Is a Jobo processor right for me?
This question may have been answered already. My appologies if this is repetitive in this forum.
I currently develop 5-7 rolls of B&W 35mm and 120/220 film a month. My results are not consistent and so I have started using a local lab. I am interested in developing and printing in my darkroom if I can create better results.
I have a day job and I have not been able to take the time to perfect this process.
Will a Jobo processor help me?
Any information (opinions) that explains why some one like me would buy this tool would be helpful before I make the mistake of buying or not buying.
The rotary processor will give you an even agitation, and temperature control, depending on the model, I think, but that's about it. If you are not careful about your solutions, your exposure, your whole chain in a nutshell, then having a rotary processor will not help. You should try to identify what problem you wish to solve, and then see whether the rotary processor is the right answer.
Can you detail your working procedure a little more? What camera, lens, film, tank, developer, stop bath, fixer, washing agent, washing time, water, time, temperature, drying procedure do you use? Also, have you tested for your Exposure Index (the "effective film speed") and for a correct development time adjusted to your enlarger type?
5-7 rolls a month seems a scarce amount of film for investing in a Jobo. Plus, you do only B&W, which is less sensitive to small variations than colour is. My instinct would be to work on your development procedure before buying new gear.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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Yes. If you can afford it, get the CPP-2 with a lift. You won't regret it. I can't imagine processing film without one now. I just processed 20 sheets of 4x5 TMAX film this afternoon with no problems.
I have to agree with MHV. If you are getting inconsistent results by hand processing, you will just get more automated inconsistent results with a Jobo. In fact, by changing your processing method you are just adding one more variable to your problems.
If you want consistent, not to mention good, results, you are going to have to TAKE the time to do it right. I suggest you research and adopt a good processing method. Write down the steps in outline form, and put the outline in a clear plastic envelope and post it over your darkroom sink. Then follow your procedures scrupulously every time. Then if your results are still inconsistent, you can describe the problem and your procedures here, and I'll bet you'll have all kinds of solutions fired at you.
I don't mean to preach at you, but if you want good negatives there is no alternative to investing the necessary time into them. Someone here has a quote to the effect of making the craft the best it can be, and letting others decide if it is art. I think that sums things up well.
Yes, a JOBO processor most likely *will* produce more uniform results. Many variables will be *lessened*; temperature control will most certainly be more uniform, agitation, etc. as well. It will be possible to pay greater attention to fewer areas of critical interest.
Additionally, the chemistry involved will be, again most likely, superior to that used in a commercial lab. You have the *opportunity* to do "one-shot" with pristinely mixed chemistry ... something *very few* commercial labs would even consider.
Cost effectiveness is another matter. Would it be acceptable to buy a Leica for 5-7 rolls of -whatever- film a month? All I can say here is that it depends on your direction - what you want to do, your heart and "innards".
Your dissatisfaction with your present uniformity would tend to say "yes".
It *did* make sense to me.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
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I don't think that a low volume of film per month would dissuade me from the Jobo. I agree with the others that you have to know what you are doing first and have your routines down. If not, the Jobo will make life more complicated.
I don't have time to process film very often either, but I can process up to 60 sheets of 4x5 without too much problem. I don't have to worry about temperature control. All of the chemical bottles are in the same slot each time. Agitation is always the same. I fill the Jobo with water the night before, mix up the chemistry, sometimes load the film drums also. In the morning I turn on the processor to pre-heat, eat breakfast and then get to work. Clean up is simple but the unit does take up some space.
Further, remember that there are twobasic types of Jobo units. The 'manual' units such as the CPE/CPA and CPP and the 'automatic' units represented by all those that have ATL in their name (current models include the ATL500/800/1500/2xxx series). Even the smallest of the auto units reduces the variables to one simple factor, you mixing the chemicals, everything else is programmed and automated. While the smaller 500 and 800 units are seldom seen on the used market the others are often available at excellent prices, especially the large 2xxx units. If you have room for one of these larger units, you will need a lot of space, they are wonderful.
What everybody else said, plus, you can do color printing where controlled temp is a major part of the process.
I am a complete novice at this game but Ioffer the following as guidance.
For B&W I use trays for prints and a paterson universal for film (35 plus 120 , about a film a week -sometimes more) . After about 6 months my BW work is reasonably consistent and I can make changes to a print through burning/dodging etc. and get results that I would expect 90% of the time. I enjoy the craft of the darkroom and am satisfied with my printing, very satisfied with some - to me it's a hobby and is to be enjoyed.
I have recently begun to attempt colour printing. This I do in trays using room temp chemicals. I have even produced one half decent print ! I considered a Jobo and a deep tank processor but in both cases I would not recoup costs for several years with my output (even with a good bargain on ebay) and the only reason I can think of using a tempering bath is for colour film development. My next purchase is likely to be a s/h jobo drum and possibly a hand roller base, simply to allow me to turn the light on more often- cost around £40-£50. I will try to process film with a simple water bath and if that doesn't work I will get negs processed and print from them myself, it's more cost effective. If I really decide I wanty total control I will consider a Jobo BUT I will know what is going on better by then, when things go wrong it helps to know why.
My advice to you can only be subjective not objective - for BW a Jobo seems totally over the top unless you are processing 20 prints a day so I would suggest spending more time in the darkroom, if you can .
because of the requirements for printing B/W, I wouldn't do B/W printing in a JOBO anyway. Fiber paper absorbs too much chemistry to work well in any rotary or roller-transport system. I'd stick to trays and/or vertical slot processor for b/w printing. For film, if you're only doing 35mm and/or 120, you could be quite happy with one of the JOBO Duolab units. They may only be available 2nd hand. It has a motor base and can take drums for up to 8x10 color prints or multi-reel 35mm or 120 tanks. It also has a series of vertical slots for printing up to 8x10 B/W prints, in a fairly condensed footprint. They show up on E-pay fairly often and go for not much money.