Tabletop processing units

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by marbing, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. I was wondering if anyone has thoughts on the self-contained desktop processors like the Phototherm Super SideKick ? Being in a rather cramped apartment, I don't have the option of setting up a full darkroom as I had when I was younger.
    The units are expensive but within the range that people are paying for the top Digital SLRs but this would allow me to keep all of my film gear and have the freedom to process film on my own.
    The cost/roll should be less than what the lab charges.
  2. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    A Paterson or stainless tank and reels would take up a lot less room and be a lot cheaper. You don't need a darkroom to process film just a dark room or changing bag to load the film into the tank or into that processor. The only advantage I can see to the processor is the temperature control. But I never had a problem with that.
  3. lwg


    Also look at use Jobo ATLs. There have been several of the smaller ones recently on e-bay selling for around $1000 - $1500. I have thought about getting one for e-6, but I settled for a cheaper Jobo CPP2. It is not automated, but it is easy to use. If you just want B&W I would just use normal small tanks. They are small and easy.
  4. It depends on how much film you plan on processing really. I haven't used the Super Sidekick, but looked into them a few years ago. From the folks I talked with who've used them in studios, they liked them pretty well. From what I understand, they're self contained machines, you can set them up without water hookups and can catch the effluent etc. They heat the chem up in the holding tanks prior to the run, and then do an auto cleanout to prep for the next batch. Dries the film on the reels as well--so it sounds like a good unit to use for location work or in a small lab, but whether or not you can save money is something you need to think about seriously...for one thing, you'll be looking at about $5K+ for the machine, then you have all the misc supplies like chemistry, mixing apparatus etc. Then water & power plus the time it will take to be mixing all the stock chemistry. Alot of those smaller processors use holding tanks with floating lids that are plastic balls to keep oxidation at a minimum. But with processors like Wing Lynch machines, use nitrogen pressurized tanks, so the chem lasts about 2 weeks or so. It's also heated 24/7 and as long as there's chem in the tanks, the processor's ready to go. WL makes a smaller processor now that's about the same size as the larger SS, but they still need a nitrogen tank & water panel--so it's not as self contained as the SS. My experience is with WL's, so I'm a little biased here I guess....but our cost is about equal to the local Q Lab. It's more convenient to run film yourself, but it's also more work than sending it out to a lab, and if you just look at the chem costs as "cost", then you forget the actual cost of the processor and everything else.

    I guess my question would be how much film you think you run on average, and keep in mind that most color chem has about a one month tops life on it for opened concentrates. Most of these machines are one-shot, with maybe a way to reclaim the bleach or fixers. Alot of these processors work great for low-volume (compared to a lab) daily work but can be a PIA if you have to mix up small amounts of chem every time you want to do a run, or you wind up wasting chemistry from having it oxidize or having to turn over larger amounts just to use it up. Still, I think the automated ones are a better option to the manual ones like the CPEs etc, which you could pretty much do by hand by that point. hope this helps.

Share This Page