Print washers, your advice

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Dear friends and contributors, I am about to buy a print washer, they are considerably expensive and I'd like to ask the learned contibutors about what do they think the best choice would be, I would process at most 12 FBprints up until 40x50cm at the time, goes without saying that if any of you who reside in Europe like to sell your print washer, get in touch and we'll discuss it! Thanks

-- Andrea Milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), May 13, 2001

Answers

I've seen the larger Patterson Printwasher, (which I THINK will accomadate 40X50cm prints) on the German ebay. They've gone for about 125. I have the smaller version which takes prints up to 24X30cm and am quite satisfied. Also an ebay acquisition for 100.

Bill

-- William Levitt (Light-Zone@web.de), May 14, 2001.


Versalabs washers are inexpensive enough that it may be worth it to have one shipped from the states. Its not glamorous but its very functional. http://www.versalab.com

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), May 14, 2001.

Check out the Calumet film washers. I have heard many good things about them from those who own them {Even the super annal purists} KJP in England is now called Calumet and they have several stores throughout the country. I believe there is also a Calumet store in Germany. Maybe check out their website www.calumetphoto.com John

-- john (dogspleen@juno.com), May 14, 2001.

Andrea,

I use the Zone VI printwasher. Printwashers are not things people buy and sell very often, consequently comparing the effectiveness of the various models is difficult. I chose the Zone ZVI version because it was recommneded by several teachers (and Ansel Adams, the master of archival print processing used one). It works great, no complaints.

It's also heavy as hell, all that plexiglass weighs a ton. Shipping it from the USA could cost more than the washer itself.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 2001.


Andrea, I don't do nearly the amount of FB printing that I used to, but I've had a Calumet washer for years. The one I have, I believe (not 100% sure...so don't quote me) was made for them by Gravity Works. Back in 1995 or so, Camera & Darkroom magazine (Steve Anchell), did a roundup of print washers. I ended up buying this model after reading that, but I think the one Anchell favored the most was made by Summitek. Apparently this is a very low flow design, and the water sort of moves "downstream" from one slot to the next, so you can prints to the cycle without contaminating the others. I don't know if these are a good pick for you, since you're overseas, they're pretty much made by one guy...I did residual hypo tests on my washer & was surprised at the amount of water it took to get a good wash. It could just be the design, but I got in the habit of doing a combo of things including "soak" periods, and shuffling the prints around in their slots to improve the wash. Photo Techniques had an article a year or two ago as well, that looked into washers. Aside from the wter consumption, the Calumet washer is made nicely, although I suspect they're all pretty similar.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), May 14, 2001.


Andrea, I "treated" myself to the Nova washmaster II. I chose the 20x16 inch model which has 5 slots. It is a great piece of kit and extremely well made ( each washer has panels cut for that particular example). I use it for RC as well as FB (I'm still trying to get to grips with fibre!). It is designed so that water entering at the base of the unit does so through small jets which cause a vortex of water that aids in washing. You can actually see this at work if you turn the tap up and increase the flow of water whilst filling the tank (so its not just marketing hype!). Each unit comes complete with all inlet and outlet hoses/attachments and is very well packed for shipping. Back up service from Nova is second to none!!! My only gripe is that it does take a while for the unit to drain, apart from this I THOROUGHLY recommend it! Cost in UK was about 299 and it's built to last a lifetime! Regards Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), May 14, 2001.

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