Jobo CPE3 review

Jobo CPE3

I have added a Jobo CPE3 film processing unit to my dark room kit.

I purchased it from FirstCall Photographic who had it delivered to me the very next day, including the Jobo 1530 extension and extra Jobo reels I ordered. Fantastic service.

After installing the Jobo Lift, an absolute god send and a genius bit of kit, I made room in the Studio (Shed), getting things ready to develop some rolls of the new Kodak Gold 200 in 120 format and both 35mm and 120 reels of Kodak Ektachrome I have recently taken a shine to.

The Kodak Gold was developed using my current Tetenal C41 kit and the Ektachrome was developed using the Tetenal E6 kit.

Note: I live in London UK where the tap water is not the cleanest and “hard” in nature. This normally means water marks on negatives. My solution that seems to have worked, is to buy a Britta 8ltr water filter for use with my chemical prep, washing and stabilizer. I only use the tap water, pre warmed, in the Jobo. I also now use the filtered water for all my drinking water needs. Much nicer….

I plan to buy a second 1520 + 1530 set of dev tanks to keep the C41 from the E6 to make sure no contamination via crossover use is accidently made. Should not happen with good cleaning in-between use but you never know.

Getting the Jobo CPE3 upto 38 degrees was very easy. I warmed the water at the sink to about 30+ degrees to help speed up the Jobo getting to the working temperature of 38 degrees. I then let the chemicals warm up and tested the water in the wash bottles with an electronic thermometer, to check all was working and ready for processing.

Following the instructions in the C41 and E6 manuals for dev, wash and fix procedures and times, I am very happy to say that all of my films came out very good indeed.

Even though it was my first time with Ektachrome reversal film, a tricky beast at the best of times.

Who is the Jobo CPE3 for?

If like me you shoot, or plan to shoot, lots of films say about 10+ per month, then the Jobo makes sense especially if you save up the films to have a bulk “development day”.

If you are just developing 1 or 2 films then use the Paterson tank method or get your films developed via one of the many film dev companies that have have been rekindled around the world due to the new uptake in film photography.

Stop the Jobo rotating the tank between emptying & filling?

I don’t really know the right answer to this, as it is not in the manual but for me, it made sense and cause no harm, turn the rotating motor off when lifting the tank out via the Jobo lift to empty the fluids and then turn it back on when loading the tank with the new fluid. If you know if it is ok to do both while the motor is running please let me know and I will share the info here.

Water level in tank ?

Something else I had to hunt for because the details were not in the manual was how high the water should be with the tank in the water. Many mention to fill the Jobo up so the water level is just “kissing” the black part of the Jobo tank. When you fill the chemical and water bottles up the water level will rise a little, but this seemed to work for me with no issues at all. Be careful not to let water get into the motor.

1520 with the 1530. How much chemicals?

This is one I double checked before kicking off developing the films as I wanted, like you, to make sure I was using enough chemicals for the rolls of film in the tank. You add the 1520 amount to he 1530 amount so about 550 to 560ml. A little more or less seems to work fine.

Any videos to share with us Dave?

Yes very soon. I did do 2 videos, one each for the Gold 200 and Ektachrome films, but as I am no videographer, my efforts did not do the Jobo or me justice, so I am planning a proper video shoot very soon which will be uploaded and shared here.


Overall, even in these early days with the Jobo CPE3, It is already proving to be an asset. No more sitting waiting for 30 or 60 seconds to tick by to do the inversions of the tank and trying to keep the tank warm, the Jobo handles all of that for me.

Emptying the used chemicals back into their bottle for reuse, if required, is also a breeze with the lift. Spent rinse water I use, the lift empties into a bucket I have, making it easy to safely dispose off also.

As I mentioned before, if you are developing say 10+ films a month then the Jobo CPE3 should be a consideration to help make multiple film processing less of a chore & a cleaner process in general.

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