Jobo CPA2 vs TBE2 vs CPE2 vs ATL2000
Sorry if this has been asked a million times. I've read more than one thread on this topic but I just can't make out what should be the best way to go for me. I'd like to use one of these machines to developer 35mm black-and-white film, color and slide and optionally 120.
I can get the CPA2 for free.
I can get a TBE2 for €100,- but read it's not really meant for developing but merely for tempering, as in temperature control (?)
I can get a CPE2 for €150,-
I can get a ATL-2000 for €450,-
Possibly I can buy a ATL-1000 but not sure at what price.
And an ATL-2 for €950,- (really expensive tho...)
I just don't know what will suit my needs best. Again, apologies if this has been asked before but I hope you can help me. I'm trying to make a choice for over a year now...
Anyway, thanks for all the help; it's more than welcome
If you never intend to shoot sheet film, either the CPE or CPA will do. Get the one with the latest serial number.
There is plenty of information on the relevance of getting as late a model as possible if you search for it (the later the model, the stronger the motor and the better the bearings).
I'd strongly suggest getting one with the lift arm; it makes timing your process significantly easier to manage.
Do you intend to do colour and B&W? Or just B&W?
I have used a CPE2 for the past 20 years and they are invaluable for processing C41 colour negative and E6 Slide film. I prefer to manually process B&W with a Stainless steel tank. The lift version seems a good idea but they always seemed to be a bit slow to me.
They are not cheap which I why I kept my partially broken down one for spares should the current one go belly up. The later ones do not have the high/low speed option. That doesn't bother me but it is a point that should be noted I feel.
For sure you should get the free CPA2; even if it's busted it's a good source of parts. The ATLs will only get cheaper and IMHO you don't really need that level of automation unless you're processing tons of film like a lab. The CPA2 is better than a CPE or TBE. Get a lift if you can.
Don't get a CPE if you ever plan to do sheet film because you can't use 3xxx drums on it. 3xxx drums require a CPA or CPP and a lift. A CPP is physically the same as a CPA but it has a digital temperature controller.
I've had all the ones you mentioned at some point in time, and others you have not mentioned (CPP-2, ATL-2+). My current one is the ATL-2000. I have an ATL-3 in storage. I do everything with it from film (up to 8x10) to paper (up to 20x24). I rarely use trays. And of course color and B&W. I would go for the ATL-2000 for several reasons. 1) it's fully automated, 2) it accepts expert drums, 3) it is relatively small as far as ATLs are concerned, and 3) it's the newest model in your list, and will probably last the rest of your life. Parts are also relatively easy to come by. In particular, there is a german retailor who provides parts and service. The price is also about right for the ATL-2000. You'll never get the urge to upgrade, which is a strong possibility if you purchase another model. The ATL-2 is overpriced, and is a very old model. Take the CPA2 also as it's free! I have manuals for many of these models. Let me know if you need more details.
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Since nobody else has responded yet on this point: yes, the TBE is strictly a tempering bath, not a processor. Under some circumstances you might want one in addition to a processor, but it's not a substitute for one.
Originally Posted by Contrastique
Thank you all for your comments!!
The price of the ATL-2, yes I already thought it was way overpriced. It's been out there for quite a while now (for sale I mean).
Picking up that free CPA2 sounds like the right thing to do, yes. And the ATL-2000 sounds like a plan too. Thanks everyone for helping me to decide!
@Oren: Thanks for commenting on the TBE. The guy is selling it as if it were a developing machine so gonna hold that off. If I need tempering later on I already saw lots of alternatives there so I"ll figure that out when the time comes.
I plan to use this machine for black-and-white for myself, 35mm and 120mm. Large format I shoot mostly on collodion but I might throw in a few 8x10 sheets which, until now, I've processed using a Durst Codrom.
I work in a photoshop and a while back we had to replace our development machine (Agfa D-Lab) because it had some serious issues. For the amount of films we developed back then it was not worth it buying a machine who had that function but lacked several others. But now all the companies in our surroundings who used to develop film (within an hour or not) don't process them anymore. And the company we work with to get films developed, well, isn't what it used to be anymore. So, if I could get such a machine I might start developing films for the place I work again. That way we can offer costumers better service, faster and just plain better. Less screwed up negatives etc. That's why I would like to be able to do color and slide. I only work in bw myself.
Long story short, thanks!!