BTZS film tubes : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Anyone use the BTZS film tube system for processing 4x5? How do you find it?

Also, what about the daylight tank that Calumet sells (can't remember the name), that takes six negs at a time? Does this have any major problems?


Tim A

-- Tim Atherton (, October 05, 1998


The HP Combo tank you refer to is very messy to use, it leaks and Ihad difficulty with evenness,leakage and drain & fill time times. I have had two of them at different times. The way HP recommends you use them is to set up a line of them and move the film basket from one to the next with a water clear between stop and fixer (for B&W) and cap each tank for daylight flip and flop agitation. Four of these tanks are hardly cheap.

I cannot offer you advice on the BTZS tubes except to say that the people who use them, like them.

BTZS/ Darkroom Innovations makes/markets the best darkcloth for large format cameras period; it is a joy to use compared to the standard "horse blanket" design.

-- Ellis (, October 05, 1998.

If "the daylight tank that Calumet sells" is indeed the HP Combi-T tank, I also recommend avoiding it. Maybe it was the way I agitated the tank, but I found that the gizmo used to support the bottom of the negatives in the tank (the part with all the small little teeth) would gouge my negatives during processing. The result was bits of emulsion mission from my negatives. Needless to say the tank went back to the store.

If you are set on a daylight processing tank for 4x5, look at the Jobo 2500 (2000?) series tank. Uses around 55oz. of chemistry (if you don't have a roller/processor (the Combi-T uses 36oz). It's much easier to work with and a light year better with regards to filling and draining chemistry. The results are more even because of this.

-- Robert Ruderman (, October 05, 1998.

I started out tray processing sheet film and migrated to the BTZS tubes. They work fine. Some folks will tell you about the negatives of any system as everyone has their "favorite" technique. The knocks on the BTZS system have been: 1) The time it takes to unscrew the caps of a group of tubes being processed and dump the chemistry and 2) The requirement for additional fixing to remove the dark coloration of remaining antihalation backing of the film that did not receive chemistry during processing.

Start with one tube and work you way up to gain confidence. Shortly you will be slinging multiple tubes with the best of them. So what if you have to fix a little longer to clear the film ? I actually think that the rotational method gives great results with no potential scratching that can occur in trays. In my opinion, tha value of the BTZS system is the simplicity. A tube with a cap screwed to it. I cannot speak to the merits or the multiple sheets tanks. I look at their design and wonder what happens when all of these sheets do not line up correctly. Remember, you are setting it up in total darkness.

The 4 x 5 tubes are much more reasonable in price as compared to the 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 tubes because of manufacturing costs. The larger tubes are precision milled. I used the 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 tubes before I went the route of a JOBO CPP2. This decision on my part was predicated on the fact that I can process 5 8 x 10 sheets at a time in one run with my 3005 drum. As I have gained experience in large format and my frustration level has decreased, (thanks in part to this forum), I now shoot more film with a new level of satisfaction.

Check out the Darkroom Innovations web page and give them a call. They have a great brochure that they will provide you with.

-- Michael Kadillak (, October 05, 1998.

Tim, I didn't want to pay the $$$ for the BTZS tubes so made my own from directions found at I've been using them for nearly a year. They are very easy to make and easy to use, and above all cheap. I can't imagine going back to film hangars, which I used before, or trays, which I never liked. Erik Ryberg

-- Erik Ryberg (, October 06, 1998.

If you are going to spend the money, look seriously at the Jobo six shooter or 10 shooter style drum. It works very well and can easily be rotated by hand in a water bath. One of these will give the options of 6 or 10 sheets of 4x5 film at a time. But, if you do get one be sure to get a foot pump to take the lid off or you will learn the meaning of frustration quickly. Also, I have had the BTZS tubes and they work well but I got tired of the one at a time aspect.

-- Dan Smith (, October 08, 1998.

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