View Full Version : Alternative to Jobo CPE-2 ?

Calamity Jane
5-Aug-2005, 20:24
Been watching for a CPE-2 to come up at a reasonable price but haven't seen anything I can afford yet.

What alternatives are there for rotory processing E-6 4x5 to 8x10s?

I'd like to retire my 15 gallon tempering tank and Combi-Plan because I need to do 8x10s (and because it takes up too much space.

Alternatives for E-6?

Donald Hutton
5-Aug-2005, 21:03
The CPE-2 is not ideal to process 8X10s. For 8X10s you'll either have to use a 2500 series print drum (which has ribbing and is just not ideal - one piece of film at a time, and for E6, that can really get dull very fast) or you need the 3005 expert drum. The expert drums can only be used on the CPA or CPP models or higher. The CPE-2 can accomodate 2500 series tanks which can accomodate a 4X5 holding reel (2509n). It works fine for E6. If you want to be able to do 8X10s, you will need the next model up. FWIW, the temperature control on the CPE-2 is not great - if you're looking to do reliable and very consistent E6, you really want a CPP-2 which has a much better thermostat. The CPE-2 does not a have a pump to circulate the water, so you have uneven temperature issues around the unit.

Brian C. Miller
5-Aug-2005, 21:36
I own a CPE-2, and I have not had any problems with temperature. However, when I first got the machine I calibrated the temp knob according to my thermometer. After that, I just fill it, dial the temp, and it keeps it right there. I have measured the temperature in each bottle individually, and they have always read the same, no variations (large photo dial thermometer). However, I don't have the Jobo thermometer, which has better gradations on it.

What you need to do is calculate your yearly actual or projected E-6 costs, and then measure that against the price of a CPA-2 or CPP-2.

Isn't the CombiPlan size only 4x5? So I take it that you aren't doing the 8x10 E-6 in a Combi Plan? If you are developing 4x5 E-6 with the Combi Plan with just the tempering tub and you are getting the results you want, you may want to think about buying an expert drum and rolling it by hand. I've met a few people who do that. Jobo sells a roller base, and you could use that and the tank in your tempering bath.

6-Aug-2005, 04:24
Depends on how handy you want to be.

Basic setup:

Rollerbase [Unicolor or maybe the reversing Beseler] Should be less then $20. I bought two Unicolors for $20 something

Tempering bath:

Picnic cooler. Bigger is better. Mine is 50 litres and a little tight for C-41 if I want to temper all the wash water. Cost depends on new/old

Fish tank heater. I got a


Mine is either 300W or 350W. Cost with shipping to Canada was less then $35 US. The unit in that link can be adjusted. So it hits the right temps for colour work. The more expensive digital one can't be adjusted. Once you adjust it the temp markings on the dial won't match reality. I just put a piece of masking tape on the tick that is the right temperture.

Small aquarium pump.

Then you've got your drums.

For 4x5 you can go with the Jobo 2551 tank and a couple of reels. That'll handle up to 12 sheets. Smaller drums won't work.

For 8x10 you are either stuck with the Expert drums. Not cheap. Or a 2830 print drum. That'll do two sheets at once. The 2830 can be cheap used. Experts never seem cheap.

I've used the 2830 for B&W but never for colour film. Considering the cost of E-6 8x10 you might want to consider the Expert.

The tempering bath tempers the chemicals and is used for intially pre-heating the tank. From that point on the tank can maintain temp well enough. Each new solution goes in pre-heated. Plastic is an insulator.

Mark Carney
6-Aug-2005, 08:01
I use a set up similar to Nicks.

My CPP died some time ago and I went to a rollerbase system.

The 2500 series tanks are handy for 120 and 4x5 and I like the uniformity of the rotary system.

Temperature control is not an issue for b+w when using some kind of simple tempering bath setup.

E6 is another issue.

Manual E6 processing is doable but not much fun.

Doing multiple sessions is really tedious.

Temperature control and EXACT TIMING is MANDATORY and CRITICAL and very UNFORGIVING.

IMHO E6 requires some automated procedure to insure consistency. It can certainly be done manually but that is one thing I never desire to do again.

IF you want to stay with JOBO for E6 consider the CPP unit as it has tighter Temperature control and that will at least better control one variable.


Calamity Jane
6-Aug-2005, 08:49
Thanks for all the thoughts guys.

My present setup is a (home made) galvanized insulated tank about 14x18 about 8" deep. I have a heater, temp control, and pump that do a good job - never had any trouble doing E-6 with this setup and the Combi-Plan - works REALLY well for 6 sheets of 4x5.

These roller bases aren't waterproof, are they?

I don't see how I can hold temp without the drum being in the tempering water?

I have been playing around in the shop to see what I can come up with but I am also watching the used equipment market.

Donald Hutton
6-Aug-2005, 09:23
The problem with E6 is temperature control on both developers is critical to consistent results. 0.5 F degree may not have any effect on b&W film - it can have a huge effect on E6. Phototherm make a tempering bath as well as one of the better temperature control units around (in fact, their main business is temperture control units plasms thawing units! The temperature control unit has a probe and a "power outlet" - you can simply set a heating device into the tempering bath through tht unit. You could build up a system around one, but in the long run, if you really want to do decent E6 in 4X5 and 8X10, I'd highly recommend that you make the investment in a second hand CPP unit. They tend to go between US$500 and $800 and you may just get everything you need thrown in too in the way of drums etc. Remember, E6 film is not cheap - 4x5 is around US$2 and 8X10 is around $8 - it adds up really fast. The Jobo units are very economical on chemistry. I use the 5 liter kits and mix up 900ml of working solutions at a time - that can process 18 sheets of 4X5. The chemistry does not have great shelf life, but I often run partially used kits beyond 3 months without any problems. Without a convenient set-up, E6 can be a real pain - with a Jobo type system it's just a no brainer - probably simpler than B&W because there's no deviation in the chemistry...

6-Aug-2005, 10:03
A pre-heated Jobo tank will hold C-41 [E-6 is similar isn't it?] temps for quite a while. I haven't tested lately but I think 10 minutes is the point I gave up when I tested. I couldn't measure any temp drop off with my thermometer. I bet opening the lid to check the temp dropped the temp more then the time did. Plastic is an insulator. The big thing is to pre-heat the tank. With RA-4 I just do a pre-wash. With C-41 I stick the loaded tank into the water bath for 5+ minutes.

The worst thing that happens is you'll find you can't maintain the temp. Then the tanks will still work just fine on the Jobo processor. OTOH I think you'll find the system holds temp quite well.

One thing I forgot. Plug the motorbase into a timer. I use a Gralab 300.

Brian C. Miller
6-Aug-2005, 16:19
The roller base is just that: four rollers on a base. If you didn't want to spend $20 for the base you could make something out of furniture casters.

James Via
9-Aug-2005, 14:10
I've been using a Wing Lynch machine since 1988. I started out with the model 4 and currently have the Model 5. Stick with the model 5.
You can find them used and parts are available - Check with Dunning. I've run E6 and B&W with great success up to 8x10. For temp control I use a Wing Lynch temp control unit and I purchased a small on demand hot water heater. I never run out of hot water and if you set your flow rate correctly the Wing Lynch unit will hold steady forever.

Brian C. Miller
9-Aug-2005, 16:01
brand new Wing Lynch model 4 for $100 (http://cgi.ebay.com/FILM-PROCESSOR-WING-LYNCH-LIKE-BRAND-NEW-LQQK_W0QQitemZ7535915246QQcategoryZ29993QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

Wow, those are not small!