Daylight 4x5 dev tank
While this is the "darkroom" area, I don't have one... but I develop lots of 120 film with daylight tanks and a changing bag, and I would like to try the same with 4x5 film. I've hunted around a bit on the internet, read reviews and looked in local stores. Here in Tokyo at Yodobashi (our version of B&H) the only thing they carry is a Jobo tank. The tank and reel combined will cost about $170. I know the Yankee option at B&H is a lot cheaper but the reviews are scary too. The Patterson option with the mod54 insert looks good. The problem is shipping to Japan will cost another $40 or more. Amazon Japan doesn't have much... and the Yankee tank they do have is priced over $200!
So anyway, what are your suggestions or recommendations? I will only be doing B&W film for the time being.
I have the Jobo system and love using it. I've also used the Yankee tank, and yes, it can be a bit challenging to use..
I also have a Patterson orbital tank which I use for 5x7 and 5x4 filsm. There is plenty on the net on how to modify them, and the results are great.
I've never used the mod54, but it seems a good solution for the price. Maybe you could make your own version?
You might check eBay for the Nikor Sheet Film tank (google it for details and for copies of the instruction sheet, which are floating around here and the LF forum). It's not cheap, but it's a good solution, if you're accustomed to stainless steel tanks for rollfilm.
nothing at all wrong with the yankee that a little patience in the darkroom won't cure. And there's this, a reel tank option for sheet film that just came out for $90....
I just started doing 4x5 view camera the past several months and find using a changing bag and the b&h Yankee tank pretty good. Only need to practice loading the films into the slots, either with the guide or by hand. The first time I loaded a few slots with two films mistakenly and those did not develop properly, but sinc then all has been very satisfactory.
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I use the MOD54 for most of my 5x4 work. They aren't cheap but it does the job. For monochrome I use stand development with the MOD54 and a Patterson tank which give me nice negs for pt/pd printing. I found I needed some practice to get the film loading right and get consistent results.
Thanks for all the good advice. The Nikor option looks interesting but not cheap.
So my options are to get the Jobo tank and reel locally for $170 or to get either the Yankee tank ($38) or the Patterson Mod54 set ($87) from B&H. Shipping to Japan will run over $40 so I guess the cheap option is to wait until May when my wife will be making a short trip to the U.S. and have her bring it back in her suitcase.
So if I'm going to decide between the Yankee and the Patterson Mod54 this is what I've gathered so far.
Yankee construction quality is probably inferior to Patterson.
Loading takes practice (probably for either one).
I like the idea that the film is more or less straight in the Yankee tank. In the Mod54 reel it looks like it's partially wrapped around the reel. How hard is that to load in a changing bag?
I think agitation on the Yankee is accomplished with just side to side movement. Is the Patterson tank OK for complete inversion?
What are the most compelling reasons to choose the Yankee?
What are the most compelling reasons to spend more on the Patterson/Mod54?
All opinions and information greatly appreciated!
The Nikor tanks show up on ebay all the time, and some of them end up selling pretty cheap ($100-ish). I use one and really really like it, but then I've always been a fan of stainless tanks and reels.
Originally Posted by revdocjim
My two cents follow...
I started my journey on the 5x4 with the Yankee tank, mainly because at the time I hadn't read about all its bad reviews. Everything was fine and I liked it except for the need to pour 1.65 l of chemicals for each bath. This was only a problem for me because I did not have 12 sheets to put inside and it seemed a bit too much for just 4 sheets. After spending some time on the LFF I started reading a lot of "violent" critics towards this tank and all the rave about several other systems. I started buying other systems, essentially hoping for lower chemical use. Namely, I bought the Patterson Orbital and the Nikor and tried also the standard trays. After having tried all I came back to the Yankee tank which I have been using in a quite intense way. This is not to say that it is a superior option. I am just saying that for me it is. Thus, don't discard any option based on what you read, specially bashing messages.
Regarding your specific questions...
I don't have a Mod54 but would say the quality of the Yankee tank is good. After having used it well over 100 times it still looks and behaves as new.
As for loading, the Yankee tank brings a slider that guides the sheets. It helped me a lot in the first times, but now I can do it well without any help. I find it very, very, very easy to load . Easier than the Jobo 2509n (I use those for color).
As for the agitation with the Yankee tank. I do it using two main techniques. The first is to wave it sideways like a tray, but I use low amplitude movements never raising the tank more than is required to keep two points of the base on the table (the corner and the base bezel). I also take the lid off and execute vertical movements by raising and lowering, slowly. Contrary to other's experience, I never have problems with spilling.
I guess the most compelling reasons to choose the Yankee are the low, why not say right, price and, even development for stand and semi-stand routines (I know this last one will make a lot of Yankee bashers unhappy ).
I would love to find a version of the Yankee much narrower, for just 1 or 2 sheets. It would be ideal for semi-stand and dedicated development (ZS & BTZS).
I've used deep tanks with hangers, trays and the Patterson Mod 54. I find the Patterson Mod 54 to be the best fit for the volume of 4X5 I usually do. It takes a time or two to get comfortable loading them, however after that you will have no problem. If you go the Mod 54 route, check out their youtube video on how to load/agititate using their product. Bill Barber