OK, scanning sucks. How do I build a small, convenient, modular dark room?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jernejk, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. jernejk

    jernejk Member

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    I'm so mad at myself. A few months ago, I discarded a lot of dark room equipment, thinking I would never need it again (including two enlargers! :confused:smile: Soon after that I rediscovered film. Agh. :sad::whistling:

    Anyway, I settled for shooting color slides and BW negatives. Slides are slides, and I don't care so much about scanning - I can scan them at a lab and it's ok for sharing over flickr (but it's far from what's actuality projected).

    Scaning BW is a pain. I just don't like the results. Comparing print and scan from the same negative is a whole different story.

    So I'm thinking, maybe I should simply return to dark room? It would be cheaper than buying a scanner anyhow.

    I'd like to enlarge to 23x15cm, maybe larger, but it's not a must. Currently I shot 35mm only.

    I like the idea of "enlarger in a suitcase", like this http://www.bolha.com/oglas1272351183/povecevalnik I don't need top quality.

    What would you choose?
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    A Zenith UPA5M? Looks great. In fact, looks really cool. Make sure it comes with negative carriers - but I am sure you know that.

    The foam inside the suitcase is often a real mess on these Ruski jobs.
     
  3. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    A darkroom is cheaper that a film scanner? Hmm...well not in my case but I think you have the right idea here. I unfortunately abandoned my darkroom (which took about 9 months to piece together the way I liked it) when I left Canada for the other big 'C' recently and am going to be setting up my own modular darkroom ASAP. I think the key is bench space...what room have you designated for it? Is there water available? My last room was water-less but I came up with a reasonable solution for that...essentially a big, lidded tub which hung off of the ceiling with detachable spouts (complete with valves at the ends) for my wet bench.

    Sorry, now that I re-read your post I realize that you probably know what you're doing having had a darkroom before and you probably already have a decent venue for such a thing...I'd be happy to provide some tips (or steal some) if I can.

    Welcome back!
     
  4. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    If you stay with 35mm I would go for a V35 and a Nova vertical processor. Both very compact and suitable for high quality prints. Prices of second hand enlargers came down tremendously so i think in Germany or Holland you can pick one up for less then $250 and a print Pod (8x10" - 20x25cm) for maybe $20. If you would go for a Meopta Axiomat it's here old steel price.
     
  5. jernejk

    jernejk Member

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    I didn't even know about vertical processors, thanks! But looking at the price, I think I see a DIY project here
     
  6. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    Yes, the heated ones are expensive but the print Pod not. Very simple system and for that price you can not DIY. I have the Nova Masterlab 4x print Pod and then heated for quick work, 4x 0,9 ltr.
    Otherwise I am using a Jobo CPA-2 with elevator but this unit is outside my (small) darkroom.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    [​IMG]

    and the right part, the Dunco II (6x7cm) enlarger with Split Grade (TM).

    [​IMG]

    But all in 2,50x1,95m
     
  8. Exeter2010

    Exeter2010 Member

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    Why not take stroll through this thread for some ideas and inspiration? There are a lot of clever, improvised darkroom ideas here, as well as big shiny purpose-built ones that we can only probably dream about, but are full of possibilities. The whole gamut. I don't think any film lover could come away from this thread unfazed! Good luck to you and congrats on your decision!

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/10966-darkroom-portraits.html
     
  9. film_man

    film_man Member

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    If you would rather remain with a scanner, then try Kodak BW400CN. It scans very easily as it is C41, much much nicer results than FP4/HP5 that I also use. My lab also makes much better prints with it than traditional BW.

    Of course it is nothing like doing your own prints from a proper BW but I'm just saying...
     
  10. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    Good thread for more ideas.

    This is my exit door and if you have less room, you put it in the height. Well that's my whole darkroom in 360 degrees :smile:

    if you put all photos together.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Robert:

    The Heiland Split Grade is certainly a very sophisticated piece of equipment. Can you give us a quick sense of how you like your unit? Is your Split Grade set up so as to move the filters automatically?
     
  12. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    Yes, all dedicated Split Grade enlarger systems are turning automatically. In one measurement you're doing exposure time + gradation (at work aperture) , darkroom lights are automatically switched (off and on) , and the system is pointing out in 0,1 gradation steps the exposure in Yellow and Magenta (or vice versa, which you can program). Very fast and reliable. 98% is perfect in the first run. It saves a lot of paper and time, especially on fiber prints. Further you can print with short times while there is no lamp which has to glow on/off.
     
  13. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I built a small darkroom in my bathroom. Lots of running water if/when I need it, and only one small window to black-out. It takes about 10 minutes to setup and 10 minutes to clean up.

    As for price, I've been scanning for three years and I'm on my second scanner (2x scanners = $600.) My whole darkroom cost about $500 to setup, and almost everything was bought new (my enlarger is 35mm only.) Chemicals and paper aren't that expensive.
     
  14. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Check out this thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/79693-mobile-enlarger.html

    Basically bolt your enlarger down to the top of a large, roll-around tool box like auto mechanics use.
    Put all your supplies in the drawers. When you want to move, just wheel it around to the next place.

    It might need to be refined a bit but I think this is a neat idea.