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Monday, 08 March 2010


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Ugh. I still use a Jobo frequently for sheet and roll film development, B&W, C41 & E-6; B&W & E-6 being particularly cheaper to do yourself, especially for sheet film. OTOH, the products had gotten wildly expensive and pretty much everyone buys second hand. I'm not sure what will happen when the supply of used machines starts to dry up.

Jobo wasn't only about darkrooms. They had a pretty good line of portable photo storage devices and similar digital stuff. Here. Apparently not good enough.

I'm begining to feel as if I'm using a bow and arrow in a musket world, or maybe as George Gobel said, "Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?"

There still isn't a better way to develop sheet film than the JOBO expert 3000 series tanks. I live in dread of the day the motor dies in my processor and I have to go back to developing in trays. I never considered that with a JOBO, that what you mostly "did was...wait". I considered it that you could do other things while the processor lovingly developed your film to your exacting time/temperature/agitation specifications.

The JOBO plastic reels for 220 film were also the only consistant way I ever found to load 220 film without buckling or other disasters getting it on the reel. Non macho, I know, using plastic instead of stainless steel, but my film survived the experience. Luckily Kodak took away the problem of having to load 220 film last week :).

Take care,

They do (did) have reasonably well received digital products like the Giga Vue.

"JOBOs with Expert drums also made very good sheet film processors for either color or black-and-white."

"Make," not "made," and "outstanding," not "very good!" I have a collection of such drums to cover film sizes from 4x5 through 8x10 -- (3) 3005, (3) 3306 and (1) 3004. Anticipating the eventual demise of Jobo, I purchased a second processor, the CPP-2, as backup for my CPA-2. With luck this equipment will last the rest of my life.

In case it doesn't, there's a lab owner not too far from you who's embarking on a project to keep the drums productive even absent working processors:

APUG thread

Having not come from the days of darkrooms, and such, my only association with JOBO is that they made some interesting devices, none of which was 1) widely distributed, 2) reasonably priced or 3) well designed. The concepts (such as the photoGPS) were interesting, but when the proverbial rubber met the road, the reviews indicated less than satisfying results. Not being able to actually purchase any of said devices, I suppose saved me frustration and money.

I love my ATL-1500 - being able to a consistent development process for film, that lets me load the film and do other things means i can still process film and play with my son, or do laundry, work, etc. This kinda goes with the insane prices that Nikon Coolscans are going for, a lot of the convenience products that made film workflows easier on the user are going away.

"...and some day you'll be hearing about the last inkjet printer..."

As an owner of the cantankerous (your word, I believe) HP B9180 I can assure you I'm looking forward to that day.

aiyeeeeee. I just got into self developing color with the purchase of my second-hand CPE-2, and I'm loving it. And as has been said, I can't think of any other way I'd want to develop 4x5 sheet film, so this is bad news. I can just see the prices of used Jobo systems sky-rocketing with this news. I wonder if it's time to purchase a backup.

I only just discovered Jobo gear last year. I picked up a 1500 tank, a second hand extended, and the Cascade washer last year. I still think compared with the competition (over here, a Spanish brand called AP) they were better (but this was just my opinion).

Looking at the second hand 1530+1510 I picked up, it is still marked with "Made in the Federal Republic of Germany". That makes it at least 20 years old.

Alas, the only change on my new 1520 is that it is "Made in Germany". Building photoframes and mass storage devices were not enough of a change.

Time and tide has certainly moved on.


Lonesome George Gobel ... I had forgotten about him. He died 19 years ago. Comedians were better back then. ;-)

My only advice is that if you use Jobo stock up on spares, spare tanks, reels, broken machines etc.. They were common on the second hand market here in Australia 2 years ago - now they are getting to be hens teeth....

Oh well - I can always roll a tank on the bench if my processor dies......

Is Jobo's demise definite? I have been using their tanks & reels for over twenty years and I guess I 'll have to buy a few backups soon...They were expensive, but for me, they were much easier to work with in the dark...

Thanks for the heads up Mike!

"Thanks for the heads up Mike!"

You can thank Chris L.


Yeah, us old folks.

In 1974 while working at a camera store (camera stores were better back then) an elderly gentleman walked in with an 'old' Exakta Varex, a VX I think. He was looking for a couple of lenses and we didn't have many, a few used manual aperture ones. The first kid salesman he talked to offered no real help and he turned toward the door shoulders humped in resignation. I rapidly rounded the counter, to the consternation of the first salesman, and intercepted him.

Remember the T-4 lens mount system? We had quite a few mounts and lenses in Vivitar and Soligor taking up space and not selling well at all. With the external auto Exakta mount adapter they really worked quite well well and and the old fellow left happy with 35mm and 200mm lenses added to his kit. But, I remember at the time thinking, 'poor old timer, why don't you just update to a modern Canon or Minolta body'. I said nothing however as he seemed supremely happy with his Exakta.

Now I'm the old timer with my OM's, Pen F, Mamiya C220, and a newly acquired Leica M2. (yahoo!)

Where DID the time go?

Not good news, but thanks for the warning : as a consequence I've just ordered a spare tank and 3 reels - to see me by until Kodak stop making Tri-X.

The Jobo reels always seemed the easiest and most reliable to load.

You'd think that as yesterday's paper/camera/film/sensor/CF Card/vacuum tube computer had a sweeter purer image than today's cheap plastic junk we would have hit rock bottom around 1972. You'll never pry my 8x10 Empire view outa my hands. Might trade it for a D3x though. Any takers?

Sad news, but I am not sure that the Chemical part of the business is really dead, at least as far as drums and spools etc. go. There is still a market and they probably have the ability to continue on under new ownership.

The guys behind the "new" Adox films have done quite a few things for film, including buying the old Agfa Chemistry patents and at least last year were just waiting for the old stock to clear out of the retail channels.

I really want a 3000 tank system and I need a few more spirals for my 1500 one as well.... Time to go looking I guess.

BTW, I take it that means Tetenal is essentially dead (for now) as well?

Speaking of the B9180, it seems to be making a quiet exit, though the "lite" version B8850 is still around.


insolvency proceedings in Germany don't mean JOBO will have to close shop.

Now, the insolvency administrator will have to find out if there's enough substance in the companies to keep them going. Only as an ultima ratio, if he and the creditors come to the conclusion that there's just not enough there for a continiung going concern assumption, the companies will have to be liquidated and dissolved.

I am moving house on Friday. Last weekend I threw out a Jobo processor which had been sitting in my shed for a few years. I had tried to give it away a couple of times with no takers. I bet there are lots of people who would want it for spares now.

I still got my CPE-2; it's been great but pretty much a luxury for B&W film processing. I could certainly get by without it. The only thing I didn't like was having to carry it over to the sink to dump out the water, but I installed a plastic spigot-like drain that Jobo supplied so that fixed that inconvenience problem.

I'm a little sad to hear this news though. I thought they made some really clever helpful products. Their color photography safelights were great.

as an assistant it was my job to run the jobo. an ATL3000 with 3-bath E6 process, and i did that for four years and thousands of 4x5 and 13x18 sheets. glad those days are over. although my densitometer results made honoured 6-bath labtechs awe in admiration because they thought that it wouldnt be possible to use a machine which was more like a prototype to get perfect numbers for months on end.
oh, how i miss the random breakdowns, preferrable with one-time-shots during first developer. NOT!
but thanks to the simple nature of the machine a stopwatch and a pair of gloves - always wear protection! - no sheet of film was left behind.
still consider the jobo drums the best for almost any use.

Sorry to see them go, but I never got into the Jobo thing. I process film in trays, daylight tanks, and open tanks with hangers.

Among the finest things I have along these lines would be a pair of Nikor (no connection to the Japanese camera maker that uses "Nikkor" as one of its brands) stainless steel sheet film tanks. The tank is larger than a standard tank--the size of one of the old style 220 tanks that used an oversized reel--and inside is an adjustable spiral rack with twelve slots that can hold sheets of film in any size from 2.25"x3.25" to 4x5".

The spiral is a marvel of manufacturing, made to close tolerances with something like 150 spot welds. I once wrote to Hewes to see if they might make a modern version, perhaps keeping the price down by making it only for 4x5", but they said to try Jobo, which made a similar kind of spiral in plastic for their tanks, but it only took six sheets.

Man, did I hate loading 35mm film into Jobo reels. Since you had to slide it all the way in, the reel and the film had to be absolutely dry, or it would bind. And your hands had to be absolutely dry. This was hard to achieve in a changing bag on a hot day.

Because friends thought processing their own slide film was worth it, I've loaded many dozens of rolls over the years into Jobo drums. One night (at the 1989 World Science Fiction Convention in Boston, known as Noreascon 3) we developed 65 rolls of film in a hotel room, mounted and marked them, and sorted them out enough that when the artistic team came in early the next morning, they were ready for use in the retrospective slide show Monday night (earlier days had been handled by paying night rates to a pro lab with courier service, but this night needed a much faster turnaround).

After the usual learning curve, I found stainless steel infinitely faster and easier to get film into (35mm, 120, or 220). And it works fine if the dryness isn't perfect, since nothing has to slide over anything else for it to work. But they're not useful for processing in Jobo tubes. I used them for B&W, and have not parted with the tanks or reels, though I haven't processed a roll of B&W since 1985, I don't think.

Com'on Mike, when today's cameras are old-school there won't be any more of those quaint STILL cameras to compare them to. ~Everything~ will be video with frame grabs.

"... because this is a constant — when I was a kid there were older guys who'd go on and on about how they did things in the old days (for one thing, photo papers were always better in the old days — now, then, and forever), " - Mike

We were always younger, smarter, stronger, faster, more ambitious, or more hopeful in those old good days. This is a constant.

"Man, did I hate loading 35mm film into Jobo reels. Since you had to slide it all the way in, the reel and the film had to be absolutely dry, or it would bind. And your hands had to be absolutely dry."

Oh yeah. Which is why the studio at my school was seldom free of the background drone of handheld hair dryers!


Yep, hair dryers seem to have been the universal solution to the problem. Still required considerable care, and the plastic reels were non-conductive, so you had to get the hot air everywhere (whereas just rinsing SS under very hot water would cause them to air-dry enough to use almost instantly).

Sweaty hands still caused trouble, though, and there was just more handling of the film than I'm comfortable with to snake it into those reels.

Most people seem to be talking as if Jobo only made film processing equipment. They were/are marketing a range of downloaders, photo viewers and GPS devices. Still not enough to keep them out of trouble it would seem.

To expand on what RolandG said: this is a German insolvency, which are triggered when the net present value of all income is exceeded by net present value of all debt. The accountants who do the company's accounts are required to inform the appropriate authorities when this happens, and are invariably external auditors. This does not mean that Jobo will automatically disappear, but it does mean that the financial health of the company does have its problems...

Once again we need some more snail or whatever to make those shell which we 2nd hand user live in. Otherwise, we would be extinct.

Even though as an individual film camera and associated gears survive much longer than digital one (software, printer, camera, sensor ... vs Jobo, enlarger camera and film), the overall situation is not clear.

Somehow we need to scale down but still make it viable like vinyl (which as one points out might surprising could survive better than its replacement media i.e. CD).

One has to find a niche here.

I was quite sad to hear this. I have moved completely over to the digital world, but in my darkroom days, I did all my film AND silver fiber printing in the Jobo system. Not many printers used the system for silver, but I loved it. My darkroom was only ever "dark" when using the enlarger. Everything else was done in the drums with the lights on and my darkroom never smelled at all. THAT was great.

I also really enjoyed working with their US tech support. They were super at solving any problems; really a wonderful resource for working out any technical hurdle encountered.

What a great experience I had with everything JOBO!

"I also really enjoyed working with their US tech support."

Yes, the U.S. outfit was absolutely top class. They were a sponsor of the magazine I edited, so I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Ricke Stauffer and Sam Proud and the others who worked for the U.S. importer.

Good people.


Ahhh! a blow to film photography :(

As others mentioned, JOBO was quite successful - not necessarily economically as we learn - going into the digital world. I own two of their digital image tanks [ahem], a GIGA Vu Pro extreme and a GIGA 1, both very well made. Lately they seemed to have concentrated more on digital image frames, a market not easy; despite their wide range of frames, they probably didn't crack the bottom, that is, they were more expensive than other [non-]brands.

The best thing in my view as always about JOBO was their exceptionally good service.

Although they are in an insolvency process, the CEO [Johannes Bockemühl-Simon] seems to be quite positive they can save the company by restructuring.

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