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  1. #21
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Both dfcardwell and bowzart have a lifetime more experience than I do, but my own work with using stainless steel tanks and reels that you manually agitate supports their notions.
    If you have a situation where constant agitation gives you the results you need you potentially have a little gold mine in an automated rotary processor.

    But, agitation is a very powerful tool in film processing that you may want to make use of, and that is impossible with the rotary processors. All of my processing relies heavily on letting the tank rest between agitation cycles; without it I would get the wrong contrast, density, highlight/shadow separation, and mid-tone placement for most, if not all, my negatives.

    So, the question you want to ask yourself before you decide to use an automated processor is - will my process benefit from it, or can I get better results with a different technique? A Jobo isn't the answer to everything, but admittedly it does exceedingly well with certain processes.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #22
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Rotary processing-Paterson tank on a Beseler roller, 35mm Plus-X, HC110-dil E:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2010-04-23b.jpg  
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #23
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Nice shot, Matt!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Rotary processing-Paterson tank on a Beseler roller, 35mm Plus-X, HC110-dil E:
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #24

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    My preference for the rotary processor is insanely, embarrassingly - shallow: it saves chemicals and it allows me to surf the web while waiting for the film to be developed :-) I have to admit it is also one of ignorance - since I have yet to experiment extensively with different developers.

    I have never taken a rigorous, scientific approach to see for myself the effects of different agitation methods have on the final result. I suppose this would have to be done with two rolls of negs that were exposed in the same way, developed with exactly the same developer, at the same temperature, but developing one with a rotary processor, and one without. I reckon different developers may even respond differently. There's indeed quite a fair bit of calibration and homework that needs to be done before I'm capable of knowing which way to go. For now - it's just plain convenience :-)

  5. #25
    mrred's Avatar
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    For me, it added consistency to what I was doing. I have a motor base and use a steel reel can inside a patterson universal. I can't go without my steel reels, but the can was too small. I use longer dev times with higer dilutions and the results arte great. I traded Rodinal for XTol, and it is a much better fit. When I use WD2D+, I just use half the B (+%20 more time)and get better negs than before.

    I wish I had done this 30 years ago.....

  6. #26

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    I'll also echo the recommendations on Phototherm Super Sidekick. well made (better than any jobo I've seen), faster warm-up, more flexibility, easily user-repairable, made in the USA by a company still in business and still easy to find spare parts. It IS like a washing machine in it's appliance-like efficiency. I just load it up, turn it on, and walk away for 15-20 minutes or so. Works like a charm.

    -Ed

  7. #27

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    There is a used Phototherm Sidekick on *bay right now for BIN $2,000 USD (Item number: 170507297799). The Phototherm website is advertising the Super Sidekick for $4,990 USD (Model SSK-4V) and $6,330 USD (Model SSK-8R). They are no doubt well made and better than any Jobo in that respect, but they are far beyond my means. I picked up a Jobo CPE - 2 (not the plus model) listed as "New In Box" for $360 USD locally (Hong Kong) today which is a bit pricey, others in the U.S. and Europe are going for much cheaper, but mine came with no shipping hassles.

    Before buying it, I checked with one of the famous large camera stores that still has Jobo processors in their online catalog thinking perhaps they had a few in stock. Their response was, to me, very depressing:

    "Unfortunately the item you are asking for was discontinued by the manufacturer. We have sold out all of our stock and we can not get this item anymore.

    Basically, digital photography is killing the wet darkroom market. It is going to get hard and hard to find darkroom equipment, parts and chemicals. Darkness will always be available and usually free "

    So, I guess one lesson from all of this is get it now while it is still available, whatever "it" may be.

    -Craig

  8. #28

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    Craig: Here in Singapore, you can still get the last 2 brand new CPE-2 starter kits for about US$500, and 3 units of new CPE-2 lifts for about US$180 or so. The CPE-2 lifts are missing the mounting brackets, but these are available from the Jobo US agent for US$50 a piece. If there's anyone really want to get hold of the starter kits, I can get them in touch with the local agent. But I think the shipping will make it not a cost effective solution at all. I was considering these sets until I learnt about the Phototherm Sidekicks from this thread. I'm so going to save up for one used unit!

    As for the interests in film photography, I know there's a clear revival of interests in it again. Every local camera store and repair shops are saying the same thing. I know this for sure because when I stepped into my usual film store a few years ago, I could only get whatever b/w films that they had at the moment - sometimes it was T-max, other times it might be Tri-X. One could literally see the death of films in progress. But right now - a wide range of selection is back on the shelves again - HP5, FP4, XP, Tri-X, T-max, and even SFX200! You still have problems asking for C-41 and E-6 kits for home use, but the shop owners are getting quite a bit of inquires and they are listening. The unexpected hero that led the revival here are the low-cost film cameras such as the Holga's and Diana's! Just like the vinyls, I expect film cameras and darkroom equipment will continue to be around, though the range of choices will never be the same anymore.

    But I've digressed. There's still a lot for me to learn beyond rotary processing. Thank you to all fellow experts that have shed light on this!

  9. #29
    bowzart's Avatar
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    A bit of history. Only part of it has been addressed here so far.

    Rotary processors were of two basic types. The "external tube" machines were like the Jobo, the Sidekick, the Wing Lynch, and the early monster I used to print on, the 30k and it's even more monstrous Kodak cousins. It made 30x40s in a drum which spun rapidly, and had no temperature control. Worked great, but you had to keep the room reasonably warm. The tube was a poor thermal conductor, however, which tended to keep the temperatures inside constant.

    The internal tube machines had heated cabinets. Inside, the drums rotated in temperature controlled darkness. There were a bunch of these, but most were replaced with the external drum machines, which could be more easily automated. The Merz was one of these internal tube devices. It was a really great system. I could process anything in it; type C, Cibachrome or whatever else up to 20x24, any kind of film 35mm to 16x20, even 70mm. Some of these machines had water baths that kept the chemicals at the right temp, and then you'd pour them in and the tempered cabinet would keep them at the same.

    I'm sure there is a lot of the internal drum stuff lying around unused. I almost NEVER hear of internal drum machines anymore, but I think if you are interested in rotary processing, it would be a viable option if you could find one. We used to make precision quality dupes which we then ganged for reproduction with the Merz. It is capable of very high quality and consistent work. The other machines, mostly, weren't as slick, but they can work just fine. You just have to pour the chemicals yourself -- unless you happen to come by one of the Merz's control modules. Well, you don't have room for that. They were huge.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by cblurton View Post
    There is a used Phototherm Sidekick on *bay right now for BIN $2,000 USD (Item number: 170507297799)....
    -Craig
    The starting bid is $1000. There is a pretty good chance you could get it for the starting bid. However, they often sell for less, so if you are patient you can probably get one for about $800, maybe less. (I have two phototherms, but I got them a few years ago when you could pick them up for a LOT less than they go for now on ebay.) If you were to bid you should first find out if the processing tanks and reels are included. Solution tanks should be included as well, but it might not be worth the cost of shipping them.

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