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Is processing color film with a Jobo CPE-2 worth trying?

Craig Briese , Apr 14, 2004; 05:51 p.m.

I've got a Jobo CPE-2 rotary processor which I've used for B&W film and print processing. It's hard for me to get to the color lab [I prefer] during the week, and they're not open on the weekend. This has led me to think about trying my luck at processing color (mostly E-6,some C-41) at home with my Jobo.

Is this lower-end processor up to the task of regulating the temperature within the tight requirements of these color processes? Anything to look out for? How important is it to have the rinse water at the same temp as the rest of the chemicals?

Thanks in advance.

Responses

L G , Apr 14, 2004; 06:33 p.m.

It should be. Try it with no film and just a thermometer at 38C. If it doesn't drift much it will work fine.

Robert Davis , Apr 14, 2004; 06:40 p.m.

If you do enough film to keep the chemicals fresh IMHO it'll do color better then B&W.

Do a google search on Kodak E-6 or Kodak C-41. You'll find the site with the manuals for the processes. The manual will give you the temp range that is needed for each step.

Robert Martin , Apr 14, 2004; 06:45 p.m.

The Jobo CPE-2 should work just fine to process color film. I have a Jobo CPP-2 with lift and have used it to process color negative film and color prints for many years with no problems. When I process color film, I have it rotate in both directions rather than just in one direction. I use rotation in one direction for processing color paper. I mix my chemicals and put them in the CPP-2 waterbath and let them stabalize for about one hour before I process film. I only use the chemicals one time and discard - they are generally about exhausted anyway.

Rowland Mowrey , Apr 14, 2004; 07:55 p.m.

I have used both the Jobo CPP and CPE processors and find that both do very good jobs at processing color films.

I discard developers after one use, but reuse all other solutions for the entire capacity recommended by the manufacturer.

I never rotate the drum continually in one direction. Jobo says never to do it except for disk film (no longer manufactured). If you do, you can get streaking due to channeling of the solutions. (See the now defunct "Journal of Rotary Processing" copies of which are on www.jobo.com). I use the print setting for agitation for both film and prints as now recommended by the latest Jobo instructions.

Ron Mowrey

Jerry Breault , Apr 15, 2004; 12:20 p.m.

I just did some 120 and 4x5 E6 using EKs 1 time uses kit with my CPE2+. Very easy, very nice results, very addictive.

Dan Schwartz , Apr 15, 2004; 01:18 p.m.

You need two accurate thermometers for a CPE: One for the bath; and a Really Good One for the first developer. I use a digital fever thermometer to double-check my chemistry temps -- $10 at CVS Pharmacy...

Jim Allen , Apr 15, 2004; 11:22 p.m.

Is there somewhere on line that I can learn more about processing color film with the Jobo CPE-2? I think I would like to do my own processing. Here in AZ where I live there aren't many places to get film developed. But I would like to be able to read a manual for the processor, or a step by step instructions on what it takes to process the film. I have been doing black and white processing and printing for years, so I already have a darkroom.

Some of my questions I have about the processor are things like, does it heat the water itself, does it dry the film, or do I hang it? Are there six chemicals, or is six the number of steps for E6, and some of them are just washes? What are the chemicals needed? How critical is the time for pouring in the next chemical? Are the results consistant? Would I want to save up 6 rolls of 120 film before processing, or can the chemicals be reused if I only did a couple of rolls? But then how long do they last even in the bottle?

So I would like to read, or hear more on this subject.

Thanks,

Jim Allen

Cedric Malitte , Apr 16, 2004; 09:17 a.m.

Hi Craig,

I used my jobo cpe2 + lift mainly for B&W processing but one day a lab scratched my dias and did not want to recognize their error. Since that day, I process all my E-6 and C-41 at home with the jobo. I mainly use tetenal chemistry and I'm very pleased with it.

The only thing that seems to be critical with E-6 is the first dev temperature. When I process 120 rolls or 4x5" I let the chemistry about 1 hours in the water bath in order to have them at the good temperature. I have a thermometer to check the FD and another for the water bath. If you follow the tetenal times and temps, this should be no problem. I usually process 3 films at a time and I prepare only 500 ml of chemistry for 6 films. Concentrates last longer than ready to use solutions. ( if i remember well, the first dev last 2 weeks when mixed )

For C-41 process, it remains the same. I find those tetenal products very fine and even if some may tell that it costs more than having the processed in a lab, I do not care, my negs are like I want them to be !

Rowland Mowrey , Apr 16, 2004; 12:26 p.m.

To Jim, Craig, and all the other newbies using Jobos for processing. I have used both the CPP and CPE processors with the lift. I find that a single thermometer in the bath is adequate for normal use, and that the temp stays right and things work properly as long as:

1. The prewet and all washes stay at the same recommended temperature.

2. That the processing solutions are brought to temperature and held there for about 1 hour before beginning the process.

3. You do things repeatably every time. (I use an 8 second drain between steps)

4. You throw away the developer after every use!

I process C41, E6, and RA and do a lot of cross processing. I process Ektachrome in C41 and RA in a reversal process to get positive prints. I get good uniformity over a month or more, ie, I can run a batch of 4 identical prints in 4 drums, and then redo the same thing a month later with no qualms at the same filter pack and exposure condition. I get good uniformity from 35mm to 4x5 sheet film and from 5x7 to 16x20 prints.

The process cycles are included with the processing kits. There are so many that it would be useless to describe or list them here. There are the Kodak, Tetenal, etc. etc. kits. You buy it and you get the instructions. There are excellent sets of instructions on the Kodak web sites with time and temperature published and dilution recommendations for chemistry.

I get the best results from EK products at an economical price. I have used just about everyones kit though and find the main problems to be occasional silver retention in films, and possible reduced dye stability in paper. (some products used CD4 in RA kits rather than CD3, and this reduces the dye stability of paper because it was designed for CD3. It is not due to any inherent problem with CD4)

Jobo has an excellent product. Go for it.

If you want help, they have parts of their Journal of rotary processing on-line at their web site and you can get manuals and books on their equipment.

Good luck.

Ron Mowrey

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