using Jobo tank for filmdevelopment : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've thinking a lot about how I am going to process 4 x 5 sheet film. Developing film in the complete dark isn't something that attracts me, mainly because I am 100% convinced not beeing able to produce negs that show a somewhat uniform development. I am a beginner of course, but I trust myself much more using a daylight method. I've a Jobo CPE processor, and I am thinking about buying a Jobo tank + reel for developing 6 sheets. Finding second hand is difficult with Jobo equipment, specially tanks for sheetfilm, at least here in the Netherlands. Because the Jobo stuff is so teribly expensive I've some questions; a) is it sufficient to buy the tank and reel only, or must I buy the additional guiding accessory plus 4x5 template according to their brochure. Is it possible to skip these items because it costs another $150. b) In the Jobo brochure; under the characteristics of the tank it is stated 6/270 ml; does this mean you only need 270 ml for 6 sheets? c) Are there other daylight products wich are less expensive? d) what are the experiencies using Jobo tank sheet development in combination with the CPE machine?

-- peter koning (, November 19, 2001


I have both the six sheet system you are interested in and the Expert drum 3010. Both work well but if you can afford it and if it will work on your processor the Expert drum is the best way to go. It loads very easily and can process ten sheets at a time. The other system reel is dificult to load without the guide but probably can be done with some practice. I use that system with regular handheld agitation methods with good results also. The amount of chemistry is the minimal amount but I would use at least twice that to ensure good even development.

-- Jeffrey Scott (, November 19, 2001.

The 2509n tank plus reel and loader will enable you to process up to 12 negatives. The loader for that tank is not a requirement, but it is a very handy accessory. You will need at leat 560ML of chemistry. I use 900 ml of chemistry , and find no problems at all. I also use an expert drum, the 3010, which processes 10 sheets but cannot be used on a CPE-2. I can't distinguish negatives processed in each drum. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (, November 19, 2001.

Peter, I own the Jobo processing tank you talk about. Lately I've been having 4x5 transparencies done by a pro lab, but I have used the tank successfully for both E6 and B&W film processing, both with and without the CPE unit. All you will need is what I bought - the 2521 tank with the stem, reel and two plastic holders (included with the reel "2509n") that keep the film sheets in place on the reel. You definitely won't need the "2508 loader and 2512 template" mentioned in the instructions that come with the tank. In fact, I find the tank so easy to load in the dark that I prefer loading 4x5 to loading 35mm. Once loaded, the tank only needs 270ml total for all 6 sheets if you use it with your CPE. It can also be used without the CPE (hand agitation) if you stand it vertically, but this requires the tank to be full of chemistry (1500ml for 4x5). Here in Australia I thought it was an expensive tank too, but it's very effective and convenient and for doing your own processing without sitting in the dark you can't beat it - I've not come across a better DIY method. I believe that John Sexton may use this setup. Buy the tank and reel only, and enjoy!

-- brad cheers (, November 19, 2001.

Have just read the first two replies. Haven't used the Expert drum mentioned. I agree with using a bit more chemistry than 270mL. However I still feel the reel is easy to load. I get a sheet of film ready, place the reel on its side (not end), and feel for the entry slots for the innermost film sheet position first. Place your left thumb and left index finger over the slots. Holding the sheet of film with your right hand, just pass it under your left thumb/index finger so it feeds into the slot.

-- brad cheers (, November 19, 2001.

Good questions. I asked the same ones when I was looking for any easier method than tray development.

Actually, I have 2 Jobos. I initially purchased the CPE. Great unit at a great price, if you find one on the used market. A few weeks ago, I picked up a Jobo CPP-2, bundled with an Omega D5XL enlarger. He wouldn't unbundle, so now I have 2 Jobos. No need. Send me an email if you are interested in the CPE unit.

Differences between the CPE and CPP (that I know of)

Different drums used CPP circulates water (I use an aquarium pump on my CPE) CPP has a cold solenoid


-- Andy Biggs (, November 19, 2001.

I use the Jobo reel and tank and love it. I develop 4-6 sheets of Tri-X at a time and use 1000ml of chemistry. I could reduce that amount, but it works well for me, so I haven't bothered. I roll the tank by hand in a 68 degree water bath. I don't use the loading guide. I understand it can be handy, but I've never tried one. I don't have a problem loading the reel without the guide. Just practice a few times with a scrap piece of film.

In addition to the reel, there are two plastic pieces that snap on the reel to keep the film from sliding around too much while rotating the tank. They're quite useful IMO. Rotating too vigorously without the pieces can cause the notches on the reel to scrape the emulsion off the edges of the film.

From what I've heard, the CPE-2 Plus is better than the CPE-2. I don't believe the motor for the CPE-2 is made anymore, so replacing it would be difficult.


-- Dave Willis (, November 19, 2001.

Check on Ebay and search JOBO. Just today someone was listing an assortment of JOBO accessories including the older series 4x5 tank and reel as well as 35mm accesories and some print tubes. I think the current bid was $75US, quite a bit less than new. The guide is not needed, you can load sheets without it, just practice with some throwaway negs. You do need the 2 plastic retaining plates that keep the film from sliding out during rotation and the "stem" which locks the reel in the tank so it turns with the tank and doesn't spin inside.

As far as volume, 270mm is the amount of solution required to insure even development. I personally use 300mm of solution with minimum of 150mm of stock for a 1-1 dilution. If I want a higher dilution I will develop only 4 sheets and use 100mm of stock for 1-2. Anything higher or more exotic than XTOL, or HC110 I resort to trays.

I have used a CPE2 for about 3 years and bought mine used. It delivers consistent and predictable results. i am currently contemplating buying a second CPE2 or a used CPP just to have a spare if the other one breaks. I figure it is a good investment because if I move into digital someday, it will be for printing only and i will still need to process my own negs. Also you will need to test your film and developer combinations. Rotary agitiation requires decreasing development times, anywhere from %10 to %20 to get the same range as inversion or tray development. A good primer is an article by John Hicks and

Good luck, James

-- James Chinn (, November 20, 2001.

If you have the standard CPE2 kit, with a 30x40 cm print drum and a small tank for 120/35 mm film processing, then the only additional thing you need to buy is the 4x5 reel. You make a 4x5 tank by combining the bottom section and lid of the print drum with the light trap and core from the film tank. Jobo's english langauge website used to have a page describing this, but if you have the pieces in front of you it's pretty obvious what to do.

-- Struan Gray (, November 20, 2001.

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