Tuesday, April 18, 2017

MORE LEICA INFLUENCED PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT





Recently I came across a daylight film developing tank that was described as something new and innovative.  That made me take a closer look.  The first picture created a definite sense of déjà vu.  This supposedly new item had more just a familiar look. 

The new “LAB-BOX Lets You Develop Your Film at Home Without a Darkroom” was the headline, and indeed it does, just like the Leitz (Leica) Rondinax developing tank from many years ago.  Nothing really new here other than the fact that the Lab Box utilized a modular system that allows to switch from 35mm film to 120 without needing an entirely different tank.  The rest is literally the same.


 


The Rondinax tank was originally developed jointly by Leitz (Leica) and Agfa and sold under both the Leitz and Agfa label.  By design, it allowed the 35mm cartridge to be inserted into its own compartment.  The tail end of the film was clipped to a leader which was attached to the center of the developing reel.  By turning a knob on the outside of the tank, the film was pulled through a loading guide and fed onto the developing reel from the center.  At the end of the roll, a built in cutter allowed the film to be cut off from the cassette.  Covering the tank with light proof lid, the cassette compartment was sealed from the rest of the tank.  Filling it with the developer chemicals did not reach the film cassette which subsequently allowed the use of reloadable cassettes as well.  As a matter of fact, the Rondinax tank even had a knob on the side of the film compartment that allowed to open a Leitz type reloadable cassette.

Agitation was accomplished by turning the outside wheel.  I used to turn it constantly for continuous agitation.  The only reason why I switched to a different developing system was that I needed something to develop more than one roll of film at the same time.



 

The Lab Box functions in exactly the same manner.  However, it does have the advantage that the 35mm mm film compartment can be removed from the developing tank and replaced with a 120 film module.  To accommodate the same developing tank with both film sized, the spiral reel can be adjusted in width for either film.


Obviously, the Leitz/Agfa patents on the Rondinax have long expired and we should wish Lab Box to be successful in their resurrection of the Leitz Rondinax.


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18 comments:

  1. Frank Miranda wrote:
    I hope Leica makes their version of this :0)

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    Replies
    1. Frank Miranda wrote:
      wow!!!!! amazing..

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    2. Frank Miranda wrote:
      Are they breaking LEICA product patents?

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    3. No, those patents have long since expired. The Leitz Rondinax tank hasn't been made by Leica for probably close to 50 years.

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    4. Frank Miranda Wrote:
      That's what happen when they don\t pay their fees to keep up to date at the recording office.

      Delete
    5. Frank Miranda wrote:
      And Leica should take a closer look at their other innovation to protect themselves....

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    6. The dwindling sales of the Rondinax didn't warrant any of those measures.

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    7. That, by the way, was the same with Agfa, and Agfa was a lot more invested in film and film developing than Leica ever was.

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  2. As I said in the article, I very much liked the rondinax tank, but I switched to Jobo tanks because I needed the possibility to develop more than one roll at the time. Jobo had that advantage and the additional advantage of being able to mix 35mm, 120 and up to 4x5 in the same tank and develop them at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Frank Miranda wrote:
    My friend is thinking of getting one himself and how do you like the experience of 'Jobo tanks'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the advantages of the rondinax and the Lab Box tanks is that there is no experience necessary in loading the reel. It is virtually automatic by just turning a knob. All other tanks do need a bit of getting used to in loading the reels. The Jobo reels are quite easy to load, the have an indentation at the edges which allows the user to touch the edge of the film. By rocking the two halves of the reel back and forth, slight alternating finger pressure will easily load the reels, regardless of 35mm or 120 film. The reels are also adjustable for 35mm or 120 film width. The only reels easier to load are the Patterson ones. They use a small ball bearing to prevent the film from slipping out. Just simply rocking the two halves of the reesl back and forth will automatically load the reel. However, the Jobo tanks are a lot more versatile. Some models can be expanded from a two reel (35mm) to a larger, multiple reel tank, In addition, the same tanks will accept an insert for 4x5 film.

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    2. I used the Jobo tanks for continuous development on a Beseler motor base. Perfectly even development without the necessity of timing the standard agitation intervals.

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    3. Frank Miranda wrote:
      The model do you have is what?

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    4. I have no film developing equipment anymore. I gave that up when I switched to digital. I don't recall any model numbers, but the Jobo website should be able to shed some light onto that.

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    5. Frank Miranda wrote:
      Thank you....

      Delete
  4. Scott Derrick Johnson wrote:
    Yeah it's virtually a copy of the rondinax I have the agfa version.

    ReplyDelete