Thanks to Adri Meesters there is now an instruction manual in Dutch for the Rondinax 35U on the MANUALS page.
Some time since I used my Rondinax 35. Just a black and white film testing a newly aquired camera. Processed in Rodinal for five minutes turning the spool about once a minute.
First time it has happened but noticed some pictures where in two parts, one darker than the other where obviously one side had be processed differently from the other. Obviously I had not turned the spool enough. Moral, a continual slow turn is probably better than intermittent turns. Must knock up a motor from some meccano bits.
I wanted to show you a modification that I did to the film guide of my Rondinax 35. From the very beginning, I was getting serious scratches on my negatives, It was always on each sides of the last 4-5 frames. At first, I thought my camera’s rollers were at fault, but the same thing happened with rolls shot with other cameras. I tried to thoroughly clean the tank, the same thing happened again. Then I decided to smoothen the underneath of the film guide which is the only part which is in contact with the negatives. This last part worked, it significantly reduced the scratches, but even polished to a mirror the scratches were still very visible. I’m a tinkerer by nature so I thought of way to prevent the underneath of the guide from touching the frames, I used a self adhesive PTFE to make skates which the guide about 1mm over the negative and only touch it on the edges of the frames. I’ve developed a few rolls since and the scratches are gone.
Ian Carter writes:
I am wanting to put a “fishing reel” style turning handle, (knob) to help me with rotation when developing a film in the Essex tank. I was thinking of trying a Jubilee clip around the manual rotatory knob, and then adapt the Jubilee clip by adding the turning handle. Has anybody done this and what do you think?
My reason for doing it is that my arthritis makes it difficult with the set up as it is.
So which developing tank is most reliable and doesn’t leak as well as can be loaded in daylight. Rondinax or Lab-Box?
Any news or views on Lab-Box?
The only comment I can add is that a Rondinax with a good washer does not leak but that many around now may leak a little since the rubber has perished over the years.
Jim Horne contacted me:
I have a Rondinax 60 which I had been using on a regular basis. A few months ago one of the fingers snapped on the film guide (which was a bit disappointing). However my wife bought me a 3D printer for my birthday which I have managed to get to grips with and after two failed attempts to print a guide number three was successful. I have put my first film through the tank with the new guide with complete success. If others require a guide please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will have to make a small charge. They take about four hours to print.
I know from other emails since I set this site up that the piece most likely to me missing or damaged is the film guide. This could bring a few Rondinax 60s back into use.
Thanks to Sally Stein (who is researching Agfa colour film of this period) we have scans of the 1938 Agfa Amateur Catalogue, German version:
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.
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.
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.
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: