Which 4x5 developing tank Combi-Plan or Standard Kodak ?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by gphoto120, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. gphoto120

    gphoto120 Subscriber

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    I'm just beginning 4x5 format and need to buy dev tanks and hangers. Does anyone have an opinion on the Combi-Plan system vs. the open tank w/ hanger type system ?
    Thanks,
    Gphoto120
     
  2. mark

    mark Member

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    I find the COmbi-Plan tank to be very convenient. SOme folks have issues with it but I have had nothing but success. I can't comment on the open tank, as I have no place dark enough to use one, so never tried it.
     
  3. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    My 4X5 is all in open Yankee tanks. 8X10 is in trays or various stainless steel tanks. Open tank is simple and works well. I have tried other methods but I came back to tanks.
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Here is my assessment of the combiplan from a previous thread on 4x5 developing. There are a bunch of threads about the HP tank you can search up, that give varying opinions.

    "After mucking about with trays and tubes for 4x5 developing, I finally settled on the HP combi tank. I like being able to do six sheets at a time, and I like that it is procedurally similar to developing roll film. It takes some practice to load. After you load it you must run your fingers around the edge (like tupperware) to make sure it is sealed. Even then it may leak a little, so its best in a sink or tray.When filling you must make sure the air valve is all the way open, or it will take too long to fill up. I have read complaints regarding both these issues, and in large part I solved them, with the previously mentioned actions.

    Some people do absolutely hate this tank,
    but once I got used to the quirks, it became my friend. It is particularly good for stand development, as once it is loaded, you get to work in the light.

    For 8x10 I use tray development, because it is simple, and I tend to shoot many fewer sheets when I use the 8x10, and that is most of the time."
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I prefer to do only 4 sheets in a Combi-Plan rack (I have a Nova hand line that uses Combi-Plan hangers) but I have done 6 often enough without problems -- and that's E6.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well I posted for a 2nd 5x4 tank in the classifieds, and got my second JOBO 2000 with 2 5x4 reels.

    I've not that much experience as I only got my first new in about 1977, but so easy to load, it's just like processing 35mm or 120 film, and I can process 6 or 12 per load 1 or 2 spirals.

    Oh and great for E6 too . . . . . .

    Ian
     
  7. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Another vote for the HP Combi tank... been using one since about 1991. I have always had good results from it.

    gene
     
  8. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    And the winner is...

    The Combi wins hands down. It has a little learning curve, but once you have it, the results are consistent. There are several threads here in the forum on this tank. Those who have problems usually are doing something that is easily remedied by setting and following a protocol based on the practices shown here. After five years with one and hundreds of tankloads of six each, I have never had a single problem.
     
  9. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I just finished developing some Efke 4x5 PL 25 in Kodak tanks. I use pyrocat hd 1:1:100 and the negs came out great. No scratches but I only did 4 at a time. still they came out perfect. Even got some great negs with a $ 11.00 1880's lens!
    Has anyone tried dip and dunk for semi,minimal agitation?

    Jim
     
  10. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I like my combi-plan. It takes a little practice to make sure that the sheets are loaded properly, but I've never managed to ruin a sheet (that way!). I use it a bit differently than most people I suspect, though. For developer, I use it with the lid on. When it is done developing, I turn off the lights, open the tank, pour out the developer, pour in water, agitate for a minute or so, pour out the water then pour in the fix, and agitate for 3 or 4 minutes. Then I can turn on the lights and finish fixing. The reason I do this is that it takes a long time to get chemicals in and out of the tank. I suppose that it would not be a problem with reasonably long development times and being consistant in exactly how you do it. Myself, I don't mind spending 5 minutes or so in the dark.
     
  11. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Open Combi

    As Mark said, in the dark these tanks work well with dip & dunk. Some use two or three additional tank bodies and just carry the process straight through without changing solutions. This would work really great with another holder, as a second run of similar or different film could be started while the first is lounging in the fix or wash...
     
  12. tchamber

    tchamber Member

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    I'd second the recommendation to process four rather than six sheets at a time. (In fact, HP suggests this if your film is "important".) I'm incompetent enough to have ruined sheets by having them touch. This is pretty much impossible if you only load four sheets at a time.
     
  13. BOSS565

    BOSS565 Member

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    I also recommend the COmbi-Plan tank. It is simple to use. Practice filling and emptying before you actually load any film. Then you will get the hang of it, know how much time it takes to fill and empty and know exactly how much chemisty you need. Good luck. Have fun.
     
  14. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I just developed my first 4x5's. I chose to go with the Combiplan because the method is the same, essentially, to developing roll film. The negatives turned out fine but man that thing leaks like crazy! I had to change agitation from inversion to side to side because it was leaking too much developer. I checked several times after loading the film to make sure the lid was on tight, and it was. After I saw how much it leaked, I checked it again and it was on as tight as it would go. Is this normal?
     
  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Seal it like you would a tupperware container, by pinching the edge, and running your fingers around it. Mine leakes less and less with use, so there may be a bit of a breaking in period. It is a flaw with the combiplan, no doubt. It shouldn't leak at all, from the getgo, but most of them seem to, by reports.
     
  16. haziz

    haziz Subscriber

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    Combi-plan for me

    It's Combi-plan for me. I get consistent even development developing 6 sheets at a time. I do pour the chemistry in and out via the tank spouts and have had no problems with the 4 tanks I have; no leakage either. I just wish the system can do more than 6 at a time (I do realize that some do 12 by doing sheets back to back, I never have).

    Sincerely,

    Hany.
     
  17. djkloss

    djkloss Subscriber

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    I did last night. I used a couple of Kodak 5x7 tanks to do eight 4x5 negs. But that might be another thread. I'll post the negatives as soon as I get them scanned.

    Dorothy