I've done tray processing, CombiPlan, Jobo 2509 and Jobo 3006/3010 over the last 20 years or so. They all work and will give you good results if you are careful, but the most convenient one is the 3000 series by far.
If you have a nice stable temperature in between 68F and 75F in your darkroom/workplace you can use a roller base and spin the drum yourself. (I built one from a piece of hardwood and 4 cheap small furniture wheels.) The 2509 works best when rotated too.
The BTZS tubes can be made at home too. They are quite easy to use and are perfect for adapting individual processing times for different sheets of film (while still processing e.g. 6 sheets at a time).
There is plenty of info and threads on the CombiPlan both here and over at lfphoto.info. I still use mine from time to time when doing special development. I do like it, but the Jobos are better and takes much less chemistry.
So, a lot to choose from, but take it in your own pace.
Remember the Yankee Tank?
There's always the venerable old Yankee 4X5 Daylight Tank for under $40.00 although the Jobo CPP-2 with the 3000 drum would be my first choice.
check the Yankee-
"A certain amount of contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensable to the purest realization of this idea." Man Ray
Thanks for the continuing comments, guys. My first attempt at 4x5 developing was done over the weekend, and I used the tray method (all I had on hand).
Keith, I had thought to use latex gloves but at the last minute decided bare fingers would do me better for the first try, and boy am I glad I did.
I had no idea developer was so slippery - out of all the other angst I thought I had mentally prepared for, this caught me off guard. Thank goodness I was only chasing after 2 pieces!
8x10 trays were lined up only a few inches from each other, so my blind transferring dips went fine. I ended up with very nice development - film was FP4, developed in Rodinal 1+25. Box called for 9 minutes but my thermometer advised me to pull out sooner since I was closer to 72 degrees in there, and I had very nice, even development throughout.
For all my chasing and white-knuckled edge-gripping, I only had one small tear in one corner, which was great since during development, I was convinced I'd end up with hugely slashed ruins.
I'm sure this method would only get easier with practice...but I am leaning towards eventually dropping the bucks to gain some convenience.
The images were taken at a nearby hiking trail; the detail of the individual trees is so sharp you get the feeling you could just step into the negative. Wow!
LF rocks! I'm hooked! I'm smitten! I'm doomed!
Welcome to the Club! Your place in the Asylum is ready!
Good going! Just like paper, you drop the sheet in and give it a slosh once in a while, then fish it out by the edges. You get a rhythm going and soon everything is done, with "equipment" you already have.
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Why thankee, suh....I've always relied on the kindness of strangers...
Originally Posted by Venchka
Yes, your husband rocks! I finally got a Tachihara and it's a huge difference in weight from my Sinar F2 set up. Lucky you!
Originally Posted by terri
I use a Beseler roller with the 2551 Jobo tank (the one with the cap, not the cog. The cog versions end in the number 3). There's also a film loader that goes with the 2509 reels...definitely easier to load film that way. A really big changing bag or a tent helps loading (I use the Harrison tent...never had a problem with it and it sets up like a mini-backpacking tent). Also, my roller is one-directional, so I flip the tank once a minute.
Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.
Terri, I too was able to successfully develop 6 sheets this weekend. I didn't use gloves either this time, I may try it at a nother time. I got a few tiny scratches on the corners but I belive that was due to my plunking them down in the water bath and not paying attention and then tried to straighten them up...... Live and learn.
Someone once said to me; There are two ways to make photographs, your way and the wrong way. Therefore I make photographs that plese me and if someone else finds them pleasing, super.
Let me second the Phototherm suggestion. I have several, although some are junkers for parts. They work great, and they were designed from the beginning for professional use, not hobby use. You cannot process paper in them like some of the Jobo solutions. They compete head to head with the Jobo Professional Lab series, not the CPx series.
Originally Posted by alanrockwood
The "best" way to segregate the Phototherm lines is whether they have the rotary selector valve or the linear selector valve on the back. The linear valve is older and slightly more problematic, but my linear valves work great after a bit of lubrication using the factory instructions.
The 4x5 adapter is hard to come by in fleabay auctions, and it is pretty expensive from Phototherm. But it works fantastically if you spring for one directly from Phototherm or get one secondhand.
I have also done some experiments with the Phototherm 4x5 adapter in a Paterson 3-reel tank. It works fine and allows you to easily process 4 sheets using a method that may be more familiar than getting an abandon Phototherm working. It's quite a bit cleaner in a Paterson than the "taco" method, but obviously the adapter costs more than a rubber band. You can see something here: http://photo.net/large-format-photography-forum/00RMar
If you do happen to have a Phototherm eight reel tank (used with the Super SideKick 8 series), you *CAN* process eight 4x5 sheets if you also happen to have two of the sheet film adapters. They will both fit in the large tank easily, and the chemical volume is quite sufficient to process them. That does work.
KEH is in Atlanta but I don't recall ever seeing anything about darkroom stuff on their site. Camera stuff on the other hand...........
Originally Posted by terri