Jobo motor base, in progress
I’ve been developing film in trays in the dark almost 20 years, which sounds more like a prison sentence than a term of experience. To be able to work in normal room lighting, I’ve made a few daylight hand-inversion tanks, and had good results with 4×5- but for 5×7 the tank size and solution amounts make this approach impractical.
I’ve always wanted to try a Jobo ‘Expert’ Drum, which uses a minimum of solution, and works by rotation instead of inversion. I finally found a deal on one (they are ~$500 new), and was excited about putting it to use. I was struck, using this thing for the first time manually, how unbelievably tedious it is to spin this drum for 10-15 minutes, and how awkward to get the chemicals in cleanly, and how much of a hassle to clean and dry between batches of negatives. Out of desperation, I made all these cheap and ridiculous ancillary items – funnel and stand, converted skateboard roller base, hair-dryer to dry the tank between uses, and a ridiculous crank-wheel- all just to be able to give this thing a proper evaluation. Since I was already in over $300 over the drum, I didn’t want to waste a bunch more money if I was just going to go back to tray shuffling. (Trays cost under $15 and need no accessories.)
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