I process several rolls of films of BW film each month using SS tanks and a water bath. I have been during this for more years than I would care to admit. My results are always consistant. All that is needed is a good thermometer. I don't like the rotary systems as they are constantly mixing oxygen into the developing solution and this can cause problems with dilute developers. Doing things by hand is not difficult. I would rather spend the money for a good lens than spend it on a processor.
Thank you for the replies. I have been offline for awhile.
I tend to be very detail oriented with lists and timing. I agree that experience and maybe patience is required.
I think I will do the processing by hand for now and get this thing right before looking for a "crutch".
This is a great forum and I enjoy reading the enthusiastic comments.
If you want to go to rotary processing there is a much less expensive method which I used for many years.
A Uniroller base, or similar which reverses, and film tubes will get you into rotary processing muchmore economically, probaly $50-75 plus film reels. These reeels cost lewss than half that of Jobo reels.
You do not have the convenience of a lift or temperature control, which by the way is not really very efficient, but you will have consistent agitation and no handling of the film from loading until ready to use wetting agent and hang up to dry. I used this method until my film use got to the point of needing to develop many more rolls and/or sheets at one time, up to 100 sheets and 25 rolls fro a singel excursion. In addition, the roller base and tubes take up much less storage space if that is of a concern.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]
I agree that mastering the tank technique is critical to understanding film process (chemistry & agitation) effects and outcomes.
When working with a new film, I always do single roll, small tank development to get an idea of its characteristics with "standard" development times & recommendations. (see www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.html for a lot of good starting point recommendations)
Old friends can be process in bulk in Paterson tanks. I routinely run 2 or 3 rolls of 120 at once, or mix 120 and 135 together, especially with films such as FP4. I too have thought about the rotary processing routine, ranging from a simple Beseler tube and base, to a Jobo CPP-2 (talk about impressing the rubes visiting the darkroom...). Until the day I start shooting a boatload of transparency (if ever) and doing my own cibachromes, I really dont have a need for another mechanized magic bullet. For some apps, I might see the sense, say dozens of rolls of film a month in bulk process. But for just a few scattered; fill chemistry tanks, water bath, load, dump and clean tanks, flush lines, clean unit, etcetera. Small tank, 1,2,3,4, take out the film and let the tank and roller dry. IMHO...
When you come to a fork in the road, take it...