Sales of new darkroom equipment to private buyers compared to institutional sales

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Tom Kershaw, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    APUG posts concerned with setting up new darkrooms have piqued my interest in how much new darkroom equipment is sold to private or small business buyers as compared to institutional (colleges or universities) or corporate sales. Any informed speculation or knowledge?

    Tom.
     
  2. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Tom,
    I don't have a figure with regards to this, however, earlier this year, my local store had an incredible number of enlargers ordered for a school. They were installing traditional darkrooms for the students, in conjunction with the digital ones already in use.

    I was extremely surprised, as prior to this, they had a surplus of enlargers from institutions that were doing the exact opposite! So many enlargers, they were running low on floorspace, in fact if I remember correctly, they were giving away some very simple 35mm enlargers if you purchased an 8x10" easel, just to clear them out.

    Would be interesting to know - hope somebody can give further details to all of us.

    - Nanette
    www.nanettereid.com
     
  3. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Nanette,

    Interesting. Perhaps sales such as these are somewhat hidden from the online community as the purchasers are not online writing about their new darkrooms, usage etc.?

    Tom.
     
  4. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Quite possible, however I remember when I started high school (80s) they shut the darkrooms there the year I started. And this was well before digital. I studied in college in the 90s and when I started they used all analog, just starting digital the year I left (2000). In 2003 the darkrooms were barely used - today the C41 machine they purchased new is defunct and has been sold along with the enlargers and print processor. Everything the students do now is digital - Canon full-frame cameras, PS4 on a brand new Mac and output on Epson A3 printers.

    Seems the "art" of photography is going to be lost on quite a few new photographers, however it was heartening to learn that a colleague's friend was hired to shoot for a magazine in France, quite simply because he uses film! 120 film and natural light - 10 days later he had a nice collection of images and a good contact for future work.

    They will be quite the "fish out of water" should a potential client request film for their project (I've just been asked to shoot a project using both; the film side to be B&W - my favorite film medium.)

    A pity these purchases aren't discussed online further - might help the companies increase their analog sales further?


    - Nanette
    www.nanettereid.com
     
  5. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    This is a very good point, the tangibility of working in a darkroom compared to the computer makes the process completely different. Actually, the darkroom is a good place to reinforce concepts directly related to Photoshop, and how ideas in Photoshop build on the analogue domain. especially with regard to something like 'Curves'.

    Jobo published profiles in the past of people who use their products, along with technical articles etc. - I think these are still available online. http://www.jobo.com/jobo_service_analog/jq/ - thanks to APUG user 'Delphine' for getting Jobo to put these articles back online.

    Tom.
     
  6. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    If it helps I can tell you almost all our sales are to private individuals (or one-man businesses) and it's been that way since we started in 1994. An increasing number recently have been to people starting in the darkroom after becoming disenchanted with digital.
     
  7. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I'm having the crazy notion of possibly buying a new enlarger and easel...
     
  8. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    My office is about 10 blocks from Arkay/Regal and I go there quite a bit. They say that sales to schools of traditional darkroom equipment is up compared to the earlier part of the decade...Evan Clarke
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Ditto here.

    Where I have had customers try and convince a school to use f-stop timers and meters they are either strapped for cash or reluctant about (er, dead set against) trying anything new.

    When I have called on photography departments at local colleges the reception would have been warmer if I had been proposing a symposium on the positive aspects of pederasty.
     
  10. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Because of some socialist bias against private enterprise?

    Tom.
     
  11. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    ????????????????? Is that a UK thing ??????????????????
     
  12. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Nicholas,

    Perhaps. There are some people who have a strange idea that nearly everything should be done by the state, and that almost any kind of private enterprise or capitalist operation is dubious, i.e. profit is bad thing. However, some milder manifestations of these attitudes have surfaced in the Kodachrome thread, that Kodak should continue to manufacture a product they can't sell enough off to be sustainable.

    Tom.
     
  13. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    I think it has more to do with teachers not understanding f-stop printing and/or being unwilling to change from the way they've always done it. I have sold a few units to schools but I could count them on probably just one hand.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2009
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  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If my experience of Leamington College(U.K.) was anything to go by the equipment was fairly basic. This was down to a mixture of finance and the "need" to get students to do things "unaided" as in test strips etc to enable them to get through the curriculum of City and Guilds.

    Classes were large( 20 students at a time) and I suspect that Leamington would have considered the return on supplying 20 Analyser Pros to 20 students plus tuition costs to leanr how to use to be insufficient. The courses were nice little earners for Leamington at the cost of bulk chems, 1 tutor and a few basic 35mm enlargers with Jessops lenses.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Is it possible there is some obscure "other" use for enlargers we don't know about? Just because people are buying used enlargers doesn't mean they are actually using them for photography.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    At present, my Omega D6 does double duty as a hallway ornament when not wheeled into the bathroom/darkroom for photographic purposes.

    Matt
     
  18. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Ditto previous ditto.

    Academe is quite reactionary. Educators believe what they themselves were taught as students to be revealed truth - reasonable enough, as educators expect their students, in turn, to have the same reverent belief in their own lectures.

    New ideas are only accepted if they are the educator's own new ideas. If professors weren't required to do research universities would quickly revert to Dark-Ages monasteries.

    Laboratory budgets are a lot tighter than they were, or so it seems. As university staff have become more money grubbing they realize that a dollar not spent on laboratory is a dollar available for salary increase. The time when educators, clergy and physicians earned little, and their vocation was a calling that was fulfilling in its own right, are over.

    The best way to get f-stop techniques regarded as mainstream is to have them taught at the schools. The question is, how to get the techniques into the schools. I have lent units to schools. In one case the school couldn't even be bothered to unwrap the equipment.

    Disclaimer: I speak from a very jaundiced viewpoint regarding education - having five university professors in my immediate family. I am the black-sheep exception.
     
  19. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    "But that is the way we've always done it"

    As one who has had a business from the time I wasn't old enough to have one, my experience is that these are the most expensive words in the language. That goes for any business, organization or enterprise. Yes, any . . .

    Bill Barber
     
  20. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Nicholas, I agree with your point, but disagree with this statement. It was, in fact, the monasteries, for the most part, that kept what knowledge there was in the West, alive during the Dark Ages.

    Sorry - a bit off topic. :wink:
     
  21. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    There has been so much available for the home darkroom as more and more people switched to digital. Four years ago I equipped an 11x13 foot darkroom with everything I needed for 35mm up through 7x17 inch including Jobo CPP-2, LPL 4550XLG/VCCE and Durst 138S converted to 8x10 enlargers and an eight foot stainless sink. Everything was second hand, almost new gear at 30 cents on the dollar. The only new piece I bought was an F stop timer.

    There are people who have to have new, but it just didn’t make sense to me with so much good stuff available at such low prices. The bulk of the equipment was from a wedding pro who was the presenter in workshops for Kodak. They gave him the digital gear he needed and said get rid of his six month old darkroom. The LPL was from someone’s retirement fantasy darkroom. The man bought the enlarger as he came down with a lung disease. His doctor said, “Do not go in a darkroom.” The LPL had never been used.

    John Powers
     
  22. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    Ansel Adams used a metronome. If it was good enough for him, it should be good enough for us.
     
  23. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    It's a little off-topic, I suppose, and with apologies to Nicholas and Richard, but I don't at all understand why f-stop printing is considered so radical or exotic. It's the way I got taught years ago, and so it seems like forever that I've thought in those terms when printing. What other way is there to consider exposure times?

    One of these days, soon I hope, Richard or Nicholas will be selling me a timer though.

    I agree with John though, for most of us, new just doesn't make sense, with the volume of excellent gear that's available for pennies on the dollar.
    For institutions, I think new still makes sense if a darkroom is getting equipped all at once, assuming the money is there.
     
  24. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    They kept it, but in a dormant state.

    It was the Church's conviction that Armageddon was coming 'any day now' that kept the ages dark. Why bother doing much of anything when the Apocalypse is only days away.

    But what do I know, I wasn't there ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2009
  25. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    "If the King James Bible was good enough for Jesus and the twelve disciples, it is good enough for me."

    --Talk-radio caller in Chatanooga, Tennessee, when a local denomination was debating using the "New Revised Bible".​
     
  26. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Neither do I [or we, speaking for Richard].

    I agree with so much used equipment available there is no real reason to buy new.

    OTOH, try to buy a used f-stop timer ...