Some "newbie" questions for printing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Stephen Prunier, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I have started putting together my darkroom. I'll be converting my 6'x10' office/fly tying room. I now own a minty Beseler 23C II XL, and I will be adding things over time. I do have what I need to get started, except for the paper and developer.

    1. Seeing I will probably be printing more mistakes than keepers, would I be better of starting with a 5"x7" VC RC paper instead of 8"x10"? I can get 100 sheets for half the money. Or will the smaller size mask mistakes I may be making?

    2. I know there's as many developers as there are flavors of ice cream, so would Kodak Dektol be a good choice for a "newbie" or something else? I plan to mix up the stop and fix from what I have. I know I need to mix it in different ratios than film.

    This should be enough for now. :smile:

    Thanks
     
  2. R gould

    R gould Member

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    I would start with 8x10 as the smaller 5x7 could be tricky to get dodging and burning, important skills for any printer, you would easier see any mistakes and successes on the bigger paper, as for paper developer,dektol would work, but there are other choices, I use the fotospeed wt 10 warmtone paper developer, but possibly Ilford multigrade would be a better choice,. as for stop, you use the same dilution rate for film as for paper, and I mix up a litre at a time and use it for both film and paper,.
    Richard
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    get a box of 8x10 paper and when you feel confident printing 5x7 ( 8x10 cut in 2 )
    print 8x10 if you want.
    prints small have a nicer feel to them than prints large.
    i have printed 2x3 upto 20x24 and enjoy smaller prints more ...

    ymmv

    have fun !
    john
     
  4. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Subscriber

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    Yes, to both.

    Its been 15 years since I did any darkroom work, and like you, I just set up my own darkroom.

    I opted for the developer that I knew and used in high school, Dektol. I'll venture into other developers later.

    And I also went with the Arista Private Reserve RC VC 5x7 100 sheets for $25 from Freestyle. I thought along the lines that you did, and I'm glad I did. I've ruined a few sheets thus far, and couldn't bare the thought of ruining that much money and 8x10 paper. And I've dodged/burned a little just find with 5x7 paper. I'll buy some 8x10 and larger stuff after a few months of practice.
     
  5. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I will be heading to a local shop tomorrow and see whats available. They aren't overly friendly to traditional photography. They only have one of those 2 sided 8'x4' floor shelves for chemicals and paper. Even less for film choices. I may get a 25 pack of 8"x10" to get started this week and then order more from Freestyle. I still have 35 rolls of their Legacy Pro film. I like using them, and will continue to support them for their commitment to the traditional photographer, but their 3500 miles away :sad: I do use the 2 popular NY shops too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2011
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    stephen

    hunt photo in melrose used to have traditional department.
    their store near me they still have a bunch of film and paper and developers &C,
    so i would guess they would too ... if they don't go to calumet in cambridge ma,
    or newtonville, or zeff, or ep levines ... they will all treat you right ...

    good luck !
    john
     
  7. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    LOL

    That's who I was referring too! I go to their Melrose location. I may try E.P. Levine now that they are located in Waltham. I bought a used camera at Newtonville Camera. Nice shop, just a pain to get to for me.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    newtonville and ep levines are owned by the same folks ...
    i'd call before you venture down there, also check out calument ..
    its halfway between you and waltham ...
    both calumen and levines cater to the pro-crowd so keep in mind
    they will both have a large electronic division .. but they also have
    analog as well ...
     
  9. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    Thanks

    I need to go to Malden tomorrow, so Hunts may be my first stop. Plus until they finish Rt 93 I think Waltham will be easier to get to for me.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    My print ratio is probably around 20 5x7's to every one 8x10. I love the smaller print size, but if I feel one negative is exceptional I will print up in size, even as large as 11x14. I run through a box of 500 sheets of 5x7 about every six months, including what my kids use up, so maybe close to 1000 sheets a year, and maybe 150-200 sheets of 8x10 per year. I buy the cheapest 5x7 VC/RC I can find and spend on quality 8x10 paper
     
  11. tim k

    tim k Member

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    Stephen, looking back on my first 100 prints, and they were 5x7, it made no difference whatsoever. They were all junk, it was a learning experience. If cost is an issue, save it where you can. Same thing for developer, get whats easy and cheap at first.

    After a few hundred prints, you will have your feet wet, and everything will fall into place.
     
  12. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    Well this is what I purchased to start with. Promaster VC RC 5"x7" 100 sheets for $19.99, and I went with Dektol for the developer. I figure at $24, I can afford to mess up for a while :D

    Now I just need to get the room dark and set up my work area. Getting the room to were I want it will be a work in progress :munch:


    Thanks everyone for your help
     
  13. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    Here's an update. I have used my darkroom a couple times now, and I still can't wipe the smile from my face. :happy: I still have some things on the way. I found a red filter (nos) and the boxed Ilford MG set for under the lens, (used E+) from the same seller on "the bay". I also purchased the Ilford EM10 exposure monitor, and a Paterson Micro Focus Finder (new). I'm finding the focus finder difficult to use. Is it because I'm using 5x7" paper? I still need to get some 8x10" paper. Once I do I will calibrate the EM10, as directed. I will post some of my results soon :happy:

    P.S. I had been going back and forth over building a wet darkroom in my basement or a dry DR in my office and move that stuff out. I chose the Dry DR, because my basement gets water in it at times. Well good choice on my part. The other night we received 5 inches of rain in 2 hours! I awoke to 4" of water in my basement :cry:
     
  14. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I guess your basement IS the perfect choice for a "wet" darkroom.
     
  15. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    Tell me about it. I'm back in the house I grew up in because, I lost everything in a flood (58" raw sewerage!) in my basement apartment 15 years ago. Not to mention all of my Nikon gear F3HP, 4 lenses, flash etc. Plus 5,000 slides, and all the other things :cry: But it could always be worse, so I don't complain. :munch:
     
  16. MattxMosh

    MattxMosh Subscriber

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    I hit up that Hunt's all the time for short date specials and haggling over the over priced dusty "old" stuff.

    I haven't been to Calumet or EPs in ages. Mostly because Waltham is more expensive in gas than shipping from Freestyle.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Can you tell us more specifically what you find to be the problem? I usually do 5x7s and have never found the Paterson finder to give me a problem.

    It will only work near the centre of the print. As you move it to the corners the area it shows become less and less but anywhere near the centre will be fine. Try focusing on a sharp line between a light and dark area in the print projection. You need to get the thin black sighting line in sharp focus for your eyes first. The top slides up and down for this. Then move the enlarger bellows until the grain "pops" into sharp focus and that's it.

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    It's called "user error" LOL I don't think I was using it it correctly. I was looking through it like a microscope? I have now seen photos of it in use and the person was several inches away from it when they were looking through it. Would that be the correct way? The directions that came with it were kind of limited.
     
  19. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I use Freestyle, B&H etc. whenever I can for that exact reason. Plus I know they have what I want. I drive a Ford F250 4x4 = 10 mpg :sad: So even $6.95 s&h is cheaper for me. I hate driving to Hunt's only to see that they don't carry it, or there out of it. Not to mention having to hear the "wow you still use film? why?" Crap. It doesn't happen all the time, but it is annoying just the same. I understand how businesses have to operate to stay afloat and that's fine. I'll just shop and spend my money were I know, I'll find what I need.
     
  20. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Well it might be but I have always used mine like a microscope as well:D without problems. Its magnification is such that the negative grain should be very obvious with trad 35mm film on a 5x7 projection. It will be a little less with Delta or TMax negs and less still with 120 Delta or TMax negs but there still should still be enough of the grain pattern to show.It is that grain that you need to be sharp.

    Obviously set up the sighting line for whichever eye you normally use. It won't matter if both eyes are the same but a lot of people's eyes differ.

    pentaxuser
     
  21. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    You mean It wasn't me :cool: I will try it again, and I will use your method. Thanks