Jobo 1500 Tank System Problems

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by dave_cheng|1, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. I use a JOBO ATL-2300 at home. I have had problems in getting good
    results from processing C-41 and E-6, especially E-6. Until recently
    I realized what the problem is. I don't know if I should blame Kodak
    or Jobo. I use exclusively Kodak chemicals.

    The tank I use is a 1540 tank, which takes 4 1501 Jobo reels for
    up to 8 35mm 36 exposure roll of films, or using only 2 1501 reels
    and load with 2 220 rolls of film. There is no problem in loading
    so may films into the tank. The problem is it takes 470ml of chemical
    only. And Jobo never mentioned that this is actually too little
    chemical for so many films.

    Last Summer I kept having poor results from the whole 5 liters of
    Kodak one shot 5 liter E-6 kit. I followed Jobo's technical bulletin
    to make processing adjustments with no much improvement. I kept
    on processing 2 220 rolls in one tank at a time. And I could never
    get my Velvia done right.

    Yesterday I started out with a new fresh kit again. The Kodak box
    contains no instruction sheet whatsoever, except mixing information
    and processing times for the steps. Eventually I spent quite some
    time looking into Kodak web site for information about the capacity
    of the kit. I finally dug out words like: 20 rolls of 35mm 36 exposure
    total... My god! the way I used the Jobo 1540 tank system has been
    like 20 rolls of 220. Yes, 2 rolls per tank and 470cc each. The 5
    liter kit has done 20 220 rolls for me. No wonder the result was
    always poor. I always got the films too dark and too constrasty.
    Colors were never as vivid and saturated as I hoped.

    I went to Jobo site and looked up Jobo tank system information. Sure
    it emphasizes the capability to process that many rolls of films
    in one tank run. Never do they mention only if your chemical has
    the strength to do it.

    Should I blame Jobo? I am not sure. May be I should blame Kodak's
    kit that is designed to only process a handful of rolls and you should
    buy another one if you want to process more. According to Kodak info
    the 5 liter E-6 kit was designed specifically for rotary processors.
    Although it does not mention Jobo but I think it doesn't take a
    photography expert to know that the most popular rotary processors
    are Jobo brand named. I wonder how come the kit is made with only half
    of the strength it needs to be. I have always assumed that it is
    made to fit the processor.

    Maybe I am wrong. Does anyone experience the samething? Or am I
    having actually other problems? I now process only one 220 rolls
    leaving half of the tank empty and feed the tank with same 470ml
    of chemical. The result is just nothing but good! After processing
    2 rolls with 1000ml chemical I tried to process another short 120
    roll and reuse the 1000ml chemical. The result immediately showed
    the same problems I always had before. The Kodak kit is just barely
    having the strength to process one shot a half tank full of film in a
    Jobo 1540.

    The ATL-2300 is a huge and superior processor in my opinion. But
    sadly I can use half of its capacity with Kodak E-6 kit that is
    designed for such a processor.
  2. Sounds like you didn't read the Jobo manuals. Or the Kodak manuals.

    section 7.2

    Then again
  3. Actually I did. The minmum volume for tank 1540 is 470ml, which also
    happens to be the max you can feed it before starting to overflow. So there is no way, if using Kodak E-6 5 liter kit, to process more than one roll of Velvia 220. The tank will take two. But then how can you process if you can't feed more chemical?

    I did read the menual. But the words are so vague that it just didn't
    get into my mind that the number of rolls that the tank can take does
    not mean it can process them.

    The words on #7.2 says: "The quantities listed on the tank and drum labels are the minimum needed. Some processes may require higher volumes for proper results", I guess it means you better not to
    think it can process all the rolls it can take. I guess I trusted
    the brand name so much and never doubted that maybe the feature
    is just a hype.

    The support page says: "When in doubt, use a higher volume of solutions". Well, 470 ml is all it can take. If I want to process
    two 220 rolls as the tank says on the tank with the Kodak chemical
    it is just not possible.

    Or perhaps it is really an issue of the chemical. It appears to me
    that I can barely process one roll to get good result. If I had
    stuck in another short roll like a 120 the result would have been
    ruined. Should the chemical have more strength in the first place?
  4. It has been a couple of years sense I have done any E-6 I've been working mostly with B&W. But I did do alot of testing and this is my my process
  5. David, thank you very much for your input. I see some differences between yours and mine in processing chromes. You used Kodak 1 gallon
    kit. That may be very different from the Kodak 5 liter one shot kit.
    You used 550ml chemical for 4 rolls of 120 but I used 470ml as stated on
    JOBO 1540 tank. Most interestingly you did 5:30 min. for color developer
    step I did 4:00 min. I think you will get contrastier slides. I scan
    the slides afterwards so I desire less contrasty result. With 4 min.
    color development I still get very contrasty Velvia. However, the
    main problem with my process (two 220 rolls together) is the result
    came out too dark. When I changed to process only one roll everything
    looks great.
  6. Dave;

    My reading of the Jobo 1500 series instructions tell me that the 1540 will take 4 rolls of 36 exposure, or 8 rolls of 20 exposure. It also says 4 rolls of 120 or 2 rolls of 220.

    There is a final note that says that the minimum quantity of chemistry used per unit of film is determined by the kit manufacturer.

    Further notes say that for best results the 2500 series tanks should be used for large quantities of film or for best 'professional' results. It notes that more chemistry may be used, or must be used for proper results. Logical due to the tank size.

    I have used both tank systems staying within those recomendations and have gotten excellent results for over 20 years. Admittedly, most of my processing was C41, but I see no reason why the E6 should be any worse.

    The instructions give time increases recommended if you reuse the chemistry. I usually dump the developers and re-use the other chemistry to exhaustion, increasing time as I go.

    Ron Mowrey
  7. Ron, thank you for your input. I admit that I wasn't careful enough
    to read the manuals or instructions prior to processing of 2 220 rolls
    with only 470ml (the max) of chemical. I simply thought it's great
    that a single Jobo 1540 tank does 2 rolls of 220 and I dump the
    chemical afterwards. It's just great. Wrong!

    I also have a Jobo tank 1520 which can take one 220 roll. Well, it will definitely be a disaster because it can be fed with only 240ml
    of chemical. In my opinion Jobo is at fault to permit a 220 roll to
    be processed in a 1520 tank. It will never work. Note that the tank
    can take 500ml of chemical if it is not put on a rotary processor
    and it will work fine. Same to the 1540 fed with 1 liter of juice.
    But when they are on a rotary processor the capacity is only a half.

    I think this should be stated in Jobo's manual. Unfortunately it is
    not. I have learned a costly lesson in terms of time wasted and
    images lost. I don't have any 2500 series tanks. I will look into
    that. Perhaps I should switch to them.
  8. If I can help...

    Last month, I bought a 1530 drum to expand my 1520 drum. The combo is fitted to handle 5 135mm rolls filled with 330ml + 240ml = 570ml.
    Working with 1 liter Tetenal E6-Kit and wanted to process just 4 rolls, I was a little puzzled. I then decided to go with just 500 ml of soup and my 4 sensia just came out perfect !
  9. I forget to mention that I processed with a CPE-2.

  10. Are they 36 exposure rolls? Tetenal says its 1 liter kit can process
    12 films. But it never says whether it is 36 or 24 exposure rolls.
    It never says wheter this number includes rolls processed by reusing
    the chemical with extended processing time. I suspect that the 12
    rolls is a number of the maximum with reuse of chemical and the rolls
    are 24 exposures. I don't think the number means 220 rolls at all.

    What I really like to find out is if the 5 liter Kodak kit has the
    strength to process 2 220 rolls in a Jobo 1540 tank. From what I
    have experienced so far it can only do one roll. But if I reuse the
    chemical with extended process time I could get two rolls done.
    But I would not be too happy with the result, expecially for Velvia.
  11. Yes Dave (if you're talking to me), that was 36 exp rolls.
  12. Thank you guys for the info! I was looking for the reason of uneven development of 2x120 film in 1520 and CPE. This is definitely Jobo fault, they explicitly say you can do that.
    Now I wonder if I can put 3x120 in 1520+1530 ? The amount for rotary processing is 330ml. What do you think?
  13. I have used the Jobo max in both 1500 and 2500 series tanks and have had excellent results with EK C41 chemistry.

    You can put 2 20 exp rolls of 35mm on one reel or 1 36 exposure roll. If you put 2 36 exp rolls of 35 on one reel, you are exceeding their tolerance. My instruction sheets caution against that as the rolls can overlap on the reel. The same is true of 120 and 220. You can only get 1 220 on a reel, but 2 120.

    I have posted above my usage based on Jobo instructions. I have never had bad negatives in over 20 years. I can match the speed and contrast of my local pro lab. I rarely do E6, so I cannot give advice other than to say my limited experience has been good.

    Ron Mowrey
  14. Ron, The JOBO 1540 tank will take 4 1501 reels. So theoretically you
    can put 4 35mm 36 exposure rolls in one tank. But I really think that's too many and for 470ml of chemical the result will be poor.

    The tank will take 2 expanded 1501 reels for either 120 or 220 rolls.
    Each reel can take 2 120 or 1 220 rolls. So the tank theorectically
    can process 4 120 rolls or 2 220 rolls. I think that's also too many
    for 470ml of chemical. The actual realistic capacity should be only
    half of that number for rotary processing. If the tank is used for
    hand manual processing, in which you can pour almost 1 liter of
    chemical into the tank, the result should be perfect. So in that case JOBO's stated capacity is

    I do not blame JOBO nor EK for the problem. But JOBO tanks are indeed
    too big to take too many films but too little for enough chemical.
    It took me a long time wondering why my result from the huge ATL-2300
    is always poorer than my manual processing using little cheapy
    tanks and reels in my bathroom. Now I will be happy with the ATL-2300
    if I can confirm that my problem is indeed resulted from processing
    too many films with too little chemcial.
  15. Dave;

    Perhaps Jobo is begging the issue by saying that the 2500 series drums give more 'professional' and 'uniform' results. It may be that since they hold more solution per process cycle and unit of film, they have more film capacity / ml used. IDK.

    I studied the C41 data sheet I have from EK, and it should be able to run 4 rolls of 20 exp 35mm or 2 rolls of 36 exp 35mm in one pint (~450 ml) of developer. It would seem, from my instructions, that you would need a 3 second development time increase to do this in one pint though. That seems to be insignificant, and I never have used it.

    Actually, I more often use the 1500s for B&W and the 2500s for color, as I use inversion more often for the B&W. But I have used the 1500s for color and have seen no problem as you seem to. I think I should take a closer look at my negatives and see if there is any problem that I missed, but I doubt it.

    I couldn't swear to this, but I almost always use more developer than Jobo recommends when I'm doing color prints. I may have unconsiously used more for the film as well. For example, I may have used 500 ml instead of 470, and this tiny bit may have made up for the 3 seconds increase recommended by the EK instructions. My graduate is a 500 ml grad, and my bottles hold 500 ml or 1 l, so that is possible. I know that I did that on a run of 12 4x5 sheets recently. I rounded up to use a whole bottle of 1 liter. It was the last of a mix and I didn't want part of a bottle sitting around for a week or so.

    I might add again that I use fresh developer all the time and dump.

    Ron Mowrey
  16. "I studied the C41 data sheet I have from EK, and it should be able to run 4 rolls of 20 exp 35mm or 2 rolls of 36 exp 35mm in one pint (~450 ml) of developer"

    Ron, you are most likely right. 2 rolls of 35mm 36 exposure is half
    of the capacity of a 1540 tank. My ATL-2300 can only be programed
    to feed 470ml, not 450 or 500ml. So the result should be just perfect.
    In the case of 220 rolls. The reels need to be expanded so only 2 reels can be fitted into the tank. The gives 2 rolls of 220 opportunity. And I took that opportunity then they were doomed.

    Guess can't blame Jobo nor blame EK chemical. The 1540 can take
    almost 1 liter for a full load of 4 36 exposure rolls. In this case
    both the tank and the chemical will meet expectations. Only when
    in rotary processing both are reduced by a half.

    Yes, I am talking about fresh chemical too. C-41 maybe OK if reused
    with processing time extended, but not E-6.
  17. Dave;

    I should have included the 120 and 220 data from my kit.

    It indicates that the pint of fresh developer requres 10 seconds adjustment for the second roll of 220, or 2 rolls at one time in a pint. Overall, based on the 35 mm information, you can do 4 rolls of 120 / pint with suitable time adjustment, but only 3 rolls of 220 with time adjustment. Also, the time adjustments per unit of the larger film are larger.

    If you go to the EK web site, they have a page devoted to rotary tube processing of C41 films. I have not read it over lately, but I'm sure it would be useful to take a look at.

    Ron Mowrey
  18. Ron, thank you so much for your input. I did one experiment. First
    I did one roll of Velvia 220 with 7:00 min 470ml chemical. It came out
    great. I did a 2nd roll Velvia 220 again with 7:30 and another 470ml
    of chemical. The result was perfect and no difference from the first
    roll. 3rdly I reused 470ml of the chmecial out of the 470mlx2 used for
    the 1st and 2nd Velvia. This time it was a 120 Velvia and I did it for
    7:30 min too. The result was obviously darker. I could not consider it
    good. All 3 runs had 4:00 color development time aimed at lowering
    contrast. I saw from somewhere that higher concentration color developer will reduce contrast. Shorter color developer has similar
    effect. Based on the result of the 3rd short roll I believed that
    reusing the 5 liter kit chemical is risky. Next time I will try
    the samething but with the first development extended from 7:30 to
    8:30. This probably will work for Kodak chromes and Astia but not sure
    about Velvia and Provia.
  19. Dave;

    I guess that is not unexpected. E6 is very much more sensitive to process than C41. A small change in concentration or pH will upset the color balance or speed of the film.

    Quality variations would show up much more slowly in C41 as the developer varies slightly due to seasoning, use, or age.

    Ron Mowrey

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