Film-developing tanks have been a thing for longer than most of us have been alive. In that time, they’ve seen very little change. DRoom plans to change that with their new developing tank, which doesn’t even need a changing bag.
It’s the DRoom Film Developing Kit and it’s designed to let you develop your rolls of 35mm and 120-format film anywhere. It’s been in development for a few years and it’s currently running on Kickstarter.
DRoom – A new kind of film-developing tank
With traditional film-developing tanks, you need to load your film either in a darkroom or inside a changing bag. The changing bag is used when you don’t have ready access to a darkroom but need to develop your film.
DRoom takes the darkroom and changing bag out of the equation completely. It allows you to load your film, pour your chemicals in and out and then wash and hang the film no matter what the light levels.
It’s an interesting design that essentially lets you attach your film canister onto the side of the unit to load it onto the spool inside the tank. Then, you detach the canister holder, pour in your chemicals and develop as normal.
Once it’s developed and washed, it’s safe to open up and bring out into the light in order to hang it up and dry it. Once dry, cut it up and place it into archival acid-free sleeves.
There doesn’t appear to be a demonstration of loading 120-format film on the Kickstarter campaign, although I expect that it the process is the same, albeit with a different holder on the side of the tank.
Several years in the making
The idea was born when founder and designer Zeyu Cao noticed the limitations of traditional film-developing tanks. He posted a video back at the beginning of 2020 showing an early prototype of his system.
After meeting other like-minded photographers, they set out to develop the concept into the product they have today. DRoom is a pretty interesting concept. I’d be curious to see how well it works in the real world.
After all, that slot on the side needs to be able to let film in whilst also preventing developing chemicals from getting out. Several different methods can be used for such a mechanism, but I am intrigued about which one they chose.
As somebody who owns a dozen or so developing tanks ranging from 2-8 35mm reels – but hasn’t used any of them in at least five years – something like this might actually make me start shooting more film again.
Price and Availability
DRoom is currently running on Kickstarter, where pledges start at HK$618 (around US$80). Items are expected to ship in June 2024. There are a number of stretch goals, such as a film lead extractor, drying clips and travel cases, but with only $1,000 raised so far, it has a way to go before those become a reality.
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