Which Developing Tank

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Raffay, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Raffay

    Raffay Member

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    Hello, I mostly do 4x5 and develop my negatives in tray although I have a FR daylight tank but tray development seems to be more fun. I have recently bought a Pentax ME Super and try out 35mm for a while as large format is not always possible and I am missing quite a few family photo opportunities. I intend to only shoot black and white as these could be easily developed at home and more because I like the medium more than color.

    I am little worried about developing the 35mm rolls as they seem a little difficult to handle. Sheets are so simple. So I am not sure of I can develop the rolls in tray or not. Hence, I was looking for some tanks, as usual there are lot out there and I am little confused. Would really appreciate if I can get some feedback on which one to buy on a budget. I saw in some ads that there was some canister opener...please advice.

    Cheers

    Raffay
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    It's your choice, plastic Paterson system , or stainless steel tanks and reels. I wouldn't try tray processing with roll film, a 36 exposure roll is pretty danged long and would easily get damaged in the attempt.
     
  3. Grif

    Grif Member

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    Stainless reel stainless tank, like the old Nikor(?) tanks. Practice a few times before going live. The biggest thing with them untill you get a bit of time under your belt is little crimp marks on the edge of the film. I like the ones that actually have the little clip in the center to hold the end of the film,,, but it's really not needed with just a bit of care.

    Plastic tanks seem like a good plan, untill you actually try to use one twice in the same day. You just can't get them dry (or at least I can't),,, then the film won't feed into the spiral.

    I'm an invert figure 8 with initial hard 2 whack bubble control on the counter sort of user. With a 1/2 twist every time you pick it up to agitate. Most of the plastic tanks sort of disassemble under that sort of treatment ;-)
     
  4. DannL.

    DannL. Member

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    My all-time favorite tank was the JOBO Unitank 1520. Apparently they are quite expensive these days. I gave all mine away, and since returning to using 35mm film recently I just went on eBay and ordered an inexpensive Stainless Steel tank with plastic top and with 2 reels. I haven't even used it yet. But having started with similar tanks some 33 years ago, I figure they still should work fine.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Raffay,

    If you develop a lot of film (and if it is within your budget), a Jobo CPE2+ with a 252X and the right reels (the digit represented by the X has to do with whether or not the system has a lift) is the easy way to go. You can develop 6 sheets of 4x5, two rolls of 35mm, two rolls of 120 or one of 220. The 255X tanks will get you up to 5 rolls of 35mm or 12 sheets of 4x5. Plenty of used processors and tanks are available as well as new tanks and reels. My manual tanks (stainless and plastic) have been gathering dust ever since I was able to purchase Jobo equipment.

    Otherwise, have no fear. Many people develop roll film in all of the available systems. You are certainly as capable as the rest of us. If you can successfully load sheet film holders you can successfully load a reel.

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. Raffay

    Raffay Member

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    Hi All, thank you for all the input. The Jobo CPE+ seems very nice! but certainly a future requirement. Right now I am only testing 35mm and want to see if I like the results or not. I will try and look for a good tank deal here.

    Cheers

    Raffay
     
  7. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I find the plastic Patterson tanks and reels to be the easiest for me to use and I've used both these and stainless tanks/reels. I have several and don't have to worry about waiting for them to dry amd imagine one could project their film usage and tailor their system to enhance their experience. I also use a Patterson tank with a Mod54 insert to process my 4X5. Bill Barber
     
  8. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use patterson plastic reels/tank. As mentioned, it must be dry when you load it. Otherwise I'm happy with it. Other people prefer stainless reels; the only problem with them if is they get a tiny bit bent (such as dropped) the reels might not hold the film right. The plastic reels change size to acommodate 120 size as well.
     
  9. DannL.

    DannL. Member

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    I read somewhere about a guy that taped 35mm film to the outside of a water jug (emulsion-side out) and rotated it by hand as it floated in a tray of developer, followed by stop-bath, and then fixer. That sounded inexpensive. Of course you'ld have to be perty bold (or old) to do something like that. ;-)
     
  10. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Good grief! Given the cost of used darkroom gear that idea sounds foolish.

    Re the Paterson/SS controversy: In the past I used SS with great success, no problems loading. Now I have problems, so I've switched to Paterson. A drawback with Paterson: unless the reels are completely dry they won't load properly. Using a hair dryer can do the job pretty quickly. In any case, practice with a junk roll of film whichever system you select. Practice in the light, and then in the dark.

    Have fun!
     
  11. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    plastic reels are so very cheap - having a second set for an extra couple of bucks, means you can run at least 2 back to back runs with out having to wonder if they are dry enough.
     
  12. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I'm perfectly happy with my Paterson tanks and reels, though I'll admit I haven't tried stainless steel. As long as the reels are dry and the ball bearings aren't stuck there pretty much trouble free.
     
  13. Jan-Peter

    Jan-Peter Member

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    Yes! RAffay - I am also using two Paterson tanks since about twenty years, a small one for maximum three reels - and a large one for eight reels. - As someone said before - make sure the reels are definitely dry! - They have tiny little lead balls the first inch - and the film runs across them while turning both reels to grip and lead the film into the reel.

    Paterson is really nice and well to handle.

    Have fun with your 135 developments!


    Jan-PEter