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Thread: HP Combi Plan

  1. #1
    Maine-iac's Avatar
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    HP Combi Plan

    I'm considering a switch from tray development of 4X5 to tank so that I don't have to be in the dark so long. Can anyone tell me about the HP Combi Plan's strengths and weaknesses? How does it compare, e.g., to the Jobo 2500 tank system or the BTZS tube system?

    Larry

  2. #2
    gainer's Avatar
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    I have one. When I bought it, the first thing I found out was that the lid was not light tight. If I held it up to the light, I could see what looked like about ND 2. The dealer replaced the lid, of course.

    It takes a little help from that Spanish wizard Manuel Dexterity, and I have some complaints about the fill-empty rates. You can always fill the tank before you load the film, but changing solutions is not a task you want to perform when you need very accurate timing. You could do as I do on occasion and add a fixer like TF4 directly to the developer at end of development period. You would need about 125 ml of concentrate. If you use that technique, be sure to agitate rapidly and thoroughly when you dd the fixer.

    I guess you've heard enough of the bad points.
    Gadget Gainer

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    The Jobo 2500s are maybe the most flexible in terms of format. They can also be used in rotary mode saving on chemicals. Those are the big gains with the 2500s. Plus used tanks are relatively easy to find even if used 4x5 reels aren't. You actually have to be carefull with getting used 4x5 reels. Some people have the older style reels that can have problems. You need to make sure you get the 2509N reels.

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    I find the combitank great. Yes it has slow drain and fill times, but in practice using dev times over 10 mins, I have never had problems. I get very even development, but keep agitation down, which helps I would think. Do a search and you will find some tips from me and others about how to make them work better for you. I have two and would not be without them for 5x4. Some of the plastic components are a tad fragile and one has to be careful with these bits (film retainer). Mine have had 3 years use and probably have many years left. Loading is very easy once you get familiar and it is not tough to start with, tho even with the film loading guides, one can miss the innermost slots to start with. I know some say only do 4 sheets at a time, but now that mine's is bonded perfectly square and rigid, I do 6 with none popping out of runners and even development.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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    There was a recent thread on these Combi plan tanks.

    Once you've learnt the quirks, they give good results.

  6. #6
    Maine-iac's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the tips.

  7. #7
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    I had one a long time ago and I quickly ditched it. It leaked like all getout and the plastic assembly that holds the sheets of film basically crumbled. Biggest waste of money. Can't say one good thing about it. I have since gone to tubes and have not looked back. In fact for 4/5 you could constuct tubes out of ABS for pennies and have individual control over each sheet of film and best of all...work in the light allot more.

  8. #8
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    I've been using the Jobo 2551 tank with two 4x5 reels in it (12 sheets) for the past year. Once you get used to the loader, it's easy...practice, practice, practice as they say.

    If you use it as an inversion tank, you're looking at a lot of liquid and weight in which case you might want to go with the smaller one reel tank. If you're going to "roll" it, I would recommend getting a Beseler motorized roller for it...works like a dream.

    S

  9. #9
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    I have them and they work fine for me. I don't drain them as per instructions though.

    I put the film rack in the tank already filled then put the lid on. When it is time to empty the developer I just pop the top ( in darkness of course) and dump out the developer. Then I fill it with water a few times and dump it. Then I place the rack in a new tank filled with fixer, and put the top on.

    So basically I have two tanks and only do six sheets at a time.

    THe slow draining bothered me so I adopted this system. Although the slow draining only really matters with developer.

    Michael

  10. #10

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    After having some trouble with watertightness of the lids (chemicals were almost running freely out of the (new) tank!) I started using three combiplan tanks in complete darkness.

    I fill them with developer, stopbath and fixer and thus actualy achieving a series of small deep tanks. The advantage is that it saves space and chemicals, and the film racks of the combiplan system are easy in use.

    Each time I process six sheets. After passing of the clearing time of the first batch I can dump the developer fill the tank again and start with the next batch of six films.

    In this way I can process up to 18 films in 1 1/2 hour. Of course every batch can have it's own development (for example N+1, N, N-1) and in this way one can even save time.

    Pieter

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