Manual film processing using JOBO 2500 series tanks : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am new to large format photography. I've been using a Yankee Agitank (picked up used). I'm getting some uneven development (surprise?) As I'm on a limited budget I can't justify the expense of a JOBO processor but I am interested in the tanks (less chemicals used, even development) Has anybody had any experiance with this? Does anybody have any suggestions for getting better results with the Yankee tank? I don't have the space to do in tray processing. Thanks

-- Rob Haury (, February 15, 2001


I gave up using the Yankee Scratch-O-Matic when I got a suspiciously good deal on a JOBO 1500 series tank. I roll it by hand on a table with a ring on the bottom so that it lays flat. It works, though you HAVE to use a water pre-wash cycle before the developer or you can get things reminiscient of "The Scream."

I didn't actually have (visibly) uneven development with the Yankee tank -- but I never put 12 sheets in it at once. I was probably a little more vigorous with agitation than is perfectly safe -- before I screwed the rack into position it would pop some of my sheets out.

The problem with the JOBO stuff outside of the processor is temperature variation, I guess, but it hasn't hurt me with B&W yet. Good luck!

-- John O'Connell (, February 15, 2001.

You might try what I like to call the poor mans JOBO. The BTZS Tubes. I use them and like them very much.

-- Jeff White (, February 15, 2001.

Use that Yankee tank for a planter or something....

Try a Unicolor 8x10 print drum; you can develop up to four sheets of 4x5 or an 8x10, the ribs allow solutions to get around to the base side of the film so you don't get mottling, and you can roll it back'n'forth on a tabletop or use the motor roller base.

These things are really common on the used-equipment market and work great.

-- John Hicks (, February 15, 2001.

I second John Hicks recommendation for the Uniroller drums. I began using them this summer after I purchased a couple of motor bases and drums from one of the super folks on this forum. I had used the system when I worked at a newspaper for 35mm, but not for 4x5 and 8x10. I have not gotten a bad negative out of it yet. The best thing is that it standardizes the agitation, thus eliminating one more variable. You can pick up the drums on E-Bay for $10-15, or I have seen them used at camera stores. In the meantime, the Jobo drums will work with hand agitation, but is more of a pain in the keester.


-- Doug Paramore (, February 15, 2001.

Thanks for the responses. I think the suggestion for the uniroller tanks is an excellent one. It looks like it's just what I've been looking for.


-- Rob Haury (, February 15, 2001.


Welcome to the forum. Look back at the archived threads for discussions on many options. A couple weeks ago, there was a discussion on using the Jobo drums for hadn inversion processing.

I don't think Jobo recommends the drums for hand inversion processing of sheet films. (2509n reels and 2502(?) drum), but some people do it anyway. You're not going to save much chemicals, as you're going to have to fill the drum to process this way. I was going to suggest what the others have - you should be able to pick up a used Unicolor 8x10 drum and a motor base for $50. That beats the price of the 2509n reel and 2500 drum by a long shot (Also, if you look for the Jobo 4x5 reels used, be sure they are the 2509n and not the plain 2509, as there is a redesign to improve agitation.)

The BTZS tubes are a good idea, too, and homemade construction instructions for them are even given in Beyond the Zone System by Phil Davis. One problem I think there is with them, though, is that there is no ribbing in the tubes like in the Unicolor drum, even in the commercially sold BTZS tubes, so the anti-halation layer on the back of the films may not completely clear, and you have to refix to finish the processing. This is somewhat bothersome to me. But I've never had that problem with the Unicolor drums.

-- John H. Henderson (, February 16, 2001.

I am happy to report that the unicolor drums performed as I had hoped. I just Developed 12 negs and all are evenly developed and scratch free. I did the agitation by hand since the roller base I purchased hasn't arrived yet. By the way the Yankee tank makes a great film washer. Rob

-- Rob Haury (, February 24, 2001.

I hope someone is still following this. I was wondering exactly how Unicolor tanks work. How do you load them? How do you process film? Do you have to bee in total darkness through the whole process? THanks.

-- Taylan Morcol (, April 24, 2001.

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