Daylight tanks the 5W's
I would like to get as much info on 4x5 daylight tanks as I have started down this road called LF. I have NO clue on what to look for, where to look so on and so on. Someone suggested a HP Combi tank but I never can find them. Any and all help would be great.
I have heard mostly good things about the Combiplan tanks except that they take a lot of chemistry. I have used the Yankee and similar tanks and do not recommend them. You agitate them by sloshing them from side to side and I always had unevenness. The combiplan works differently and apparently does better. Personally, I got a Jobo and have been very happy with my results ever since.
I would consider the Combi-plan (available new from Freestyle, BH, Adorama, but shop around for the best price) for a good starting option. They can handle a number of sheets at once and work well if you follow the directions. Most of the problems seem to be from people who are not operating it properly and get subsequent slow filling and draining times. Their sales rep is available via email if you have questions; his email address should be on the companies web site. If you get one used, make sure that it is in good shape (i.e. no cracks in the tank or lid, no broken clips, etc.) and that you get everything that was included in the original package. All the parts are available new from the vendor if you need replacements though, so no real worries there if you can't get a complete set.
The Yankee products are notorious for being problematic. I had some Yankee products in the past and the fit and finish never was as good as other brands. I think that they were the 'affordable' option, you know? Anyway, you could also do some research on the 'taco method' of developing, which allows you to develop multiple sheets in one stainless or plastic tank (without reels of course). I use a 4 reel tank for stand development of 4x5 negatives and find it very 'do-able'.
I bought a new Combi-Plan tank set, and had it leak from the drain valve, even when the drain valve is completely closed. The tank is very expensive, too pricey to go out and take a second chance on having a new one leak as well. Not that they're cheaper, but I did end up with a Jobo Expert drum system which works reliably 100% of the time, and is more consistent and easier to temperature control.
How many sheets are you looking at per session? Do you need to do other formats to? Which developers are you using?
Jobo makes two different lines of daylight 4x5 film tanks. The 2500 could be considered a conventional film tank. You add reels to match the film format you need. Will handle anything from 35mm to 4x5. Can be used either inversion or rotary.
The Expert line is only sheet film. It's quite a bit more expensive.
I don't know if Jobo is sold in Canada at all anymore. That leaves mail order from the US or Ebay. If you buy used watch which 4x5 film reel you get. The older style had issues for some people. Also plenty of older tanks out there that might not handle the newer reels. So make sure you're getting either a 2500 type tank or an Expert if that's what you want.
New neither is exactly cheap but the 2500 type tanks can be had cheap for a more reasonable price.
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alternatives to daylight tank for 4x5
I also tried the Combi and the Yankee tanks and found that they were a disaster for me, with leaks in the Combi and uneveness and difficultly loading for the Yankee. I use Unicolor drums/motorized base and have been mostly satisfied. If I were JUST doing 4x5, I would try using a slosher tray.
Don't mean to hijack this thread, but....
If you haven't made covenant with God to use daylight tanks, I would suggest you consider their down sides: Film hangers that are very prone to streak film even after months or years of practice; inordinate amount of chemistry needed; general bulkiness of the operation, etc.
Consider the simplicity and economics of a roller system; minimal chemistry, an agitation technique that will not vary from session-to-session providing consistent results. The down side of rolling your own is in stand or semi stand development, it can't be done.
While a motor base is nice it is not mandatory nor is a Jobo system that controls temperatures, but nice and expensive.
I would recommend the Combi Tank system as a starter. I used it initially, but have since switched to the JOBO CPA2 system which I truly appreciate. I would agree the Combi tank takes more chemistry, but it works and is very handy to use in tight quarters. Although the tank will hold 6 4x5 sheets, I found it worked best for me when I only inserted 4 sheets. Although it worked for me when I inserted 6 sheets, sometimes due to my improper placement of the sheet film they touched and thus did not develope properly.
If you are interested in getting one. I would check the places sugggested or you can send me an email and I would sell you mine. It works fine and was only used less than 8 times when I decided to upgrade to the JOBO system. I you do purchase my used combi tank, I would, as always make a percentage donation to apug.
At first my Combi's did not leak. Then they began to do so around the side drain. My first move was to check if it was the fitting to the side of the tank. No. On to replace the gasket with something more substantial, and carve a little shoulder off so the top (which now started to leak) so it could go deeper into the lid. No fix. I could not figure what was leaking.
Originally Posted by wilsonneal
It was the sides of the drain/fill screw ons, down deep into the grip slots. I have since coated these in liquid rubberiod, and the leaking has stopped.
B&H also sells every replacement part seperately. I do suggest replacing the bottom drain gasket with a conventional hose gasket. Works much better and does not require so much torquing down, which is what I think splits the screw on fittings.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it...
Like others here, I have tried the Yankee daylight tanks had had nothing but problems. I now use Jobo Expert drums on a motor base and have never looked back. Are you already hooked and are planning a lifelong LF obsession or are just trying things out? Systems like Jobo Expert drums, BZTS tubes and the like are going to give you better, more consistent results than the old Yankee tank, but they price tag reflects it. Anything against tray processing in the dark?