Off on my own again.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Red Tractors, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    I went back to college (Non traditional student) to a tech college with an absolutely amazing photography program, along with a state of the art (New in '03) lab with B&W, large format and color facilities. My only problem is, I graduate in May and I'm off to finish my BA at a college with no darkroom access for the program I'm entering.

    I have come to realize, during my time back in school, that I am at heart a very analog photographer. I really don't see myself giving up Tri-X and HP5 or my film gear (35mm to 4X5) for digital anytime soon. So I'm in the process of once again setting up my improvised darkroom.

    I found my Omega B-66 from I collected 15+ years ago, and one timer I bought at a flea market, found my ancient Kodak safelight. My trays, and I fear my good timer vanished just after my developer ate through the re-purposed bottle I was using and damaged my parents bathroom floor....and some downstairs walls. I think those are a decade+ deep in a landfill somewhere. Dad was not pleased.

    It was a pretty primitive setup, back in the day, two horrid lenses epoxied into home made lens holders by the Omega's previous owner. the longer of which is missing, along with the 120 negative carrier.

    I might have a chance to get an ancient Omega from the school (it was a donation) that can handle 4X5, it's either a DII or an early D2. The flower of 40's technology, but if I want to print from 4X5 I'll have to make it work.
     
  2. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    Sounds good to me. Old DIIs are not bad at all says the man who used to own one or 2 along the way. Sounds like dear old dad will be happy that you are not doing it in his house this time around. Good luck, Don
     
  3. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

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    Congrats on your current endeavors! I don't have anything against digital imaging per se, and I know some photographers like it because it "frees them from the drudgery of darkroom work". I like working in a wet darkroom, it's relaxing (well most of the time). I have been using Omega enlargers for about 40 years, starting with a model B-3. I still have it in the attic with rotted out bellows. I've used other enlargers over the years, but finally settled on a pair of Omegas. A B-8 with an Omega "flying saucer" cold light head, and a D-2 with both the cold light head and condenser heads. I leave the condenser head on the D-2 almost all the time, as I can print everything from 35mm to 4x5 with it, using the smaller condenser sets. I really like using the B-8 with the cold light head though, depending on the type of negative I'm working with, and it prints up to 6x9.
    As with most things, it's what you get used to and what works best for you.
    But I will admit that I still own a Beseler 23c II that's in storage. It is easier to use in some ways, and there is plenty of used equipment out there that's easier to find than some of the Omega stuff. But I just can't pry myself away from the old B-8 with the cold light.
    Good luck with the darkroom and enjoy yourself!
     
  4. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I use an old DII condenser model for 4x5 and it works good and is compact. Good luck!

    Jon
     
  5. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    I stared on a D2 in high school.
    Then I got for myself a Durst M600 MF enlarger. This has kept me going for 40 years.
    Then I got the bug again. I am in the process of upgrading my setup and building a new darkroom. This time with a 4x5 enlarger.

    If you are going back to school, you probably do not have the space for a big or permanent setup. For practicality, I would settle for what you can rig in your new place. My Durst M600 could be packed away into its box between uses, so it was convenient in a small apartment. A friend has her enlarger on a microwave cart, that she can roll into the bathroom. But that cart has to stay someplace when not in use, so it is less convenient for storage than my M600 packed in its box. But it is FASTER to setup and go since it is not packed away, just pull off the dust cover. Trade-offs.

    You can rebuild the B66 or upgrade to a C series (for 6x7). Good 50 and 80mm lenses are fairly inexpensive, less than $50 each.

    gud luk
     
  6. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    Thanks, I should have rephrased "Off to" a little differently, I'll be commuting to a different college. I'm clearing out a corner of my basement for the darkroom. Running water will be the biggest challenge. I've got a watch list going on e-bay for 50 and 80mm lenses.
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    One alternative is to develop in trays, then after the fix put the prints into water or a tray of hypo clear.
    Then when are you are done, take the prints upstairs to a sink where you would have a washer setup.
    That is how it is done at my local college. Washing is a separate process outside the darkroom.

    This way you only need chemical in jugs, dilution/rinse water in jugs, and a bucket to dump the used chemicals into.
     
  8. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    For water supply in your basement, look into PEX tubing. If you're at all handy with plumbing, it's a great way to run temporary water. It's easy to work with, no soldering, and inexpensive - there's a crimping tool that can be $50-$100 but many big-box stores rent them. Or see if you can find anyone somewhat versed in DIY home repair that may know how to do it.

    For drains, the nice thing about a darkroom is it's all sinks (vs. toilets and tubs which need plumbing run under the floor). If you have a floor drain, you may be able to run some PVC to it, or if your plumbing cleanout is accessible, you can take out the plug and screw in an adapter to run a drain pipe.

    I made a big wash sink with an underbed plastic storage box and some drain parts and washers. $25 or so.

    None of that would pass a code inspection, but you may not be into permanently altering your house for a darkroom - so temporary plumbing could be fine.

    I'm amazed weekly at what's available on the used market - some beautiful gear's out there. It almost makes me sad... almost!
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    D2 and DII are completely usable. Old, yes, but very VERY well made. I have both of them in my darkroom. I actually prefer DII (older) model so that's what I use for every print I produce.

    Parts are plentiful and cheap, too.
     
  10. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    No challenge at all. Half of the six darkrooms set up for myself over many years have had no running water. Gallon milk jugs stored water in the room, and stabilized at the same temperature as chemicals and trays. A bucket carried waste water and chemicals to a drain. When good darkroom water conservation is practiced, fairly little water is required.
     
  11. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    Ohh this forum is a wonderful thing!

    I can't tell you folks how much I appreciate all the advise.

    One of my jobs involves replacing industrial sump pumps, built about three times as heavy as home use units. I end up with a pile of running pumps that are not quite good enough to re-use but should work perfectly well to pump out a darkroom sink sump. I'm going to have a sink after all!
     
  12. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Yes!! My darkroom is in a mostly finished basement in a corner where the waste water pipes are. I had a laundry sink installed with a "Little Giant" up pump and it's been completely satisfactory for water use as long as I don't run water above 100+ degrees for more than a minute or two. When I first used the pump, I often ran scalding water to clean trays etc. and that ruined the membrane that triggered the pump. After getting a new pump, I had learned my lesson, and all has been well since. Good luck!
     
  13. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    Went to the home center today and picked up an exhaust fan and a laundry sink. There is a basement window in a convenient location that I can block off with a section of plywood to hold the vents. I'll probably end up running two fans. I also have a blower from a De-humidifier that I am going to modify to provide filtered air into the darkroom area.

    Things are slowly coming together, I'm trying to do things (mostly) right the first time. Should be hauling home an ancient Omega D-II in a week or so to handle the 4X5 work.
     
  14. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    Went to Cleveland yesterday and brought home a pile of mostly used up gear bought for $20 on e-bay, but I did end up with most of an Omega B-22, 11X14 trays, easels and misc. A lot of it went to the junk sadly, just too bad to save. I do almost have a complete 35mm (to 6X6) enlarger now.

    One of my instructors at the college sold me her Kodak process thermometer and two more trays.

    Still working on getting the D-II.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2013
  15. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Your B22 is a 6x6 enlarger.

    Just a warning. Gathering missing parts can get expensive, sometimes VERY expensive. I'm going thru that right now with 2 enlargers. The missing parts has doubled the cost of the enlargers. And some parts are just plain HARD to find. So when you get an enlarger, get as much of the parts that go with it as you can. Sometimes it is just a matter of the seller looking into another box for the missing parts.

    Get the manual for the enlarger first, then study it, so you know what parts you will need to look for when you pick up the enlarger. And do an inventory of the enlarger and parts. And look for damage. Replacing broken parts will be like missing parts, more $$$ cost.

    Look for the parts like the various lens cones for the D-II, negative carriers, and condenser lenses (if separated from the enlarger like on my Durst L1000 and Omega 67).

    gud luk
     
  16. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    Thanks,

    I knew that, not sure why I typed 35mm.. A= 35mm, B=6X6 C= 6X9 D= 4X5 etc...

    Realistically, the only thing wrong with the B-22 is one damaged condenser lens, I think everything else is there. Just not in the correct order.

    Thankfully at least it came with a lens board and negative holder.
     
  17. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    C = 6x7
    To do 6x9 you have to use a 4x5 enlarger.

    I think the B22 lensboard needs a retaining ring to hold the lens. If so, I would keep an eye out for a 2nd lens board. That way you don't have to deal with the retaining ring when swapping lenses on the lens board. Have one lensboard with a 50 and the other with an 80mm lens, mounted and ready to go.
     
  18. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    All, (ok, most) of the junk has been moved out of the 7' X7' hole in the corner of the basement that I am constructing the darkroom in. Still need to clean the heck out of everything and rig up a ceiling to try and limit dust precipitation.

    I sacrificed a half finished tinker-tubes style softbox projects for it's 1/2 PVC pipe and used it to start constructing the wall, it's beyond crude, but it's a step above just hanging the black plastic from the rafters. Also picked up the 1-1/2" pipe for the drain.

    I have a new-ish de-humidifyer running in the basement. I am going to start saving the water it collects in jugs to use to mix chemicals. My tap water (well) is insanely hard and has to be run through a softener.

    A friend of mine suggested working on the physical installation first before I chase down any more equipment. So that is my current focus.