E6 processor recommendations.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ZoneIII, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    OK, my tests today tell me that I have to get an E6 processor. I won't go into all that but I am convinced that, for my purposes, my only good option is to get an E6 processor. I suppose I could try Jobo expert drums in a water bath, though, because I do have precise temperature control but I'm getting a processor instead.

    A little quick research tells me that the Jobo CPP-2 would be a good option. The CPA-2 would probably be OK too but the former appears to be more what I need.

    However, I also ran across the neat little ATL500 and ATL800 processors and they seem like they would be great for my needs. The only problem is that I am not sure if you really get the best results with the 3-step chemistry that those processors use. (I used to use 3-step chemisty for color prints with excellent results but I have no experience with it for film.) Does anyone have any experience with 3-step chemistry? Advantages? Disadvantages? How are the results compared to regular six-step processing?

    What processor do you use/recommend?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Well, I now see that Jobo also makes at least two compact 6-step processores (ATL1000 and ATL1500). Any experience or suggestions with those?
     
  3. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I've only ever used a Paterson Auto Colortherm. It keeps the temperature very constant, but all processing is done manually.
     
  4. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Thanks, Kevin. I never heard of that. I will check it out.
     
  5. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    From what I can tell, the Patterson Auto Colotherm only comes in versions for roll film... at least, that's all I could find at their website.

    I think I am mistaken about the Jobo 3010 Expert drum. I assumed that it could be rolled in a water bath but I think I was wrong about that. Does anyone know of a good drum for 4x5" film that can be rolled in a water bath? I still want to go with a processor but I would give manual processing with a drum a try if there is a good one out there to do the job. It might at least tide me over till I find the processor I am looking for.
     
  6. Kino

    Kino Member

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    I have a ATL 2300 and 3000 -- lovely machines, very precise and rugged.

    Sell the 3000 to you CHEAP, but you had better have some room for it! :wink:
     
  7. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Kino,

    I'm not sure what the 3000 machine is but I think I can assume it's one of those monsters that can handle commercial work. I'll have to look it up. My darkroom is pretty crammed right now but I can always find a place to put something else. The one requirement I have is that the processor be suited for one-shot and occasional use. There are a lot of commercial E6 processors out there to be had for next to nothing but, unfortunately, they are usually not suited for occasional use. I want a processor that lets me mix only the chemicals I need for a run. It seems there are so many different models. I'll have to look the 3000 up. There is a big ATL on eBay right now. I'm not sure what model it is but it's a floor model.
     
  8. Rob Landry

    Rob Landry Member

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    E6 processor recommendations

    The Jobos are pretty good machines and can be found used at decent prices. The only problem is that parts may be getting hard to come by and Omega Satter is not doing a very good job taking over for Jobo USA. Anyway, that's another story for another day.

    The CPP is the best manual processor but the CPA will do nicely as well and will allow you to use the expert drums. The main benefit of a Jobo is the lift which allows you to drain and fill the tanks without ever having to handle the chemicals. In regards to the ATL processors, they're nice but not necessary and are better suited for volume work. The disadvantage with the ATLs is that they're quite a bit more complicated and there's more things that can go wrong. Another issue is that they require a temperate regulating faucet since they don't temper the rinse water directly.
     
  9. Kino

    Kino Member

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    That is the ATL 3, mine is the ATL 3000, which is almost identical except the head on my machine is newer generation (like the current 2300) and mine has the optional replenishment tanks under the stand.

    Remember, the ATL machines don't need to be located in the darkroom; you only have to load the tanks in the dark.

    I am also closer in Ohio... :wink: PM me if interested. I need to get the 3000 out of my garage; I don't need 2 Jobos!
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    If I were closer I'd certainly be interested!

    But as I indicated elsewhere, a hand line is another possibility, and with floating lids, the chemicals last at least a couple of weeks, so a lot depends on your definition of 'occasional' and 'small volume'. A Nova hand line uses 1200ml per bath, which equates to 60 sheets (in Tetenal chemicals, which are what I prefer) if used to the limit. I've never put more than about 40 sheets through.

    I've found Tetenal 3-bath (well, 4-bath if you include the stabilizer) entirely adequate, though you do have to adjust the pH with NaOH or acid (sulphuric, I think, but I've never had to go in that direction) to fine-tune the colour.

    I've had varying reports about the advantages/disadvantages of 3-bath. Some say the only advantage of 6-bath is replenishment in a commercial environment; others that 6-bath gives more stable trannies. As I have equal respect for the people who have given that advice, I can't recommend either way, but I will say that I've had plenty of home-processed trannies published and that all bar my earliest (pre-E6) efforts show no signs of deterioration. Nor do the pre-E6 ones, but they were so bad that they couldn't deteriorate much anyway: this was a Ferrania process in the early 70s.

    Overall, though, I think I'd be more inclined to go for a machine, even though you get far less bang for the buck in terms of sheets per litre (6 sheets max in 270 ml, so 18 sheets max to a litre kit or 24 sheets in 1080ml), UNLESS you're shooting enough to justify the hand line.
     
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  11. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Thanks guys! I appreciate it.

    I like the ATL machines from what I've seen but you brought up some good points about parts availability and complexity (more things can go wrong).

    As for a hand line, as I mentioned in my other related question, I do have a sink line. I use it when I have a lot of film to process but it isn't suited to my color needs. Too much chemistry. As I mentioned in the original question and above, sometimes I just have a couple sheets to process so I want a processor that I can mix just the amount of chemistry I need. Also, sometimes I don't shoot color for weeks on end. (I tend to go in spurts because I do most of my color photography on long trips. Too ugly here in Illinois!). But the sink line would be fine for when I get back from productive trips. I shoot a lot of b&w and, even so, I only use the sink line after very productive trips. I prefer tray processing and, in fact, I will probably tray process b&w even when I get a processor. I have never minded it at all and I have been doing it for decades. I can't even remember the last time I had a damaged negative and I have very good control

    Thanks for the info on six-step vs three-step. My gut is telling me to go with 6-step but that can be done with almost every processor I have looked at except the ATL500. The ATL1000/1500, etc., look like good machines but they may be hard to come by in good condition. (I do have temperature controlled water.) From the useful information I have received, I'm leaning towards a CPA or CPP and I know that they do show up on eBay quite often.

    Thanks to you guys, things are starting to clarify. Two days ago, I had no idea what to get.
     
  12. DKT

    DKT Member

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    a super sidekick might be worth looking at as well. btw--I used to do E6 in a wing lynch machine, and we always did one-shot using 6 step kodak chem. the 6 step stuff allowed us to change the pH and the dilution (sp. grav.) strength of some of the steps and by driving ourselves nuts with control strips, we were able to tweak the process. you mix the chemistry up a little different for tube processing than with tanks, and a lot of the problems we had in terms of running control strips and trying to keep everything in check, was that since it was one-shot, our corrective actions were very limited. so, I'm not sure in the end whether the 3 step or 6 are better one way or the other for small tube processing, but there is much more documentation and support available for kodak or fuji 6 step. you'll probably need some sodium hydroxide 5N or possibly some sulfuric acid either way though, so plan on that--effects the pH of the color developer--tweaks the color balance. the stregth of the reversal bath does this as well as the first wash temp. my advice would also be to get a water panel like hass intellifaucet, if the processor you choose doesn't have some provision to offer tempered water.
     
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  13. Discpad

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    I have a pair of ATL-3 processors: The first came from a lab that owed me a lot of money; and the second I picked up from a lab in CT going all-digital for $23, which I use as a parts whore.

    If I had to do it all over, I would settle for a CPA or CPP, as long as I could run my 3005 & 3010 expert drums: The 2509N reel for sheet film is an abortion that survived the coat hanger.

    [And Yes, the 2509N is that bad...]
     
  14. dslater

    dslater Member

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    What's wrong with the 2509N reel? I've never had a problem with it.
     
  15. Discpad

    Discpad Member

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    • It's hard to load;
    • If you load 6 sheets, they will often touch, with disastrous results;
    • Because of the above, you should only load 4 sheets;
    • Streaks!!

    If I'm developing B&W 4x5 film and I don't want to fire up my ATL-3, I use rack hangers & Kodak rubber tanks.
     
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  16. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Hmm - I've never had a problem loading mine - the sheets slide right in and I routinely process six sheets at a time. I've never had sheets touch. Is your reel older/stained? Have you used it with photoflo? I have 2 reels, and I have noticed that film slides into the new one easier than the older one. I always remove my film from the reel and photoflo it in a tray.
    I have never had a problem with streaks either - I process E-6, C-41 and PMK pyro on a Jobo CPE-2 - maybe it's something with the ATL processor.

    The reason I am going on about this is that to use an expert drum, you need at least a Jobo CPP/CPA processor. These processors are about twice as expensive as a CPE model and the expert drums are very expensive as well. I'd hate to see someone decide not to process his/her own film because he/she couldn't afford the more expensive Jobo and thought the CPE-2 wouldn't work.
     
  17. radiantdarkroom

    radiantdarkroom Member

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    It is true that the 2509N does not work well once the tanks parts wear out. I had a horrible time trying to figure out what was going. I realized that the spool and tank bottom were no longer gripping enough to spin the reel around once the chemicals were loaded. Make sure you get a complete set of new drum parts for 4x5 processing.
     
  18. Discpad

    Discpad Member

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    If one is buying a used Jobo (is there any other way?!), why screw around with a CPE series to begin with?

    ...In fact, useed ATL's often go for less than the CP* series, since their owners are too lazy to crate them up.
     
  19. Discpad

    Discpad Member

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    Why masturbate with the 2509N and risk wrecking valuable film to begin with?! :D