Jump to content

Paterson Super System 4 Tank Design Flaw?


Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, jose_angel said:

I had never considered using a good developer tank to be so troublesome!... 🤣

Not sure exactly what you mean, but Paterson tanks are not troublesome - the have their virtues and vices just like any product.

Niels
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, NHSN said:

Not sure exactly what you mean, but Paterson tanks are not troublesome - the have their virtues and vices just like any product.

Please excuse me... just kidding. Clogged reels, debris, gloves, leaks, stickiness, hair dryers... of course you guys are right, but honestly, I don't often experience those issues... just the little stuck bearings, not a problem at all -I use to move them around before loading with the tip of a pencil-. I use to keep the reels clean (just a brief rinse after use), let them dry, etc. It has never seemed like a problematic part of the darkroom to me.

That is my (humble) experience; I've used various sets of Paterson tanks over the decades (I'm currently running two System 4 units with MOD54 inserts and reels) with no issues. I actually love this system and think it's the best I've ever used. I also have a complete set of Jobo tanks and the rotary machine as a second option, but I prefer manual processing with the Paterson.

 

Edited by jose_angel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, jose_angel said:

Please excuse me... just kidding. Clogged reels, debris, gloves, leaks, stickiness, hair dryers... of course you guys are right, but honestly, I don't often experience those issues... just the little stuck bearings, not a problem at all -I use to move them around before loading with the tip of a pencil-. I use to keep the reels clean (just a brief rinse after use), let them dry, etc. It has never seemed like a problematic part of the darkroom to me.

That is my (humble) experience; I've used various sets of Paterson tanks over the decades (I'm currently running two System 4 units with MOD54 inserts and reels) with no issues. I actually love this system and think it's the best I've ever used. I also have a complete set of Jobo tanks and the rotary machine as a second option, but I prefer manual processing with the Paterson.

 

Sorry- Didn’t get the tongue-in-cheek.
I agree that they are perfectly useable, but it seems like everyone has some little (or big) gripe about the system. You have the bearing issue- one problem which I have never had in 40+ years of use.

My problem was related to friction and 120 film - enough inconvenience for me to switch to steel, but still use the system for the MOD54 - And it works great for that.

Niels
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mostly use stainless reels, but once used a Paterson reel for 127 on a warm day.

My hands got moist, and the film sticky.

After that, I got a stainless 127 reel.

I have always wondered about light piping through the liquid in a tank and

around the seal, but never knew about that.

 

As others noted, 120 film can get edge fogged around the paper.

-- glen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started out with an old 'Nebro' bakelite tank and reel. Strangely, it never seemed to stick with any size of film. 

But just learn to load a stainless reel and all those loading woes - and any chance of a light leak - disappear like a bad dream. 

Plus you're not tempted to use the inefficient swirly-whirly agitation method. 

Edited by rodeo_joe1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All,

First I want to state that I don't have any conclusive evidence that the Paterson tank was the cause of my problem.  As Niels @NHSN said, the problem is likely elsewhere.  I tend to agree with this because many others have stated they've never had this problem with light leaks down the center tube and the fact that I've been using old cameras that may have faulty light seals or require me to trim the film spools for a proper fit.

However, I'd like to give my personal review of the tank after processing my first 6 rolls of 120 b&w film.

1.  Regarding the potential for light to leak through the bottom of the fill tube, my expectation is that a daylight tank, designed to hold undeveloped film, should be as lightproof as a camera body is.  That is, I expect to be able to shine a relatively low power flashlight on a loaded camera and not experience light leaks that can fog the edges (or worse) of the film.  I don't think it is unreasonable to expect the same from a daylight tank.  The problem for me is that, once I saw this, I cannot unsee it and it's always in the back of my mind when I'm using the tank that I'd better not lift the lid to either fill or drain the tank under a light source.

2. I'm not a fan of the Paterson reels.  I've had difficulty getting the film under those crude looking ratchet bearings.  Also, the film edge guides are kinda small and it's a little tricky to get the film started on the reel.

I purchased the Paterson tank because I wanted to start doing inversion agitation.  My previous tank is an old GAF spinner tank and sometimes I would notice uneven development in large blank areas of my negatives (e.g., open sky) and I wanted to see if inversion agitation might lessen that problem.  The Paterson tank seemed like a good choice because it offered the option to use either spinner or inversion methods.

The main advantage of my old GAF tank, however, is that it has an excellent, ratcheting film reel with spring-loaded, stainless steel roller bearings and large flanges on both sides to help guide the film onto the reel.  Loading this reel has always been quick and easy.

As I was contemplating all this, I began to question whether my old reel might fit in the Paterson tank and, sure enough, it fit perfectly.  On top of that, the Paterson funnel fit snugly in one end of the reel.

GAF reel with stainless steel ratchet bearings

20221026_131242.thumb.jpg.aa88bc9c88c4ac30f1bc0e8d6816520a.jpg

 

Paterson funnel mated to reel

20221026_131626.thumb.jpg.ca35f4d93462f4882bf096ede0ae1fb4.jpg

So far so good.  However, because the Paterson center tube did not fit my reel, I had a serious light leak to contend with.  To solve this, I made a light baffle for the funnel using a plastic stick and jar lid with some black paint applied for good measure.

20221026_131830.thumb.jpg.63034ef648070a3055db0e5e3df38ffd.jpg

After loading the film onto the reel, dropping it into the tank and locking the funnel in place, I then drop the baffle stick down the center of the funnel to block any light from entering and leave it there for the duration of development and fixing..  The stick is long enough that it keeps the baffle about a quarter inch above the surface of the funnel to allow solution to be poured in without interference.

20221026_132453_HDR.thumb.jpg.db395da43a7f15f2f12665146d5b566a.jpg

As a test, I set up the reel, funnel, and baffle on my countertop outside of the tank and repeated my flashlight test in a dark room.  No light made it to the bottom of the reel.

My first roll of film developed with this new setup came out just fine and I couldn't be happier.

Again, I don't want to slam Paterson tanks.  I probably would be just fine using their standard setup.  However, I am glad that with just a small modification, I'm able to use my preferred film reel and I'm not haunted about the potential for light leaks down the center of the funnel.

Gary

Edited by gary green
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/25/2022 at 12:18 AM, hjoseph7 said:

I never like this Super System 4 tank and prefer to use the older version. 

Me too.  I just bought 2 old style tanks in original boxes that looked to have never been used just like what I used in the 70's.  Mainly for the different lid.  It takes so long to put the lid on the new ones at a time when I should have started to agitate right away but instead I am left fiddling with the large top.  The old top was so much better - just press it on.  Also, these old reels came with a clip to hold the single reel down so when you agitate the reel doesn't end up high and out of position where the chemicals can't touch the film.  I have experienced this riding-up in the new tank because there is no clip to hold it down.  Anyway, I am thrilled with the old ones (I have one here in my house somewhere from the old days but could not find it) and the quality of the plastic on the reels is way better than the new and they are much easier to twist open than the new which are almost impossible.  Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 10/24/2022 at 12:07 PM, rodeo_joe1 said:

 

There was a recommendation at one time to spray the reels with silicone furniture polish. It did seem to help when I tried it, but the effect was short-lived and just added to the tedium of using 'em. 

I wish I knew this a week ago!

I trashed a roll (my very first with my new-to-me 500C)…12 good exposures with 2 moderately over-exposed.

The inner end of the film escaped the reel, jutted outside the reel and so the whole film compressed inside the reel with LOTS of bad kinks and patches where the developer never reached. The reel was bone dry…

I work inside a wooden box of about 2’ x 2’ x 2’. I think my next roll of 120 will be loaded at night in the darkest possible room in the house…worked for me previously…

But, to stay on topic, I own and use several Paterson tanks from big to small and I have never had light leak issues.

Edited by antonroland
Staying on topic
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...