Camera collection in a darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Adam Podstawczyński, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    I would like to keep my cameras and lenses in the same room where I develop pictures. It will be a dedicated darkroom, but used sparingly, maybe every two weeks or so. When unused, containers with chemicals will be sealed tight.

    Do you think chemical fumes may cause any damage to vintage cameras or affect them in any way? The floor area is approx 4 by 5 meters, and ventilation is decent.
     
  2. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    I would make sure that the humidity as as low as possible. You don't want any fungus to take hold on your lenses. My dark room is in my rather damp basement, and I keep no optics of any kind there. I keep my enlarger lenses, and the condenser lenses upstairs where it,s dry, and more temp controled. I had an upstairs dark room once, but made the mistake of not properly ventilating it, and ended up with a major mold problem. If I were you, I would keep my cameras some place else.
     
  3. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    Thank you.

    The room is dry, even drier then average. It is well isolated, tiled, and big central heating / hot water supply pipes heat the air up, contributing to overall dryness.

    So, I am not afraid of general humidity; chemical fumes are what bothers me really...
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    You obviously are't concerned that cameras you collect will end up taking over the darkroom, but then I do see you aheva much larger space than most of us. Mine is about 1.5x2.4, so the cameras are stored elesewhere, and some are taken out to rotate onto the display shelves every few months.
     
  5. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Thinking about it, for most of us, our enlargers, timers, etc etc live in the darkroom 24hr/365 days/yr. Our darkroom is open and running Sept to June, seven days a week, 8am to midnight -- and some use over the summer. 19 enlarger stations. We tend to wear out equipment before it ever has a chance to corrode. But I have several dead GraLab timers that seemed to internally corrode and that sort of thing over the last 19 years I have worked here.

    There are some nasty chemicals that if the container leaks, it gets into the air -- then one has a rust attack on all iron-based metals in the room. Wish I could remember exactly what the chemical was (Sodium bisulfate? not sure), but a knowledgable photographer/lithographer/teacher friend of mine had this particular chemical eat through the metal lid of the glass jar of the stuff (original packaging) in his darkroom. The pull chains were flacking off rust, corrosion on his enlarger and that sort of fum stuff.

    In the 30+ years I have been working in the darkroom, the times are too numerous that I have had temporarily uncontrolled water emergencies...things like water full blast through a long hose in the sink -- flaying all over the place! Even with one's hand on the control valve, it seems to take a long time to stop the waterworks!

    So, I would say that displaying your collection in the open in the darkroom will reduce their lifespan. But it is up to you to figure out how much, if any, damage over time is significant. If you do not have the space to display them elsewhere, and they bring you pleasure to see them, then have them there in the darkroom with you. A good regular dusting/cleaning would be good -- if only to take the opportunity to keep and eye out for any air-borne damage. Small chemical spills that are allowed to dry would probably be one of the major sources of air-borne chemicals. Also when mixing powdered chemicals.

    Perhaps some sort of display shelf that can protect the cameras from falling dust -- a sloping plexiglass shield perhaps? Less cleaning (and handling) of the cameras would be needed.

    Vaughn
     
  6. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yeah, but come to think of it eve more, an enlarger or a Gralab timer isn't quite the same as a camera. There are no tiny moving parts in these things and could stand up to a bit of corrosion without too much ill effect. A camera, on the other hand is chock full of tiny precision parts, each one of which must work perfectly for the machine to function as designed. A tiny bit of corrosion on a small shaft bearing or gear train can muck up the whole works. I'd reconsider.
     
  7. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    If you have to store your camera gear in the darkroom, invest in a Pelican case

    http://www.pelican.com/

    and put a canister of silica gel inside to absorb any moisture.