View Full Version : CL81 alternative

6-Sep-2017, 05:09
I have no affiliation to this product other than I just purchased one to try out.

It looks very similar to the CL81 in concept, but can process 4 sheets at a time rather than 3.


I'll let you know how it fares when used in my ATL1500 to process both C41 & E6 8x10.

6-Sep-2017, 06:49
I dont have a Jobo processor but would like to pick up 8x10, any idea if this would be suitable for hand inversion processing? Also what would be the smallest Jobo 2800/2500 tank that can fit this?

6-Sep-2017, 08:00
I've no idea how well it would do with inversion, that's probably a question for the vendor. It fits into any 25xx tank from what I can see (ie multitank 5).

6-Sep-2017, 11:34
Please report back how it worked when you receive it.

I have a Catlabs CL-81 that I love to use. I saw the reels you purchased on the auction site. The same seller also has 4x5 reels that purportedly fit into the Jobo 1500 series tanks with the extension tops. These piqued my curiosity. I never load 3 sheets in my CL-81, just one sheet in the outer track and one in the inner track. It should be interesting trying to load 4 sheets.

There is also a Chinese seller on the auction site who has a very nice looking CL-81 copy, as well as 5x7 and 4x5 versions too. I have been waiting to see feedback on these as well. I have been very tempted to purchase another 8x10 reel to try them out.

You don't need a Jobo processor to use a 2500 series tank, at least for B&W film. A Uni-Color or Bessler motorized roller base work just fine and they are pretty cheap to buy second hand.

My tank that I use my CL-81 in is marked Jobo 2553. It is the tank that I bought with my 2509a reels and 4x5 sheet loader many years ago.

13-Sep-2017, 04:48
The holder arrived, it seems to be a bit more flimsy than the CL81, but I expect that's because it is 3D printed using more flexible plastic. The end caps appear to be glued to the centre column - I've not attempted to pull them off in case I break them.

It did not ship with any rubber bands/o-rings like the CL81 does, and the vendor said he does not use them and has had no issues with uneven development.

I loaded up 4 sheets really easily, the centre clip does not have a detente like the cl81 so that could be slightly fiddly to position centrally when loading blind.

I'm heading to Munich for 4 days but when I'm back I'll be developing some E6 in my ATL. I'll post up results when that's done.

7-Oct-2017, 07:32
First batch is in the ATL1500 now. Tetenal E6. Will hopefully report back later today.

7-Oct-2017, 08:27
Well, the bad news is that the claims of the vendor that no o-rings are required turns out to be false...

Not sure if this image will show:


But there's and approx 2 inch lack of development at either end of all 4 sheets, which can only be due to the holder rotating against the drum movement during agitation.

I'll try again with some o-rings tomorrow.

Pretty sure the 3 sheets running through in my CL81 will come out fine, so thumbs up catlabs!

7-Oct-2017, 08:39
Here's an example:


The film density is low due to it's age, it probably needed another stop of exposure... Expired 2004 E64T

Ah well, at least I can salvage a few of the shots.

7-Oct-2017, 09:19
CL81 photos look great, and this is with the chemicals reused from the first batch.

Looks like the density issues were actually due to the lack of rotation, these slides look beautiful.


Hats of to catlabs again :D

Sal Santamaura
7-Oct-2017, 10:33
Reminds me of what my late grandfather once said: "you're not wealthy enough to buy cheap stuff."

Catlabs product, made of appropriate materials and works, delivered to the UK: $175.00
Knockoff product, 3-d printed, doesn't work (might with addition of o-rings), delivered to the UK: $100.31

Add in film, chemicals and time to the 'cost' of (maybe) making a knockoff work and I don't see why one would bother.

7-Oct-2017, 10:44
Add in film, chemicals and time to the 'cost' of (maybe) making a knockoff work and I don't see why one would bother.

Simple, 4 sheets per holder. Which means less time developing, and slightly more economical chemical usage.

Anyhow, it'll get one more try and if there's no success it'll be ditched.

mathieu Bauwens
7-Oct-2017, 10:54
I use it with hand inversion, also have 2 catlabs, and all is perfect.

13-Oct-2017, 08:40
So, some work with the dremel was required, the inner diameter of the end caps of the holder where they are pressed onto it's central core are only a fraction of a millimetre wider than the Jobo core. By removing the material down to the same level as the reel core I can now put 2 o-rings onto the jobo core and it snugly locks into the reel.

I'll be giving this a go with some sheets this weekend.

If it fails then the reel is going in the bin.

14-Oct-2017, 12:47
The modifications worked a treat. Although I still prefer by far the build quality of the CL81, I just picked up another multitank 5 which will get it's own CL81 - can't be bothered with having to faff about.