Necessary equipment for "bathroom" darkroom?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jasonjoo, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Hey guys and gals,

    I'm pretty new to the film game. I've recently abandoned the digital world and I'm starting fresh with film. My new (to me) Rolleiflex 3.5E will be coming in this week and I've decided that I want to develop my own film. I've read some tutorials online, and while I'm sure most are reliable enough, I'd like to get some advice from you folk.

    To be brief, I have access to a small bathroom in my apartment. It has a bathtub, toilet (duh :tongue:), and a sink all built in a fairly small area. I could fit a small desk in there as well if need be.

    Since I'm starting from scratch, what are the materials that I will be needing? BTW, there is NO ventilation in the bathroom. The only way to turn on the fan is to turn on the lights (it's coupled together). Will this be a potential health hazard? Safety first right?

    Thanks in advanced,

    Jason
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Since you're developing roll film I would go with a daylight tank. Then all you need is a dark room (or a changing bag) and a flat surface to load your film onto spirals and into the tank.
    That way you can develop your film in full daylight if you want. After you have your film in the tank it's a walk in the park to do. You need chemistry, good thermometer, good graduates, a timer, and a good measure of combined patience and accuracy.
    I want to say, however, that it's probably a good idea to try to get into printing and/or scanning those negatives as soon as possible after you start developing film. Otherwise it's next to impossible to determine whether you're doing a good job with the film developing or not.

    - Thomas
     
  3. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    thermometer, funnel, bottles for chemicals, developing tank & reels, graduated cylinder or pitcher for mixing & measuring the chemicals, some way to hang up the film to dry....I use a bent up coat hanger with clothespins on it

    maybe a few more things....but that's what I can think of for now
     
  4. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    oh yeah...a stirring rod for mixing chemicals
     
  5. bob2

    bob2 Member

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    Im in the same boat

    This is a list from"henry`s online store"I think its complete


    The Labokit Includes...( $65.75 ebay)
    1 Developing Tank
    2 Multiformat self-feed film reels
    1 Graduated cylinder 20 oz ( 600 cc )
    1 Graduated cylinder 2 oz ( 50 cc )
    3 Developing trays 8x10 ( 20x25 cm )
    1 Film squeegee
    3 Print tongs
    2 film clips (1 weighted) 1 Stirring paddle
    1 Straight glass thermometer
    1 instruction manual


    still will need chemicals.but have they left out anything? timer?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2007
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Congratulations! You are were I was two months ago. Yes I had developed film and printed enlargements, but it had been many years. I still do not have the 120 film loading properly every time but I am getting there. Enjoy! Once you have film down, you will probably come across an enlarger at a good price [Craig's List in Los Angeles, the prices are good and you do not want to ship an enlarger if you can avoid it].

    I suggest that you unscrew the lights when you do printing and run the fan. Put the lights back in when you are done.

    I built a window covering from wood and black-out material for the bathroom, the wet darkroom and cardboard cover for the bedroom, the dry darkroom [enlarger]. I put a board across the two sinks for the tray, but you can do the same with the bathtub.

    Contact me when you are ready for the wet darkroom and I will help you brainstorm. We also have many other APUGgers in Los Angeles.

    Steve
     
  7. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Jason, I live in a one bedroom apartment with a small bathroom. Tub, toilet and sink. I put a piece of plywood about 2'x2' over the sink to put stuff on. I load my film holders from 4x5 to 8x20 here. I put my daylight tank on here to load my 120 into the daylight tank for development. For sheet film developing I do it in the tub. I got some tile backer board ( hardibacker 1/4") and cut it to fit the tub. I develop my sheet film 4x5,5x7,8x10 in tanks here. I do my 8x20 in trays here also. Everything is within arms reach. I disconnected the fan so it is off when the light goes on and taped the vent so no light gets in. My bedroom has my enlarger in it and I darkened it out also. I develop prints on the platform in the tub. I put my 8x10 washer in the tub to wash prints or I use my Kodak anti-siphon to do prints in an 11x14 tray. For my 8x20' contacts and 16x20 enlargements I put my big washer in the tub and can only get two trays on the other half of the tub and have to use the sink and toilet for the other trays. Where there is a will there is a way.It is very doable. 16x20 is about as large as I can comfortably do in my apartment. Good luck.

    Jim
     
  8. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    for a timer I just use a clock

    before I had an enlarger...to make contact prints all I used was a plate of glass, and a flash

    I varied exposure by how high I held the flash over the paper..and sometimes I'd partly block the flash with a finger...but it usually worked perfect when I held it slightly above my head with the glass/negatives/paper on the floor

    it wasn't sophisticated, but it worked OK until I had something better
     
  9. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Item 1: a bathroom
    Item 2: darkness.

    Replace the bath by darkness, and you will have a darkroom. :D

    On top of what they others mentioned, I would add: get a decent enlarging lens already. You can find a Schneider, Nikon, or Rodenstock for less than 100 USD. Actually, I think there must be some for sale in the APUG classifieds. This is an investment that will last forever, and will give you great results, regardless of the enlarger you pick.

    As you will be tearing down the bathroom often, I'd recommend you get a good bubble lever to check your enlarger's alignment quickly. Yes, it's not as precise as other methods, but it helps.
     
  10. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    For instant dark, unscrew the bulb and then you can use the fan.
     
  11. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    I was planning on having my negatives scanned and printed elsewhere. I don't have much room and most enlargers I've seen were fairly big (granted, they were enlargers I've seen in a darkroom).

    Anyways, I can also get access to a dark room at my university, but it would be cool to do things at home as well. I'll have to check prices on everything over the next few weeks. Hopefully it won't cost TOO much.

    Thanks for all of the help so far. It's a lot of information to process and I'm in the middle of exams right now, so I will have to re-read everything over again in a few weeks :smile:

    Jason
     
  12. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    One more essential item: A sign to hang on the door reading "Bath by Appointment Only."
     
  13. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Hahaha that's awesome gainer! I'll keep that in mind :smile:
     
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  15. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    A trick to get more space in a bathroom darkroom is to use a wooden bar stool by the commode. Put a plank from the top of the water closet to the stool and use this for your trays. Use piled up photo mags on top of the water closet (you have lotsa mags, right?) to level the plank. Great space saving trick. The problem with the plank on the tub is that you end up looking like Quasimodo after working the trays a while. The other necessities are 1) an understanding roomie 2) the rolled up towel to block out the brightest light encountered in photography: the light coming under the darkroom door.
    Have fun.

    John (been there, done it) Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  16. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I do my own developing at home. The only "darkroom" I have is the bathroom where I go to put film on the reel (I find 120 MUCH easier than 35mm - but that's me.) For the time being I can only scan negs, but here's my setup for that:

    I have 4 containers: 1 for developer, 1 for stop bath, 1 for fixer and 1 for Fuji Quickwash (optional) Make sure the developer is in a light-proof bottle since it can deteriorate with exposure to light
    A squeegee for wiping off excess water from negatives
    Film clips
    A thermometer
    A good timer
    A copy of the Massive Dev Chart from here: http://digitaltruth.com/software.html - it has dev times for a zillion different film/developer combinations - invaluable!
    Rubber gloves

    I've found that once you get the film onto the reel, the rest is pretty easy. Hope that helps and good luck :smile:
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  18. snallan

    snallan Member

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    Hi Jason

    If you are going to have the negs scanned and printed elsewhere, I would also recommend contact printing them. The wee prints you get from 2 1/4 square negs can be little gems. :smile:

    And it is easy to do - a box of 10x8 paper, a sheet of glass (or a simple 10x8 contact proofer), print developer, and you are away.

    This will also provide you with a supply of prints which you can use to experiment with toning techniques - a source of great creative delight out of the darkroom.
     
  19. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Don't take all day loading the tank. The door can be open
    during film processing. Planning ahead, prints? Dan
     
  20. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    FWIW, the Meopta 6x6 and Durst F-30 are very nice, yet compact 120 enlargers. They go for cheap prices at the auction (shipping will likely cost more than the machine) and are often give aways on Craig's List.
    IIRC the "footprint" of my F-30 was about 11"x14"
    One of those, a set of trays, a speed easel, a grain focuser, some clothes pins and a bit of line and you're in the printing business! You can probably get the whole kaboodle thrown in with the enlarger.
    Cheers!
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've also used the screw adapter with a pull chain in my last dark/bathroom. In my current dark bathroom, I've got one light socket in the ceiling and no electrical outlet, but the enlarger is actually in the hallway adjacent to the bathroom--much roomier and more comfortable, but it means I can only print at night. So in the bathroom, I put in a two-bulb light socket adapter with a pull-chain adapter on each socket. One side has a Verilux daylight incandescent bulb and the other side has a Kodak LED safelight. As a process timer, I use a battery powered Paterson triple timer.

    To black out windows, you can order Delta plastic blackout material from B&H.

    A handy thing I had in the previous dark bathroom was a typing table with wheels for my enlarger. The bathroom was tiny, but I wheel my Omega D-II on the table over the commode. To get the enlarger to sit on the table, I added an extra set of 4 rubber feet from a hardware store to the baseboard to match the footprint of the table.

    Another handy thing I've found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond is an expanding metal rack used normally to increase shelf space in a place like a closet with a high ceiling. I can put it in the bathtub to elevate my trays or put two trays on top and one underneath for more space.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Jason,

    Bel-Air Camera [Westwood] and Calumet [Hollywood] have the best in store prices [~$65 to ~$75] on a large changing bag called a changing room. It is big enough for you future needs - 35mm, MF, or LF.

    Steve
     
  23. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I did exactly this, print 645 and 6x6 in a tiny bathroom. I used a cart that had drawers and wheels on the bottom and would wheel it into the bathroom w/ the enlarger on top when I wanted to print. I'd sit on the toilet, print and then develop the prints in the tub w/ trays inside. It worked well. No windows to to darken for me. I used a towel at the bottom of the door to block out light and gaffers tape to block light around the door. I left the tape on between sessions.

    As far as an enlarger goes, I used an omega b-700. It's great for 35mm but skip it for 6x6. A Durst F-30 or even a Durst 606 (sweet!) would be a great and very affordable choice. I've been wanting a 606 for just this reason..
     
  24. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Back in the mid-sixties I lived in a trailer for a year or so. Even in that tiny bathroom I was able to set up a fairly functional darkroom.

    For film developing, a daylight tank and a changing bag are the way to go.

    For printing, you will need a compact enlarger that you can pick up and stash in the closet. The small Beselers (e.g. Printmaker 67) are good, but I'm sure there are others as well. The enlarger sat on the toilet seat in my setup. You need four trays - three for the processing chemicals and one to hold prints pending the final wash. You can put the trays in the bathtub, but that is hard on your back. Try to find a sheet of fiberboard or plywood that will fit over the bathtub to hold them. You will also need a safelight and some empty pop bottles to store chemicals. An enlarging timer is a very useful accessory that will be high on your want list. You will need to figure out an effective way to wash and dry prints. For this setup, it is probably best to use RC paper. You can wash it in a tray using multiple rinses, rather than a continuous flow of water, and you can hang it up by a corner to dry.

    You can actually do quality work with a setup like this.
     
  25. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    knee pads---- I develop in the tub, leaning over the edge....hard on the knees.
     
  26. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    [QUOTES=IloveTLRs;554669]
    "I have 4 containers: 1 for developer, 1 for stop bath,
    1 for fixer and 1 for Fuji Quickwash (optional)."

    One is enough. After loading the tank add a correct
    amount of one of several excellent one-shot developers
    to the correct amount of water. Stir, pour into tank then
    begin agitation. Allow two minutes twixt your series of
    inversions.

    Time twixt periods of agitation is used to quick rinse
    the container and dissolve or stir in a correct amount of
    fixer into a correct amount of water. Fixer can be used
    in the same manor as developer, very dilute one-shot.
    No stop bath is needed because developer build up
    in a one-shot fixer is nill.

    While the fixer is at work quick rinse the container then
    stir a correct amount of PhotoFlo into a correct amount
    of water.

    "A squeegee for wiping off excess water from negatives"

    I use a squeegee. Years ago it was a sponge type but
    have switched to an eight blade film squeegee. They are
    sold under several brand names and not cheap; $15?

    I too have little counter space. I don't mind the few
    extra minutes it takes to process using very dilute
    developers and fixers. There is a savings in time
    when cleaning-up as some can be done in
    conjunction with processing. Dan