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Two hundred and fifty bucks for a roll film washer? I told the fabricator I couldn’t possibly sell it for that much. He told me about the superior quality of the acrylic tubing, the micro-precise accuracy of CNC machining for the drain ports and the channels, the durable reel module; and the careful finishing which yields a superior appearance. “Just try one,” he suggested.


I tried it and and loved it. I let a few other photographers try it and they agreed. The Eclipse can be fed from your darkroom hose, or a water tap. A reel module loads and unloads the reels quickly and easily. The washer feeds into the inner reel chamber, and drains from the outside water jacket. For the most efficient water exchange possible (not because hypo is heavier than water), the washer feeds from the top and drains from the bottom. The reel chamber is removable so you can clean it occasionally with mild dishwashing liquid, like “Dawn” (not Windex or anything acid).


For years, and still to this day, a belief existed that continuous water flow is the only way to wash film and paper. That’s wrong. In the early 1970s, Leitz released guidelines for ideal film washing: 4 water changes in 12 minutes – no running water, no agitation. It’s true. I’ve tested it with HT-2 dozens of times.


Washing film should be fast and easy. With this washer, it is: fill it, load the reels onto the reel module, insert this in the washer. Still wash for 3 minutes, running water for 3. Repeat. In 12 minutes the film is washed. A trickle of water flow is sufficient – less than 1 liter per minute.


All this is for acid hardening fixers. For pre-hardened films like Ilford, you can fix them in alkaline fixer and run the water for 6 minutes. In that case, all you need to do is rinse the thiosulfate off the emulsion. For acid hardening fixers you need to “leach” it out. (See the article on print washing.)


This washer is designed for stainless steel reels. Capacity is up to (2) 120 reels, or (4) 35mm reels. The washer fills from the top and drains from the bottom – not because hypo is heavier than water – but because it allows a more efficient water exchange. The outside jacket drains the water up top, so you can stop the water flow and the washer stays filled. And unlike washers that fill from the bottom, there’s no chance the washer empties accidentally and ruins the film.


Both tank channels cylinders are routed and the outside cylinder is bonded to the base; the inner - removable - one has drain ports. These washers are rugged and simple. The reel module holds the reels suspended within the wash water (above the bottom). In addition to the most efficient water exchange possible, it keeps steel reels from scratching the acrylic when you load and unload the washer.


The Eclipse washer is very convenient. You can clean up the darkroom while the film washes. There’s no need to dump and refill, or agitate and dump any water. Simple and easy and fast.


Holds all reels up to 3-3/8”

Eclipse Rollfilm Washer

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