Seeking good price performance ratio, ebay suggestions and general advice welcome too. Thanks!
-contact printing frame (fineartphotosupply.com?)
-spot meter (just something reliable that doesn't require a 2nd mortgage)
-contact printing light bulb system for AZO
-dry mount press (at this stage just need to mount 8x10 contact prints)
-best archival drymount tissue
-matting (looks like I'll go with artcraft archival)
-safe light (the newer LED ones sound pretty impressive, I think there are few out there)
-focusing cloth for 8x10 (eyeing the one up at fineartphotosupply.com)
-filter set for 8x10 (what filters will get me started, and I want them to be good quality)
In addition to/in lieu of the items already mentioned.
I have used Seal Colormount tissue for over twenty years. Works just fine, others use it, and it is available on Ebay at times. I bought two of the 20 inch rolls for about 50 dollars a couple of years ago. By buying it in rolls you are not limited to stocking several different sizes.
A dry mount press is a nice addition if you don't already have one. If you see yourself enlarging to the capability of your enlarger the Seal 210 or even the 500 might be wise. 210's come up on Ebay from time to time. I bought mine over 20 years ago. Still works great.
I use the Zone VI led safelight. I like it a great deal. Cheap safelights can fog paper. The best safelight available (for amount of light output) is the Thomas. These come up on Ebay from time to time.
Paper trimmer. The best is the Rotatrim Mastercut or present day equivalent. Expensive but you only buy it once. I bought a 20 inch cutter and wish I had a 24 inch today. This will be a consideration when you look to enlarge on Azo. The paper comes in 20X24 inch dimensions only above 8X10.
Mat cutter. Model and complexity is dependent on the amount of mounting/overmatting you want to do. Buy something that has a squaring arm and will have ability to handle 32X40 sheets of material. Additionally if you buy your glazing in cases of the same dimension you can cut your glass on the same cutter. Mine is over 20 years old. I learned through experience to not "sneak up" on a purchase. Buy good equipment and buy it once.
In lieu of a spot meter you may want to consider a good incident meter. If you get to a point where later you will use the BTZS principles it will be needed. I have the Zone VI modified Pentax digital spot meter in addition to an older quantum incident meter. The modification to the Zone VI is a good thing when shooting items with high IR emission tendencies (such as pine trees). Since these typically underexpose when relying on a conventional reflective meter.
An accurate scale to measure chemicals down to 1/10ths of grams. Buying chemicals in bulk quantities makes sense especially considering where you live.
An accurate thermometer. Doesn't need to be expensive just accurate.
Storage containers in gallon, half gallon, quart, and 200 ML sizes. I use air evac bottles for the larger and darkened glass for the smaller size.
Photographers Formulary sells a fairly inexpensive printing frame. You may look to an easel for your enlarger if it doesn't have a vacuum easel incorporated in the design.
If you shoot negatives of adequate density for Azo you will probably need to use the 300 watt reflector flood lamp. The extra light is nice when you look to burning or dodging.
Spotting brushes. I use the 3/0 and 4/0 brushes. Along those lines Spotone dyes, as well. The number three dye is used more commonly but they sell a kit including about six dyes.
Negative retouching dyes. V C sells dyes that are excellent. Blansky will have the "scoop" on those.
Filters...if you will shoot several different lenses later, my recommendation is to go with a Lee type compendium system. You can have a lens hood and filter system combined. Not be limited to one size of screw in filter. Large screw in filters get expensive. I bought a Calumet compendium and had a local acrylic supplier cut down filters in yellow, orange, red colors. Cost was reasonable compared to other filters. Acrylic has better optical transmission then most glass. I don't like the effects obtained with polarizers and black and white (can lead to uneven sky values).
Ooops...looks like we just got another mortgage. Oh well, we only pass this way once. Good luck.
the Ultra-Spot is the predecessor of the current Spotmaster 2 (see http://www.gossen-photo.de/english/foto_produkte.html). It is a nice device (the only one with full display in the finder), but eats a lot of batteries (as I can tell from first hand experience).
A dry mounting press is hard to find and usually expensive. Be aware of high shipping cost if you buy one oversees.
Safelights are usually cheap. As long as you not do color processing, you can take a simple red one (that is VC paper safe). You may buy an LED or color safe one as they come by or you really need one.
A focusing cloth shouldn’t be hard to buy or custom made. I would recommend a black and white double face one. This isn’t that hot in summer and you can use it as well as a reflector.
Filters are nice, but a shade is important, IMO. You may want to combine both and buy a shade with filter holders (e.g. Lee – expensive but a good investment) and use Gelatine Filters. For a cheaper start (as long as you do not have several lenses with several front diameters) you may want to buy a screw-in filter and rubber shades. For B&W, I would recommend buying filters in the following order: orange (most universal and still effective), red (most effective), polarizer (even more effective in combination with orange or red), ND grad., yellow-green, yellow, green, and cyan (e.g. Wratten #44 to imitate the look of Ortho-Film). With Heliopan Filters, you are on the safe side. Other manufacturers make good filters, too, but offer different quality levels (not only different coatings), which are not always transparent to the customer.
Sean, I can second the contact print frame from Photographers Formulary...bought an 8x10 earlier this year, works well for me - do not have anything to compare it to.
For spot meter, I use a Polaris 2, with a 10 degree spot attachment, they have a new one with built in 5 degree. Nice meter, does all I ask of it.
For filters, check out this site for the Camera People -http://www.camerapeople.net - they visit many of the local camera shows, seem to be good folks to work with.
Dry Mount Press, I picked up a Seal 160, not current 160M, on ebay and have been very happy with it. Shipping can be a little high so watch this, some of the ebay sellers make most of their money on s/h charges. The pad can be replaced, and the platen is pretty easy to clean. I can mount 11x14 on 16x20 board without much trouble at all. Search all of ebay for these, some show up in other area (not photo) because they are used for T-shirts, etc.
If you are handy with a soldering iron, it´s fairly easy and cheap to build a LED safelight.
Pls let me know if you care to build one.
Jorge, I'd like to first try to build an LED infrared light for my night vision goggle. The local electronics shop has infrared led's but not sure what I need to do. I don't need much light. I assume I would need to solder them onto a board, add a few parts, then a battery?
Thanks for the advice guys.