View Full Version : Unicolor Drum Questioin

Gary Smith
19-Jun-2005, 16:47
Hi Everyone,

I have decided to try my hand at processing my own B&W film, I initially thought about buying either a Jobo 2521 set or a HP Combi-Plan, but if possible I thought I would get a Unicolor system and save a little money.

My question is that, I am a little unclear about which drum is necessary. The article says, a Unicolor Paper Drum. The drum I am looking at is a Unicolor Unidrum 8x10 print processing drum No. 308. I am not sure if this is the correct drum or not. If any body has any information I would greatly appreciate it!

Also, is there any good reason to avoid the Unicolor drum and buy the Jobo Kit instead I would be interested in hearing any opinions.

Thank you for your time.


John Kasaian
19-Jun-2005, 17:08
I believe the print processing drum is the same as whats called the paper drum---its intended purpose is to develop color prints on enlarging paper and works just as well with sheet film. The other drum---the film drum---is for developing roll film like 35 or 120. These film drums are designed to accept roll film which is first wound onto reels and they won't work with sheet film.

IMHO the Unicolor works fine for B&W. I've never tried color but I know its been done. The Unicolor is a rugged, inexpensive processor. You are limited as to how many sheets you can develop at one time(4-4x5s in the 8x10 drum if you use spacers) Maybe the Jobo drums will take more---I don't know. Since I don't have the bucks and I'm not in any rush the Unicolor is right for me---I can develop 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and 12x20 sheet film depending on the size drum. IMHO its more fun than standing in the dark carfully shuffling film to avoid scratches and gives me more even development than the dip and dunk---YMMV of course.

Good luck!

19-Jun-2005, 17:11
You can buy a used Jobo tank and reel. Assuming you can find a used reel. Used tanks are pretty common. The cost will be much less then a new kit.

Reasons why you might want to buy the Jobo:

1) It's a complete systems. Handling 35mm to 4x5

2) If you ever want to get a processor you'll have the tank.

3) The tank grows. Add a 6 reel extension and you'll be able to run three reels for 18 sheets total.

4) If you get the 2551 tank instead of the 2521 it'll work great on a unicolor motorbase. Add a timer to that and you'll have a fairly automated setup. You should be able to do this with the unicolor tank to. I'm guessing that's what the Unicolor motor is designed for. But the 2521 Jobo tank is too small.

5) The Jobo system is still current. Parts can be bought new if you need them.

If any of the above matter to you then the price difference between a used Jobo tank and a unicolor might be worth it.

Steve Feldman
19-Jun-2005, 17:14

Using the Unicolor drum with the motor base is like eating at McDonald's. It's fast, cheap and easy. The Unicolor Unidrum 8x10 print processing drum No. 308 is exactly what you need to process b & w film. Yes, the PRINT drum for 4x5 FILM. You can process 1 or 2 films at a time. With a proper spacer 3 or 4. I don't recommend trying it without the spacer. The films WILL lap over each other and you'll ruin all 4 films.


Tom Raymondson
19-Jun-2005, 17:53
You can also use a Beseler print drum.

Brian Ellis
19-Jun-2005, 17:53
I don't know how well it works, I haven't yet used the one I bought for 8x10 negatives but they're certainly cheap. I paid $10 for the drum and $12 for the motorized rotary processor on ebay.

John Kasaian
19-Jun-2005, 18:04
I use the Unicolor for my 8x10 B&W and it works like a champ. 1 sheet in the 8x10 drum 2 sheets- --thanks Tim Atherton for queing me in on this---in the 11x14 drum(which I find a touch difficult to load the 2nd sheet of film---but it certainly can be done)


Gary Smith
19-Jun-2005, 20:52
Dear Everyone,

Once again I am amazed by all the helpful answers! Thank you very very much. At least for right now I am going to try to get the Unicolor Tank and Roller Base, and maybe when time and money are better upgrade to the jobo 2551 or and expert tank.

One final question, is that if at some point I go with a jobo tank, I know that the reels are necessary, but what about the loader device? Is it helpful, or not worth the cost?

Thank you again!


20-Jun-2005, 08:03
If you buy the kit then it comes with the loader. If you're not buying the kit I'd avoid the loader. It helps but I've little doubt you could load without it.

Joseph O'Neil
20-Jun-2005, 12:13
I use a Unicolour motorized base, and Jobo series 2500 drum for all my B&W, 4x5 negatives. Done so for a few years now, and it works like a charm for me.

Bob Eskridge
20-Jun-2005, 12:39
I like the Unidrum - it is easy to load and use and gives great results.

Also own a 2509n sheet film holder (6 sheets) for Jobo use. It comes with a 4X5 film guide but NOT
the loader which B&H wants over $50 for. I am in the process making my own loader plus a guide
for 9X12 film. Whether one is necessary or not I don't believe so but it would definitely
make loading easier and more foolproof.

Robert Ley
26-Jun-2005, 14:47
I found that the loader for the jobo reels helps in loading the reels and they are going for dirt on Ebay. You should be able to pick up some 2509n reels as more people go for the expert drums or get out of processing 4x5. Just about anything "darkroom" is going insanely cheap on ebay.

28-Sep-2010, 23:46
Is the Unicolor Unidrum 2 any good for developing 5x7 film.

Nathan Smith
2-Oct-2010, 06:56
I don't recall much about the Unidrum 2, but I can tell you that what is generally used for 5x7 is the 8x10 PAPER drum (ie, not film drum). Works just fine.