HP Combi Plan

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Maine-iac, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I'm considering a switch from tray development of 4X5 to tank so that I don't have to be in the dark so long. Can anyone tell me about the HP Combi Plan's strengths and weaknesses? How does it compare, e.g., to the Jobo 2500 tank system or the BTZS tube system?

    Larry
     
  2. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I have one. When I bought it, the first thing I found out was that the lid was not light tight. If I held it up to the light, I could see what looked like about ND 2. The dealer replaced the lid, of course.

    It takes a little help from that Spanish wizard Manuel Dexterity, and I have some complaints about the fill-empty rates. You can always fill the tank before you load the film, but changing solutions is not a task you want to perform when you need very accurate timing. You could do as I do on occasion and add a fixer like TF4 directly to the developer at end of development period. You would need about 125 ml of concentrate. If you use that technique, be sure to agitate rapidly and thoroughly when you dd the fixer.

    I guess you've heard enough of the bad points.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The Jobo 2500s are maybe the most flexible in terms of format. They can also be used in rotary mode saving on chemicals. Those are the big gains with the 2500s. Plus used tanks are relatively easy to find even if used 4x5 reels aren't. You actually have to be carefull with getting used 4x5 reels. Some people have the older style reels that can have problems. You need to make sure you get the 2509N reels.
     
  4. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I find the combitank great. Yes it has slow drain and fill times, but in practice using dev times over 10 mins, I have never had problems. I get very even development, but keep agitation down, which helps I would think. Do a search and you will find some tips from me and others about how to make them work better for you. I have two and would not be without them for 5x4. Some of the plastic components are a tad fragile and one has to be careful with these bits (film retainer). Mine have had 3 years use and probably have many years left. Loading is very easy once you get familiar and it is not tough to start with, tho even with the film loading guides, one can miss the innermost slots to start with. I know some say only do 4 sheets at a time, but now that mine's is bonded perfectly square and rigid, I do 6 with none popping out of runners and even development.

    Tom
     
  5. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    There was a recent thread on these Combi plan tanks.

    Once you've learnt the quirks, they give good results.
     
  6. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Thanks for all the tips.
     
  7. mikepry

    mikepry Subscriber

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    I had one a long time ago and I quickly ditched it. It leaked like all getout and the plastic assembly that holds the sheets of film basically crumbled. Biggest waste of money. Can't say one good thing about it. I have since gone to tubes and have not looked back. In fact for 4/5 you could constuct tubes out of ABS for pennies and have individual control over each sheet of film and best of all...work in the light allot more.
     
  8. Shmoo

    Shmoo Subscriber

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    I've been using the Jobo 2551 tank with two 4x5 reels in it (12 sheets) for the past year. Once you get used to the loader, it's easy...practice, practice, practice as they say.

    If you use it as an inversion tank, you're looking at a lot of liquid and weight in which case you might want to go with the smaller one reel tank. If you're going to "roll" it, I would recommend getting a Beseler motorized roller for it...works like a dream.

    S
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I have them and they work fine for me. I don't drain them as per instructions though.

    I put the film rack in the tank already filled then put the lid on. When it is time to empty the developer I just pop the top ( in darkness of course) and dump out the developer. Then I fill it with water a few times and dump it. Then I place the rack in a new tank filled with fixer, and put the top on.

    So basically I have two tanks and only do six sheets at a time.

    THe slow draining bothered me so I adopted this system. Although the slow draining only really matters with developer.

    Michael
     
  10. Pieter

    Pieter Member

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    After having some trouble with watertightness of the lids (chemicals were almost running freely out of the (new) tank!) I started using three combiplan tanks in complete darkness.

    I fill them with developer, stopbath and fixer and thus actualy achieving a series of small deep tanks. The advantage is that it saves space and chemicals, and the film racks of the combiplan system are easy in use.

    Each time I process six sheets. After passing of the clearing time of the first batch I can dump the developer fill the tank again and start with the next batch of six films.

    In this way I can process up to 18 films in 1 1/2 hour. Of course every batch can have it's own development (for example N+1, N, N-1) and in this way one can even save time.

    Pieter
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I am surprised by how many people have had leaks. My lids are extremely tight indeed. I guess I was lucky with my two, which considering the price of the things (considering that they would be $15 if not a photographic item), one should not have to be! If you are happy to work in darkness, I would not spend the money on combitanks. Just get hold of a carrier and clip and use any old tub or bucket for the fluids. The larger the opening, the better. We have all snagged the carrier before in the dark, when for some reason it just does not want to go in! The Nova thermostatically controlled handline is another option, tho the solution containers are simply too small IMHO to get the blessed carrier into quickly in the dark. Whoever designed this system obviously only tested it with the lights on..... For me this ruined what would have been a great system.
    Tom
     
  12. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    All this talk about leaking lids has done me in!! Mine now will leak profusely after a disaster last night. I had placed on the boiler to dry, as usual; but it accentally got moved onto the hot pipe which proceeded without any consultation or my approval, to melt a nice crescent in the side.........

    Am now having to try to source a new lid, or whole tank. I got mine from my local toyshop, Robert White, but couldn't see them listed on their website. Have to say that after some googling, I am still struggling to find out where they are made. Manufacturer's contact details anyone?
     
  13. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    I thought J&C had these for sale, but cannot find on their site. Also they looks like the cameras have gone as well. Did I miss an announcement?

    Mike
     
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  15. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    Adorama have them at http://www.adorama.com/DKCPTS.html


    Mike
     
  16. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Thanks Mike,

    I found these at adorama and also another place in USA where quoted at $57 but was hoping to find a UK source cheaper than the £75 ($140ish) which NOVA and Silverprint list, none are on UK e-bay at present.

    Otherwise I shall get it sent over the pond having spoken to them on Monday to determine postage costs. I read on one website that they were sourced from Germany, but then the trail went cold!

    Of course anyone using them in darkrooms doesn't exactly need the lid. Happy to swap!!!

    Those who have leaking lids, agree with Tom, the fit is very tight and hard to see how it would leak. I would expect that screwing the valve closed after filling ought to help curb this spilling!
     
  17. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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  18. Galaxens President

    Galaxens President Member

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    I just ordered one and they are quite expensive in sweden as well, 895 SEK (about $128, but we also have 25% sales tax here, guess why I am not a subscriber yet ;o)). I think I read that someone thought they were made in Götene, (southern) Sweden (If I remember correctly Gepe has a factory there as well).

    /Richard Uppsala, Sweden

    Edit: Read the post by Bob Salomon in this thread for the history of production of the combiplan.
     
  19. hortense

    hortense Member

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    Combi Plan Tank

    See this article that includes photos. It is the best guide for various ways to use this tank.
     
  20. hortense

    hortense Member

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  21. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi Baxter !
    I bought mine in France at Prophot ( http://www.prophot.fr ) They speak english, have spare parts avail. and ship internationally. They may not be the cheapest option, but they stock it (bought another one a month ago).
    Hope this helps !
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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  23. edz

    edz Member

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    I find the best way to use the Krause/Gepe/HP Combiplan tanks are as-if they were deep tanks but instead of replentishable chemistry, mainly one-shot. Since they are small I find one can get away with 2-tanks. Once the film is in developer its significantly less sensitive to light and while one will tend to work "in the dark" it does not have to be "that dark"--- the same observation applies to the BTZS tubes. Since I driop my film into a filled tank of developer and remove it to an intermediate stop-bath, I have much better control. The lids are just used to cover things up and instead of inversion the film hanger is moved up/down (as with a Nova). While I also have a 2509n reel for my Jobo I don't use it for B&W.
     
  24. hortense

    hortense Member

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  25. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    Been using mine almost a year now and no complaints except the slow fill/drain (which hasn't caused any problems). It's a little hungry for chemistry at 1L but I like running 6 at a time - with E-6 it's all exposed "by the book" anyway. Paid $88 U.S. at Porter
     
  26. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I suppose one-shot chemistry with tank and hanger
    processing would be practicle. I was thinking of the
    chemical loaded soups used years ago when I used
    the method.

    A liter of FX-1, for example, has a total of 8 1/2
    grams of chemistry. In that volume a few 4 x 5s
    can be hanger developed and each sheet can
    be given it's own specific development. Dan