I don't have a stainless steel tank that doesn't leak, including three Nikor tanks, a Simmons-Omega, a Tundra and several Taiwanese specials. Also, if you don't bother with a tempering bath, take a temp reading of developer going in and then measure it before discarding. I get about a two degree rise on an 8 min. dev time; more if the dev time is longer. Steel sucks heat from your hand quite well!
Paterson System 4 all the way!! I like the fact that the top reservoir will just about hold all the developer on a single reel tank (300 ml) so negs get a complete replacement of developing solution each inversion.
Of course, you can do the same with a 500 ml SS tank with 250 ml of solution and an empty reel in the top slot. But then, I don't appreciate Rodinal on my hands; too messy!
In all fairness, I should add that my Kindermann tanks are pretty tidy but they are hybrids: steel tank/plastic cap.
I don't shoot 35mm more than a few times a year, but I find that on the Pattersen tanks the 35mm film gets caught on the ball bearings on the reels. I think its just me since I've never heard of this before.
If you're using stainless tanks I highly recommend Kindermann tank lids. Expensive yes but they last for decades, dont leak and won't split right on where the tank edge meets and fogs your TMZ.
Been using stainless steel tanks and reels for C-41 and black and white, 120 and 35mm for too many years to think about. I don't shoot large format (yet) so can't comment on that. Admit that coming from plastic reels, loading stainless steel can be a hassle but it becomes second nature after a while. Additonally, I find that maintaining temperature is easier with steel tanks. Regarding leaking tanks, aside from switching to rubber tops from metal some years ago, have had no problems with leaks. Hope this info helps in your decision.
I have only been developing my own for a short time, and mostly 4X5 B&W at that.
I've been using a Combiplan for that, and found it works well.
The few rolls of 35mm and 120 I've done, have been done using a Patterson tank and reels.
I've since picked up a few Samigon multi-format autofeed reels that I've read good things about (at least for ease of loading), but have yet to try.
I have also decided to start doing my own E-6 and C-41, and so will be trying out various Jobo tanks in the near future too.
Hope I haven't bitten off too much all at once.
I am fickle.
I like stainless steel for 35mm, but can use Patterson or AP tanks with AP reels.
I like Patterson or AP tanks with AP reels for 120, and cannot make stainless steel reels (including Hewes reels) work for me, as much as I wish they would.
I sometimes use Kodak apron tanks and aprons with 120.
I use Jobo tanks, although when I started in photography I used Patterson tanks, as they were the most common tanks, and were the ones used at school.
The first Jobo tank I got was for processing 5x4 sheets, and found it much more convenient than using deep tanks and holders. I then bought some more tanks and reels (originally 3000 series, although now I use 2000 series tanks). All were used with a CPE2 processor.
I've also used Nikkor tanks and metal reels, but I could never get the hang of loading metal reels......
I prefer the Jobo reels for 2 reasons - because you can load a film on them even if they are wet, and because they made a 110/16mm reel (which Patterson never did).
I know you can load a wet Patterson reel by submerging the reel in water and loading the film underwater, but it's not the most practical thing to do if you are were running a custom lab and processing a dozen films a day..
And being honest, I also have a old Johnson's tank which I use form time to time to process a single roll of 120 as it only used 250ml of chemistry..........
Patterson tanks and reels, I use the 2, 3, and 5 reel sizes. Stainless steel never felt right in my hands, and led to the constant worry of creasing the film, jumping one section of the spiral and having to go back and reroll because the film doesnt fit all on, and taking care not to drop them or they get bent. Bent stainless steel reels are the worst... ugh and you never because they get lost in the pile and when you try to load it in the dark thats always the time to find it.
Jobo. I use their tanks on my processor and also use the 1500 series tanks for inversion when I use developers or techniques that aren't suitable for rotary. They're ingenious, the easiest tanks to load I've ever used, and work well.
I've never been able to get used to loading the stainless steel reels. To say I dislike them would be to miss a perfect opportunity to use more accurate terms like hate, loathe, despise and detest.