Beginner darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stregone, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Stregone

    Stregone Member

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    Hey guys, i'm putting together my own darkroom for the first time. I've been slowly working on it for a while. Researching the next thing to get while I saved up for it. However, I just did my taxes and i'm getting back way more than I thought. So in a few weeks I will be able to finish it up all at once. I need a little help picking the rest of the stuff out!

    So far I have:
    Beseler 67c enlarger (condenser)
    35mm neg carrier
    50mm el-nikkor f/2.8
    gra-lab 450 timer

    Whats a good lens for 6x6? Is the 80mm el-nikkor the 'good' one?
    How should I black out windows? Will black plastic from the hardware store work?
    How do you black out a door? At school they have a thick curtain over the door of the film loading room. Any idea where to get that heavy material for cheap?
    Whats a good easel that doesn't cost a fortune? I'd like to print up to 11x14, and sometimes print square as well.

    More questions as I think of them, thanks!
     
  2. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    A 75mm or 80mm lens is the usual size for 6 x 6. Most of the El Nikkor lenses are pretty good.
    Black plastic is good for blacking out windows. You may need a few layers. For a door, you need to black out both sides, the top and the bottom. Even a towel stuffed along the bottom works well, but you may need to use some tape along the sides and top. Keep your eyes open for a cheapish 12 x 16 easel as they do show up pretty often.
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Stregone,

    The 80mm El-Nikkor should serve you very well for 6 x 6; these days, it's a buyers' market for quality enlarger lenses. A similar Schneider or Rodenstock would be fine also.

    Black plastic will work fine, but you'll almost certainly need multiple layers to avoid leakage. For a door, start with good weatherstripping. Add more black plastic hanging from a rod at the top of the door frame, and you should be good to go.

    Good easels, such as Saunders, should be fairly easy to find, again at bargain prices. Getting one locally will save on shipping costs (good easels are a bit heavy and bulky), but you should be able to sense the market by checking E-Bay listings.

    Check the APUG Forum under various key words which you should easily be able to imagine and the photos of lots of darkrooms which have been posted in a lengthy thread here.

    Konical
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    As far as blacking out windows are concerned, I am using two layers of "Contractor's cleaning bag" from a large box home center. It's just extra thick, strong, and large trash bags. Two layers is sufficient to block out the strong Florida sun. I used painter's tape (blue peel-able tape) to put them up. Where there is a light leak, I used duct-tape. I'm sure it won't last too long, but it's been fine for few months already. Cheap, quick, and effective. Perhaps not long lasting....
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I bought some black material that has a black rubberized backing to cover my window and door. I have it afixed with velcro so it can be removed (the door) for ingress(and egress) The stuff only cost four bucks a yard and I picked up three yds and have a bunch left over. You can also use black 15lb or 30lb builders felt on the window, one layer is all thats needed. I used to have a piece of corrugated board(heavy box) cut to fit in the window, it doesn't need to be painted. I would recomend getting an adjustable easel, or get a cheap speed ezl in different sizes. A 4-in-1 easel for up to 8x10 usually is dirt cheap, then fab anything larger.
    Good luck with your new DR, and have fun. You are now doomed to the darkness. bwa-ha-ha-ha....

    Rick
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Hardware black plastic will work, but it will require at least two layers. The black darkroom cloth mentioned by Rainphot may work better. It will certainly be more elegant, but will cost more. You should be able to get it from Porters.
    For the door, I got the thickest foam weather stripping from the hardware store, which would still allow the door to close. I put it on all three sides with a sweep on the bottom. The door requires a firm push to close, but no light gets in.
    For economy, look for two-blade adjustable easels, not quite as convenient as 4 blade easels, but they are inexpensive, and less fussy to work with.
     
  7. jasonh

    jasonh Member

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    Fabric stores also carry a cloth made for making blackout shades/curtains. it's white, but it's light tight, and fairly inexpensive. Some places may carry the black kind, but white is all I've found so far.
     
  8. Stregone

    Stregone Member

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    Great info thanks guys. Any thoughts on safelights? The room is about 10x10, my darkroom will be setup against one wall, the other side is just storage.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    One more idea for black out is the old standby Black felt paper, the light weight stuff, sold at lumber centers or roofing supplies.

    A couple (2 or 3) of 5x7 safe lights or Kodak Bullet style 5 inch round should cover your space.

    Have fun. :smile: