Nova Trimate Print Processor
Being a snatcher of moments in the darkroom, I am constantly looking for ways of increasing the efficiency of my processes. I need to spend more time assessing and composing and less time tipping trays and watching the clock.
I've taken a look at the Trimate print processor - three temperature controlled tanks for black and white and colour.
Does anyone have any experience of these things and most importantly i) is the development even if the print just hangs in the solution (Ansel Adams nags in my mind about keeping everything moving) and ii) can you really keep the solutions fresh over a period of time just by clipping lids on the tanks?
I've been using a Nova Quad for a little over a month, but have been pretty happy. The developer was still doing perfectly when I changed it last week - after 4 weeks in the tank. (I changed it because I wanted to start with fresh, so that I could do weekly tests to monitor exhaustion/oxidization). I use the floating lids it comes with, plus cover it with plastic wrap.
I've heard that constant agitation is important, otherwise the surface pattern from the inside of the tank will appear on the print. I've not experienced this myself.
The tank does save a lot of time and space. My only complaints are about construction.
I have used a 20x16 Nova Quad for over 2 years. In a wod GET IT!!!!!!!!!! I only use trays for big stuff now. I use mine for resin and FB. As FB tends not to be developer incorporated, it seems more importannt to keep it moving, but this need be no more than gently siding it from side to side and dunking a few times once every 10-20 seconds or so. Resin can be left for a bit with no movement and tends to resist patterning, but you get poor image quality (low contrast) if you do not agitate a resonable amount. I do not think the FB processor is worth the extra (as you will never find a used one in a rush) as I have done thousands of FB prints and never had probs. Make sure the clip bites hard and square and gently agitate ( I use a cricular motion-print clip goes up and out forwards down and back). Suffice to say thicker papers are more robust. I have only had one print break free from the clip (20x16 FB). I simply pulled it out with fingers are re-clipped it.....
These things are a godsend. No you cannot 'pull prints' as you cannot see what is going on, but I would argue that if you want to print well, snatching prints aint the best route. You are better off properly adjusting exposure, contrast and dev time in a methodical way.
I have had poeple pay me great compliments on my printing and every one was produced in a Nova, so dont believe anyone who says that trays are the only way 'for real quality' - absolute BS.
I would cry for days (weeks) if Nova processors were banned!
Any questions, just ask!....Oh, if you can, get a vertical multi slot print washer while you are at it. Speed, space, convenience. Probably saved the cost of it in developer lasting longer and not needing throwing at the end of a session. It may be worth getting a 20x16 too. Hold more chems, does bigger prints and allows more space for agitation with prints - note that with the max print size there is little wiggle room and agitaion is mostly vertical)). Takes up very little more space and used are little more to buy (ebay prices fluctuate wildly from giveaway to dear)
I have an 8x10 model and love it.
1. The chemistry lasts forever with the lids
2. Saves alot of space.
3. My hands touch the chemistry alot less
4. Always ready to go and easier to clean up
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w a d e h e n i n g e r
I use a Nova quad and it made great improvements in efficiencie in my darkroom. I did however experience the apperance of the pattren only on FB paper, and with no agitation at all. I find that just moving the print sideways a couple of times prevents this. Go get one. It'a great tool to save time and space. (And get a couple of clips, one is not enough)
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I use a Nova FB quad, and my experiences are same as those of others. The chemicals do indeed last, and the development is even. The time saved on mixing and discarding is wonderful; so is the ability to pop in and make just a single print when required (but I do have a permanent darkroom).
Nova tanks are great and as others have said they do what they claim. I have been using them for mono and colour for over 12 years now - a few tips:
1/ Buy a 12x16 which can also do 10x8.
2/ Buy as many spare clips as you can afford as you can never have enough.
3/ Just move the print gently during dev, with the clip, for agitation.
4/ You can pull out mono prints to inspect them during dev.
5/ A small darkroom torch is handy for item 4.
6/ Don't even think about doing lith prints - you will get marks,
7/ If you use a 4 slot tank for mono the 4th slot can contain wash-aid.
8/ During use you top up the dev slot quite a lot. This helps keep the dev OK
9/ If left for a long time check all chems and renew if required.
10/ Nova are very good with spares etc. Contact them if you have any probs.
11/ Aim for a 2 min total - out dev time (for mono) and don't pull prints.
12/ Buy one and you will find you will be printing more than before!
13/ Only move the Nova about if you have to. They are heavy once filled.
14/ Position the Nova at the correct working height for yourself (no bending).
15/ A large bowl or bucket is handy for draining the slots down simultaniously.
I hope the above helps - enjoy your Nova!
nova trimate tanks
I have used Nova tanks since they came onto the market and would not be without them for Mono, Colour neg and Cibachormes although I mainly do Mono now.
OMHO the sloping FB tank is the best and I keep it on all the time with its temp control set at 20 degrees Celcius so I can walk in the daorkroom and start printing at any time without delay.
I have two further tips to add.
1 At the end of a print session I remove 100 or 200 ml of developer and top up the tank with fresh, this helps with consistant quality and tank life.
2 When using paper larger than 10" x 8" I use two clips, this helps with the agitation of the paper in the tank.
I only have 2 clips as they are not cheap! I simply dunk it in a jug of water which I change once I guess it should be changed, swish it and use it again. Never had a problem. May sound sloppy, but fresh water is fresh water. Carry over into the developer must be miniscule and I still get tons of life from the dev.
One area I am anal is fixer life. Get a Quad: developer, stop, fix1, fix2. Once fix 1 has reached limit of archival acceptability (I use tetenal test strips), discard and use the fix2 as the new fix 1 and mix fresh fo fix 2. I find this works well.
Thanks for the advice everyone - sounds as though a Nova tank is worth a punt if I can find one at a reasonable price.