Everyone appreciates a device that makes life easier and is a joy to use, without a doubt The Penta fits this category. If you can take your exposed paper from the enlarger easel to colour print in less than three and a half minutes with no fuss, no mess and no washing up, that has to be good news.
Nova have designed an ingenious acrylic box with five vertical, 2 litre baths; developer, stop bath, bleach/fixer, stabiliser and running tap-water. These are surrounded by an accurately heated water jacket that ensures the temperatures of the chemicals are held constant, for RA4 at 3SC.
In colour processing, time and temperature consistency are vitally important. For this reason Nova has included the System 2000 master Controller which not only holds chemical temperatures constant but also acts as a four stage countdown timer. It also has four memory levels so that times for other processes can be entered (eg RA4 B&W, C41, E6). There is also a wandering probe attachment that can independently measure temperatures of any other darkroom liquid. This truly magic box has all its function controls discreetly illuminated and clear, audible prompters will not allow you to forget each stage. There is even a delay timer that ensues that as soon as you came home from work, everything is warmed-up and ready to play!
You don't even have to get your fingers wet. Nova has devised a special clip to hold the paper, which has a luminous handle so that it is easy to find and attach in the dark. This gadget enables you to transport the paper through the baths with reliable and tactile precision. The design is so clean that a quick jiggle in warm water and a firm shake is all thats required before fixing it to the next piece of paper. There is no tedious and time-consuming washing-up and drying as with a drum type processor. At the front of this box are four pipes with taps. These enable a periodic draining of a smaI1 quantity of used chemicals, without dripping or splashing, into a measuring cylinder. It is only necessary to carry out this procedure after printing about ten 10x8in or six 12x16in prints. The same measuring cylinder can be used to top up each of the chemica1 slots quickly and easily. Each slot only has a narrow mouth, thus presenting the minimum area open to air which increases the effective longevity of the chemicals' Plastic, tubular covers are supplied to seal the slots between printing sessions.
The processor is a joy to use because it is so easy to achieve rapid results economically. It takes all the slog out of the darkroom and allows you more time to create. A small finger-sized test strip is just as easy to deal with as a large print. 1n fact, it is so much fun and quick, there is a distinct possibility you will run out of new negative to print!
Test by David Lewin