A local lab here in Minneapolis, which closed its doors many moons ago, wanted to sell me their Refrema E6 D&D machine. A thousand bucks. IF I hauled it out of there... Yeah, it might have fit in my garage, but nothing else would. Power bill, chem bill, service, yada yada yada, yeah - it was very expensive to own.
Originally Posted by CGW
"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
Can I give you a little bit of friendly advice regarding buying old minilab processors/printers....................... don't.
Why are they being gotten rid of? Even if they aren't old, parts will break/leak and unless you know commercial processing they will break your heart. (turn over volumns/rep rates/EPA compliance/ etc...................) Remember these machines are designed for volumn processing/printing so unless you are processing 30+ rolls of 35mm a week, you are under replenishing the machine. Then there is the price of spare parts, repairs and general maintenance and the list goes on........
One anology springs to my mind. A professional kitchen is so unlike a domestic kitchen
But then maybe you have the money and time to jump into the abyss..........................
If you didn't mind saving up your film and running it in batches, you might actually be able to sustain your own mini-lab. I used to work in one, the equipment isn't really all that unreliable that you'd have to spend a lot for parts. You would spend a lot in chemicals, so you'd have to run large enough batches to make it worth the cost of buying new chemicals for each batch and the costs and time of running a fresh start up for every batch. If you didn't mind some quality drift, you could probably run chemicals longer than they were intended and dispense with the entire startup/calibration process to save money. I actually thought long and hard about setting up my own mini-lab, but ultimately came to my senses! Still, if you shoot a lot of color, it could work.
If you didn't mind some quality drift, you could probably run chemicals longer than they were intended and dispense with the entire startup/calibration process to save money.
Gee, sounds like most of the surviving minilabs in my area took your advice.
Fuji processors are not "DIY repairs with scrounged parts" machines. Good chance that Fuji won't be supporting these much longer anyway even with service agreements.
On the point of batch processing, mentioned above. Yes it can be done on a minilab processor but when you are finished, you will have to drain and dispose of the chemicals correctly (a very important point, EPA compliance).
The next time you wish to batch process, you can't just pour in fresh chemical and away you go. For the fuji replenished system you need a developer starter to mix with the tank solution. On a low volumn throughput C41 processor the dev tank can be 5-8 lt of solution so it's a lot of solutuion just to get up and running.
And lastly these machines are designed to be run continiously and not for sporadic batch processing. Regarding spare parts, Most Fuji machines come with a service contract so when the machine is disposed of from the minilab so will the contract. So getting the parts will be hard and even if you can get the parts they are very expensive.
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How is the scanner part in these minilabs operated? Can it be bought separately and connected say to a PC ? Are there drivers for such a connection?
I'd be really interested on something like this.
I've actually got one in my shed....
Fuji film dev unit, a Frontier scanner unit, and a Konica printer that only prints from film.
Unlikely that I'll set the film dev up, too expensive and I don't shoot enough.
The scanner I'd really like to figure out how to use on its own. Hard to find out how though.
The printer I'll probably get running, bloke I got it from used to run black and white chem in it which is very feasible and even colour print chems are more stable than film chems.