freak, or just cheap, a stainless steel dev tank is the right choice, the only choice.

But, like an itch on your back, a metal dev tank has one annoying problem: a clip. The little clip’s function is to hold the edge of the film firmly so it’s easy to roll the film into the reel. It looks simple but believe me, in a changing bag, trying to snap the edge of the film to the clip blindly is really hard. In my first attempt, I spent almost half an hour trying to overcome this little clip from hell. My first roll was poorly placed into the reel leaving a few spots undeveloped.

A “normal”, proper film insertion into the reel. Many considered this method is too difficult.

I have good news for you who had nightmares with this little clip from hell. Well, don’t worry about the clip, you don’t have to use it anymore. Ever. Really? Yes, my friend taught me a trick to avoid dealing with the clip. Well, the trick is quite simple and elegant:

1. First things first, find a perfect flat surface, the trick won’t work in the slightest uneven surface.

2. Slip the film beneath the clip. There’s no need to snap the film to the clip.


3. Bend the film’s surface.


4. Push the film forward until it rolls perfectly into the reel. 

IMG_0987 IMG_0975

5. Continue until the end of film. You’re all good. Easy peasey japanesy.


Note: All the pictures are just a simulation. Load the film in total darkness only. Or use a changing bag.


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