October 05, 2003

Jobo film processor


I've decided to buy an used Jobo processor so I'll be able to process my own slide films, instead of sending them to Fuji via an emailer or using a local shop which charges $10/roll. I got a pretty decent Jobo CPE-2 on eBay, which is able to process up to 5 rolls at once.

Last night I developed the first two rolls, a Fuji Velvia 50 and a Provia 100, using the Tetenal E-6 3 bath chemicals. One thing I've discovered by carefully reading the documentation of the CPE-2 processor is that these chemicals are not recommended for processing such films. The results were not too bad, although it's hard to say how since most of my slides were shots of animals at Zoo, and I had to use a fast aperture.

The overall process is a bit time consuming, but fun to do it (at least the first time). The chemicals have to have the right temperature (38 degrees Celcius or 100 Fahrenheit) before the processing can start.

You load the processor with water in the bath, prepare the chemicals and put the bottles that hold them in the bath, so they can reach the right temperature. In a separate plastic graduate, I put water at room temperature and placed it into the bath. I used it to measure the temperature of the water inside, and only started the processing when it reached the needed temperature.

To time the individual steps of the processing, I used FotoTimer, an excellent program for Palm. In it you can setup the steps for your process, and their times. The times for each step are described in the chemicals instructions. You need to input these in the program, but you also have to account for the time it takes to switch from one step to another, and enter these into the program.

I found the steps before and after the processing to be quite interesting. Before the processing, you have to take the film out of its case, mount it in a special reel, and place all the reels in a film tank. This operation has to happen in complete darkness. Getting it right is quite challenging, so I practiced loading a scrap film on a reel few times before doing it in darkness.

After the processing is finished and you open up the tank, you see the delicate images on the film: it's magic!

After the film is dried, cutting and mounting it in slides is quite tricky, especially when you have lots of film to mount. I tried the Gepe manual mounter, but it's no good, especially with their slide mounts. The problem is the difficulty of aligning the slide within the mount. I found the Pakon mounts to be much better, since the opening in the slide mount easily directs the film in the right position.

Depending on the chemicals you use, the processing takes between 30 and 40 minutes. I'll try the Tetanal E-6 6 bath chemicals to see the difference.

Posted by ovidiu at October 05, 2003 11:30 AM |
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