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  1. #1

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    Mar 2011
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    Starting a darkroom in Australia

    Hi,

    I'm not too sure if this is the right place to post this. But anyway I have recently gotten into film photography and I have decided to start developing my own film and hopefully make my own black and white prints. In my research it seems like for a beginner to start a darkroom at home the initial start up price are quite exorbitant for example looking at a reputable Melbourne shop the price of a single tank is $50, and a patterson changing bag costs ~$50!

    Would it be true to say that the best way to start is to buy second off gumtree or ebay? I just find it strange that a developing tank would cost $50, surely it would be one of those items where the retailer would do a bit of loss leading so as to encourage people to begin and hopefully return and resupply with chemicals and other equipment. It's frustrating that it seems impossible to be able to walk into a shop and get all the equipment and chemicals needed to do black and white developing for under $100; or am I missing something?

  2. #2

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    most of the bits and pieces I've picked up have been through ebay, I haven't really looked at shop prices for darkroom hardware for a long time, if you keep an eye out you can get some good bargains if you want to get the basic stuff.

    Ashley

  3. #3
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Go second-hand.
    I picked up an entire darkroom, including medium format Durst enlarger, light meters, cameras, film, paper etc.... for 60 bucks.

    Not saying you'll get a deal like that but you should buy second-hand if you're worried about cost.

  4. #4

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    Mar 2011
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    Not sure if I can make a link to ebay, but I am looking at this an auction which includes a Durst M302 colour enlarger with Schneider Optik Componan-c 3.5/50 and a developing tank. I'm only going to be doing black and white prints, from what I've read you can still use a colour enlarger to do b+w?

    Maybe I should wait for more bargains.

  5. #5
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Colour enlarger can definitely do B&W; the colour wheels let you adjust contrast quickly and they're particularly nice for split-grade printing. You also don't need a darkroom and enlarger until you want to print; a changing bag and daylight tank is enough for development. While it's sacrilege on apug, low quality scanning is very cheap with a flatbed to start you out but wet prints will be much better.

    Definitely just be patient on eBay. I got a new LPL7700 and 3 good lenses for $60; I was the only bidder. Occasional deals on Paterson tanks can be had too.

  6. #6

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    Dec 2008
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Ebay all the way. There was a guy listed he was getting out of printing and had some amazing benches with cupboards, one with a sink and taps another with a huge lightbox built in listed on ebay a few months back for $60 - 80. They didn't seem to sell so keep an eye as there are lots of good 2nd hand stuff turns up. Was tempted to just use tham as fancy garage benches.

  7. #7
    NDP_2010's Avatar
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    ebay will have a basic setup for under $200, enlarger, paper, trays, tanks etc. Most are really cheap. I bought some chemicals for b/w for about $80 and it has lasted for quite alot of rolls. I think you can get at least 50 rolls from a 500ml bottle of ilford lc29.
    pentax 6x7,canon eos 300, crown graphic 4x5

  8. #8

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    There's a magazine called "Photographic Trader" which has a lot of interesting stuff. No chemicals, but redundant darkroom equipment aplenty. And it's all in Australia!
    Look for a bright yellow cover in the camera section of your newsagent.

  9. #9

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    Also don't forget to put the word out about what are planning on doing - you may be surprised by the amount of people who have darkroom equipment stored away, or know some one that does - that is how I managed to get hold of most of my equipment at dirt cheap prices to boot!

  10. #10
    samcomet's Avatar
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    I second Photo Treader as a great place to find second hand stuff but in my humble opinion the prices are a touch more than that auction site so well canvased....may I also suggest that Photo Trader has listings for Camera Marts held in capital cities every few months...I am in Sydney so I don't think I remember where or when the Melb one is (Camberwell?)....anyway the the mag is out every second month....good luck and happy darkrooming! cheers, sam
    PS we have a place called Reverse Garbage here in Syd that has 12, at last look, Beseler 23C II enlargers going for $80 ea. They are all in great to good nic as well....some with lenses (el nikkor f2.8 50mm) if you find yourself in a car in Sydney....
    Last edited by samcomet; 06-26-2011 at 06:17 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling, ooops!

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