Paterson Orbital Developer : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone have experience with the Patererson Orbital Developer? I real an interesting article on this machine. I'd like to know more about it, but I've never been able to locate where they sell them. How are they for developning 4X5 and 8X10? Thanks

-- david clark (, September 16, 2000


I currently use one. I however only use it for 4x5 though. As for developing, the simplest description is that they are pretty much like tray developing except that you can do it in the light. For the actual use, I'd say that as long as you have the patience to do only 4x 4x5's or 2x 5x7's or only 1 8x10, then they are pretty good. However, it is worth noting that you may have to roughen the inside bottom of the tank or the negs can stick to it during development and cause some problems.

-- David Kirk (, September 17, 2000.

To expand on David's question, how even are 8x10 negatives processed in a (roughened) Patterson Orbital compared to typical results from a Jobo Expert? Also, is there a US source for this system? B&H's Web site doesn't seem to include it.

I'm sure there are those who will suggest Unicolor drums as an alternative. I've tried that approach; turbulence from the restraining "wings" and the tank end cause huge density variations which are *very* obvious in images containing even tones. My hope is that Patterson's system uses a sufficiently random agitation scheme to avoid the Unicolor's deficiencies.

-- Sal Santamaura (, September 17, 2000.

According to Patterson's site they are suppose to be available, but after contacting B&H to see if I could find one the response was no luck. I was eventually able to get one from a reader, but without the motorized base. This suits me as I plan on using it in a tub of water for temperature control; Water temps are too high in Florida, and I'm not interested in cooling the house to 68 deg. I did read an old article in Shutterbug a couple years back about the system and the author used a dremel to roughen the bottom to prevent sticking. I can see where the basic idea is a nice one, but I'm wondering about the amount of developer to use as I haven't used it yet. My test with water to see how much will be needed to cover all 4 4x5 films came to 600ml, and agitation had to be reasonably easy or else the developer will spill out. This was based on the idea of using in a water bath. I don't think it's a bad way to go, as you can generally find them cheap if you can find them. The only other option is a Jobo developing tank/system or Kodak tanks or open trays. The Jobo will obviously use less developer, with the Orbital second. I would probably use a replenishing system instead of one shot. Maybe 1/2 replacement each time.

-- Wayne Crider (, September 17, 2000.

I have used the Paterson Orbital Developer for both prints and film. I found that for color transparencies sticking was not a problem. I did have trouble with Tri-X. The film cleared without a trace. I didn't think of roughing the surface to prevent sticking.

-- Robert McBride (, September 17, 2000.

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