Print processors

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Spindleshanks, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Spindleshanks

    Spindleshanks Member

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    I was wondering if anyone here uses a print processor, and with what results are they as good as the tray method ? As im new to it all im not sure in which direction to go :confused:
     
  2. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    If you are learning B&W printing - go with the simplest, cheapest way first - trays.

    Not sure where you are geographically located in the world but a set of 3 brand news 10x8 trays won't cost you more than about 20US Dollars.

    Trays are the simplest easy to use way of processing prints - with the added advantage of seeing your prints magically appear before your very eyes - I have never grown tired of it

    As a new starter its best to keep it simple.

    Start by blowing your money on paper and chemicals :smile: rather than a print processor.

    Almost all the great photographs you have ever seen were produced in trays being gently rocked back and forth as the chemicals washed over a print.

    If you ever need to move away from the humble tray it will not be a decision based on print quality but on other factors.

    There are various sorts of print processors you could go for :-

    Vertical Slot Processors (think developing trays turned on their side - good if you are short of workspace or find the chemical odours irritating)

    Drum processors - a drum into which you place your print, then laid on its side, chemicals added and rotated - this can be as simple as rolling the drum up and down a bench to quite fancy devices with thermostatically controlled water tempering baths, lift mechanisms and motorised rotation of varying speeds.
    These are most commonly used for colour work, as the tempering bath allows for higher processing temperatures and the drum is light tight – so the user doesn’t have to operate in complete darkness.

    Machine processors – very fast and very very expensive - mostly seen in pro labs - you feed the paper in, it is automatically fed through various baths and emerges about a minute later developed, fixed, washed and dried.
    I used a few and found them to be fabulously efficient but rather soulless.

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  3. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I use one for color, but do black and white in a trays. I tried setting the Printo up for black and white, but I didn't like it much. Mostly because it locked me into RC papers which I don't like much and the times were too long when making test strips (I don't usually fix them for the full time, if at all). Just not worth the effort for me.
     
  4. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    A develop and fix processor does not allow you to control the development. You have to expose for the machine. Most "art" photographers, including myself like to fiddle with development as another creative tool. The coolest processor I ever saw was an old floor standing Pako processor that you tossed your print in AFTER you developed it, and it stopped, fixed and washed the print. It had several deepish tanks and a perforated tray that held the prints. It rocked back and forth gently giving the same agitation as if you agitated manually. After time in one tank, the tray would rise up out of the tank and descend into another one. I believe it had 1 stop, 2 fix, and three wash stations. I would love to have one.
     
  5. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Choose trays. I've never had a problem. Color or B+W. A processor is a large machine which will take up space in your darkroom and accomplishes the work of you moving the prints between trays.
     
  6. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    I use a slot processor and find it can be very useful, it takes up 1 dish space, it is a 12x16. You do not get to paddle in the chem's but for time in heating the chem's to printing and then the clearing away. Wipe the tops clean switch off and view your prints. That is floating around in the bath. As i have said in another post, i do use trays when it comes to FB paper, i might add i do use warm tone in the trays, and any thing that is bigger than 12x16.

    Graham
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    BAck in the late 70's & 80's I used an adapted processor for B&W,it was excellent for long print runs, very quick but apart from that not really necessary otherwise. The Ilfospeed papers I used then were developer incorporated so there was no leeway in processing.

    Now I much prefer to use trays, the extra control (as alreaddy said) is vital in the creative process particularly with warm toned fibre based papers.

    Ian
     
  8. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    I use a Rapiline 66 for all my B&W RC printing, and do my FB prints in trays.

    Start with trays, and if you feel the need, and can bear the expense, look for a used processor. I got my Rapiline, used, from a pro lab in 2003 for $400 plus $200 to have it shipped. Two years later I bought a used processor (same model) for $75, and drove to western Pennsylvania to pick it up.
     
  9. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    I use an 8x10 unheated slot processor mostly because I do not have large blocks of time to spend in the darkroom. If I have 30 or 45 minutes of spare time, I can step into my darkroom to make a few prints, knowing that I will not be spending 15 minutes of that time setting up and another 15 minutes putting everything away. For the same reason, I do my 11x14 prints with a drum processor and motor base (purchased used from the classifieds here) .