In today’s episode, the team sets about discussing their favourite single malt scotches and whiskeys, well, not really. We consume some fine single-malt during our lively discussion about developing tanks and different systems for home processing, from the simple to the complex, steel, plastic, and constant rotation.
When it comes to a classic system, look no further than steel tanks and reels. These come in fixed sizes, and you must buy different reels for different formats. But the bonus is that you can use them wet. But not all reels are made equal; Hewes is the best brand for quality and ease of loading. When it comes to loading, you do load the film from the inside out, so it will take a bit of practice, and it is all hands-on; no automatic system here, and you do have to watch for film slipping between the cracks. The steel tanks also take less chemistry than your average plastic tank.
There are two good names in plastic tanks, Patterson and AP. While some people have issues loading film, especially medium format, onto the Patterson reels, the AP reels have a much larger lip to help guide. But with plenty of practice, it can be second nature. The trick is to take it slow, ensure your reels are bone dry before loading them and keep them clean. Regarding these plastic reels, a standard reel can be adjusted to support 120, 127, and 35mm. Plus, there is a wide range of tanks, from ones that do a single roll of 35mm to ones that can do eight rolls of 35mm.
The premium plastic system is a developing tank with some automation. Of course, these come at a price, and access here in North America is limited to a single source (CatLABS of JP). But if you’re going with Jobo, you might as well go all in and check out the CPP2 and CPP3 systems; this allows for precision agitation and temperature, which is perfect if you’re doing large volume processing of colour or black & white. But both these systems are starting to get old, with the CPP3 being released in 2016. And if you get one cheap, it is probably cheap for a reason and needs repairs. So you might want to get used to doing some basic electronics and electrical repairs and have a source for spare parts.
B’s Processor & AuRA
If you don’t want to waste time and money on a Jobo system, why not check out a simpler, more affordable option? The first is AuRA, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, released their products. The AuRA is clean, easy to use and filled with amazing features. Based on a Rasberry Pi, the AuRA has multiple rotation settings, adjustable RPM and timers, but the manufacturer has gone dark. The B’s Processor hasn’t gone dark; these are made regularly and offer a simpler solution. With three modes, from pulsed, slow, and fast rotation, with an Arduino processor. Plus, they are cheaper than the AuRA. The one good thing about both is that they are universal, so you can use them with your Jobo, Paterson, or AP tanks.
Want a subscription to SilverGrain Classics and are a fan of Classic Camera Revival? Visit their shop online and buy a magazine or a subscription? Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). In Quebec, Photo Service (Montreal, QC) and Studio Argentique (Montreal, QC), Out West there’s Kerrisdale Cameras (BC), The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), buyfilm.ca (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic. Looking for development options, check out these labs that have our support, Boréalis Photo Lab, Old School Photo Lab, The Darkroom, and Film Rescue International.