Through months of testing in labs and home darkrooms, with a wide variety of developers and techniques, one thing is true in all cases - getting the best from P30 film is all about the agitation.
P30 prefers to be processed "cinema-style" - which means constant and gentle agitation, preferably in a rolling motion.
Our friend Scott Micciche has published an extensive summary of developers and techniques for processing P30 at Emulsive.org. In most of these tests, Scott used very simple hand-agitation and careful timing.
We highly recommend checking out this article, and of course downloading our latest Best Practices. This tiny bit of homework will really pay off in the long-run.
For those who want to introduce a little bit of automation into this process, we have assembled this group of available tools that will help you to keep agitation constant and consistent.
The best single thing you can buy for your home lab is a Jobo system. More than just a motor to agitate your film, a fully accessorized CPP-3 is a "desktop" lab with everything you need to process color and B&W film. A number of professional labs actually use this machine as their primary film processor!
Jobo is based in Germany and has become the top source for a variety of professional-quality film processing equipment. And if you can't afford the granddaddy CPP-3, they also make a well-priced B&W kit with a "hand-powered" roller base.
Readily available in the used market, the Unicolor Uniroller (Model 352 pictured) can handle many 35mm and 120 tanks and provides gentle, continuous back-and-forth rotation. You can even find Unicolor-branded tanks and reels specifically for this device.
Unicolor was a former division of Photo Systems, Inc. and sold branded photo equipment and darkroom tools. (Their C41 processing kit is still sold today!) On eBay, Unicolor darkroom accessories are very easy to find - often new in box!
B's Processor is a partially 3D-printed, motorized tank roller made by a nice guy named Benoît in Pennsylvania. See his website for more information on this super clever and inexpensive device.
The B's Processor is a clear example of the way these tools will be produced in the future - in small batches by dedicated film fans with 3D printers and some off-the-shelf components.
Another motorized tank roller you can find in the used market is the Durst COMOT HX 72000. Like the Unicolor, this was an entire system of tanks, reels and the rolling machine, but there is at least one YouTube video showing this machine in use with Jobo 3010 tank.
The Durst Group is currently based in Italy and focuses on large-format digital printing, but has a long and storied history in the analog world.
The visionary team at Ars-Imago launched a Kickstarter in 2017 for a brand new daylight tank called LAB-BOX - based in part on the legendary Rondinax, but with many modern upgrades including a modular system to handle both 135 and 120 film. Response to this beautifully designed device was truly enormous!
Like the Rondinax, the LAB-BOX achieves continuous agitation manually with the orange knob shown on the side of the main tank - however Ars-Imago has already discussed the potential for a motorized accessory in the future.
The LAB-BOX is currently slated to ship in August 2018. Learn much more about it on their website.
The Rondinax is the tool of choice for our founder, Nicola Baldini! This ingenious daylight processing tank came in separate versions for 35mm (pictured) and 120 film. They can be somewhat rare, and even quite pricey on eBay (especially Leitz-branded versions), but with patience, you can find one in very good condition.
Agitation is manual, using the big dial on the side - but many users find this more convenient than the typical method of timed inversions.
Once you have one in-hand, head over to Malcolm Peaker's extensive and continuously updated website (and YouTube channel) dedicated to the Rondinax in all its varieties. A recent post even shows a DIY motor to automate agitation!
For those of you with a bit of Arduino knowledge and access to a 3D printer, Gavin Lyons has put together a very inexpensive and highly customizable solution, the "Spinmatic," using a standard developing tank and some off-the-shelf electronics.
Head over to his website for a video demonstration, as well as a link to the 3D printer files, a parts list and all of the necessary code.
Used older-model Jobo systems, plus many parts and accessories are also readily available.
If you have knowledge of any other system to provide continuous and/or automated film agitation, please let us know in the comments below!!