Nova Processor or trays

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by B&W_arthur, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. B&W_arthur

    B&W_arthur Member

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    Hey everybody!:wink:

    I am going to set up my darkroom, specifiically my enlarging system.
    Recently, I've won a durst M605, with carriers for 135 and 6x6 and
    a 35 condenser, on ebay.

    I intend to print 5x7 with 135 negs and 8x10 with 6x6 negs most of the time.
    Occasionally, I blow up to 11x14 and 12x16 with these negs.

    I am wondering whether to buy a nova processor or developing trays.
    Options under consideration are:

    option 1: four 8x10 trays and four 12x16 (or 14x17) trays for occasional large prints

    option 2: second hand nova trimate 8x10 processor and four 12x16 (or 14x17) trays.

    The nova processor seems to save much time for mixing chemicals as they can be left in the processor for next printing. It also has a build in heater which seems to be handy when printing in winter or spring. However, in Hong Kong, the heater seems useless to me as room temperature is around 26~35 celsius degrees here in Summer. Right?
    If so, can the high price tag be justified? Another consideration is space, my bath room is about 4'x6' (11' height). Do you think it is overcrowded if trays are used?

    Question 1: Which option is more appropriate for me?

    Question 2: should I buy a print washer (not the cheap tray one) as part of my space saving implementation?

    Question 3: for enlarging 6x6 neg, M605 needs a condenser called Siriocon80, right? All I can find online are Siriocon80 for durst M70, can it be used for M605?:confused:

    Advices and suggestions are welcome.
    Thanks.:smile:
     
  2. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    I'm using a Nova 3 slot 8x10 processor and it is a lot more convenient for me. I replenish the chemicals with 150ml of fresh chemistry before each session, although if I only made a few prints the last session I use the existing chemicals. The big benefit is being able to just make a couple of prints without having to mix a litre of developer plus there are no trays to wash afterwards. The only thing you don't really see is the print developing but as others have said it keeps the discipline of sticking to a set time without the temptation to pull the print too early. The footprint of the unit is very small so if you're stuck for space it's a huge plus. However never try to move a full unit as either you or the Nova will end up damaged. For larger prints I have a couple of sets of large trays which I've not used up to now.

    The next thing on my list is a print washer as this is what's keeping me away from fibre. RC paper only needs a couple of minutes so it's not that inconvenient to hand wash. If you can pick one up at a decent price then go for it. The Nova and a washer will only take up a couple of square feet.

    Condensors can be very expensive for the Durst enlargers and one option is to look for a colour head for your particular model. With a colour head you'll have the advantage of built in mixing boxes for 35mm and MF plus if you're in a shared room the problems with dust will be less obvious than with a condensor set. I have both and certainly for 35mm I prefer the diffusion enlarger.
     
  3. Andrey Donchev

    Andrey Donchev Member

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    Hi, You can save a lot of space with the Nova processor and I thing this will be a lot more appropriate for use in a bathroom. If you don't need a heater, you can buy the Nova Monochrome 8x10 processor which is a lot cheaper (you can see it here). It will save you space and it is very convenient to work with. NovaDarkroom has an eBay store. You can contact them there. The eBay price is even better then in their regular Internet store Nova Darkroom.
    Second, Yes! You'll definitely need a good print washer! A great money saver!
    I whish you many great moments in your new darkroom!
    Regards!
    Andy
     
  4. edz

    edz Member

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    I'd advise against the Monochrome. Beyond the observation that the heated baths are nice and usefull, the Monochrome is:
    - to a lower build and material quality.
    - the transparent sidewalls are of little to no use (one still develops to time).
    - less suited to longer term storage of chemicals since the cover is for ALL the slots and not, as the processors, for each slot.
    - less suited to draining away from a sink as the taps are higher up.
    - more expensive than even a good used Club or Tri-Rapid.
     
  5. Ted Harris

    Ted Harris Subscriber

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    Any of the NOVA procesors are great for saving space. They also do a great job of temperature stabilization as the others have said. However, you didn't tell us if you are going to be printing both color and black and white or only black and white. If you are only printing black and white then the NOVA is deefinitelyoverkill as you have no need for the fine temperature controls that you need for color.

    It is a great device for color printers but for simpler black and white processing you need to decide if the considerable expense is worthwhile.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Key to the "worth the expense" argument is how often you may use it over its life. If it is two holiday rolls every year then NO but it strikes me that if you were that kind of a user, you probably wouldn't subscribe to APUG.

    Unless its use was very infrequent then the convenience and chemical saving properties alone probably made it worthwhile. This added to the trimate or quad's life probably reduce its cost per print to a very reasonable figure.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Get a used heated Nova Trimate or quad. Sounds like a 16x12 would be ideal (lots of room for swishing the print about...I feel that when processing the max print size things are a bit cramped).

    Prices are high for squeaky clean ones but dirty ugly ones are often cheap as chips, so get a dirty ugly stained one that works fine (ie has been used for colour and not cleaned with tar remover)! Many people get excited about aesthetics and pay top dollar for a darkroom processor they can polish along with their Leicas!!

    There are many threads about this and my opinion remains the same. Nova Nova Nova. only trays when prints wont fit!
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have a Nova 16x20 that I use mostly for b/w printing. I got it when my darkroom was also my bathroom, so I only had to have one tray in the tub for a wash tray, the Beseler 23C sat on top of the toilet, and the Nova sat on the sink. I was able to make exhibition prints with it in an otherwise very primitive darkroom. I still have it and I love it. Because of the size and weight of the thing, I don't break it out unless I'm planning on doing a lot of 16x20s. Each slot takes about 3.8 liters of chems to fill at that size. Another downside is that sometimes when working with fiber paper, the paper will stick to the waffle-textured wall of the slot occasionally and you'll get waffle-pattern marks on the print. Continuous agitation in the slot should help prevent this, which is a bit of a pain when working with a sopping wet 16x20 sheet of fiber paper.

    To clean one, sprinkle a bit of Oxy-Clean or similar substance (it's basically a peroxide compound used for brightening laundry) in the bottom of the slot, then fill to the brim with very hot water, and allow it to sit for an hour or so. Drain, rinse, repeat. That will get rid of just about any chemical residue. I do recommend doing this outdoors if possible, or in a well-ventilated room if not. The peroxide puts off a rather stinky gas when combined with the goo in the slots. The good news is, this will get rid of just about anything except really well-set fixer stains.
     
  9. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Option 3: a used (if you can find one in HK) 12x16 Trimate. :smile:

    A couple of additional points I don't think made by others. Once full of chemicals, you can't pick it up and move it. If you need to move it about from one room to another, put it on a wheeled trolley. Another advantage of the slots is that there is only a small surface area which helps to keep the smell down considerably. Use no odour stop bath (citric acid based) and low odour fixer and you may find that you do not even need continuous ventilation - just open a door or window every now and again.

    A Vertical print washer saves space and is likely to be more efficient over using trays with the prints floating about.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  10. B&W_arthur

    B&W_arthur Member

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    Thanks for the input. There are many nice guys in APUG supporting newbies like me.

    It seems that there are many Nova fans here. The processor is more efficient over trays by saving me from washing trays after each enlargment session. See if I can find a used Nova processor in a affordable price.

    Leeturner, your suggestion of buying a color head is very useful. See if I manage to find a color head or a Siriocon first. Sometimes, Durst accessories are difficult to find if not expensive.
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    The upside is that chemistry stay fresh for ages and you can be up and running in seconds. Just switch on the heater an hour or so before you intend to start....make a brew..watch TV..wander into darkroom, remove lids and GO!

    I set my thermostat at a temp marginally above the max room temperature so that whatever happens the ambient temp is never higher. That way the heater has minimal work to do, but always brings it to and maintains it at a constant temp..rather than being overtaken by ambient.

    I always use constant agitation with FB and RC tho with RC you tend not to get the waffle pattern regardless of how little you agitate.

    Put it this way (mine is a Nova Quad 20x16). If mine was destroyed or beamed up by aliens, I buy another immediately.

    When I had the darkroom upstairs (my first), i would make a few draft RC prints, give them a quick wash for a minute or so, dry them with a hairdryer after a 10 mins dripping...watch TV talk to my wife...show her the drafts....ponder what I am going to do for the 'real' prints...and wander back upstairs when ready. no chems to go bad in trays...little smell or spillages..constnt temperature etc. They allow a much more casual approach as well as being eminently wuited to volume and replenishment.

    Tom
     
  12. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Another option would be to build a slot processor. I bought a sheet of 1/4" x 4 ft by 8 ft ABS for about $70. This will allow me to make a processor to do 16x20's. You would need to be able to make smooth and straight cuts in sheet materials. A good table saw is ideal. At the moment, I've got everything cut to size. I just need to glue everything together.
     
  13. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have a Nova Quad 16 x 20 that I have used alot but I just retired it (? temporarily). It is somewhat convenient, saves space, reduces chemical odors, allows tempering of solutions, and is a quality product.

    However, the 16 x 20 model is too tall to comfortably place in my sink so I have a stand for it. It is slow to drain and tedious. The water jackets are especially annoying to drain. It is very heavy and immovable when full of chemistry. Cleaning it and rinsing it with water is a bit of a nuisance, especially if it is not in a sink (I have a floor drain though). The 4 slots are somewhat limiting if want to try two developers, fixing sequences with two fixers, etc. You should avoid using it for Selenium toning unless you want it stained forever. PermaWash does not last and should be replaces each day or esle a scummy precipitate can form and be a nuisance to clean. Also, the clips require you to mar the paper albeit slightly. The clips don't fit heavy fiber base paper very well and the cost nearly $20 each.

    Because of all of those issues, I have switched to single tray processing. A bit more time consuming but very clean, no marring of prints, allows for any processing sequence, easy to substitute/experiment with different chemicals, uses only one tray therefore minimal space, no staining of the tray, etc. Single tray is a bit slower, especially if your are trying to print large volumes but on balance it wins for me. For you, it would be much cheaper as well. You could use the savings to buy an RH Designs StopClock Pro timer which is much more useful than the Nova. You do need to find suitable chemical containers though. I use Doran 2 gallon floating lid containers with 1 - 1.5 gallons of chemistry depending on the size of tray I am using (max 20 x 24).
     
  14. B&W_arthur

    B&W_arthur Member

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    Guys, thanks for the advice. :smile:

    Eventually, I won a Nova 8x10 trimate processor on e-bay just over $70. :D

    Both the Durst color head and the Siriocon 80 are difficult to find. Maybe, I should start enlarging 35mm negs first.

    My next target is a print wahser. :wink:
     
  15. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    They have a special holder for fibre but I'm not sure if it can only be used in the angled tanks. I seem to remember reading on APUG that Les McLean helped them with the design of the fibre holder.
     
  16. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    My 12x16 fibre holder fits fine in my Trimate but I no longer use it: it seems to carry a lot of chemical to the next tray. I can't speak for larger sizes, but 12x16 fibre works fine with the normal paper clips (although the paper can be a bit floppy by the time it reaches the fixer and sometimes likes help from the back of some print tongs to stop it folding at the top - it depends on the paper & phase of the moon etc...).

    Cheers, Bob.