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The Developist is an In-Development DIY Auto Film Processor

A truly mass-market (and widely adopted) at-home automatic film processing machine has yet to appear in the world of photography. Photographer Mark Webb didn’t want to wait around for one to show up, so he cobbled together one with his hardware and software knowledge. It’s called the Developist.

Webb, who calls himself “an English bloke [working] in a garden shed”, says he was inspired by seeing the Filmomat auto film processor but balked at the machine’s €3,500 (~$4,070) price tag, so he decided to have a go at creating his own.

He just finished the “1st step prototype” of the Developist — at this stage, his machine is a semi-automatic developing assistant similar to the Kanton DX35 concept design that we featured earlier this month.


The €3,500 Filmomat (left) and the conceptual Kanton DX35 (right).

The Developist can currently control and monitor temperature, agitation, and timing. Manual input is still needed from the photographer for different steps of the process, but Webb is working on the next phase of the project, which is making the machine entirely automated to the point at which you can simply place a tank with film in the machine and have it completely processed from start to finish.

It’s not as pretty as the Filmomat (and especially the Kanton DX35), but the Developist is cheap. Webb says the whole thing can be made for about $40.

In other words, for the price of the Filmomat, you can build yourself 100 Developists.

Here are some photos showing various components and features of the Developist:


The first working prototype of the Developist.

Temperatures of the liquids are displayed on the machine and updated every second.

When the machine starts up, you select the process you’d like to use.

You make your process choice using the convenient buttons on the interface.

The Developist then guides you through the development process and instructs you in what to do.

When the correct temperatures are reached, the Start button lights up and a buzzer sounds.

After you pour in the required chemicals, the Developist handles timing and agitation.

Here’s a video showing how agitation works:

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