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This Guy Built His Own Automatic Film Processor, The Filmomat

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This is incredible: German photographer Lukas Fritz wanted an easier way to process his film at home, so he spent a year creating the Filmomat, a fully automatic film processor that can handle everything from B&W 35mm film to 5×7-inch color slides.

Here’s a 5-minute video in which Fritz introduces the Filmomat and shows how it works:

The machine is about the size of a microwave oven, and it contains multiple liquid compartments: a 6L fresh water tank, a water bath, and three chemical compartments. There’s a circular development tank for roll film, and a rectangular one for 4×5 and 5×7.

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It’s capable of remembering up to 50 different development processes, and each process can involve up to 3 chemicals and 10 individual steps.

Once your process is programmed into the machine using the single push dial and the 4×20 OLED display on the front, all you need to do is insert a developing tank with your film into the machine (via a spill-free coupling), pour in your chemicals, push a button, and the machine will take care of the rest.

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It’ll heat up your bath to your desired temperature, pump the solutions into and out of the tank, rinse out the tank with fresh water between steps, and agitate the film with air bubbles. Afterwards, used chemicals can be drained from nozzles in the back, and the machine has an automatic fresh water cleaning system.

Fritz says that after a long period of testing and optimizing the machine, the machine now works very well. He has already processed several rolls of film with it (“mostly color slides,” he says). Here are some scanned Velvia 50 and Acros 100 shots that were processed with the Filmomat:

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Fritz is planning to polish the machine further by fixing some software bugs and by making some UI changes to make operation even easier.

“I have no plans for ‘mass production’ yet, but I plan on manufacturing a few single machines on request for interested customers,” Fritz tells PetaPixel. “The price for this will be in the range of €2000 (~$2170).” He says he currently doesn’t see himself launching a Kickstarter-style crowdfunding campaign to bring his invention to market.

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