Mr. JOBO Risin’ (not)

Word comes this morning that insolvency proceedings against JOBO were initiated last week (via Online Photographer.)

JOBO holds many memories for me. They manufactured home/small-studio processors for film and prints. I didn’t get one until I started shooting 4×5 and was looking for a more consistent, less hands-in-the-chemicals, method of running the film than in trays. The JOBO CPP2 provided the answer. Large, very plastic, somehow it worked in spite of itself. How many hours did I spend in the company of this device? I can’t begin to fathom. For my personal work alone – I might come back from a trip with a couple hundred sheets of 4×5 Tri-x and the JOBO could only run 10 sheets at a time.

JOBO Expert Drum for 4x5 Film

It worked well enough that I ran my 35mm and 120mm b&w in it as well. The roll film module enabled eight or ten rolls to be run by extending the processing tube further and further. With a metal core in it you could use metal reels and in the end it provided a more civilized method than using two 4-reel stainless steel tanks simultaneously (aka – old school.)

I sold my JOBO equipment 4-5 years ago as the switch to digital became complete. While I had no problem parting with it, it’s hard to hear of JOBO’s demise and not think of the countless hours I spent running that device. Lots of whirring as it rotated, the fact that it was all still a very much wet process (the processing drums rested in a temperature controlled basin of water), the setup, the cleanup, and once all was done using the foot pump to pop the lid on the 4×5 expert drum and see the processed film for the first time.

JOBO did try transition to digital with small digital storage devices, digital frames, gps units, and a few other items. None of the new product line seemed to have legs but more importantly none of them provided what JOBO’s processor line had, a niche market to ensure JOBO’s survival.