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Author Topic: Thoughts on the Heiland TAS processor  (Read 39570 times)
Brian Hirschfeld
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« on: January 27, 2012, 07:10:15 PM »
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http://www.rhdesigns.co.uk/darkroom/html/tas_film_processor.html

I shoot film for fun when I'm not shooting digital, and even when am I am because I like the different esthetic that it provides. I also hate having to send film out since it takes so long to get back etc...However, I don't want to go full on into making a darkroom out of a room in my house because it wouldn't be used terribly often and its kind of a lot of work. i was reading about the heiland TAS processor and it seems like it could be good, i was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about it, specifically if you've used it, what are its limitations etc etc? thanks,
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swimwivsquid
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 03:48:50 PM »
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It looks like you still have to empty and refill the chemicals for each stage in the process so apart from automating agitation I can't for the life of me see what advantage this would have over hand processing the tanks. Its a lot of euros for a shaky hand ;-)
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ymc226
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 01:42:05 PM »
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I have 2 operating simultaneously in a staggered way.  You can set time, agitation schedule and it has a temperature converter/time adjustment so your developer doesn't have to be exactly 20C.  You still have to agitate the acid stop by hand as it is short but it does every other agitation cycle (fix and hypoclear). 

The largest Patterson tank it can accommodate would be 3 135 reels or 2 120 reels (double loaded it would give you 4 films/tank).  I usually develop 50+ rolls at a time and this saves me a lot of shaking. 
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christophern
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 06:24:51 AM »
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Hi, I'm a friend of Juergen Heiland (the manufacturer of the TAS film processor), but I'm not writing this at his instruction nor of his knowledge. However, I'm a big fan of this machine and thought it deserved being explained.

While it's true that you have to manually fill and empty your tank when using the TAS, the advantage of this processing machine —or any other— is that it "buys" you a lot of time to do other things (ie: prepare the next chemical) while your film is being agitated. In a way, the machine literally becomes your lab "partner", and with its tiny footprint and portability, it's easy to use and store in small quarters.

In addition  —and unlike other table-top film processors, and perhaps more similar to hand processing— the TAS provides an agitation pattern that isn't just side-to-side tilting (inversion); it also simultaneously rotates your tank! I believe this is unique for machine processing at any price level.

There are more features, of course, but the other one to point out is that the TAS is programmable, even automatically adapting your developing time to compensate for temperature differences. This programmability means not only precise, repeatable results, but also  consistent development of films of various ISOs or EIs; films for pushing or pulling; films for contraction (N-) or expansion (N+); or developing films for others when the ISO are varied (such as in small labs or schools). All you've got to do is enter the new parameters —or, easier and quicker yet, plug in a low-cost memory stick— and you're on your way.

Sorry if this seems like an ad for the TAS, but I think that a discerning photographer needs to know that it's a bit more than a machine that just "shakes the tank"!

Cheers,

Christopher
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 10:13:42 AM »
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Thank you that was very helpful and informative. My only question is that you mention "machine processing at any price level" I was just wondering what other similar machines to this there are out there? thank you.

Best,
BH
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 10:44:30 AM »
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I have 2 operating simultaneously in a staggered way.  You can set time, agitation schedule and it has a temperature converter/time adjustment so your developer doesn't have to be exactly 20C.  You still have to agitate the acid stop by hand as it is short but it does every other agitation cycle (fix and hypoclear). 

The largest Patterson tank it can accommodate would be 3 135 reels or 2 120 reels (double loaded it would give you 4 films/tank).  I usually develop 50+ rolls at a time and this saves me a lot of shaking. 



From my time doing the colour work in an industrial photo-unit, I seem to recall that in the case of colour, it isn't permissible to compensate time for temperature as you might with black/white films.

My memory may be playing tricks - but that's as I remember it. It could be worth dropping a note to Kodak or Fuji before you invest, just to make sure. Even if Kodak has left/is leaving film, I'm sure they understand the value of goodwill and can research their files...?

Temperature control as well as keeping chemicals up to quality (replenishment) was the reason I stopped processing colour when I left that photo-unit and went on my own. Not sensible for low-volume usage.

Rob C
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christophern
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 12:20:33 PM »
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Hello Brian,

Wow! I wouldn't have guessed that you still hadn't bought a processor more than a year after you first posted your question... I hope you're keeping your exposed film refrigerated! In any case, I can't pull any rabbits out of the hat; I only know of the same film processors as you (or those you might easily google): Jobo, Nova, Alistair Inglis, PhotoTherm and probably Refrema, not to mention almost any mini-lab. Of all these, I believe that only Jobo and PhotoTherm would be directly comparable to the TAS.

Anyway —as I mentioned— none of these offer the double rotation pattern of the TAS, though Alistair Inglis' nitrogen burst processor gives extremely efficient agitation too, if you have the space for it, can justify using large volumes of chemistry and if you shoot primarily sheet film.

@ Rob C (re: TAS for color film processing)

Rob, you're right .. my mistake for not catching that Brian's question dealt with color film, as I'm a black & white shooter. While the TAS was designed primarily for photographers like me, it can of course be used for developing color film too. My color film days are long over, just like you, although I seem to remember that there IS a little bit of variance possible on time-depending-upon-temp, but I'm no expert on this*. I do know that you can pre-warm your tank with hot water to slow down the temperature decline of a filled tank, and keep your chemicals up to temperature in a water jacket. The Jobo has a water jacket, or if you use the TAS, you'd just make or buy a separate one.  I found a good discussion on this here: * http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/91268-temperature-control-c41-manual-process-2.html

Hope this is helpful.

Christopher
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:16:23 PM by christophern » Logged
Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2013, 12:22:34 PM »
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Thank you for the response, I have the majority of my film processed in Labs.... so this is really more of a personal interest thing trying to figure out if there is a convenient way to do it at home.
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 01:47:17 PM »
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Thank you for the response, I have the majority of my film processed in Labs.... so this is really more of a personal interest thing trying to figure out if there is a convenient way to do it at home.


If you're thinking of doing only b/w, then there's not a real problem at all. I don't know where you live, but certainly here in Spain you can go to a curtain shop and buy a heavy silverized material that's used to back curtains as protection from sunlight. This stuff is absolutely light-tight, and if you cut a sheet of it to fit your window - say a bathroom one - then it's easy to fix it with Velcro and thus eliminate the window light problem.

A large plastic tray from a supermarket can be used to hold enough volume of water to enable a good water jacket effect, keeping your tank at a close enough temperarture that won't vary too much over, say, a max. of ten minutes. Well worth the try! And cheap! The less electricity near you and water the better.

Rob C
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christophern
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 02:13:15 PM »
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You're welcome, Brian...

I think it comes down to a matter of your film volume, available space, need for fast access, budget and, particularly, what you consider to be "convenient".  

For example, I've used Jobo processors for years. I love them and they're excellent. I have one in my darkroom (which is not in my home). The Jobo is a bit large, but it's perfect for the lab. It fits in my sink where I can fill, drain and wash it easily without making a huge mess (I store it outside the sink). However, on the weekends or in the evening —especially after doing some street photography— I develop film at home. This is my take on the word 'convenient', because doing this lets me arrive at my darkroom with negatives in-hand, so I can use my time for printing. The TAS is more convenient in this case, too, because it easily fits on the kitchen counter, inside a flat-bottomed developing tray. (In the kitchen it's seems more like an "appliance" .. I'm seriously tempted to use it make milkshakes!).    

Your use of the word "convenient" causes me think that you might have forgotten that developing film does take time (not only actual developing time!) and that —even in the best of situations—, when you're involved in 'wet processes', stuff gets wet! There'll also be chemical mixing & storing, film washing & drying, negative cutting & labeling ... For crazy guys like me (and there are still a lot of us out here, in spite of digitalia) this is called, "fun". For others, it might not be so "convenient". I know this is no news to you —and certainly not to discourage you—, but just a reminder.

Having said that, the best way to keep things convenient —no matter which processing method you use—, is just to batch your work, and prepare things in advance so that when you're ready to develop your film, all you've got to do is load your tank, warm your chemicals, and go to town. The rest is just wash and dry.

Just do it. Try it, you'll like it! (<two stolen but appropriate advertising slogans)

Christopher
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:22:44 PM by christophern » Logged
Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 02:17:57 PM »
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Thank you, i think I will try it soon, possibly during the summer when I am back in CT where I have a lot more room to work. Thanks,
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 03:48:28 AM »
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Don't forget the other real problem: drying film in a dust-free space.

I've had to construct two tall film-drying cabinets in my time, the first with heating and the second without... My second one is actually built onto the office wall and once the film era passed (in my case), I added shelves and it became a storage space for CDs.

;-(

Rob C
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DanielStone
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2013, 01:53:41 AM »
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Brian,

It seems you like the 'tech', as do I  Smiley

However, I've found that with more tech I get involved with, I get more bewildered and confuddled!

Not trying to dissuade you from cool stuff, processing machines, super-duper "it does the work for you" type machines such as the Heiland, but in all honesty, RANDOMIZATION of chemistry flow is part of the way to get evenly developed negatives, both color and b/w.

I've found that having a VERY MINIMAL amount of equipment in the darkroom allows me to still create great negatives, but not get burdened down with "what to use?". In my case, this means trays for developing sheet film(4x5 and 8x10 b/w), and stainless tanks/reels I purchased used from Craigslist Cheesy

So, while having endless amounts of the latest and greatest technology at my disposal can be "empowering", its very easy to get burdened down by that same power. Speaking from personal experience here Smiley

Of course, not everyone is the same. But I found that the best decision I've made with my photography is to "lighten up" with the tech.

Best of luck with whichever way you go.
Happy shootin!

-Dan
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KevinA
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 12:03:56 PM »
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It looks completely pointless to me. If I got a machine to help I would want it keep the exact temperature. Having to stand over the sink for 10mins to agitate is no big deal.
The big thing doing is by hand is getting everything to exact temperature, having a machine that maintains temp and agitates is a good help. This tp me solves a problem you never really had.
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Kevin.
bill t.
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 11:40:10 PM »
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Sorry, that thing is a gimmick, and I know them when I see them.  Reminds me of the kind of stuff county fair pitchmen try to sell.  It slices, it dices, it agitates!

Dan's got it right, tech just complicates things.

Nikor (not a typo!) tanks in a temperature bath.  Have processed lots of color neg and Ektachrome in those things.  It just works.  All you need is a thermostatic valve and a reasonably sized water heater.  You can even use a bath heated with aquarium heaters, but washing requires careful manual temperature control in that case.  Well, and good agitation technique which is not rocket science but does require some consistency.

A nice comfortable stool, some tunes on the speakers, maybe even a book-on-tape.  You can catch your breath during those development cycles, and nobody is allowed to bother you for anything.  For the good part of an hour it's like cell phones were never invented.

But I must admit, I would never in my wildest imaginings want to do it ever again.  The romance of photo chemistry was entirely beaten out of me by the late 60's.

BTW, if you ever need to crank out a sheet Ektachrome in a hurry, the old Unidrums on a good motor base could do amazingly well for very low bucks.  And I sometimes used that combo to create b&w and color internegs from slides.  One 8x10, four 4x5's.

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christophern
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2013, 06:46:07 PM »
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Whatever, Bill. I guess you could call any machine at all —for any use whatsoever— a gimmick. Don't forget, that's what they said about the first cars! (and, in a way, they were right: horses still work well enough to get you where you want to go)... and the first Unicolor drums .. I know, I was there! But it's pretty subjective (whether something is a "gimmick" or not) ... a question of your need for the thing. Therefore, I have no argument with anyone's position.

Reminds me, though, of my Mom's attitude toward food processors when they first came out. She saw no need for them. And of course, she was right: there is no "need"... people have been cooking for zillions of years without them! But after we bought her one, she couldn't live without it. It saved her time, but didn't reduce her enjoyment of cooking.

Don't get me wrong: I've got nothing against hand processing at all. Really. I've done it for over forty years. But I got my TAS primarily because I have literally hundreds (in fact, over a thousand) rolls of film to develop. It's no longer reasonable for me to roll a Jobo tank around in the bath-tub (or to pull out my relatively large Jobo processor). That's become folkloric at this point. If I only had a few olls a week to develop, I'd still be doing it by hand (same with sheet film . . . small shoot gets tray development, but several sheets go to the Jobo!)

The TAS has a small footprint, built-in timer, is programmable, provides a random development pattern (just like my hand processing), and --once again-- simply buys me time to prepare the next pour... or go get a cup of coffee while the film is being fixed. It doesn't do everything, but it does quite a bit. So far, enough so that I can comfortably and easily develop 15 to 25 rolls a weekend. (and even more, if I wanted, i suppose)

Hope this rounds-out the view. Wish you could try one before expressing an opinion about it.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 06:54:41 PM by christophern » Logged
KevinA
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2013, 02:48:06 AM »
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Whatever, Bill. I guess you could call any machine at all —for any use whatsoever— a gimmick. Don't forget, that's what they said about the first cars! (and, in a way, they were right: horses still work well enough to get you where you want to go)... and the first Unicolor drums .. I know, I was there! But it's pretty subjective (whether something is a "gimmick" or not) ... a question of your need for the thing. Therefore, I have no argument with anyone's position.

Reminds me, though, of my Mom's attitude toward food processors when they first came out. She saw no need for them. And of course, she was right: there is no "need"... people have been cooking for zillions of years without them! But after we bought her one, she couldn't live without it. It saved her time, but didn't reduce her enjoyment of cooking.

Don't get me wrong: I've got nothing against hand processing at all. Really. I've done it for over forty years. But I got my TAS primarily because I have literally hundreds (in fact, over a thousand) rolls of film to develop. It's no longer reasonable for me to roll a Jobo tank around in the bath-tub (or to pull out my relatively large Jobo processor). That's become folkloric at this point. If I only had a few olls a week to develop, I'd still be doing it by hand (same with sheet film . . . small shoot gets tray development, but several sheets go to the Jobo!)

The TAS has a small footprint, built-in timer, is programmable, provides a random development pattern (just like my hand processing), and --once again-- simply buys me time to prepare the next pour... or go get a cup of coffee while the film is being fixed. It doesn't do everything, but it does quite a bit. So far, enough so that I can comfortably and easily develop 15 to 25 rolls a weekend. (and even more, if I wanted, i suppose)

Hope this rounds-out the view. Wish you could try one before expressing an opinion about it.
The first cars proved to be useful, that's why they are popular.
 I can not see this adding anything other than money in someones  bank.
You could make a claim for an electric spoon to stir your Tea if this thing is a good idea. Temperature control is the most critical factor in processing, consistent agitation requires nothing other than the ability to tell the time. This makes nothing easier or more accurate what so ever, a complete waste of money. It's not like you can go away and do something else, all you can do is watch the stupid thing spin around you might as well do it yourself.
I can't believe anyone thought it a good idea, let alone think they could make and sell them.
To recap,
It does not increase production
It does not increase accuracy
It does not make it easier
It does not increase quality

It does cost money to buy
It uses electricity
It takes up space
It can go wrong
It's pointless
It makes you look an idiot to those that have been processing film without one.

If you want to speed up processing a batch, get stainless steel tanks and reels, you can wash them and blast them with heat to dry (they don't melt). As suggested, make a waterbath with aquarium heaters or find a seconhand tempering unit on ebay. Or buy a jobo if you need things automated.
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Kevin.
christophern
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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2013, 07:39:32 AM »
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Wow, Kevin! I had to smile as I read your rant ... Those are an awful lot of absolute and definitive statements (most of them, completely contrary to my experience in using the product) for someone who has never even used the product --let alone, seen it---, lecturing someone who does use it --and whom, I repeat, has been developing film since about 1964!

But anyway... you da' boss! I've been down this road before, so I won't waste my breath or get into a long ping-pong flame-game. But just to be clear, the stuff I've posted here comes from my experience using with the product, not just an unqualified opinion. If you don't see the point in using the product, I can understand that. No problem, just don't buy one. But I think the information I've posted here will be useful to those looking for certain solutions that apparently don't fall into your realm of need.

Different people might possibly have different needs (or wants) than you, if you can imagine that.

Your lowly idiot,

Chris
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 08:35:07 AM by christophern » Logged
jdabir
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2013, 09:06:06 PM »
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I think it's an excellent thing for Juergen to provide another option on how to process film.  And thanks Chris for your earlier explanation.

Jim
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christophern
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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2013, 03:53:48 AM »
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Thanks, Jim. I'm glad you found the information I posted helpful.

By the way, when Kevin said: "It's not like you can go away and do something else, all you can do is watch the stupid thing spin around you might as well do it yourself." . . .  it's on this very point where he seems to have completely misunderstood the product.

Yes, it fact you CAN "go away and do something else" while the 'stupid' (computerized) thing agitates your film and calls you back, once it's ready. Here are a few of the things I'VE done while the TAS was at work (not all at the same time!):

- loaded another tank with 5 rolls
- mixed a fresh batch of stop bath
- prepared everything for film washing
- worked on washing a previous batch
 . . .(BTW: using the TAS mean you can develop film as a "chain operation", one 5-roll batch after another)
- made coffee
- finished eating lunch
- answered an important telephone call
- finished shaving (morning development, afternoon printing!)

I guess you could even take a nap, if you wanted . . . the machine gives you a 30 second advance warning beep, just like an alarm clock!

Best,

Chris
 


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