Raw hemicals come down in price when you buy larger quantities, actually by very significant amouints. I've bought photo-chemicals in sizes from a few grams to a few metric tonnes. The price differential is startling.
Originally Posted by yeknom02
I'm not sure it's about saving money. More to it than that.
Canon EOS-1V | Canon 5D2 | 17-40/4L | 24-105/4L | 14/2.8L | 24/1.4L | 35/1.4L | 50/1.2L | 85/1.2L | 200-400/4L | 580EX
“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson
I mix my own toners and alt process stuff, but I am quite happy with Eco-Pro for prints and Rodinal for paper and film. Mixing up stuff you don't use often makes sense simply because you can mix small quantities up fresh or at least keep solutions separate to maximize shelf life. I do that with Clerc's Gold Toner and thiocarbimide. There are lots of good commercial products out there especially for film and print developers, stop, fixer, selenium toner etc. Unless they don't do what you want or it isn't available otherwise, I wouldn't bother mixing up your own. If you enjoy the idea of mixing up your own, it certainly isn't all that difficult. It is really hard to save money doing it......if you saw my stock of raw chemicals that only have a little used, you'd know what I mean!
I mix my own because I tend to travel alot and develop film on the road. Powder packs easier then liquids. And is much easier to take/ship overseas.
It isn't fun, it is just the best way. Especially if you do a lot of darkroom work. You not only save a lot of money but you can mix things that aren't available premixed.
I use shell loading scales for paper developer and a nicer set of scales for film and platinum.
You can, as I do, buy sodium sulfite from swimming pool supply places as well as sodium carbonate (soda Ash) in 50 or 60 pound bags for a fraction of what you pay for that stuff in a photo supply store. Mix your own hypo clear as well.
For printing I always have absolutely fresh developer and as I did today when I only needed to print 3 RC prints, I can mix a very small amount of developer at a time.
You can also mix your own formulas or augment published formulas. I have set variations I make depending on the paper I use.
Mixing isn't difficult, but if you are a once a month printer, it isn't necessary either. It is part of mastering your craft, but only if you have the time for it.
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I don't know if I'd call the chemistry simple, but Ian is correct if you've done some relatively easy reading you know what direction to go with a formula like D76 to change speed, graininess, sharpness, contrast, curve shape (there are nearly always tradeoffs though). You could, for example, lower the amount of sulfite in D76 by 20g/l for slightly higher sharpness. On the other hand, many possibilities also exist simply by changing the working dilution and agitation scheme.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I feel that making your own dev' etc only makes sense if you use large quantities, or need odd things like two bath film or print developers
I make all my own because of large throughput and the cheapness of bulk buying, also I use DrBeer's print dev'
However, if you want to make your own dev' because you like playing chemistry sets, then making meth-amphetamine is more involved and vastly more profitable than photography, which is why we drive an old Ford ute and not a new BMW
I decided to take your challenge. Dektol from Amazon costs $5.39 plus shipping for a 1 gal packet. The cost for making your own D-72 comes out to $3.76. The cost is based on buying chemicals in sizes that a serious home brewer would normally buy. Shipping cost for the Kodak product and the prorated cost of the chemicals is considered to be comparable.
Originally Posted by yeknom02
Years ago when I was a poor college student my favorite film/developer combination was Kodak Panatomic-X developed in the Beutler formula. Using the same costs as above this developer costs less than 8 cents per roll.
The principle cost in each example is for the developing agent(s). If instead of D-72 you mix up a Dimezone or Phenidone based paper developer your cost is further reduced. While the cost of Dimezone is 2.8 times that of Metol you only use a tenth as much on average.
For a better analogy, I would say that mixing your own developer is no more difficult than making a cake.
Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 06-28-2012 at 01:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Mmm developer cake...
Haha I also have thought about taking the plunge about a few months ago, I sourced out all the main/most used ingredients online for developers and it is not too bad of a startup cost. I would also need a nice scale but I kept loosing eBay auctions so I left this on the back burner.
I would most likely use this primarily to grain access to developers that are just not sold commercially anymore. And second to make developers that normally cost a fair amount more such as diafine.
Now from reading, and learning that you can make your own toners, I think I must really get into photographic chemistry!
Why cook, when you can buy Mc Donalds - it's obvious.