SP-445 film developing tank for 4x5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by filmamigo, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I just received my SP-445 film developing tank from Stearman Press. I haven't used it yet, but I wanted to report that this tank looks GREAT! The fit and finish is top notch, everything goes together smoothly. It looks like it will be super fast to load, and easy to get right every time.

    One of the things that has held me back from shooting more 4x5 is the lack of a handy tank like this. I usually tray-developed, because I was warned off the old Yankee tanks, and never liked the "taco" idea.

    Good job Stearman, thanks for making 4x5 easier and more fun!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Looks like a neat system. You'll have to report back here with your first results.
     
  3. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    I got mine a few months back. Work's great. Easy to load, for me, and easy to fill and drain. I had a few leaks until I learned to "burp" the unit (squeeze to force out excess air) once you add the chemicals. I'm very pleased.
     
  4. vdonovan

    vdonovan Member

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    I absolutely love mine. It's so easy to load that it has got me shooting more 4x5. I'm even doing reversal processing in mine.
     
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    filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    Great! Are you doing E6 colour, or black and white reversal?
     
  6. vdonovan

    vdonovan Member

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    Black and white reversal.
     
  7. polaroid_memories

    polaroid_memories Subscriber

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    Cant wait to hear how you get on!
     
  8. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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  10. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I have a Yankee Agitank and use it exclusively right now. It works great for me. The biggest problem I have with it is it requires almost 1/2gal of solution. I don't typically shoot more than 4 or 8 4x5 sheets at a time so this SP-445 is perfect for me, on the surface.

    I am seriously considering picking up one of these SP-445 tanks for processing 4x5 film. My only hesitation is paying $100 for it when I can just as easily use trays.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  11. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    Now I want a Speed Graflex with that cool rear shutter
     
  12. bmcmickle

    bmcmickle Member

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    I like the way it handles Rollie IR 400 film. Because it is thinner than some films, other tanks do not always handle it as well.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I just received my monthly newsletter from Beau Photo in Vancouver. They announce that they will be carrying the SP-445 tank as part of their product line.
     
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  15. Chadinko

    Chadinko Member

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    This tank looks very interesting, but a true Stearman needs to have aerodynamic wires between its wings and a radial engine on the front. :smile:

    I have a Yankee tank as well and the sheer quantity of chemistry it requires is staggering -- 1.8L of developer adds up really quickly. I wait until I have 12 shots (or I shoot in 12-frame batches) before I develop, for this reason. I have an FR tank too that requires less but still 1.6L of solution. I use them in tandem and I have no problems now that I've figured out how to use them correctly.

    From what I have discovered, the uneven development is almost always a result of agitating in the wrong direction or not enough developer. Agitating parallel to the film is vital to even development, and perpendicular agitation will always result in uneven development. You also need to be firm in the agitation, no wimpy wiggling the tank around. Gotta agitate like you mean it. But my biggest problem with both of these is the leaking. Yuck.
     
  16. ahotflash

    ahotflash Member

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    I just received my new Stearman SP 445 in the mail this past Monday after ordering it on Saturday. Besides the quick shipping which was reasonably priced to Hawaii; I have to agree with all that filmamigo said. (It takes very little chemistry for one shot as I do and it is solidly built and pleasing to look at and hold). I haven't used it yet and will leave feedback when I do. >d david y
     
  17. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Mine will be here Friday. I usually don't spring for fancy new things, but this time I bite the bullets and bought one. I use a Yankee and really had no complaints with the end results. I use Xtol-R so I didn't care about the amount of developer used, but I did care about the ease of loading film for development. The SP-445 looks to be much easier to load. We'll see I guess?
     
  18. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    The Yankee, as others have pointed out, require a lot of solution, OK if you replenish. Additionally you need their little loader guide to get the film properly into place and that can be fussy and frustrating in the dark. Additionally we use ours in a student darkroom and the students have managed to drop and crack two of the three units we have available. I myself prefer conventional hard rubber tanks and hangers but I'm old fashioned, most students seem to be scared of the dark. The Stearman looks to be ideal for student use, our school will be ordering two to start with.
     
  19. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Yes, no problem with the Yankee other than the fiddly loading. My SP-445 should be here tomorrow and I'll try it this weekend.
     
  20. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    SP-445 arrived and it seems like a well built unit. Is it worth the price? No, but I can't make it myself so you have to take the plunge or go without. Of course I always say that about plastic, molded or not. I hope to give it a try this weekend.
     
  21. Arctic amateur

    Arctic amateur Member

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    Can it be loaded in a changing bag, or is it too big?
     
  22. esearing

    esearing Member

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    I love it.

    Compared to the other square tanks that hold up to 12 sheets it is worth double the price. It not only uses less chemistry but you can do less than 4 sheets with semi stand/stand methods and let developer exhaust, so no need to make or buy individual tubes. It also does not make a mess when you agitate. No bending your negatives into tacos. The film holders load easier in the dark than tying to find slots in the square tanks.

    Do clean the film holders well under the tabs and the light baffles. I have found gentle rolling agitation in all directions creates less impact on the margins than aggressive inversion does. Only had one negative that left a bromide drag from the holder tabs out of about 35 processed so far (may not have been cleaned well).

    If your film isn't centered in your 4x5 holder when you exposed it you may get density differences where the 445 holder tabs hold the film. Normally this would be in the film margin area and have no impact.
     
  23. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Yes, I don't think it would be any harder than a small tank doing 35mm. This is well designed as far as size goes.
     
  24. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    One summer during college I worked in a factory that made plastic parts by injection molding, the plastic is cheap, sprue and other sorts of waste plastic are ground up and remolded but even back then, the dies, huge things that we used a forklift to more, were expensive, I mean $10,000-$25,000 dollar expensive, this in 1976 dollars back when every factory had a tool and die machinist available onsite expensive. That's the expensive part. For a piece that will get huge distribution (like an ice scraper or the carrier for an IC chip (we made both)) the cost of the die was amortized over a huge production run. For something like the SP-445 tank, not so much.
     
  25. vdonovan

    vdonovan Member

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    Yes, very easy to load in a changing bag.
     
  26. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Yes, I realize the cost to "tool-up" and produce a new product is all based on whether sales will justify the cost. I just looks at it as a cheap piece of plastic. Well made, but still plastic.
     
  27. petersandford

    petersandford Member

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    I was browsing this forum and came across a post about the SP-445 and thought that looks like what I need, so now I'm just waiting for mine to arrive. As I've just been using a Paterson style tank to develop my neg's :sad:
     
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