This is “part 2” in my LAB-BOX story – read the first part here – I have now been using the LAB-BOX for about 3 months, or rather I received it 3 months ago, and used it around 15-20 times. So what do I think about it now?
Well, I stopped using it with 120 film pretty fast, I'd developed 5 rolls and only 2 of those made it out alive – all the way through the developing process – and they still had frames that wasn't developed right. So I quit using it with 120 film.
I kept developing 35mm, for a little while longer, because I thought that turned out quite well, there were some minor hiccups, but nothing I couldn't live with. And by that I mean a few frames that were only half developed or not developed at all, and I had the hopes that I would get better at using it with time, and these hiccups would go away. They never really did.
It is definitely a fast way to get your – black and white – film developed, but the speed comes at a cost, and that is control, you simply give up control of whether the film is correctly rolled up on the take-up spool or not. The old fashion way – with a normal developer tank – you are never in doubt, with the hands on approach. And it actually doesn't take that much longer when you use a normal developer tank and a dark-bag.
Well, the last time I use the tank for developing, the take-up spool, got loose – or maybe it already was when I put it in the tank, didn't think to check – so the film didn't catch the grooves on the spool, and ended up, all rolled up in the center of it. And that's not a good thing, because the chemicals can't in and around the film, to get it developed, and the film didn't get developed at all.
And that was when I decided to never use the LAB-BOX ever again – I know you should never say never – because it didn't seam like I would ever get the hang of it.
So is it me or is the LAB-BOX a pain to use. I don't see myself as incompetent when it comes to handling technical stuff, for an example, I'm handling the old way of developing film – with the dark bag and the developer tank – quite well, so I think I should be able to handle a thing like the LAB-BOX with no hassle.
And do remember this tank is made for black and white developing only, or at least you'll have a hard time keeping the right temperatures if you'll give C41 & E6 development a go. So if you want to develop color film, you still need to learn to do it the old fashion way. And the old way is not that scary or hard after all. So I'll stick to that and get all my films & frames developed correctly.
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