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For Christmas I'd like a darkroom please...

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Britcat100, Oct 20, 2001.

  1. Britcat100

    Britcat100 Active Member

    I'm moving house. She's got a yoga room and I've got a small room that I could have a darkroom in...but what do I need...please give all the advice you can and I will sponge off willing loved ones and relatives in the forthcoming festive season....Thats right..write my Christmas list for me ladies and gentlemen....responses before Christmas please :)
  2. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Plenty up for sale here. Take your pick !!/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif Oh and buy a good book or three if you're a novice.

    Get out and get shooting!!
  3. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Right, pin back your lugholes and sharpen that pencil!

    First and most important item: Enlarger and DECENT enlarging lens (Get a six or seven element one, Jessops make a very decent six element one at a very reasonable price). Get a colour enlarger with dial in filters as this will do for both colour AND black and white variable contrast papers.
    Enlarger timer: Not essential but makes life a lot easier and exposure more reliable.
    Easel: Get one which can cope with the largest print size you intend to produce.
    Print trays and tongs: Trays are cheap so get different sizes for each print size you intend to produce.
    Timer: For timing the "wet" side of the processing in your darkroom. Luminous one helps.
    Focus scope: Again not essential but makes focusing on the baseboard more accurate as it focuses on the image "grain".
    Safelight: Get a light brown one which is suitable for variable contrast black and white papers.
    Developing tank: Paterson make an excellent one which includes a plastic film spiral which can be adjusted for 35mm or 120 roll film.
    Chemicals and Paper: Go for variable contrast black and white paper in a variety of sizes and different finishes to see which you like best. Make sure you include anti static wetting agent in your chemical list. Saves a lot of hassle with drying marks on the film.
    Film Clips: For hanging up your film to dry once processed. One of these is usually weighted and prevents the film curling up as it dries.

    This should set you up with the basic essentials for a black and white darkroom. If you intend to do a lot of colour work then it may well be worth investing in some sort of temperature control device (Jobo CPE2 processor etc.).

    You could also consider a test strip printer or print exposure meter but I do not consider these essential as you can get by using a piece of card to make a test strip on a sheet of photographic paper.

    Good luck and have fun, I know you will, it's the second most enjoyable thing you can do in the dark!

  4. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Excellent advice from BigWill - would reiterate his comments re lens quality - but in the move to digital there are plenty of first class enlarging lenses going cheap - I would look for second hand Rodenstock lenses: most dealers hava a pile of them these days. Only thing missing from BogWill's list is a pair of hi-fi speakers - I always have a friend with me in the darkroom coming out of the speakers.
  5. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Oh, and a blindfold for when you are loading the film into the tank. Saves closing your eyes! (That's a little in joke between me and fangface. He will understand)
  6. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    One of my New Year's Resolutions will be NOT to close my eyes when I'm loading a tank in the darkroom. Another will be NOT to blow on a negative - always manage to gob on it. And another will be NOT to stir my chemicals with the thermometer. And another...........well - could go on forever.
  7. SCT

    SCT Well-Known Member

    Well, thats better than Big Will, stiring his Paterson's with a .......... . (You figure it out)

    Steve C Thompson IRIPN
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    As I don't have a darkroom any more, I load the dev tank in a changing bag. Still close my eyes!

    Nick CRIPN
  9. markb

    markb Active Member

    trays are well and good, but for speed and space saving I suggest you get a Nova slot developer for B&W printing. The chemicals can be left in for upto 3 months and they really are ideal for a quickie (ie contact sheets - Im not suggesting you getup to anything else in your darkroom!). Ideally a sink with running water is great, failing think how you are going to wash, wandering around with a print dripping fixer over the carpet will rapidly lose you brownie points.

    Get the largest enlarger you can afford, you might think you'll only ever shoot 35mm, but even panoramic in that size requires a medium format enlarger. Spend time up front making sure everying is level and firmly set up, a quick think about the physics involved will show you how even the smallest deviation will result in out-of focus prints.

    One final point, don't be tempted to use the darkroom as a spare bedroom or you'll spend most of your time fighting with dust. In fact, if you can set up some kind of extractor fan it'll help keep it down and help with venting chemical fumes.

    A final, final point - blackout. Using velco to attach blackout material to a window is ok as a temporary soloution, but it soon starts coming apart. Well fitting shutters are best and don't forget about gaps around the doorframe.
  10. phil

    phil Well-Known Member

    Don't we all mate don't we all!!!!

    <font color=purple> P<font color=blue>h<font color=green>i<font color=red>l FRIPN
  11. perkeo

    perkeo Well-Known Member

    Brit -

    You'll find Santa on Page 106 'Darkrooms' in the current issue (27 October) of AP.

    A Leitz V35 Focomat enlarger with complete darkroom set-up including focometer, timer,rotary processor, 3 tanks, darkroom sink, dishwarmer, safelight, trays, 3 easels, etc... AND a Benbo tripod - all for £450.

    Can't be bad....and in case you don't have the AP ring 01728648303.

  12. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    The best 35mm enlarger thats ever graced a darkroom. So what are you waiting for. To give you some idea on the digital inroads I sold my last V35 for £1100
    with a Focotimer, some five years ago.


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