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Combi-Plan 4×5 daylight tank still sucks donkeys

Posted 6 May, 2006 in Op-Ed

It turns out that when I reviewed the HP Combi-Plan T 4×5 daylight sheet film developing tank and called it a "dodgy, leaky piece of shit", I may have vastly under-stated my case.

It was nice today: the trees in a local apple orchard were flowering, it was warm but not hot, and the light was good. I loaded up some Velvia and FP4, grabbed my field camera, and spent half an hour waiting for a cloud to move out of the way of the sun.

It’s been a while since I shot B&W 4×5 and I forgot that I never actually ordered the rotary tube I was looking at to replace the Combi-Plan. Oh well. You know how sometimes you have a bad experience with something, time passes, and you start to think that it couldn’t really be as bad as you remember? The Combi-Plan can’t be that bad, can it?

It can. Now that I’ve given the tank another go, I think it’s still dodgy, it’s still leaky, and still a piece of shit, but that doesn’t really begin to cover it. This time, most of the sheets escaped their carrier channels and were floating around loose inside. One sheet had a few chunks of emulsion scratched out, which could be my sometimes questionable film holder loading skills, but my money’s on it floating around and scraping against sharp film carrier parts.

I’m frankly amazed that this thing is actually sold. If I hacked something this bad together, I wouldn’t even lend it to a friend, let alone attempt to charge money for it. Either the company who make this have never used it or they’ve got balls the size of the moon. This product needs to be melted, dunked in piss, and stabbed in the face with a fucking schoolbus.

UPDATE: The scratches are my fault. I forgot to affix the thing that holds the film in place to the top of the film carrier.



Mmmmm. Schoolbus.

Trackback from Photon Detector

First thoughts on Jobo 2500 daylight processing tank…

I’m helping my friend Jonathan get set up to do his own black and white film processing, so I made him a shopping list. I suggested the Jobo 2500 daylight tank because it looks good on paper, and I can’t recommend my Paterson Multi-Reel 5 T…

Mike Fiction

I’ve used the combi-plan tank with no issues at all, around 20 batches so far. Not saying your experience is not valid, but just wanted to say there are people using it sucessfully.

Graeme Lyall

I have processed in the combi-plan tank as well as a Jobo tank – and in a tray.

Every system has niggles. But blogging when you have not even work out your own faults … not very reasonable.

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