Thermaphot 302 VS Nova Trimate
I'd like to change my old roller transport color processor, since it “drinks” too many chemicals compared to my small turnover (9 liters developer, 9 blix).
I've found two good alternatives:
a Thermaphot 302, roller transport machine, with two 2,4 liters tanks
a Nova Trimate processor, a vertical slot processor, with 2 liters tanks.
Since they are based on two very different systems, both they have pros and cons. The Thermaphot is more pratical, the entire process is inside the machine and you can turn on the light as soon as you insert the paper. The Nova machine is entirely a manual machine, you have to agitate manually and you have to remove the paper from the chemicals using – I suppose – a timer with a bell, everything totally in the dark, since I'd lik to do RA4 prints. The price of the two machine is bery different, the Thermaphot costing twice than the Nova...
So, what's your experience? Which one would you suggest?
I have experience with the Nova for RA4. Moving the paper between slots and agitating in total darkness is not difficult after one or two tries. You get used to the movements needed. For timing I use a regular stop-clock and the colour safetorch from RH Designs. I have a heated Nova and my times are dev: 1 minute, stop: 30 seconds, blix: 1 minute. I then wash the print. Chemistry lasts extremely well in the Nova, I've let it sit there for weeks. Getting up to temperature (~30C) takes around 1.5 - 2 hours. I'm really happy with the Nova (I have two, one for colour one for B&W), without them I wouldn't be able to print in my tiny darkroom.
I'd recommend the Thermaphot providing it is in good condition; I should point out that my ACP 505 does need some coaxing along on occasion.
I've been pretty happy with my Nova Trimate.
In fact, I have two - one for B&W and one for RA-4. Both are 12" x 16".
The B&W is generally not heated - it just saves bench space compared to using trays.
The RA-4 tank is used at 35degC with Tetenal chemistry:
45sec colour dev, 30sec acetic acid stop, 45sec blix.
I use a digital process timer with LEDs so I can time each process in the dark.
You need Nova Tarbuster to clean the tank after use.
I've no idea what chemical Tarbuster uses, but it cleans the deposits from the tank really well.
I fiend of mine did have problems when he tried using a Trimate for RA-4 in an outside darkroom (a converted garage) that was not well heated. He got streaks if he allowed the warm chemicals to drain for too long before dunking into the next slot.
To piggyback onto the original poster's question, what about the Fujimoto processors? I'm trying to decide if I'm either going to get into color work or sell my CP-30, not certain if it's worth starting everything up again and learning yet another workflow Having tried using a jobo for print processing, I know that the more automated, the better.
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I have a Fujimoto cp-31 and am most happy with it. Tanks are only 1.85L, and the temp are independently adjustable. My first tank thermostat died and I replaced it with a non oem solution.
I use Kodak RA-RT and drain every night if I have used the rig that day. To 2L glass jugs/bottles and rinse the machine. I find I get good results with this chemistry out to beyond 6 weeks if stored in a cool dark place, and don't do something like 80 prints in it right up front and then expect it to last a long time. I manually replenish 20M'l/8x10 about twice a night by popping the lid and pouring into the right tanks.
my real name, imagine that.