Has anyone tried Lab-Box, a daylight film developer tank?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by terrymc, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. I watched videos of it when it first came out.

    To be somewhat less than charitable to it, a $20 changing bag will let you achieve the same thing with standard developing tanks, and will be significantly more versatile.

    Some film developing products that have come through Kickstarter have struck me as really good ideas. The SP-455 tank is one of those(I have one). This strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.
  2. SCL


    It looks like the old Agfa Rondinax 60 repurposed with an adjustable reel.
  3. I quite agree. if you get a larger changing bag you can even set up a box frame in it
  4. I own Rondinax 35 but never liked the idea of using it.
    I tend to rewind film entirely, either due to haste or to avoid mistakes.
    I believe you need an awful lot of chemicals to use with an upright multi format reel?
    While there must be a suitable developer for that rig, I am sure Microphen 1:3 abused for push processing (takes just 45minutes) isn't it.
    When you shoot a lot you might be significantly happier with a Jobo, soaking multiple rolls at once.

    So yes, I vote for the conventional changing bag instead too.
  5. How does it compare to the Kodak Day-load, which seems to be from the 1950's.
    I don't remember them from the 1960's or later, though.
  6. A friend has one on the way and he said the Italians are offering a 2-bath developer to go with the tank. Makes sense to me. I am not too sure about a monobath but a 2-bath would be a good match.
  7. Because of that I think it should be sold with a film leader puller/retriever.

    For people in this forum, the downsides might not be worth the minimal upside. But for people new to processing their own film, this isn't a bad product, - except for the film leader part. Expecting a beginning film photographer to remember and know how to rewind the film leaving just the leader out is asking a lot.

    The advantage I see to this product is not having to open a 35mm cartridge inside a bag, cut the leader off evenly, and loading the film on the reel all without being able to see what it is you're doing. The advantages for 120 might be even greater since I found loading 120mm film onto a reel to be a more difficult process to learn.

    That's a pretty big plus for somebody whose got no experience using changing bags and loading film onto reels. Of course a lot depends on how well it works in practice. The video promises a lot, - like being able to process film while enjoying a fine meal at a restaurant. :)

    For people already comfortable with a changing bag, there's not as much appeal.
    Jochen likes this.
  8. I suppose. But as I have noted, the idea is over 100 years old, and still hasn't really caught on.

    I mostly don't cut off the leader, but instead load from the far end of the roll.
    (I like using plastic blade, made for kids, scissors to reduce the chance of cutting
    or poking the wrong thing.)

    Like many things, it seems like it will be hard, until you do it a few times.
    A changing bag does take a little getting used to, but not all that much.
    And once you are used to it, you can use it for camera problems, too.

    If someone really wants to get into film photography, might as well learn
    to do it. Not that I wouldn't try one just for the fun of it, but I suspect that
    it is more expensive than I would like.
  9. FWIW, my experience with leader picks is less than positive. I've been using them a while, and it seems like about half the time the leader will pop out on the first try and at other times I can work at it for a while and not have any luck.

    Also, I was told a while back that the light trap is more likely to scratch the film if the leader has been retracted and then pulled back out than if it's simply left out. Anecdotally, I've seen similar results.

    On my power rewind cameras where it's an option, I generally set to leader out(one of the big reasons I like the F6 over the F5 or F100) . With manual rewind, I pop the back as soon as I hear/feel it come off the take-up spool. I then tear the "pointy" part of the leader off to avoid any confusion as to whether or not a roll is exposed.
  10. I don't know if the previous products enjoyed any success or not. Perhaps they did at the time. Lots of photographic products that had widespread use at one time or another have been relegated to the dustbin of history. Including some things that people will now pay a pretty penny for on eBay.

    I'm sure the potential market is still pretty limited but it is a different era. You don't really need a full dark room to work with film anymore if you're just going to scan. Getting decent scans with a good digital camera is now a reasonable option.

    This type of product might ease a persons entry into film processing. Later on they can get a bag and a traditional tank that will let them process multiple rolls at a time, etc.
  11. Well, I somewhat agree with this.

    I am trying to remember what I thought about auto-focus 30 or 40 years ago.

    I suspect I laughed at it, and thought it would not catch on, except for point-and-shoot cameras.

    That is it too easy to AF to the wrong part of the subject, and that is definitely true.

    I know I have at least one picture of two people, where AF found the background in
    between the two people it was supposed to find.

    But I think it is really cost/benefit, and that I am pretty cheap today in what I buy
    for darkroom work. I still have and use the 35mm Nikor tank I inherited from my
    grandfather 51 years ago. I lost the curved device that is supposed to help curve
    the film just the right amount to load it. As well as I remember, my grandfather didn't
    use it, I might have used it the first time, but then got used to the feel of the film.

    One thing that everyone hates is when the film loads wrong on the reel, and touches
    some other spot, so that part doesn't get developed. When one loads by hand, one
    gets used to the feel of film going in the right way, and the wrong way. The curved
    loading device reduces the feel.

    It seems to me that automatic load devices have to be darn close to 100% reliable
    at getting the film on the reel the right way. You don't have the feel for it going in
    wrong. Learning that feel is part of learning to load reels. It might take one or
    two tries, but once you learn it you (usually) don't forget.
  12. I do hope I wasn't been too discouraging. It does look like fun, but then
    the Day-load could be fun, too. Trying different ways to do something is often
    fun for a few times. My budget for developing tanks is about $10.
    (I think I got the Nikor 116 tank for about that price. I paid $10 for a 127
    reel, to use in a tank I already have.)

    I think part of the fun is actually touching the film, though.
  13. I really, really don't see the point of this so-called hybrid workflow.

    If you want/need a digital end result, then shoot it digitally! Instead of wasting time and Earth's resources faffing about with an unnecessary intermediate process.

    By all means do the job properly and make silver-gelatine prints, but to just have something to post on the web?
  14. How about if I shoot some film, planning to make silver-gelatine prints, scan them and post here,
    but then never get around to making the prints?

    I have negatives from 40 or 50 years ago that I never got around to printing. Now I can scan them and
    upload them, so people can see them. (About 5th grade through college.)

    And for extra complication, scan them and then have them printed on Crystal Archive paper from
    the scan though scanning lasers?

    Sometimes film is just more fun.
    murray_kelly likes this.
  15. That's all fair enough, but many new users of film have absolutely no intention of wet-printing their negatives, nor of bothering to acquire the skills/equipment to do so. In fact they probably have no clue that darkroom work exists or existed at all.

    It seems a lot of the attraction of film use to millenials and hipsters is in how 'cool' it makes them look to be seen using a film camera. Just as long as it's obviously a film camera, and not a perfectly serviceable but plastic-looking later model that might (horror of horrors) be mistaken for a digital camera.
  16. JFC man, if you don’t like film, just don’t use it. There’s no need to pop up in aging threads and make judgmental posts about how other people like to do photography. For many or most of the people here it’s a hobby and it makes perfect sense to use whatever they enjoy using, since the enjoyment is the goal.
  17. The assumption that you're making is that a digital end result is the purpose rather than just the means. Some reasons what I shoot film but don't use a darkroom:
    • A hybrid process doesn't produce results that look like an all digital one. That alone may be why some prefer the hybrid process.
    • I have a Canon 60D (APS-C) that I use regularly but it's not hard to produce a better image on my $50 Yashica 12. Sure I can spend more money on a full frame digital or even a medium format digital camera, but I don't want to.
    • I can always have a traditional print made down the road or even decide that I'd enjoy having a darkroom
    • Without much effort, a negative or slide will likely outlive me. Digital images will require some attention and diligence to survive and be accessible after I'm gone. I'm taking steps to do that, but when I get too old...
    • The most important reason I shoot and process film is that I find it more satisfying and enjoyable than simply pushing a button. I like fixing old cameras and using them. If I just want a quick picture, I'm more than happy to use a digital camera or my phone. I'm not religious about film.
    My wife doesn't get why I enjoy sailing so much either. It's way too much work in her mind. If your purpose is to move swiftly across a body of water, there are much quicker and convenient ways to accomplish that.

    But my purpose in sailing is not to move swiftly across a body of water.
    robertgiles likes this.

Share This Page