120 colour processing at home

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by stanley, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. stanley

    stanley Member

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    Dear APUG Members,

    With this my first post, I thought I'd say how useful you all are, and long may you run!

    I am investigating the options available for processing 120 colour film at home.

    Much research points me towards the Jobo CPE-2.

    I have read the advice many of you have already posted regarding this unit, and much of it is favourable. One thing I am not clear about:

    Is the Jobo lift required?

    Also, would any of you further recommend the unit for this type of process at home?

    Or are there other options you might suggest?

    As a note, I'd expect to process a batch of 10-20 120 rolls a month.

    I would also like to feel that wonderful feeling that my way of processing film is better than anything else - because I do it, and because I researched the process well in the first place! Oh what utopia!

    Many thanks in advance...
     
  2. Amund

    Amund Member

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    Slide or negative film?
     
  3. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I do both slide and negative, but with the Paterson Auto Colourtherm, as opposed to the Jobo, and yes, it is a great feeling to know that you have done it yourself. With the Paterson, I have had to modify the setup a bit, with the emphasis on fine temperature control where needed.
     
  4. stanley

    stanley Member

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    negative film...Fuji Reala
     
  5. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Stanley,
    I use Fuji Reala almost exclusively, mainly in 35mm, and, of late, in 120.

    I have been using a Jobo CPE2 with lift, for about 16 years. In it, I have developed almost evey conceivable normal film and/or paper combination.

    I have the lift, whilst it isn't strictly a requirement, I would say C41 processing, which is 3 minutes and 15 seconds sort of requires it.

    To get 500ml of solution in or out, is approximately 7 seconds using a lift. This means that at 3 minutes and 10 seconds I drop and the next solution is going in almost on the exact time.

    I use the 1520 tank system for 35 & 120/220. Loading 35mm is dead easy I can do it with my eyes closed, however with 120 I find it's a bit tricky with some films thhat have been kept wound up for a while, practice makes it easy.

    A combination of the 1510 tank and the 1530 extender with their appropriate centre cores, makes it possible to develop 4 x 120 films or 4 x 35mm films using 470ml (I use 500) of solution. This equates to about the correct amount of solution for these amounts of film. It's also very economical.

    Using the 1520 tank allows 2 x 120 films and/or 2 x 35mm films using 250 ml of solution.

    The unit itself holds about 7.5 litres of water in it's bath. Allow about 45 minutes to 1 hour minimum, for temperature stabilisation for high temperature colour developing.

    You should calibrate the temperature dial using a good darkroom thermometer dipped in the developer for reference as to just what dial marking is required, to get 37.7º C or 38º C.

    The optional E6 kit is nothing more than a different red framed bottle holder and two extra bottles. It is a very handy thing to have if you are doing two lots of developing in a session, you can have a spare 500mls of dev sitting in one of the bottles.

    If you are buying secondhand and you wish for the lift option, then note that any used drums that have the magnet attached, are unable to have the magnet removed. This isn't a bad thing, but the magnet makes the whole thing quite heavy for the lift mechanism to use.

    In short for the home user, the CPE2 with lift is almost perfect, the drum system is just that, a system. Similar in concept to most 35mm camera systems. Many parts are interchangeable, even though they don't have a name they can also do quite a lot of other things.

    For instance, the 2840 (can do 12 x 16" prints) print drum is, when broken up, and the bottom part used, a 4x5" film drum. Just buy the 4x5" reel, use the 1520 centre core and you have a really cheap (second hand) 4x5" developing tank.

    Knowing things like that, make it a really flexible system.

    By the way, welcome to the forum.

    I myself, only discovered this forum not that long ago.

    Mick.
     
  6. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    I've been using a jobo to develop c41 120 and 135 for about 5 years. Mine doesn't have a lift, but it sure would be handy sometimes :smile:

    If you can get one with a lift for the right price go for it, but it isn't strictly necessary.


    graham
     
  7. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    C41 development is not really a big problem. You only need a temperature control (e.g. CPA/CPE/CPP/TBE-2), 37,8 degrees C. (+/- 0,5-1,0 (monocolor) C.)

    I am doing it together with a TAS processor (Heiland) and a TBE-2 (Jobo). C41 kit : K54 from Amaloco 4X6 films, nice divided in 4 small bottles of C41 monocolor C41 developer. Very practical. Never scratches again, perfect results, same filtering with the same films on my CFL-4012 FEM analyser a.s.o.
    I am happy I can do this for already over 12 years because a 120 rolfilm development is not possible in the direct environment anymore. I have to travel to a bigger city.

    Best regards,

    Robert
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Stanley,

    Sorry to hijack your thread, but I want to make the question even more generic.

    Is a jobo, or any other machine, strictly necessary?

    Years ago, I did E6 (actually, probably E3 or some other number) myself with only a temp controlled water bath and stainless tanks. It worked fine. I have considered doing color again myself because it is becoming so hard to find a good processor, even in a city like Dallas! :surprised:

    I do very little color. But, can't it be done (C41 or E6) "by hand", as long as the temps are controlled? (I still have my temp control gear.)

    Cheers,

    David
     
  9. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    A Jobo TBE-2 is enough to do succesfully C41 development. In fact a basket with water about 10 ltrs. with temperature control.

    Sometimes available for a bargain price of Eur. 50,00 or less.

    New about Eur. 400,00

    Robert
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You don't even need a TBE. My home made version is a picnic cooler with a fish imersion heater in the bottom. From looking at the Jobo specs for the TBE my setup is better -) I use Jobo 2500 type tanks on a Unicolor motorbase. The tanks once preheated hold temp very well. C-41 developer is only 3:15 but the tanks hold temp longer then that.
     
  11. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    If you have enough water, the heat capacity (of a big volume of water) is also enough for 3:15 Min. But in practice a TBE-2 is very, very handy!

    Robert
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    But you can build something similar to a TBE very easily.

    A 50 litre or bigger picnic cooler. Not that expensive new and many people have an old one kicking around. It'll be insulated,have a drain and a lid. All good things.

    A 300 watt fish heater isn't much money either.

    A little aquarium pump to move the water around is an added luxury.


    If you need bigger just get a bigger cooler and heater. Or even two heaters.
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I'd echo most of what has been written but I don't have a lift and have found no difficulties. The usual recommendation is to start the timer immediately on pouring in the developer and allow 10 seconds for emprtying at the end. The recommended timing of 3 mins 15 secs allows for this 10 seconds emptying.

    I know my timing has been a few seconds out on occasions and I haven't found it to affect the film development.

    If you can use a hot/cold water mixture from the taps then it is possible to ensure that the water bath in the JOBO is within a degree or two of the right temperature by the time the bath is full. So it shouldn't take long to get the developer and blix up to the right temperature. To speed things up even more place the developer bottle into a container with water at say 45 degrees C and put the thermometer into the developer and monitor it constantly, removing it once it is at the right temp then transfer to the JOBO.

    My JOBO temp dial is very accurate and setting it to 38 ensures that the two JOBO thermometers at either end of the bath will read 38. Usually I set to 38.5 to allow for a little decrease when pouring into the dev tank and the 3 mins 15 secs rotation.

    Remember that the dev drum is rotating over the water bath and will lose very little temperature over 3 mins 15 secs. If you are concerned to ensure absolute accuracy then test by pouring water at 38 degrees into the tank, rotate for 3 mins 15 secs and then test temperature at end to check on the decrease. Use this test to determine water bath temperature compensation.

    Don't worry about stop bath, if you use stop, or blix temp. They are not as critical temperature wise or time wise and anyway if developer temp is correct then as these are both in the same water bath they will be the same temp.

    Pentaxuser
     
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  15. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I'm sure that the Jobo and other types of automated processors are more convenient, but you really need to ask yourself how much use the thing is going to get. If you are doing several rolls a day, or even each week, then yes I'd say it's worth it. Otherwise, you can do well with a plain old water bath and a tempering bath. I've done lots of E6 with a set up very similar to the one Nick described, though I've found the fish tank heater a bit too slow. C-41 shouldn't be all that different, but that 3.5 minutefirst developer time is very short.
     
  16. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The thing I like about the setup is you can change any part to fit your needs. I'm running a 300 watt heater. If I decided it was too slow I'd go bigger or might even just go with two heaters. OTOH it's easy enough to just add hot water to the cooler.

    A commerical built setup is more of a take it or leave it. It's a lot harder to fine tune things.
     
  17. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've been developing C-41, E-6; EP-2, RA 4 and a little P30 and R3/3000 for, lo, these many moons now.

    A couple of observations:

    I've screwed up and developed in C-41 chemistry at 35 degrees Celsius, instead of the required 38 degrees. That is 3.0 degrees lower than is should be, for the same time, 3 minutes 15 seconds. I print my own color, and I haven't noticed ANY unusual color correction necessary with these negatives. I would suggest that temperature control is NOT as critical as the "everybody knows" perception.
    I've made a similar error with RA-4 going the other way; 3 degrees too hot - with the same results.

    The time of 3 minutes 15 seconds ... It will take some three - four (?) seconds to fill the tank in the processor, but it will take about the same amount of time to empty it .... so the net effect on time will be near nothing. Again, I don't think the process is sensitive enough to be worth agonizing over it.
     
  18. stanley

    stanley Member

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    Now this is very useful reading. Thank you all for detailed explanations of the process - much more than I could hope for.

    Redarding the lift - initially I was a bit miffed as to what it did - and since seeing a picture of a tank tipped upwards, and reading the above, I begin to understand how it works in the CPE2.

    I do wonder if manual tipping is as good, but with no CPE2 as yet I'd imagine the following:

    The neg drum attaches with a strong magnet.

    To manually pour out the chemicals one pulls the drum from the rotating engine, pour chemicals out of drum into appropriate collecting vessel, refills drum with next appropriate chemical, attach drum to rotating engine etc.

    The above is brief, and I hope you users of a jobo can follow it.

    Manual would be okay for me maybe, as I have done much developing of B&W 35mm with a Paterson 5 reel tank - timing and pouring you get a feel for with experience. Certainly a focal point of the process!

    I have just printed out some fifty pages of CPE2 instruction from the USA site and when a moment arises I will read through it.

    In the meantime users advice can often be simpler and more to the point than a technical manual.



    Thanks

    Julian (stanley is just delinquent fun!)
     
  19. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Julian, in a nutshell, you've got it!

    Mick.
     
  20. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    I'm astonished and a little excited to read this. I've always done my b+w in my jobo cpe2 but was always put off doing colour transparency because of the temperature accuracy involved.

    Now I'm thinking of having a go or at least researching more. Cheers!
     
  21. stanley

    stanley Member

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    Mick

    You mention use of Fuji Reala. Could I ask what chemicals you use to develop the negs?

    Thanks

    Julian
     
  22. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Julian, I use C41, or to be more precise, a variation, I use a mixture of proprietary chemicals and my own darkroom mixed chemicals.

    The best bet for you is to work out what your country sells to the trade and see if you can work around their 5, 10 or 20 litre kits. Mostly you'll find, from 5 litre upwards, the cost really starts to plummet.

    The same goes for the paper printing side of the system. I use RA4 in 5 litre kits but as they were/are Agfa I'll be looking at Kodak or Fuji kits designed for mini labs. I raised the question recently and the replies basically said that the 20 litre (or 40 cannot remember) kits were in lots of ten litre mixes with the bottles labelled so that one can mix up different amounts. I myself need 2½ litres for my paper processor so I only mix up that amount.

    For C41 I would suggest that you look at what's available locally, get the minimum amount, run a roll or two through in your Patterson tanks and see how you go. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how easy it really is.

    What country are you in?

    Mick.
     
  23. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    Fuji Reala can be done with standard C41 chemicals. I have used a lot of this film together with Amaloco K54 mononegacolor C41 kit. 3:15min dev. 6:30 min Blix , 3:00 Min. wash and 1:00 Min. stabilizer (wetting agent+formaline 1%).

    I know the last additive is discussible.

    With this kit you have more temperature variation possible without any problem. 37,8 degrees C. but also 37 degrees C. gives no problem later on the RA-4 printing with my FEM (Wallner) CFL-4012 analyzer.

    Blix and stabi can be done 38 derees C. +2/-3 degrees C.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    PS. E-6 is much more critical.
     
  24. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    Exactly how it works without a lift, and the way I've been doing it for 5 years.

    As others have stated the C41 process time of 3:15 seems short, but isn't if you're prepared. Just detach the drum and start pouring back into the dev bottle at 3:05. Pour in the next solution and reattach to the jobo.

    The process times are nowhere near as critical as some would have you believe, (and neither are the temps with an Agfa C41 kit) - Hmmn, must rush out and buy those. Just stay within 15 secs and you'll be fine.


    Graham.
     
  25. stanley

    stanley Member

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    I'm in the UK so I guess chemicals are in good supply. However, this is another area of research for me and quite possibly I should go off and do my homework before asking any more questions!

    Many thanks for all the help regarding the Jobo CPE2. They appear on ebay quite often, so I'll be bidding soon enough.

    Best Wishes

    Julian
     
  26. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    You can order Fotospeed chemicals. Their C41 is the same as the K54 Amaloco mononegacolor. It's their OEM product.

    Best regards,

    Robert