OK, what do I need?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by lorirfrommontana, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. lorirfrommontana

    lorirfrommontana Member

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    Well, the room will not be done anytime too soon (has to be built from scratch includeing new water proof foundation bricks as I live in a house from the 1930's. I'll have to show you all shots of my someday dark room!) but I have a place in the basement that I can make light tight (laundry room) and easily put in ventalation, so I figure there is no time like the present to start to develop my own shots!!! What is the best stuff to use for a total beginner? I have no darkroom experience at all! Never been in a darkroom! I've read tons and watched the process so I'm pretty sure I can do it but I just need to know what to buy as far as chemicals, paper, film, etc... what is the best (easiest) for a total beginner. I can see myself getting into more artful presuits but for now I just need to develop one of my shots!

    I have a Beseler 23 CII with a 50 mm lens and a 35 mm negative holder, timers (3), 4 trays that are larger than 8x10, a 8x10 easle, a 5x7 easle, reels for 35mm, lots of tanks (none that the 35mm reels fit in tightly, except one without a lid!) includeing one that I think is a print processing tank (very large), a print dryer and ferrio type (sp) plates. I know I need a safelight and a tank that the reels fit in better. My enlarger had one clear plexiglass piece in the filter tray (above the condenser) that is scratched and will have to be replaced. I have a whole set of color filters (like brand new) that are smaller. Do they go in that slide in tray above the lens??? Told you I didn't know anything!!!

    If anyone can give me a heads up on anything else I may need, let me know. There is a used camera place in Billings that has a ton of used camera and darkroom equipment so I can probebly find anything I'm missing there. I for sure need to order supplies soon cause I've caught the bug big time!

    Thanks ahead of time,
    Lori
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I wouldn't worry about the plexiglass above the condensor until you set things up and see it matters. It might not matter at all.

    I assume the colour filters are contrast filters? Or are they colour printing filters? Are they in a box?

    What kind of reels and tanks do you have? Bent metal reels are fun to load :rolleyes:

    Chemicals?

    Developer. I'd pick something common like D-76 to start
    stop
    fix.

    You'll need a different developer for the prints. D-72 wouldn't be a bad place to start.
     
  3. lorirfrommontana

    lorirfrommontana Member

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    Forgot to say that I will be developing B&W only (for now???). Lori
     
  4. lorirfrommontana

    lorirfrommontana Member

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    The filters are in a recipie file sized box that say unicolor 3"x3" color printing filter set. There are dividers for all the different variations of Cyan, Magenta, and yellow and there are also UV and red in there. They are thin plastic filters. All of my reels (6) are plastic and the boxes say unicolor 35mm reels. The tanks are all unicolor also. They came with the enlarger. I think I'd like to get the metal reels and tank. They aren't that expensive and I'm pretty sure I saw some at the Camera shop. He also said he had a lot of darkroom equip in the basement.
    Lori
     
  5. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    welcome to APUG. Nice to have you posting...really nice. I am going to forego adding advice for the moment because all my directions have Sheridan Wyoming as a starting point.
     
  6. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    The thing about metal reels and tanks is they are a bit harder to load. I'd start with the plastic ones you already have.

    As far as chemicals, for developing film you'll need:
    Developer: I use either Freestyle brand stuff, or a common powder developer like Kodak D-76 or Ilford ID-11
    Stop: I use water.
    Fix: I use either Kodak's or Arista's rapid fix.

    For prints:
    Developer: I use Dektol by Kodak, there are tons and tons of developers out there.
    Stop: Again, I use water. Sometimes I put about 50/50 water and vinegar.
    Fix: Same as film.

    Enjoy! It's so much fun in the darkroom.
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The bits and pieces are a lot of fun, but one very important consideration is paper. I recommend you start with variable contrast RC, because it is cheap to learn with, washes quickly without using a ton of water and dries pretty flat on its own. Ilford Multigrade IV is a common easy to find paper that is top notch.
     
  8. lorirfrommontana

    lorirfrommontana Member

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    Thanks for all your help everyone! Lori
     
  9. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    What is needed

    Others have stated most of your needs, my advice is follow the basic recommendations given already but pick one film/developer combo and one paper/developer combo and stick to it until it no longer meets your needs then move on and explore the universe of these combinations. Good luck and Welcome to the Brotherhood/Sisterhood
     
  10. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    Contrary to the modern zeitgeist, I recommend a book on photography. Amazing what's in a good one. Some of it will be true, too.
     
  11. lorirfrommontana

    lorirfrommontana Member

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    I've read so many books on developing!!! I have 4. I just need to get into it. I've just placed an order so I should be able to start developing in 2 - 3 weeks (as a few of the items were on backorder but expected). That should give me enough time to finish off what I need for my improvised darkroom. I just recieved the neg holder for my enlarger but it was the wrong one. I kept it cause you never know! It is a 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 holder. What is that for? I'll check out the used camera place for the neg holder and the rest of the stuff I need. Thanks for all the great advice.
    Lori
     
  12. wogster

    wogster Member

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    First you need a few things, check your local library to see if they have any books on film developing, many do, and most books will assume B&W. Next you need a developer and fixer. Best is to start with Kodak D76 or Ilford ID-11 (they are really the same developer, kind of the standard). Any rapid fixer the shop has will do, you need some bottles, if your developer is a 1L package then you need a 1L bottle, if it's a one gallon package then you should have 4 1L bottles, they should be brown glass bottles, with metal caps, caps should have a waxed liner. You should have a couple of graduated cylinders at least 1 that is 25ml marked in 1ml increments and one that is 500ml marked in 10ml increments. You should also have some distilled water and a thermometer.

    A book will tell you all the bits and pieces you need, but I will recommend a few things:

    1) Use metric in the darkroom, because a millilitre (milli is thousand and indicates 1/1000th litre), is very small you always work in full units, this is easier then trying to figure out parts of ounces. If using a developer like Rodinal that is 1+50 if you need 500ml it's easier to figure out, then if trying to figure out 1/50th of 16 ounces.

    2) For developer always use brown glass bottles with tight fitting metal caps, a bottle isn't full if you tip it over while capped and see an air bubble. If your volume of liquid is less then the bottle holds, then use marbles or glass beads to make up the difference.

    3) Habit helps, I always set the chemicals in the same order, to the right of my tank is the developer, next to that is stop bath, next to that is fixer, all are mixed and pre-measured in kitchen type plastic cups (these are kept with the darkroom stuff, they are NEVER to be used in the kitchen, different colours are a good idea). When I pour in the developer, I move the cup far to the left side and when I am done, i pour it back into the cup and pour in the stop. I use a water stop, but put it in a cup anyway, this way I don't forget it. Again I shift the cup over to the left, and then pour it back into the cup, and pour in the fixer. After the fixer I remove the lid and pour it back into it's cup.

    4) If you have a low volume, use one shot, that is use the smallest dilution and toss them when done. If you do a lot of film processing then a replenishment system is more economical and has real advantages. The ideal is to have predictable results.

    5) Never go into the darkroom when your over tired, and always clean up and put things away when your done. A lot of people will start cleaning up while later steps are still happening.

    6) If there are small children or pets in the house, keep all chemicals and chemical handling equipment under lock and key and keep the key out of reach. If your darkroom has a lock on the door, still keep chemicals in a locked cabinet.

    7) have fun.
     
  13. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    The filters that you mentioned are for color printing. You will need a set for VC printing. Instead of saying Cyan, Magenta and Yellow they will be numbered 0..or 00 thru 5 in 1/2 number steps. The Ilford Multigrade or Kodak polymax filters both nake good choices. The filter come in sets for below the lens use...these are fairly small and in rigid frames...or above the lens...these are cut acetate filters that are not in a frame and a larger size. I would, were I you, try to obtain an owners manual for the Besler for it will make sensible recommendations. A filter size of about 3x3 inches for above the lens use should be adequate but whatever size will fit your filter drawer well will be the nicest to use. For myself, I believe in buying larger filters if they are available at a good price say 6x6 filters and to use a paper cutter and to cut them into 4 sets of 3x3 filters. I doubt that you are as clumsy as am I, who has ruined many items, but it is nice to have additional sets. One very good piece of advice would be to have 2 spare bulbs for your enlarger. The damned things have a habit of failing at the worst time and they are harder to get all the time.

    Good enlarging lenses have never during my life been so inexpensively available...what bargains! GET A FIRST CLASS LENS. IT WILL BE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT LENS. The enlarging lens affects all of your prints. I would very strongly advise either a Schneider,Rodenstock or Nikon lens that is of a PROFESSIONAL grade...It should say either "Componon s" or "Apo-Componon" for Schneider, "Rodagon" or "Apo Rodagon" for Rodenstock or El Nikkor" for Nikon. These should be six element lenses. 50mm is for 35mm film, 80mm or 105mm is for 120 roll film...21/4 width.
    If buying the lens used try to get the priviledge of a test period to know the lens is not defective.

    Enough for now.