I was given a Nova 4 slot print processor the other day. My question: Is it necessary to use a special developer such as Nova's own machine developer or the similar Fotospeed CD11 (according to their blurb, both formulated for machine or slot processors and capable of a high capacity - with replenishment). Or, can I use an 'ordinary' dev such as ID20, ID78, PQ Universal etc. I've noticed that most of the Ilford devs don't recommend a high process temperature, although I reckon I wouldn't be processing above 25c anyway. What are your thoughts, experiences and preferences, particularly in terms of capacity/longevity. Thanks in advance, Blights.
Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.
You can use any chemicals you want.
I would not use toners though because they really stain the slots which can be hard to clean.
I know one of the selling points is that you can leave the chems on the slots so it is ready to use any time. However, I stopped doing that because of staining, losing track of the age of chemicals, etc. It is easy enough to drain (though not as easy to rinse if used out of a sink). I settled on using one-session chemicals.
If you do store the chemicals in the slots, I would not do so with PermaWash or Hypoclear because precipitates can form which are a nuisance to clean.
If you heat the unit, don't forget to keep water in the chambers between the slots or the heater will burn out. Adding a small amount of laundry bleach to the slot water will prevent algae growth.
Don't move or lift the unit when full because it will crack.
Learn the proper technique for sliding the print one slot to the next so you are not sloshing/splattering chemicals all over.
Use the paper clips and continuously, gently agitate the paper for even processing.
Nova's own dev is good, and also very economical, so why not try that first. That way you will reduce the chance of error whilst you get used to your new toy.
I am presently using Formulary Liquidol developer in mine, but I've also used Dektol, Formulary 130, and Ilford Cooltone. With all of them I get well beyond the stated capacity. For developer, I mix 2 Liters, storing the extra to use for topping off as needed. By the time I run out of the topping-off mix it's time for mixing a new batch.
On the fix I draw off 10 ml or so and test it with hypo check every other session or so.
Lately i've been using the forth slot for a second fix bath and transfer it to the third slot when the first bath is exhausted.
For toning, alternate developers, etc. I use trays.
The Formulary developers are probably not practical to obtain over the pond, but Ilford, or whatever you might prefer will do fine.
You will get some staining on the developer slot, especially with long lived formulations like 130, but a little scrubbing and rinsing will bring it back to near-original white.
As for temp, I keep mine set for 20 C and keep it on unless I know I won't be printing for several days. It's great to be able to pop into the darkroom, take the covers off the Nova and be processing your first print in less than 5 minutes. Even nicer, perhaps, to put the prints in the wash, wipe up the drips and be done in another 5.
As Jerold says, you do need to pay attention to agitation, otherwise you will reproduce the waffle pattern of the slot in the print.
I'd second Dave's comments on Nova's developer. While I have used Ilford's successfully in the Nova Quad as well, Nova's dev seems to have been specially made for it. It can be used at a range of temps right up into the high 20s as can Nova's fix. Both dev and fix times can be very short at the top end which might be useful if you are looking for a high throughput.
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I run mine at 24C. Developers that last in my experience are: Ansco 130 (lasts almost literally *forever* but you need to get one of the ingredients (glycin) from The Photographer's Formulary in the US so probably not ideal for starters - I've more or less stopped using it now because of that); Agfa Neutol WA (a warm-tone developer); Ilford Warmtone developer. Similarly to Barry, I mix 3 litres for my 12x16 slots - fibre paper soaks up developer like a sponge!
I just fill and drain the slots with 3 changes of water when putting in new chemicals.
I use the Tetenal fixer test strips (quite expensive, but you can cut them in 2 or three lengthways if you are as tight-fisted as me!) and a film clearing time test to check the fixer in the fixer slot.
By combining a low-odour fixer (Agfa FX Universal - cheap & neutral pH) with citric acid based indicator stop (Ilfostop or Fotospeed) with the Nova's small surface-area slots I find I rarely feel the need to switch my extractor fans on.
Note that if you don't print for a while, life will start to appear in citric acid based stop-bath. Small civilizations will arise, attain intelligence and savagely critique your prints as you put them in the stop bath. Or, more likely, stain it...
I keep the slots covered with cling-film when not in use: helps cut the odour down. I have no idea what those bits of plastic pipe are supposed to do as they do not come close to sealing the slots - I use them to hold the cling-film down on the liquids.
Have fun, Bob.
Thanks for the replies. While I'm here I may as well ask about replenishment. Do you draw off a certain amount of solution, ditch it and then top up with fresh or simply top up as the level falls (I reckon that would only apply to the dev slot). The Nova instructions don't make it very clear, either that or I'm as thick as pigshit
Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.
I just top it up as the level falls. I have heard of others tapping off 100-200ml or so on a regular basis though.
I find only occasional need to top-up the other slots as the chems get carried across and the levels fall much slower (though somewhat counter-intuitively, they do fall a little). I just top them up with a little water (never amounts to more than 100ml or so) and I replace them completely when they get exhausted.
Replenishment works fine, especially if you are using the Nova daily, or for a long weekend for example. I would replenish amply and not cut it too finely.
Originally Posted by Blighty
I started out leaving the slots full of chemicals and replenishing. It works well and is convenient. However, precipitates form in the permawash slot, the devleoper slot gets stained, and it a minor pain to keep clean. In the end, I drained the slots and rinsed out the unit after each use (or a few days).
I have the 16x12 monochrome model. It's very useful except that I have no sink in my darkroom so draining it is a pain - using containers to transport the chemicals to the sink downstairs.
Also, you cannot drain or fill any of the slots more than halfway on its own - if I want to drain the dev, I have to drain at least half of the stop and fix otherwise the imbalance in weight could crack the plastic. This may not be the case on the heated versions I suppose. This means that if I wish to change dev type in a session, it's suddenly a big deal.
I found the space for trays in the end.