View Full Version : Jobo CPA-2 & C-41

5-Jan-2011, 17:33
Hello all. I posted this same question in a thread that was created a few years ago, so I wanted to create a more recent and relevant thread. I apologize for the redundancy. I am looking into buying a Jobo to process mainly 4x5 C-41 film. After reading through some of the older threads, I am certain I want either a CPP-2 or CPA-2 for their capabilities with the expert drums. However, I was wondering if the enhanced temperature controls of the CPP-2 would really be necessary. I know that C-41 needs very specific and controlled water temperature. Would the CPA-2 give me the results I need? I read something about ice blocks being needed to cool the water temperature down in the CPA-2 at times. I am on a little bit of a strict budget, so if I could save some money on the CPA-2 that would be great, but I don't want to sacrifice any quality in my negatives for the price. Thanks!

Robert Ley
5-Jan-2011, 18:30
I have used a CPA-2 with great success processing C-41 and B&W.
I use an expert drum for 4x5 and have no trouble keeping the temperature within tolerances. You should be able to use a CPA with no problem and use the savings for film.

Daniel Stone
5-Jan-2011, 20:31

CPA's are great! I used one without a lift(really recommended, NEEDED if you plan on using the Expert Drums) for close to a year, and it helped with consistency a lot! But MY methods have changed. I tray develop b/w 4x5,5x7 and 8x10 film, and I found that for the amount of color I'm shooting(~10% of my work currently), it was more cost and time-efficient to just send out the film to a lab. I use Samy's in Santa Barbara, CA. The majority of their business is mail-order processing(which I do from LA, sometimes its nice to drive up there however ;)).

their website is here:

Their prices are the lowest I've found($1.70/4x5 sheet!), they have NEVER damaged any of my film, their turnaround is SUPER FAST(generally less than 1 business day in and back out to me), and they're great people on the phone if there's any questions to be asked.

I sold my CPA-2 on craigslist earlier this year for $500, and I was the 3rd owner. I also sold some 4x5 drums, reels, and other misc Jobo stuff, and cleared almost another $500, so the prices aren't really going down on this stuff, mostly UP.

Just my $.02, but if you're looking to save some $$$, you might want to give Samy's a look-see, and determine how many sheets of film(not including your time standing at the machine) you'll need to process to break even on the initial purchase of your equipment.

Sorry to be such a party-pooper, but if you value your time as much as I do(I'd rather be out photographing, or in the darkroom printing), you might want to re-think(or think) about using a lab's service. Samy's is super in terms of service overall IMO, but there are lots of labs around the world that offer great processing too, maybe just not as low price-wise.


5-Jan-2011, 20:59
Since you will be processing a lot of C-41, I'd go with the less costly CPA-2 which doesn't require special water hook-ups.

Why? C-41 is processed at 100.4F so, unless you live in a desert environment without an air-conditioner, then the main problem is keeping the temperature at 100.4 (at least for the developer) and not lower and that is what the CPA-2 does: the heater switches on when the temperature of the water in the trough drops below 100.4. The developer and bleach steps require 9.75 minutes to completion and the temperature of the water in the trough, once stabilized at 100.4F, will usually remain at that temperature throughout those steps. The temperature of the trough tends to creep up once you start removing bottles without replacement but it's a simple matter to make a small adjustment to the thermostat to keep it at 100.4F.

The CPA-2 - like the CPP-2, holds about 5 gallons or more of water which means that the temperature change of the water in the trough is slow to change.

For B&W processing at 68F it's a little more tricky if the ambient temperature is much higher. Then you may want to put some ice in once of the rinse bottles to kick the heater on. But remember it's only during the developer step that the temperature is really critical.

Denis Pleic
6-Jan-2011, 09:38
Since you will be processing a lot of C-41, I'd go with the less costly CPA-2 which doesn't require special water hook-ups.

For the sake of clarity, the CPP-2 doesn't require any "special" water hook-ups. It works the same as CPA-2.

But, if you work with B&W materials, and want to keep the temperature at 68F, you might need a cold water source sometimes: so, you can hook up a cold water source, if you're so inclined - but it's not required.
And even then, it's nothing "special", actually - it works the same way you hook up a cold water source for e.g. a washing machine - just a garden hose hooked up to a cold water faucet, and another hose for discarded water - again, quite like what you use for a washing machine :)

I have both CPA-2 and CPP-2. I use CPA-2, for reasons explained in the other thread...

6-Jan-2011, 10:41
Thank you all! You've been a great help.