Filmomat – it does not get better!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by andreas_thaler|1, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. I recently bought a copy of the still rare Filmomat.

    "The fully automatic film processor for your living room. For 35mm, medium format (120/220) and large format (9x12, 4x5", 5x7") - from bw negatives to color slides."

    Automatic film processor | Deutschland | Filmomat

    This machine is manufactured and distributed by a young guy in Munich/Germany. Located in Vienna/Austria I have tested it developing my very first color film and I am very satisfied with handling and results.

    This is my review. I want to state explicitly that there is not any business relation between me and the vendor than being a customer :)

    Filmomat – it does not get better!

    I simply could not wait until the weekend to test the machine.

    So I grabbed my Olympus in my lunch break and went out into the neighbourhood to have the first candidate for the Filmomat.

    35 pictures were quickly taken and I started off in the late afternoon.


    In the changing bag, I cracked the Portra film cartridge with the cartridge opener. As always, the end of the film has be cut with a round edge, so the film is not caught in the reel. I managed to do that – surprisingly – well ;-) Before, I had to practice a little on the Jobo reel, as it has to be fed in a different way than the Paterson, which I have been used to for decades.


    Then I started the filling of the Filmomat. It takes quite a lot of water for the water jacket to temperate the film tank and the chemicals. Additionally it needs rinsing water, which goes into the rear part. Litres flowed. Then the film tank is attached and connected with the cable. This way, the tank is agitated and the reel bumped of the base of the film tank. Here, the developer and the bleach/fixing bath are already filled. The latter one a brown sauce. Better put on protective gloves and goggles. The Filmomat is now started, now it heats up the water jacket to reach the process temperature intended for C-41. Fever: 38 degrees. Wait, watch and be amazed. The machine hums, an active fan makes sure the power supply unit is cooled.


    Another perspective


    Filmomat in action. The Tetenal C-41 process has started. Now the film tank has to be pre-flooded. At the bottom the total remaining time.


    The set temperature has been reached. Above the present temperature of the water jacket, below the temperature of the chemicals. The Filmomat makes sure the temperature is kept and has a couple of tricks in its programming to make sure the cooling-off of the chemicals between the runs is compensated. Hats off!


    The Filmomat’s inner water world. In the front the heating element, behind the water filter. The water jacket is circulated permanently. Behind it on the right the floater, which switches off the heater if the water level is too low.


    Used process water is pumped off. A bucket should be ready at hand. The wastewater hose is attached to the Filmomat and is part of the scope of delivery.


    Here the bleach/fixing bath is running.


    Done, goal is reached. The first colour film developed myself! No, wrong, it was the Filmomat!

    A perfectly developed Portra 400, no scratches, optimal density. It cannot be done better.


    More details are available on my site:

    Filmomat - Colour film development with style in the living room

    Filmomat – Preparations for the first colour film development (C-41)

    Filmomat - Boarding completed!

    Filmomat – my conclusion

    Filmomat - the pictures
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  2. That's one fancy and expensive fishtank! I don't think I'd want it on display in my living room though.

    My old Jobo CPE-2 does C-41 perfectly well, up to 6 sheets of 5x4 at a time. Of course the CPU is an old organic one, but it's easily re-programmed to cope with any B&W film at 20 degrees C as well.

    I see used CPE-2 processors go for about 1/10th the price of that Filmomat. Even fully-auto ATL-1000s go for less, although they don't come up for sale too frequently.
  3. One should not underestimate the fun it brings at home ;-) As well as a more comfortable workflow.

    The statement the device is too expensive is often heard. But if compared with a decent DSLR or a set of new wheels for a car ...
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  4. Ah, but a DSLR costs almost nothing to run, certainly not 5 Euros every 36 shots (+ processing costs). Not to mention the cost of time spent scanning. And I've never worn out the wheels on any car I've owned, so I wouldn't know about the cost of replacing those.

    I suspect the 'fun' of feeding that machine with chemicals and performing the necessary cleaning and maintenance will soon get old. Whereas 2,500 Euros buys a lot of hassle-free commercial processing.
  5. Handling is easy - just dilute the chemicals for multi usage, fill in and start the (pre)programmed process. Cleaning is done automatically by the Filmomat it is just to fill in water into the storage tank and to press a button :)
  6. This sounds awesome - thanks for sharing! I think I'd buy one if I had more work. Compared to a digital medium format system, it's very reasonable, even taking into account running costs. It really depends on your preferences. Some digital cameras cost more, and I'm not sure that they are good value.

    Now we need a scanner to go with it...
  7. I doubt its a film vs digital thing anyway. Someone that would consider this is a serious film person already. However its not for me, i am not buying a jobo either. I shoot a roll of b/w every week and am doing well with my patterson tank. If you can develop e6 in the machine it would seem kind of awesome for someone with a budget and need for a volume of e6
  8. I am in awe!
    I'll never go to this level, but it is wonderful to see (my processing consists of D-76 at whatever temperature it's at for 8 or 10 minutes, etc.).

    The blue lights remind me of a nuclear reactor (sometimes "nu-cu-ler"). :cool:
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    2,599 € plus 190 € shipping to the U.S, not counting accessory tanks and chemicals. Base price $3,319 U.S dollars, and a 1,600 € advance payment with 1 - 2 month wait. You can get a lot of film developed for that. I have bought enough Gee Whiz devices over the years, some useful, most not. Very interesting, but not for me!
  10. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    wow that is really nice! if it had more blinking lights n animated decorations, it would also make a wonderful coffee table center piece.

    fish? mmmm now theres a thought.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  11. Alternative a new STARK rotary processor, half priced of this Filmomat.
  12. I like the manual part in processing film, it gives a sense of really working on my images (self-delusional sense probably, but still...). If I'm going to use a machine to do the processing for me, I'll just take my digital camera.

    So, yes, it does get better for me - my development tank and a sink.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017

Share This Page