Tetenal Colortec Film-Lab

also known as

Durst Filmetta


 Luxury you can afford - if you could only find one!

 

 

The complete brochure is here (15 MegaBytes portable document format file). There´s also a Durst catalog mentioning the Filmetta processor here. In case this site is no longer available, I have saved this document here.

 

Although I am a chemist by profession, I did not bother to develop colour films for many years. Colour processes need very exact temperature control, and I did not believe I would be able to maintain temperatures acurate to a tenth of a degree at home. Many film aficionados actually can as far as I know, but as long as professional labs were around every corner I preferred the easy way. But today my favourite mail order lab sometimes waits for several days to gather enough films in order to justify running the developing machines for medium format film, so I sometimes had to wait quite a bit before getting my films back. And even for colour negative films the development prices are constantly rising. So I had a second thought on developing by myself.

There were a few film processors on the market before, most of them manufactured by a German company called Jobo. These machines tend to be very expensive even secondhand because they were established for many decades, and every serious film photographer seems to want one. Jobo even offers one brand new processor today. This machine is a bit out of my reach, though I hope that Jobo finds enough customers to survive.

A rarely seen film processor was made for a few years by the Italian based Durst company. It was called the Durst Filmetta, and a special edition was marketed by Tetenal as the Tetenal Film-Lab. Apart from the colour of the plastic housing both processors were identical. Quite by chance I had the opportunity to purchase a Film-Lab for a very good price. And I didn´t regret buying it!

The Film-Lab is built very well, just as expected from a Durst-made piece of equipment. The development drum takes up to 4 35 mm films or up to 2 120 films. Some people find this capacity is too restricted for serious film work, but for my own mileage this is convenient. The temperature is controlled by a heated water bath, which is conveniently tapped for the final washing cycles. Once you have loaded the film drum everything is operated at daylight, and the Film-Lab pumps around the chemicals all by itself. Very cool! You can choose if you want to recycle the chemicals, and you can program every step of the process by small temperature and time increments. One major restriction is the number of only three chemistry tanks, but this is enough for all kinds of films (as long as the 3-step E6 reversal film process is available).

There don´t seem to be many Filmettas / Film-Labs around, and if you manage to find one, you may well get it without the manual. Processing is easy, but without the manual you´re lost. My own Tetenal Film-Lab came with a very, very bad copy of the German manual, which you can find here as a rather large pdf file. I´m very sorry that I don´t have an English manual. Perhaps you can try and decipher the meaning of the German text, and if this doesn´t help please don´t hesitate to contact me. I will certainly try to help and translate critical chapters (but not the whole manual...).

Oh yes, I see... I´m honestly proud that this little square space seems to have become a meeting spot for most of you Filmetta / Film-Lab owners. Thank you very much! I very much appreciate your feedback! "Due to popular demand" I now am able to provide portable document files of the English operating and service manuals. Please notice, though, that these files actually are scans of copies of copies´ copies, so the quality approaches x1/8, x meaning the printed originals´ quality. However, these files still are BIG.