Paterson developing tank instructions manual

Lundi 15 juillet 2024

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Paterson film developing tanks

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These instructions cover the complete range of Super System 4 tanks and apply equally to colour and to black-and-white films.

The 35mm tank holds one 35mm or 126 film. The Universal tank holds one 35mm, 126, 127, 120 or 220 film, but by adding a second reel it will take two 35mm or 126 films. Multi-Reel tanks hold several films:

Multi-Reel 3 holds up te three 35mm or 126 films, or two 127 films, or two 120 or 220 films.

Multi-Reel 5 holds up to five 35mm or 126 films, or four 127 films or three 120 or 220 films.

Multi-Reel 8 holds up to eight 35mm or 126 films, or six 127 films, or five 120 or 220 films.

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Adjusting the reel

The reel is adjustable for three film widths. Turn the two halves firmly clockwise against each other until they click, then adjust them to the required film width. Now turn firmly anti-clockwise until the locking mechanism clicks back into place. If the halves are separated completely ensure when re-assembling that the two notches on the centre cores coincide.

Loading the film

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This must be done in the dark. For 35mm films cut off the half width leader, cutting between the perforations, not through them. With roll films unroll the backing paper until you reach the film. Hold the reel in one hand with the entry points uppermost and facing towards you. Insert the end of the film into the grooves and pull it forward about half a turn of the reel. Now hold the reel as shown and simply oscillate the two halves of the reel backwards and forwards in opposite directions as far as they will go. The film will be drawn directly into the reel by the ball-bearing action.

Your thumbs should overlap the edges of the reel, guiding the film smoothly into the reel. When you reach the end of a 35mm film cut it near the spool or tear off the tape if roll film.

If the film sticks for any reason do not use force, as this might damage the film. Try tapping one side of the reel gently on the bench to free the film. If it does not, remove the film from the reel, as described later, and begin again If you have not loaded a film before it is worthwhile practising with a spare film in the light with your eyes closed.

Some 35mm cameras wind the film on to the take-up spool with the emulsion out. This straightens the film and may cause difficulty in loading the last few frames because the straight film does not run so easily around the reel. To avoid this rewind the exposed film into the cassette a few hours before loading so that it regains its normal curl.

Loading the tank

After loading, push the reel or reels fully on to the black centre column and place this in the tank. Locate the funnel over the centre column, drop it into place and turn it firmly clockwise until it clicks into the locked position. The tank is now light-tight and all other operations can be carried out in daylight.

System 4 reel

This earlier type fits the Super System 4 Tank, but when used in Multi Reel Tanks with less than the full number of reels you must also use a System 4 spring collar to prevent the reels moving during inversion.

Solution quantities

The quantity of solution needed for each size of film is engraved on the bottom of the tank. To find the total volume of solution needed for a Multi Reel Tank add together the amount for each individual film.


Pour the first solution into the funnel in the lid as quickly as possible. Do not tilt the tank during filling.


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After pouring in the first solution, immediately insert the agitator and twist sharply back and forth three or four times, then lightly tap the bottom of the tank on the bench to dislodge any air bubbles which might form on the surface of the film. Now push the cap on and make sure that it fits all the way round.

At the end of the first minute and of each subsequent minute, invert the tank, at once returning it to the upright position, and tap the tank on the bench as before.

This level of agitation is correct for the majority of films and developers. Some developer instructions, particularly colour developers, may specify a different amount of agitation. If so, follow those instructions but otherwise adhere to these recommendations. Consistency is important for repeatable good results.

Subsequent steps

A few seconds before the end of the required time remove the cap and pour the solution out. Precisely at the end of the time pour the next solution in. Immediately put the cap on, agitate by inversion once and tap on the bench as before. Agitate again at the end of each minute. Repeat the procedure for all subsequent chemicals steps.


Remove the lid and wash the film by placing the tank under a tap. Agitate the reel occasionally. More efficient washing is obtained with the Paterson Force Film Washer which ensures a positive flow of water over the film.

Removing the film from the reel

Arch the free end of the film by bending the edges together slightly. Pull gently on the free end, allowing the reel to rotate on the other hand and the whole length of film will run out of the reel as it rotates. The film should then be hung up to dry.

Temperature control

Generally, black-and-white processing will not require control other than checking the solution temperature before filling the tank. The higher temperatures and tighter tolerances needed for colour processing may require external tempering and a simple method is to stand the tank in a container of warm water at the correct temperature. Follow any such recommendations given by the chemical manufacturer.

Reversal processing

Super System 4 Tanks will process colour or black-and-white reversal films. For Chose which require re-exposure to light during processing it is not necessary to remove the film from the reel although an exposure time based on the use of transparent reels should be doubled.

Care and storage

Super System 4 Reels are made from acetal resin. This material is extremely resistant to photographic solutions and withstands temperatures up to 100°C. The black tank parts are polystyrene which is resistant to photographic solutions but may be damaged by organic solvents or by heat, so do not wash them in very hot water or stand them close to fires or radiators. Wash and dry all the parts thoroughly after use.

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