View Full Version : "Nova" style, vertical slot processors for film?

Colin Myers
27-Nov-2006, 04:41
Do any members have practical experience of using this vertical, slot type processor,
for developing sheet film?
It has a number of apparent advantages, also disadvantages
Advantages:- very small footprint, great for small darkrooms
Thermostatically controlled solution slots, maintain constant temperature for consistency
Possibility of built in washing slot, using weir type wash sytem.
Disadavantages:- The core use of these processors if for processing paper, which normally has a large rebate. The manufacturers clip has a couple of pairs of small spikes which punch through the paper from either side retaining it. These would protrude over the sheet film rebate, onto the image.
Possibility of rapid oxidisation and developer deterioration, even with the floating slot lids
I would be very pleased to hear if anyone is currently using these for film processing and how they overcame the above obstacles
Colin Myers

al olson
27-Nov-2006, 07:27
I have one of these units that I have been using for paper prints up to 11x14. It works great in my small 8x8.5 sq ft darkroom. I also have two enlargers, a DoMac and a jobo CPP-2 processor,along with a 4' sink so it is a great space saver for cramped space.

The cover seems to preserve the chemicals pretty well. I always replenish all three chemicals (dev, stop, & fix) about 200 ml after a half dozen prints or so. And I do so if I have not used it for a couple of weeks as well.

The paper clip, as you mention, has a couple of "snake's teeth" pins that bite into the paper near the edge. They are so near the edge that it is very easy in the dark to place them so close that there is not enough of a bite to keep from losing the print in the developer. After you have fished it out a couple of times you learn to be more careful. Of course you would have a couple of snake bite holes near the edge of your rebate, but they are very small and would be hardly noticable.

Last year at an art show in Durango I met a photographer who was developing his "fine art" 8x10 negatives in Dektol. His prints were very nice. I have listed this as one of the projects I plan to try out in the Nova before the end of the year. If I like it, I may buy the 8x10 Nova to use with film developers in an adjacent, unused bathroom. My other project is to try developing two sheets of 8x10 in the Jobo 2850 drum, a method that was mentioned on one of the other threads.

I think you are on to a good idea. It lowers the risk of scratching the emulsion when doing tray processing.

al olson
27-Nov-2006, 07:37
I should also mention that my Nova does not have thermostatically controlled solution slots. I didn't know they made them that way. I don't really need it because I keep my home at 68 degrees except for the summer when the heat builds up in the loft where I have my darkroom. We don't have air conditioning here because the summers are so mild. I don't do much processing then, but spend more time outdoors with the camera.

Scott Davis
27-Nov-2006, 09:10
The bigger danger from the Nova slot processors for negatives is the wafffle-texture walls of the slots. I have had prints pick up the texture of the waffle in image areas, if I haven't been anal-retentive in my cleaning of the processor. I notice it only with fiber paper, so that may be a problem exclusive to that media, and never be a problem with a negative, but I don't want to take that chance.

al olson
27-Nov-2006, 09:54
I have only had the waffle pattern show up on my prints when I have the safe light on. Never had a problem when processing in total darkness. I would think that a little agitation during the process would cure the problem. I think the idea is worth a test.

By the way, Scott, what do you use to clean your Nova? I can't find any brushes here in Pagosa that will fit down in the slots.

Scott Davis
27-Nov-2006, 13:30
I've been putting a couple healthy scoops of Oxy-Clean in hot (175 F+) water, and letting the slots stew in the broth as it were, then draining when the water has cooled, and giving a couple good flushes. I've thought about getting a plexi rod and gluing some oversize toothbrush heads on the end to make a scrubbing wand.

Al- are you getting the waffle pattern on RC or color prints? Or just on fiber?

al olson
27-Nov-2006, 17:49
I mainly use RC in the Nova. Once the fiber gets wet, the 11x14 size gets floppy and difficult to insert into the 2nd and 3rd baths. I have come to believe that some of my warping problems with the fiber is caused by inadvertent stretching from flopping around when it is wet and hanging by the snake bite clip. So when I want a fiber print I prefer to use the Jobo. My procedure is to drain 200 ml of each bath out of the Nova for use in the Jobo and then replenish the Nova to keep my chemicals fresh.

Do you print fiber with the safelight on, Scott? I have only had the waffle problem on RC paper with the safelight on. Mine is a small amber 15 watt bulb about 10 feet from the Nova.

I have been washing my Nova out with a thin dowel wrapped with paper towel, using Ivory detergent and 140 degree water from the water heater, but it does not scub the sides of the slot as I would like.

I use the Ivory detergent because I felt that it is more neutral and more likely to be throughly removed from the surfaces with a good rinse. This is to address my concern about contaminating the developer slot.

3-Dec-2006, 14:09
I was thinking of doing this for 8x10 hangers. I have the cheapo Nova 8x10 processor. Looks like plastic file folders that you put in a triangle shaped holder. Uses little chemistry. I figure an 8x10 hanger will do real well in it.

I also just saw a thread for 4x5 vertical processing and I liked the link to David Houlder's PVC tanks. I can make something like that skinnier and use 4x5 sheet handers. I've seen 4x5 tanks but they seem to hold way more liquid than I would want to. And besides, making stuff is fun.