First Post. First Darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ryanderson, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. ryanderson

    ryanderson Member

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    This is my first post as a part of my first camera forum. I am somewhat familiar with forums and am excited to join this community. I have shot (recreationally, although occasionally for pay) since 2008 entirely digitally. I enjoy shooting portraits but that is partially do to my inability to really capture how beautiful landscape is. About 9 months ago I moved into a new space and had all my camera gear packed up. I had been shooting less prior to the move. My digital routine had become somewhat monotonous. I ended up not unpacking any of my digital gear. Instead I pulled out two cameras that have been given to me as gifts. Anyway, I have decided to solely shoot with my Yashica D and Canon F-1 for this next stretch of my life. This is quite a different step as these past couple years I have been a Canon DSLR snob. I say that not as I looked down on others gear - I just always liked having what I thought was the best. Being someone who enjoys the raw therapy that comes from hands on repetition (I can carve wood all day. By no means am I a talent but it sure feels good.) I decided I wanted to be involved in as many steps of pictures creation as I could.

    Friday I had a bit of an impulse buy. An ad on craigslist popped up for darkroom equipment and having always wanted one I jumped. For $125 I received the following. Beseler 45mxII with Zone VI color head, GraLab 451, 3 Safe Lights, lots of paper in various sizes (opened but in box and plastic - still any good? what's the shelf life on paper?), trays in an array of sizes, 4 lenses, tongs, string with clothing pins, 3 sizes of negative carriers, beaker, chemical bottles, 35mm casette, two magnifiers, two darkroom books, and a collection of tiny others things that aren't coming to mind. My first question is: For $125, did I do alright? As said earlier - I just jumped for it. Second question: In darkrooms you have used, what do you find yourself most thankful to have around the workspace? Anything from a radio to a product you enjoy. My last question: If I am developing the D and the F-1 is there anything else I need to get? Thanks!

    Appreciate your time and thoughts! Thanks again!
     
  2. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    It sounds like a good deal, to me. The Zone VI isn't a color head. It's a cold light head (for B/W). Did you get lenses?
    The paper may or may not be good, but it's worth trying it. I have Ilford paper which is many years old, but works fine. Other brands haven't lasted as long for me.
    I like having music in the darkroom. I also have a 9" TV covered with rubilith, which I have set up on the opposite side of the room, and use occasionally.
    You might mention where you are located. Maybe a local member can fill in some pieces, and help with setup.
     
  3. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    Welcome Home Ryan !

    Ron
    .
     
  4. ryanderson

    ryanderson Member

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    Thanks eddie! I actually am aware that it is a cold head and not color head. I guess my mind was elsewhere when composing that sentence - so thanks for helping me out! I did receive lenses. I am away from the goods currently but will be sure to post any information I can about them once I get back. I was thinking music would have to be a must. Perhaps it is just fantasy but listening to a solid album while developing sure seems like it could bring a lot of happiness. I am located in Columbus, Ohio. I feel like I should say something about the city I am from but I can't think of anything catchy.

    Thanks for the warm welcome Ron!
     
  5. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Wow, you got a good deal on that enlarger! Enjoy, darkroom work is wonderful and relaxing!
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Welcome, sounds like you might need a tank and reels for developing film... unless it's in there somewhere...
     
  7. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Welcome and enjoy your darkroom journey. My favorite darkroom accessory is talking timers. I have two or three on the go usually. They help you keep your eyes on the process instead of on the clock.

    Columbus is a great city. Home of Ohio State University is it not?
     
  8. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Welcome to APUG. Nice buy on all the darkroom goodies. I didn't see any mention of developing tanks for 35mm or 120 film. Either stainless steel or plastic tanks will work. Both types can be bought at a reasonable cost.
    The cameras you have are also nice. I've had a Yashica D for 40 years and it's never let me down. Although I've never used the Canon F1 I've read good things about them.
    Music is also a part of my darkroom routine. It makes for a nice relaxing session.

    Edit: I see the tanks and reels were covered in an above post. I need to be faster at typing LOL.
     
  9. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Welcome! I think you got a good deal. I have a Beseler 23CIII and a Beseler 45MX, so maybe I'm biased.
    You also might want to check out this area - http://www.apug.org/forums/forum174/ There's a group of us who gather in near-East Ohio every so often, too. If you need some help from someone local, give a holler.
    When building my first darkroom, the electrician said I should think about adding more outlets than I had planned. Yes, good idea - I ended up using most of them. Radio/CD/mp3; heater if necessary; pump for the water (my sink was below the outgo pipe); you might acquire things like a print dryer, dry-mount press. Darkroom stuff seems to multiply when left in the dark (I found two lenses I had no idea were there earlier tonight).
     
  10. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Hello ryanderson and welcome to APUG. You got a good deal, hopefully an omen regarding your quest into the darkside.
     
  11. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Here's quite a bit of my time, thoughtfully composed: A Darkroom Portrait
     
  12. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    Welcome,
    Yes you got a good buy. So many people have jumped to digital and left their skills behind, along with their equipment.

    I'm supporting Bethe's invite if you are anywhere near our NE Ohio gathering come join us. I'm so looking foward to that gathering.

    Enjoy shooting and as always ask a bunch of questions.

    Lee
     
  13. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm only a tiny bit ahead of you. I have recently finished building a little (7' x 4') darkroom and fitting it out with gear from fleabay. I can still count the number of films I have developed on two hands. Here's what I have discovered so far:-

    I have been following Ilfords instructions to the letter, seems to mean everything works first time. (So far!). It's much easier than I thought it was going to be to get passable prints from negs you have developed yourself. I say passable, because I am just beginning to realise how much scope there is to tweak the process, and I suspect the leap from passable to brilliant is a much steeper learning curve than going from zero to passable! ( I have just bought "way beyond monochrome" - it's a heavy book in both senses!!!) I made a 4' x 2' sink out of ply sealed with epoxy. The Sink seems to be the most important item in a darkroom - keeps all the wet stuff firmly contained away from the dry stuff. I inherited old Ilford and Kentmere paper > 3 yrs old. Seems perfect. I also inherited > 2 yr old paper developer in brim full sealed 500ml bottles. This also seems just fine compared to some new ilford developer, so don't discard old stuff - especially for practicising. You *don't* need a print washer, especially for RC paper. Nor a dryer. RC paper seems to wash and dry very easily. Maybe when I "graduate" to FB paper I will look for such things. You don't even need a "print squeegee area" as many recommend. I will make one in due course, but wet RC prints dry real quick when just hung up. You will get every film and developer combination recommended to you. I went for HP5, Tmax400 and Ilford LC29.The advice to stick to one combination and get used to it seems sound advice to me. Above all, a darkroom is far more fun than sitting at a 'puter (which I do far too much in the day job).
     
  14. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    Aside from the the enlarger timer and a focusing magnifier, the most used items are my dodging wands.
    They're up on the wall, not on the counter top or under some nearby clutter.
    They're used almost 100% of the time.
    Indispensable.

    Reinhold

    www.Re-inventedPhotoEquip.com
     

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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Welcome to APUG

    Jeff
     
  16. SteveR

    SteveR Member

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    yes, it can help, especially if you're in there for a long session! I have a pair of semi-decent blue tooth speakers up high on a shelf, they can plug into anything, or connect wirelessly to my phone, which I use for Internet radio. There are a couple great US stations I love, it's usually morning drive-time over there while I'm working, some of the small town stations that broadcast online are good fun. I find my tastes change dramatically depending on what I'm doing, whether I'm playing with a print working out the fine exposures & burns etc, or doing straight proof prints, or Doing a run of the same print... It's interesting to observe just what my brain wants when I'm doing these different things.
     
  17. ryanderson

    ryanderson Member

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    Wow! Thanks for all the wonderful responses! I would like to thank you all individually, however, for the sake of people reading this I will stick with brevity - but know I am very grateful! Now let me apologize for the delay in my response. I won't bore you with stories of my week but what I will did is get to the good stuff! My lenses. The enlarger came with four lenses: 50mm Nikkor, 135mm Wollensak, 4/80 Schneider - Kreuznach, and 6/80 Schneider - Kreuznach. They all look to be in good shape. A little dusty. Any recommendations for cleaning them up or is just typical lens cleaning?

    Tank and reels! I have been keeping an eye on eBay. Stainless steel or plastic tanks? Wade D mentioned that either will work (thank you Wade) but I would be interested to hear what people think the pros and cons are of each.

    There was also mention of a group that meets periodically in Ohio. First, thanks so much for the invite! I would love to attend! I can't say that I will at this exact moment as work and school schedules need to be looked at before I confirm but it sounds wonderful - so thank you!

    A big thanks to everyone again! It is great to be welcomed with such kindness and knowledge!
     
  18. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

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    Your trash can will be an excellent teacher, I know mine is.

    Mike