With absolutely NO previous experience with LF I am about to buy a tank /developing system for 4x5 inchs negatives. (Yes, I have a LF camera, I got it last week - a neat Linhof Technica III with a few lenses...65, 90 & 150mm)
So far I have been looking at a Combiplan tank which seems like an easy contraption to use...
And then I got confronted with a second hand Jobo 3014 tank. Anyone know this system, and if it is a better system than the Combiplan?
I went down this road. Trying to figure out what to buy. This is what I learned from listening to everybodies opinions.
1) Stay away from the Yankee tank. If you're offered money to take it make sure it's alot of money-))
2) The HP tank works but does it work the way you do? It uses lots of chemicals. If you don't use dilute developer this might be an issue. It fils/drains slowly. Once again this might be an issue. One person told me he bought three tanks!. What he does is open the tank and move the film holder instead of draining.
3) The Jobo 2500 tank is what I got. It can be expensive. The Jobo processors can't handle alot of dilute developer. Check the limits on the Jobo website. It's claimed that you can use them for hand inversion but thatt will take alot of chemicals. What I did was get a motorbase instead of an expensive Jobo processor. Handles lots of chemicals.
My system is similar to this except I use the Jobo tanks.
The other advantage for me is I needed to get a bigger tank for 120/35 also.
4) the Jobo 3000 tanks. Damn things are really expensive when I looked. Supposedly do a better job then the 2500 in the opinion of some. I doubt you'll be able to use them without some sort of motor.
I'm a great fan of the Phil Davis BTZS Tubes. They are expensive to buy but very efficient and inexpensive to run. I have also used Jobo, Combi Tanks and tray development but in my opinion none are better than the tubes.
I have a JOBO 2500-series tank which I use whenever I have lots of negatives to develop. Using it by inversion is not really a problem, as I generally use highly dilute developer. 1.5 liters is not too much for 6 sheets...
Most of my processing is done in trays. I have discovered that my darkroom isn't quite dark, so that I can generally see the outline of my hands after six minutes or so. Then it's just waiting for the first traces of highlights to be visible on the sheets... It's possible I get some fogging this way, but I have not been able to see (or measure) any difference in base+fog on tray-developed versus tank-developed negatives. So far. But then again I've used nothing faster than FP4+ so far, it may be a different matter with HP5+...
Does Phil Davis has a web presence where I can get more info on the tubes you mention? If not, how do I get in touch with him?
All of the BTZS products are marketed by the view camera store. You can get the tubes, the hood and the expo developer programs from Fred Newman. If you have questions about the BTZS method you can go to the BTZS web site and get an answer straight from Phil. Here are the links.
and for the BTZS questions:
Thanks Jorge you beat me to it.
Didn't I read, somewhere long ago, that an inexpensive and similar to the BTZS tubes ( I don't know about this, I've never used the tubes ) was the use a piece of PVC pipe cut to length and open on both ends. The film was inserted and rolled around in a tray of developer, stop, fix, etc. Since it is open, it had to be done in total darkness. Therefore, it is like tray development, but the film can't get scratched and it is easier to give individual sheets special attention, if need be.
It would work for all sizes of film and was very cheap. Does this ring any bells, anyone?
Closer to the topic, I use a 3000 series Jobo tank on a motor base. Works very well, but if I were just getting started I wouldn't recommend the expense.
Loose, originally Phil Dvais created the tubes as you explained out of PVC pipe and two end caps. Of course the VCS tubes are really nice, with threaded caps etc.
To answer your question, yes the tubes can be made by PVC pipe but it has to be at least schedule 80 as the schedule 40 transmits light through the walls. Obviously using the white pvc pipe would be dumb!