processing drums & motor bases - which fits which? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

There's been lots of discussion about using drums to process film & prints, but I have some confusion about which drums will work with which motor bases, and how well the respective models of drums work. For example, B&H currently lists drums by Beseler, Doran, and a "Ciba" drum (made by Ilford or...?) as well as bases by Beseler and Doran. Then they also list the "Dev Tec" processor and motor drive, and of course they sell all the Jobo $tuff. Beyond that, there's all the used Unicolor drums and bases out there in e-land and Shutterbug. So, can anyone post a list of what goes with what?

Closer to home, what I'd like to do specifically is process b&w film and prints up to 16x20, and Ilfochromes (with the milder P-30 chemistry) also at 16x20 (do I need the "Ciba" drum for this?). Ideally, I'd like a big drum for the 16x20 stuff and a smaller one that could do 4x5 and 8x10, both of which would work on the same motor base... and not spend a million dollars getting there. I'm not looking for the state of the art, just something that'll work. Suggestions, anyone?


-- Mark Parsons (, January 24, 2000


Any of these combinations should work fine. You can add to your list stuff from Adorama, King Concept(?).

From what I've seen, including temperature control appears to balloon prices. I think there are easier ways to control temperature, even for E6 and definitely for B&W. Assuming you like the idea of rotary processing for your films (less handling of film, no bromide drag etc), I think the old motor bases and drums do a perfectly good job. Either the Beseler or Unicolor motor bases are fine (if you can't get the bidirectional rotation, pick up the drum halfway through and turn it around and set it back on the motor). I personally like the Unicolor drums for film processing because they have ribs which hold the film away from the walls thereby allowing chemistry to get into the back of the film to remove the anti-halation dyes etc. Your total cash outlay, if you buy used, on these would probably be in the region of $40 for the motor base and maybe $10-20 per drum (the drums obviously work fine for prints). For temperature control, you can use a tempering bath. I picked up a large Tupperware kind of container, cut holes in the lid for my chemistry botles and stuck an aquarium heater into it. It works. I don't know about which drums work on which motor base but given that the drum sizes are probably comparable across brands, I would imagine you should be able to mix and match. Good luck. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, January 25, 2000.

Unicolor, Beseler and Ciba drums will work on the Unicolor and Beseler motors. I recommend the Unicolor motor and drums. The Unicolor 16x20 drum can also hold 2 11x14 or 4 8x10.

If you want to go bigger, the Dev Tec 20" drum will do 20x24 or 16x20 but no smaller sizes. It fits on the Beseler motor fine but won't go on the Unicolor motor.

-- John Hicks (, January 25, 2000.

I have been using a uniroller with the jobo 2500 drum system for over ten years successfully for all b/w film processing. The advantages of the rotary system are there with less expense. The uniroller, used or if available new, costs a lost less than a jobo prcessor. Four years ago I bought a jobo expert drum that holds up to 10 4x5s. The sole problem I had was the drum falling off the uniroller. Some heavy rubber bands fore and aft on the drum retsrict that kind of movement. I find the rotary useful for anything except n-2/3/4. Then I use Sextons TmaxRS dilution and times and opt for a combi tank so I can control agitation. For all else I use the Uniroller/jobo. I have never ahd troubles maintaining temperature. I prewet the film at optimum temp and make certain my chemistry is also at the correct temp.

-- Bob moulton (, January 26, 2000.

I just purchased from B&H (and returned immediately, before putting chemistry in it) a Jobo 3005, intending to use it on a Unicolor motor base for 8x10 HP-5+. Dry testing - - with the end cap removed - - showed that the motor reversed direction before the Expert drum could make even most of a complete revolution. Since the film would not be fully wetted, there was no way to make this work. I did disassemble the Unicolor base to see if reversing interval could be lengthened; no such luck. It's established by some kind of plastic gearset that flips a toggle switch back and forth.

-- Sal Santamaura (, September 06, 2000.

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