Thinking about a Combi-Plan, or some alternate for 4x5

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by JeffD, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. JeffD

    JeffD Member

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    In the past, I have been a happy user of a 3010 Jobo drum on a Beseler motor base for my development. This has served me well, using times I worked out for HC110.

    Lately, I have been thinking of doing some "semi stand" development with maybe PMK or maybe dilute Rodinal. I like the idea of highlight restraining possibilities, as well as edge effects. PMK's grain masking effect would be fun to explore. Obviously, my rotating 3010 is not a good match for this type of processing.

    I am thinking about a Combi-Plan. I noticed B&H has the kit for sale, with a single tank and rack. However, I envision actually using it in darkness as a "dip and dunk" workflow, rather than a daylight tank. In my mind, using a single tank, in daylight, and having to fill, dump, and re-fill using that little funnel seems messy, and slow, as I am somewhat clumsy.

    I would like to actually have three tanks, but I haven't found a vendor who can sell me the two additional I'll need. Anyone have any ideas of a source? Does anyone know if tanks from other vendors will work with the combi-plan rack? The rack seems to hang vertical, and the old kodak tanks seem to hang horizontle, so I guess the rack would not work in them.

    (or, maybe I should just get some old stainless kodak hangers, and old kodak tanks instead of a comb-plan?)

    I'd appreciate any pointers to sources for obtaining the extra tanks for the combi, or alternate tanks that would be a good match. Also, any other comments about the above workflow and equipment appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  2. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Just make a few tanks out of plexiglass. Shouldn't cost more than a few bucks for that size. But first I would see what might fit in the food storage section of Kmart (avoid the evil empire of WalMart :smile:).
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Why not get yourself a Jobo 2551 tank and one reel? No reason you need to rotate it. But if later you decide you want to then it'll work fine on your motorbase. You can even use it for smaller formats if you need to. Just needs the smaller reels.

    The tank empties easily enough. Or if you really want extra tanks plenty of used ones for sale.
     
  4. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    Your idea of using multiple Combi-Plan tanks in a traditional dip and dunk like is right on the money. I have done it that way for years. Every professional has always done it that way. That is how sheet film is processed in quantity.

    Kodak hard rubber tanks and stainless hangers were perfect for their day. Calumet and Arkay made wonderful stainless lines which resembled drugstore soda fountains. I used them for years. But precious little of that equipment is still manufactured.

    You are also correct that daylight methods are very poor technique. I have always (40 years) commercially processed my roll film in open Nikor stainless tanks as well.

    B&H sells Combi-Plan tank components separately if you prefer. However, I purchased several complete sets to have spare parts and dry racks for multiple runs. Here is the link for their page of parts;

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...O=SearchBar&A=search&Q=*&bhs=t&shs=combi+plan

    Eugene Singer has an excellent article on this technique here:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/alternative-developing/
     
  5. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    I have the Combi-Plan tank, and it works fine, even with the small opening and funnel. You mention that you're particularly interested in using it for semi-stand developing, which implies a highly dilute developer, and long developing times. Do you really want to stay in the dark that long? Another option that I've done with the combiplan tank is to fill it with developer, go into the dark, load rack, put it in the developer, start timer, do initial agitations, then put top on. Now the lights can come on, and you can finish processing in the light.

    Another daylight tank that works well is the Nikor stainless steel sheet film tank, but you'll have to get one of them used, as they're not made anymore. It holds 12 sheets, and is adjustable from 2x3 to 4x5. I use my Nikor tank for 95% of the sheet film I develop.

    If you're really set on using 3 tanks, I would suggest just buying 2 more of the Combi-Plan tanks, it can't hurt to have spares! And being that the rack is plastic, just like plastic reels, it has to be dry when you load it, so if you're going to develop more film after you can just use the 2nd and 3rd racks while the first one is drying.

    -Mike
     
  6. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    I have a Combi-Plan and use it as a daylight tank. It's actually not as bad as people make it out to be to drain--it takes a while, yes, but I've never actually gotten unevenness on my negatives, and I'm shooting TMX which is hypersensitive to processing errors. The fact that I tend to use highly dilute developers for extended periods of time also helps the drain time--I'd be much more uneasy about it (and consider a dip & dunk system) if I was only developing for five minutes or so.

    Others have shown you that B&H sells additional tanks.
     
  7. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    I bought 3 Comb-Plan's to use as "dip & dunk". If I have more than 6 sheets to process, I can use one (or both) of the extra racks while the first one is drying. Or, you could use one Combi-Plan and use a container of some kind for the stop & fix. What I like about the 3 Combi-Plan's is they really don't need a lot of solution to fill, plus I connect a hose to the bottom drain on one tank & use it for a water stop bath and film washer.