Rotary film processors for b/w films - what are the options?

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by losheng, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. losheng

    losheng Member

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    Hey, guys,

    I have been doing b/w film developing using Paterson tanks for years. Until recently, I have never had the chance to try rotary film processors (Jobo CPE-2)- oh boy, I love it! But - the unit belonged to a friend, and I would like to know what the options are today - given that Jobo's processor manufacturing facilities was closed several years ago. I can't seem to find anyone still making rotary film processors for home use.

    Also, I would really prefer a much simpler rotary processor without the water bath (hey! space is premium in Asia!). Anyone has any recommendation?

    Thanks!
     
  2. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    unicolor/beseler motor base w/ a jobo 2500-series drum(or paterson long drum)

    be aware, they come in two flavors: self-reversing, and single-direction only(you have to flip the drum ends to reverse direction)

    reversing of direction helps prevent bromide drag(streaking) on your negs.

    scour ebay, craigslist, etc... there's plenty of them out there, I got mine(and hopefully soon a 2nd) through craigslist for $20.

    -Dan
     
  3. losheng

    losheng Member

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    Thanks, Dan! I will keep a look out for it. There's no one making these things new any more, is there?
     
  4. dng88

    dng88 Member

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    But someone also point out that you should get the single direction and reverse it from time to time, as the reversal might not be a complete revolution.
     
  5. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    But you can still order parts.

    A Jobo CPA or CPP is mainly the way to go, especially when you want to use their Expert drums.

    If you have 35mm, 120 roll film and ocassionally 4x5" you can consider the Heiland TAS processor. This instrument you can order new and is on the market since 2004.

    http://www.fotohuisrovo.nl/documentatie/TAS_Flyer_D.pdf
     
  6. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Phototherm still makes their Sidekick processors. Expensive though. You can find them used for $300-1000 if you keep an eye out.
     
  7. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    Phototherm is a much better (i.e. more robust and easier to use) than Jobo CPE-2... more expensive though and not as easy to find.
     
  8. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear losheng,

    Because of the potential problem with finding parts, I built a CPE (no lift!!) funtional equivalent using readily available industrial parts. To save money I purchased almost all used components, but equivalent products (temp controller, motor, relays etc.) should be available new for many years to come.

    Of course I am married to the Jobo tanks, but they seem built well and I continue to pick up used ones as good deals pop up. I suppose I could build my own tanks that would work, but I doubt that will be necessary.

    Neal Wydra
     
  9. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    You can pick up a CPE, CPA, CPP for (almost) nothing here. Weakest point is the elevator but this part you can order new by Jobo. And for the nothing price + lift I doubt you can build something yourself.

    ATL are more expensive and for these machines you need serious service.

    But for sure availability is different on the different places in the world.
     
  10. losheng

    losheng Member

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    Thank you guys - the information you guys have provided is invaluable!!

    A few follow-up comments:

    1. DanielStone, dng88: The Uniroller looks like the most cost effective way to get thing started. However, if I were to use it with my current set of Paterson tanks, will it have the problem of rolling the tanks off the roller (the tanks look like they have a tapered profile)? Also, the best thing about rotary processing is using less chemicals - does anyone know off hand how much chemical is needed for the 2-reel and 5-reel tanks?

    2. RobertV: I have also been looking at the Jobo CPP2, which as a cold water solenoid to process b/w films below room temperature (maybe the CPP has the same?). Does anyone know how does it work? Does it actually have a heat exchanger to bring down incoming water to a specific temperature, or does one need to provide ready cold water? Here in the tropics, tap water runs between 25-29 degree Celsius (77 to 82 degree F). The footprint of the water bath is not very desirable, but the convenience of automatic temperature control will make it worthwhile! There are CPP2 units coming up in eBay every now and then, but CPPs don't appear often.

    3. Tim, alanrockwood: Phototherm! I never knew about Phototherm - the Sidekick looks awesome, and it looks like its in the league of the Jobo ATL-1500. That's really a washing-machine solution: just load the film and press the button! Indeed something to keep in mind. I can't afford brand new ones, but I'll look out for used sets.

    4. Neal: honestly - until i knew about the Uniroller - I was thinking just exactly that! Jobo tanks are very easy to get, even in Singapore. So I thought it should be easy to build a simple rotary processor with a pair of conveyor rollers, one motorized and one free-wheeling. I figure I'll need relays, a simple controller to reverse the direction, a power supply, a dial to control the rotation reversal interval, and a on-off switch. But alas - my expertise stops at the software, and I don't know enough about the electronics components that I need to get (didn't think I'll need to know this when I skipped all the electronics classes). If you would be so kind to share the plan, that would definitely help!

    Hey, guys, again - much appreciated for all the information!
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    losheng:

    I use Paterson (and other) tanks on a Uniroller base. The 3 x 35mm/2 x120 roll tank is long enough that it can ride on the Uniroller's wheels while the wider part of the tank extends past the roller. When I use the smaller tanks (2 x 35mm/1 x 120), I use them inside a plastic container from a kitchen store that is slightly longer and slightly wider then the tanks. The kitchen store container has the non-tapered walls, so it works well.

    In both cases, I find it helpful to use heavy duty large rubber bands, to keep the tanks and container from wandering off their perch.

    As far as needed quantities of chemicals are concerned, I use 1/2 the normal capacity for the tanks. For the 3 x 35mm/2 x120 roll Paterson tank, that means 500 ml.

    By the way, when I do a single roll of 120, I prefer the AP/Adorama/?? equivalent tanks and reels that can also use Paterson reels. They fit well in the kitchen container, and use a little bit less chemistry.
     
  12. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear losheng,

    It will take a day or so to find the information. It's pretty much rough hand work but I will get it to you.

    Neal Wydra
     
  13. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    A CPP will only help if your tap water which is comming in is under 20C. In this way you can cool down your water bath.

    In all other situations (CPE/CPA) you will have to cool down the water bath with ice cubes.

    The only alternative is to make a higher temperature development but over 24 C for B&W you're running into troubles with soft emulsion, the use of hardener, too short developing times, developers not suitable for higher temperatures.
     
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  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Or a nice steel tank with good reels.

    Rotary processing is a wonderful idea, but not always a happy reality.
     
  16. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I'll second the Phototherm crowd. You would have a fight on your hands to get mine from me.

    New they really are quite pricey, but if you can find a used one then do not hesitate to snap it up if the price is right.
     
  17. losheng

    losheng Member

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    Mattking: I'll keep that ingenious modifications in mind!
    Neal: much appreciated!
    RobertV: without a true heat exchanger, the cold water solenoid is useless in the tropics then - water here are way above 20 degree C. I also knew about the TPV processor. It looks like it does only automatic inversion - so I presume it would use the same amount of chemicals as hand development method. But the tiny foot print is very nice indeed.
    Michaelbsc: Thanks - looks like a used Uniroller is the cheapest way to get things going (just grabbed one off ebay for USD20 to try it out), but the Phototherm is the complete solution. I looked around ebay and couldn't find any recent listing at all. Where did you guys find your Phototherm?
    df cardwell: when you said "not always a happy reality", are you referring to the possible problems such as streaks and such?
     
  18. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    I managed to snag two of them on ebay over the years. I would say they come up on ebay several times per year, maybe something like four to eight times per year. Set up an ebay search that automatically emails you every time it finds a Phototherm. In fact, set up several searches using different spelling variations (phototherm, photo-therm, etc.)
     
  19. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    What you want is cooling down the water bath temperature. When your tap water is above the developing temperature you would need a cryostat. A cryostat is available for lab equipment and could be installed on a Jobo. In fact for such a unit you do not need any solenoid so a CPA would be ok.
    Water is floating through a peltier element where it's cooled down. A sensor in the recycled water is controlling the right temperaure.

    About the TPV processor: Very compact but the same possibilities as hand inversion. When using a Jobo 1510 (250ml) or 1520 (485ml) tank the overall volume is still rather low.
    The temperature correction is done automatically on the unit.
     
  20. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    when you said "not always a happy reality", are you referring to the possible problems such as streaks and such?

    DEPENDING on what you are trying to do,
    and the results you want to achieve,
    ROTARY PROCESSING might not be a satisfactory technique for you.

    What is it you want to do ???
     
  21. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Rotary processing is great for those processes which were designed for strictly programmed agitation and which use materials which are not adversely affected by exposure to air. For example, c-41, e6, etc. work very well with rotary processing.

    I've used it a great deal with a variety of developers, including pyro formulas. Pyro oxidizes rapidly. That isn't to say it can't be used in a rotary processor, but doing so can result in heavy overall stain which can seriously affect printing. I use an old pyro-acetone formula which gives very little stain if used in a tank or even in a tray, but in the rotary processor it comes out looking like a good cup of coffee. This not only adds greatly to the printing time, but also, if using VC papers, it adds a serious amount of yellow filtration which skews the contrast heavily to the softer side. Correcting for that is no longer rational and the more high contrast filtration added, the exposure time needed increases something like exponentially.

    When it is right for the process, though, it can be really great, because consistency issues are minimized and you don't have to stand there in front of the sink for long periods of time.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Both dfcardwell and bowzart have a lifetime more experience than I do, but my own work with using stainless steel tanks and reels that you manually agitate supports their notions.
    If you have a situation where constant agitation gives you the results you need you potentially have a little gold mine in an automated rotary processor.

    But, agitation is a very powerful tool in film processing that you may want to make use of, and that is impossible with the rotary processors. All of my processing relies heavily on letting the tank rest between agitation cycles; without it I would get the wrong contrast, density, highlight/shadow separation, and mid-tone placement for most, if not all, my negatives.

    So, the question you want to ask yourself before you decide to use an automated processor is - will my process benefit from it, or can I get better results with a different technique? A Jobo isn't the answer to everything, but admittedly it does exceedingly well with certain processes.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Rotary processing-Paterson tank on a Beseler roller, 35mm Plus-X, HC110-dil E:
     

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  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Nice shot, Matt!

     
  25. losheng

    losheng Member

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    My preference for the rotary processor is insanely, embarrassingly - shallow: it saves chemicals and it allows me to surf the web while waiting for the film to be developed :smile: I have to admit it is also one of ignorance - since I have yet to experiment extensively with different developers.

    I have never taken a rigorous, scientific approach to see for myself the effects of different agitation methods have on the final result. I suppose this would have to be done with two rolls of negs that were exposed in the same way, developed with exactly the same developer, at the same temperature, but developing one with a rotary processor, and one without. I reckon different developers may even respond differently. There's indeed quite a fair bit of calibration and homework that needs to be done before I'm capable of knowing which way to go. For now - it's just plain convenience :smile:
     
  26. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    For me, it added consistency to what I was doing. I have a motor base and use a steel reel can inside a patterson universal. I can't go without my steel reels, but the can was too small. I use longer dev times with higer dilutions and the results arte great. I traded Rodinal for XTol, and it is a much better fit. When I use WD2D+, I just use half the B (+%20 more time)and get better negs than before.

    I wish I had done this 30 years ago.....