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The CatLABS CL81 is a simple, easy to use, low-cost alternative for processing 8X10 sheet film in daylight tanks.
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45 backers pledged $7,387 to help bring this project to life.
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CL81 - an 8X10 sheet film processing reel project video thumbnail
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$7,387

45

Get ready for the 8X10 revolution! The CatLABS CL81 reel will allow you to process perfect, professional-quality 8X10 sheet films, anywhere, anytime, up to three sheets at a time.

CP81 Prototype
CP81 Prototype

Always wanted to get into 8X10 sheet film photography but got turned off because of the difficulty of processing the film? here is the tool to get you going. Forget about fumbling in the dark with trays. Process your sheet film in full daylight with the time-proven rotary system for perfect, consistent, and repeatable results, even in the field and without breaking the bank.

It has become clear to us that the world of traditional photography is changing. The demise of film was lamented early on, but film is still alive and kicking. In this changing world, resources that were once commonplace are now gone, and many newcomers to the magnificent world of film processing and wet darkrooms have fewer resources available to them. Though it's easy and cheap to process your own roll film, it's becoming harder and more expensive the larger the film format is.

Though there are ample options from which to choose for processing 4X5 sheet film, there are very few options for processing 8X10 sheets. Why not have a low cost option for 8X10? 

8X10 negatives are amazing. They are 4 times the size of 4X5 (and more then 50 times larger then a 35mm frame), and that translates to so much more resolution. The 8X10 is an amazing format for portraits and landscapes because it gives you so much "real estate" to work with, not to mention amazing control of depth of field and tonal range.

The larger the format, the greater the reward. Just ask Gregory Crewdson, Jeff WallJoel Sternfeld, or any other 8X10 shooter. 

Reduce the cost of shooting 8X10 by processing it yourself and get more connected to your process at the same time. Processing your own film can cost as little as 10 cents per sheet when you do it yourself.

Until now processing 8X10 film is has been challenging. It's either expensive at your local lab, or unavailable. The CL81 offers a low-cost, easy-to-use processing alternative for 8X10 sheet film processing, with the time- and result-proven system of rotation processing. The CL81 will take up to 3 sheets of 8X10 film and is designed to fit inside a Jobo Multitank 5 (2550) and requires as little as 600ml of chemistry. 

A fully loaded CL81
A fully loaded CL81
Manual daylight processing - the options are endless:
  • Daylight processing is easy - load in the dark, process in full light so you can see what you are doing
  • Rotate on any flat surface, or use a manual or motorized roller base
  • Create your own process, control time, temperature and agitation 
  • Use it for stand development 
  • Process 8X10 sheets of film on any Jobo processor - even the CPE2 and ATL1000/1500

Process 8X10 like a pro on your CPE2 or ATL1500/1000:

The CatLABS CL81 was designed with smaller processors in mind. The Multitank 5 is the largest tank compatible with the Jobo ATL1000/1500 and at the same time, a fully loaded CL81 does not exceed the capacity limit of the CPE2. For the first time, you can use your compact processor to process 8X10 like a pro, with out having to make any compromises. Of course, you can use the CL810 and Multitank 5 on any of the larger Jobo processors.

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Loading technique: a demo showing our technique for loading the CL81 

After thoroughly testing several design ideas, over several runs of prototypes, we have ironed out all the kinks we encountered along the way to a fully working prototype.  

The prototype has gone through extensive field testing by several pro 8X10 shooters and has provided perfect, beautiful negatives, each and every time.

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This is master photographer Joe Freeman demoing his technique for manual processing with the CL81.

For the past five years CatLABS has been offering service for darkroom gear, and especially Jobo products. Offering service for products that have been discontinued for decades often calls for creative measures, and we have been fabricating custom parts and creating solutions for users around the world ever since we started. With decades of experience in photography and wet lab processing, we feel we have all the knowledge base needed to create a new and successful product for film processing. After all, we have been processing negatives for so long, we should know what they are supposed to look like when they come out of the drum.

All R&D is complete and the CL81 is ready to go. We need your help to get it going. 100% of funding from this project will go toward tooling and fabrication costs. We have a long-standing relationship with our designer (Chris Taylor at Taylor Customs), in case any issues come up during production. 

We have been working with the manufacturing company that will produce the CL81 (Benky Industrial) for years, and we know what they can and can't do and have planned accordingly. Judging from past experience, we expect Benky to be ready to ship our first run within 45 days or so of our initial order request, and have allowed an additional month for QC, testing, and adjusting (if needed). 

Stretch goals:

1. UNLOCKED! - 7500$ Stretch goal: If we hit this target we will be able to add one vinyl sticker (as seen below) to each CL81 so you can tell the world you shoot 8X10!

2. 10000$ Stretch goal: Increased production run, this will help us make the CL81 a more sustainable product, with a more affordable retail price tag down the line, and will also help us reach more markets and users.

The CL81 Vinyl label reward
The CL81 Vinyl label reward

Projected timeline for the CL81 Production:

  • April - May 2014 - Funding complete and funds collected
  • June 2014 - Creation of injection mold tooling at our fabricator (Benky Industrial)
  • June - July 2014 - First production run
  • July - Aug 2014 - QC testing of first production run and revisions of original design as needed.
  • August - September 2014 - Production starts!
  • September - October 2014 - CL81 is ready for shipping!

Music by - Kobayashi Porcelain:

http://kobayashiporcelain.bandcamp.com/

Risks and challenges

As with any new product, we can only hope for a smooth production run of the CP810.

We have full confidence in Chris Taylor, our 3D designer, and with Banky Industrial, the company that has produced our prototypes and will fabricate the tooling and the product itself.

Our past experience has given us no reason to expect any snags. However, as with any new product, minor adjustments might turn out to be necessary only once production has started.

The design is fairly simple, our fabricators assures us that they do not foresee any delays in the actual production phase, and we have Chris standing by should the need arise.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    Receive a hand-crafted CatLABS thank you postcard.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Get a hyper cool CatLABS CL81 vinyl label (2.75X2.75)

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    One CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reel.

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    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    High volume shooter - Two CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reels.

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    Pledge $235 or more About $235

    One CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reel with a Jobo Multitank 5.

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    Pledge $280 or more About $280

    One CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reel with a Jobo Multitank 5 and a Jobo 1509 roller base.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $990 or more About $990

    Be the first! Get the very first production unit of the CatLABS CL81 - reel (1 of 2 early samples to be made), with a Jobo Multitank 5 and roller base, and for being such a huge supporter we will hand-deliver it anywhere in the US! We will fly out to you with 8X10 gear and a bunch of free film to demo the CL810 reel in action in a day of shooting and processing in the field.

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    Pledge $2,750 or more About $2,750

    Be the first - GLOBAL! Get the very first production unit of the CatLABS CL81 - reel (1 of 2 early samples to be made), with a Jobo Multitank 5 and roller base, hand-delivered anywhere in the WORLD! We will fly out to you with 8X10 gear and a bunch of free film to demo the CL810 reel in action in a day of shooting and processing in the field.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    First come basis #1 (Special early bird price): One CatLABS CL81 8X10 processing reel.

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    Reward no longer available 9 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Early supporter special:
    One CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reel with a hand picked Jobo Multitank 5 (with an inversion lid) from our private stash.

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    Pledge $185 or more About $185

    First come basis #2 (Special early bird price) : One CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reel with a Jobo Multitank 5.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    First come basis #3 (Special early bird price): One CatLABS CL81 - 8X10 processing reel with a Jobo Multitank 5 and a Jobo 1509 roller base.

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Funding period

- (28 days)