Set-up time can be greatly shortened by using chemicals that have a long working life. For print developers, for example, Ansco PF 130 which I store in amber glass bottle topping off end of session. For fixers, I've switched to TF-5 since it only takes 1 minute in 1 tray to fix prints. I built a cart on rollers whose drawers pull out in stair-step fashion. It handles up to 4 16X20 trays. Roll it next to utility sink in garage ( print washer in sink), and I can be set-up in less than 5 minutes.
I think i will start with trays because they are the least expensive items, then later one by one i will add more items [enlarger, safe light, papers, chemicals,...etc], so what size of trays i should go with? I will print something at the size of 20x?? as maximum. How can i carry and handle the paper so my fingers will not be printed on it?
What type of papers ad which chemicals i will ask later.
As someone who is just starting out, I would suggest that you start with smaller trays. They require less chemistry, and they are easier to set-up, take down, clean and store.
A great majority of my prints will fit into 8x10 trays, so that is what I suggest you start with.
You can always buy larger trays as well, but if you are like me, they will stay in the cupboard more often than not.
The largest size that is practical for me is 16" x 20", and I have a full set of those trays, but I don't use them often.
In the last couple of years I've had more of an inclination to print 11" x 14", so I put together a set of those trays, and use them a fair amount.
If you have the space, and you intend to use trays for washing your prints, it might be a good idea to go one size bigger than your usual print size for the print washing tray(s).
Agree with Matt. He has good ideas. I use 8x10 trays for the majority of my darkroom work. Usually the larger prints I make one maybe two each session. The larger the trays the less frequently I use them.
Let's go one step back. TareqPhoto, when you said 20, were you thinking cm or inches?
Originally Posted by MattKing
8"x10" is 20x25cm is a nice size to start with indeed.
I used to have to share the bathroom with the wife (probably was a good thing she wanted to keep herself tidy). I used to store enlarger in a cupboard and it took about 15mins to setup but I couldn't print during daylight as the bathroom had a skylight which was hard to stop the light coming through. Since this was pre-scanner, I used to like to print a contact sheet of developed film sooner than the next 'full' printing session. I decided I could do a proof sheet without the enlarger to save some time, just setup the trays and used the room light as the light source. I think I ended up changing the globe in the light fitting for a lower wattage one so I could get longer times and could manage a fairly accurate time by counting to myself. Using a desk lamp might be easier.
Organization and systems, plus using the available space to its maximum.
Utilizing all the available space i have everything [ except lens/ paper] at hand and start to go takes less than 10 minutes, including chemicals at temp.
The wall area behind a door [when opened] is where i store all the flat stuff, easels x3, baseboard, contact glass and lightbox. The area above the door is shelved for tanks,trays,jugs, cloths and the safelight is positioned above. The enlarger goes on top of the washing machine [ frontloader] it sits on a 20kg bespoke base that has a slim undershelf for paper. The trays go on another bespoke shelve from one wall to the sink.This shelf also has a much deeper undershelf for neg folders,contact prints, clean cloth,dodgers etc.
Magnetic digital timer clock sticks to another old spicerack shelf, this one stores graduals, air duster[crap] and thermometers, vynyl gloves[crap]
All chemicals and storage containers go on top shelf of laundry cupboard and the enlarger body goes in its own box on top of this.
Any room in any house/apartment has areas of wall space that are usually, ` waste surface', that is these are areas that through the neccesity of design are not used. Above doors, behind doors that open to a wall [there is still enough room for flat items once the door is open] and all that space on the walls 300mm down from the ceiling.
Even though i am quite new at this , realising the importance of systems and utilizing the space i had to its maximum has enabled me to set up a `temp' darkroom space that works well.
I live in a double wide mobile home with 2 bathrooms. The kids are all grown up and moved out so I have the spare bathroom as a semi permanent darkroom. It is 6x8 feet. Good thing it is a spare bathroom because the Beseler 45M is wider than the door so impossible to move without taking it apart. Tray space is at a premium so I use stacked trays for up to 11x14. For larger prints, which are rare, I use wallpaper trays and the see-saw method for processing. Film and prints are washed in the tub under the custom made enlarger stand. No room to hang prints or film for drying in there so I hang them in the shower stall in the other bathroom.
I did not like to setup a temporary darkroom. Setup takes just too much time. For years my darkroom was an old and small wardrobe standing in a little room without windows. There I had everything setup (you anyway need a space to store all you darkroom stuff, so why not make that space your darkroom.) I used one tray development a lot. After the fixer was back in the bottle I walked over to the bathroom for washing the print. That worked great and the time overhead for setup and cleanup reduced to cleaning that one tray. So sometimes I even used it to do just one single contact sheet.
But honestly ... over time I could manage to use the whole little room and that wardrobe went out and this summer I am going to setup a darkroom in the basement. :)
I was meaning 20inches, not cm
I know i should start with smaller, but i did take a workshop about darkroom and the printing was my point of taking it, we practiced on 8x10 papers, but for the last days we have been asked to print at larger size [not sure if 12x18 or 16x20] for an exhibition, so i printed about 3 larger sizes prints for that exhib, so i am planning to play with something larger than 8x10 anyway myself, and i feel if i can gat trays that are about 20in or larger then i can print any size from 8x10 up to larger so i don't need to be many trays again due to getting different print sizes, the bigger will handle the smaller, but small i will be limited to its size until i can afford bigger trays sizes, i am already started of printing and i know the concept of it, so if i will do it at home myself i think i don't want to do 8x10 all the time and i am sure i will do that 8x10 in less than week and then i want bigger, and i can't wait weeks to order another trays and waiting and bigger papers, i go with larger directly is safer for me than going with smaller then larger.