1938 Agfa Catalogue

Thanks to Sally Stein (who is researching Agfa colour film of this period) we have scans of the 1938 Agfa Amateur Catalogue, German version:

1938 cover of Agfa Amateur katalogIMG_5981

Rondinax info in Agfa 1938 katalog IMG_5979




Rondinax Agitation and Development Time

chrism writes:

I have been using my motorised Rondinax again lately, and have run several films through it using exactly the same times as I use for intermittent agitation in a conventional tank. I’m perfectly happy with the results, and I can’t say that the negatives have become too dense or too contrasty compared with those from my Nikor or Paterson tanks.

Loadomat 20: Another Rondinax 60 Clone

Maxime Desmarais writes:

I found the ad below while scrolling ebay and thought you might be interested to have a look.  I did a bit of research and found out that this Loadomat 20 was made in USA and sold by Prime Photo Products, Inc. and also by Yankee.

First of all let’s look at the ad:

Print Loadomat

There is one of these for sale on the U.S. eBay site at present: Item number: 332310807840

The photographs there show the lid which states the patent number (the U.S. version of the original Rondinax patent) and also states the tank was made in the U.S.A.

Loadamat 20 Lid

Apart from the markings on the lid and of the positions of the light-tight container, the plastic parts appear identical to the Rondinax 60:

Loadamat 20 Knob

I then noticed that the film clip appeared identical to the one in that other clone, the Kent 20, purportedly manufactured in Britain:

Loadamat film clip

Maxime also drew my attention to the Yankee version spotted sold on a South African Auction site. The lid of that one looks as if a Yankee badge has added to the moulding tool so as to overlay the original moulding. Otherwise the tank looks identical to the Prime Photo Products version.

Loadamat Yankee version lid

Here is a photograph of the box:

Loadamat Yankee Box

So the fact that these tanks were labelled ’20’ and had the same style of film clip (inferior to the Afga versions), leads me to suggest that the Kent and Loadomat were clones made in the early 1950s and that in the U.S. they were marketed under the Yankee banner after  PPP. Were the Kent 20 and the Loadomat 20 really made in Britain and the U.S.A. respectively, as claimed? Or were original Agfa moulding tools altered and used in the two countries? And were the belts and clips of the clones made by one manufacturer? How many were made and sold, given their comparative rarity on the market?

Whatever the answers, we are most grateful to Maxime for finding them.



from Lee O Alexander

This site has increased my interest in these “old school” daylight tanks. Back around 77-83, I had no knowledge of these tanks. Plus I did not have the Internet than either. I used a Beseler roll tank and Paterson tanks back then. I have acquired a Rondinax 35U in great shape for a reasonable price. Now I am attempting to get a Rondinax 60, but I have been outbid three times on eBay. The tank that is coming out from LAB-BOX will be my next purchase once I can get a price. I have others in our photo club that are very interested in it also.

Rondinax Agitation and Development Time

I am getting a fair number of emails on development time in a Rondinax because of the difference in agitation. I have nothing to add on my original post which can be found here. If anybody has information to add on particular film/developer combinations please let me know.

Film drying without dust

Dust on a negative is the bane of a film user’s life. The stage of processing when dust settles is the last—drying. All sorts of professional and amateur drying cabinets have been devised, some using warm, filtered air. Some years ago I needed urgently over a weekend a couple of slides. I photographed what I needed and processed the film in my lab. Looking for somewhere relatively dust free to dry the film, I realised that an alternative was lying right in front of me—a large desiccator. After washing, I left the film on the spiral and simply dropped the whole thing in the empty desiccator (with silica gel in the lower compartment), pumped the air out and left it overnight.

Recently I found an article in Amateur Photographer that described the writer’s experience of using the same method and of how extremely effective it was. Arthur R. Madle (AP 9 February 1955) actually went to the lengths of counting the number, size and nature of the particles on the negatives he produced. The main improvement he obtained was using a desiccator connected to a simple water-driven (filter) pump. He concluded:

The crystal clarity of a film or plate dried in this manner is a joy to behold and well worth the extra trouble involved, particularly as time is gained later in the omission of unnecessary spotting. Over 85 per cent of the spots are eliminated by this method.

Arthur Madle used anhydrous calcium chloride as desiccant. That has been superseded by silica gel. Obviously an identical set-up could be used today since all the components are readily available from laboratory suppliers. However, filter pumps are difficult to fit to modern household taps and care has to be taken that water is not sucked back into the desiccator.


Arthur Madle’s set-up for drying film on the spiral reel in a desiccator (left)

There is an alternative: plastic desiccators containing a manual air pump are available. I would be interested to know if anybody has experience of using these for drying films.

These are screenshots from the Fisher Scientific catalogue:




Partially flattened and respooled film: Results in the Rondinax 60

In the last post I reported that neither acetate or polyester film would load correctly in the Rondinax 60 if the end of the film that enters the film chamber in the tank was partially flattened by keeping it under a heavy book. The films were Rollei Infrared and Ilford FP4. After winding the films back on their spools I tried again. The result: no problem; both loaded perfectly into the tank.

So the failure to load I originally described with fresh Rollei Infrared and others have reported for some other polyester-based films does seem to be related to the longitudinal curliness of the film at the time of processing. How long fresh polyester-based film, cut from flat sheets, needs to be stored on a roll in order to take the curly, rolled form, I do not know. Several weeks or months possibly? What I do know is that the Rollei Infrared film I have had for several years now loads perfectly in the Rondinax 60, unlike when I first received it from the online retailer.

So, the problem of getting film flat for scanning or enlarging using a glassless carrier is reversed for the Rondinax 60 user. We want film with a curled ‘memory’ for processing. That’s not usually a problem but sometimes is.

The Problem of Loading Rollei Infrared 120 film into Rondinax 60 – NOT Solved but I know why!

I thought I had solved the problem of the film and backing paper failing to separate for certain types of film. As a reminder the film comes through the slit with the backing paper and does not enter the film chamber in the Rondinax 60.

I thought applying extra pressure from the metal spoon in the lid was the answer to this problem as it is Andrés Cuervo’s problem in which the film comes out of the slit on top of the backing paper.

When I tried a Rollei Infrared film with tighter pressure from the spoon, it loaded fine. However, I realised a week or so later that the spool of film had been stored for several years and that the film itself coiled easily whereas when I first used film from that batch the film did not curl easily. So was I testing like with like? The answer was no.

I took the Rollei infrared film and an Ilford FP4 film and placed the backing paper and the end of film that loads first into the tank into a heavy book for a few weeks in order to flatten the films. Today I wound them back onto their reels. There was still some degree of curl in both films but when I tried to load them into the tank, they both failed to load, either jamming as they hit the ridge after they should have gone into the film chamber or coming out with the backing paper. With an open tank no amount of pressure on the top of the spool made any difference.

The answer must be that this type of failure to load must be related to how long the film has been spooled and to the properties of the film base. I must have had factory fresh Rollei film that takes some time to maintain a curl when spooled for the first time. It would seem that polyester film base might be particularly prone to wanting to stay flat, for want of a better term. However, the fact that flattened acetate-backed FP4 also failed to load would suggest that there may be a problem if really fresh film of that type is used. However, acetate may be less prone to wanting to stay flat since I have never had any problem with Ilford films.

A problem with film that had been in a camera for some time or had been wound backwards in some film backs was known about by Agfa and the instructions for using the tank (see Manual download for the Rondinax 60) include warnings like this one on page 21:

Partly exposed films which are in the camera for more than two weeks lose their curling quality. To regain this quality which is necessary for threading, the film must lie rolled up tightly for at least one day. Films from cassettes [film backs] with opposite winding must be rewound before (see p. 11)

p. 11:

In some roll film cameras the film is wound up in the opposite direction to the original winding. If these films are to be developed in the Rondinax 60 tank they must be rewound twice and kept tightly rolled up for at least a day. Caution! The film must be rewound twice so that the end of the film showing the word “exposed” points outwards again.

These instructions would have applied to acetate film. The question is: how long does it take for polyester film to gain or curliness its curliness?  If my experience with Rollei film is anything to go back, some time in excess in several weeks for new film could be the answer. For the time taken to regain its curliness when spooled after partial flattening, I shall do further tests and report them here.

Clearly though, the physical property of ‘curliness’ and the maintenance of ‘curliness’ and ‘flatness’ when flattened or when spooled, respectively, is important for trouble-free use of a Rondinax 60.