I am still a beginner, but perhaps you can learn from my very recent mistakes and confusion.
I use the Ilford filters but trimmed to fit in my tray. I also use multigrade papers.
The advice previously given on one film, one developer is solid. Sticking with one film, one speed, and one developer for months at a time really helped me learn. FWIW, i started with ilford delta 100 and DD-X. Then tri-x with DD-X. Then tried Perceptol, ID-11, Microphen, and Ilfosol 3. I now use Perceptol for my slow films and DD-X for fast.
As for the dimness, I'm not sure how your enlarger is constructed, but after many trials and errors I realized that the lens board and clip in mine (durst m600) had gotten wonky. I took it apart and discovered the clip had jammed and several itty bitty bits had shaken loose. Got it fixed, put back together, and swapped out the grungy old lens and have been faring much better. Also, make sure you have the correct lens for your negatives.
Happy making! - ruby
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Oh - and if you have a smart phone or tablet, there are some very handy apps. I use lab timer (which has a safelight function) for timing enlargements and the massive dev app for developing film. There is also an app for dentists that makes a handy light box.
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Note that a smartphone with a red screen is NOT paper safe, the LCDs do not filter out enough blue/green light. If you put a sheet of rubylith over the face of the phone it should be safe, though your touch interface might be a little iffy depending on the phone model.
Thanks - I did not know this. That said, I use it for the audio. (Un)safe light or not, I always keep it in a recessed shelf under my work table. I set the times and follow the clicks and alarms.
Originally Posted by polyglot
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There is no way on earth I would even own a smart phone and hate all the apps nonsense with a fiery passion.
For instance I'm a photographer who uses full manual and counts long exposure times in my head to pretty good effect.
I'll have another look at this junk enlarger I bought and see if I can do anything with it.
I was looking at getting another lens for it although I think I will complain to the seller and look out for another one. The problem is finding people who will post/ship them so it narrows the choice down to about 5% of all listed on ebay.
As for chemicals I have all Ilford stuff now including wetting agent (does this go after the fixing process?)
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Good Evening, Nocturnal,
The wetting agent follows a thorough wash. Use it sparingly; a tiny, tiny amount is usually all that's necessary.
Iagree, color enlargers are great for B&W work;almost ideal actually.
Got the enlarger working!
Well hello again,
I spent an hour there and got the enlarger working perfectly with the timer:
The Paterson PCS 1000 has a shutter mechanism built into the enlarger head (as informed here in the thread).
There was a locking switch at the back of the enlarger head which sprung it closed when switched. I verified the timer works perfectly with a stop-watch.
The enlarger isn't so dim when all the lights are turned off (I.e. Darkroom conditions silly me!)
I just tried a 35mm colour negative (I haven't developed the film yet from last week) in the holding tray and the PCS 1000 can enlarge up to 14" x 9.5"
All I need now are Ilford multigrade filters to insert into the 3" filter holder. The smallest available are 3.5" so I may trim them down. I seen others individually mounted in their own plastic mounts although I don't think these will fit in.
One thing that concerned me is that there are several small light leakages around the edges of the filter tray etc. I imagine this stray light although very tiny can reflect off me and the walls of the darkroom and could cause ruination of the photographic paper.
Even though I read the instructions from the Paterson micro focus finder I cannot understand how it works sitting on the easel. I focused the enlarger with my eye so it was in pretty good focus on the easel but I am lost as to how it works as the reflective mirror sits about 2" above the easel surface. I cannot find any YouTube instructions to solve this one!
I suppose I should now buy a good enlarger lens for it. A Nikkor EL 2.8 would be in order, an F4 would be quite difficult to focus with this enlarger as it has a CPL type bulb.
And finally: Regarding loading film in a changing bag, can you load it straight onto the reel directly from the film canister? I have seen the break it open method although isn't it difficult to avoid touching the film surface?
I have a few old films to practice with first.
You can ignore the little light leaks, though it sometimes helps to wear a black shirt when printing and if there are any white walls near the enlarger, drape them with black cloth. The amount of light reflected from the paper is far greater than what comes out of the little cracks in the enlarger. You can tape them up if it makes you happier, just don't block the airflow.
While this isn't quite how it works, think of the focuser as having a little focus screen inside it. Say the mirror is 2" above the paper and the focus screen is 2" from the mirror, that means that the focus screen is the exact same distance from the lens as the paper. If the mirror was at the paper, the focus screen would be too far away! Just do an approx focus, stick the focuser under the enlarger, look into it and then fine-adjust until the grain snaps into focus. If the focuser has an adjustable eyepiece, first set it so that the black line in the focuser is perfectly sharp, then do your enlarger focusing.
Yes, you can load 35mm straight from the canister into a spiral, IF you have set your camera to leave the leader poking out. You can/should even trim the leader (straight across BETWEEN the sprockets, then put 2mm round chamfers on each corner) in the daylight. If the film has been wound all the way back into the canister though, you will need to crack it open to get the film out unless you make or buy a leader-retriever. Don't forget to have scissors in the bag to cut the film from the canister when you reach the end!
While an 50/2.8 EL Nikkor is lovely, you should still be able to focus easily on the grain since it's only 35mm and the grain will be pretty chunky in the grand scheme of things. Consider the case of people who focus 4x5" negatives (grain is 4x smaller for the same print size) with f/5.6 lenses; it's a little harder but not actually particularly difficult.
Brilliant polyglot, you are a star!
My proposed tempoary darkroom is under the stairs and is pure white! I'll do a rolling stones and paint it pure matt black. I'll also have to install electricity unless I run a socket from the installed lightswitch (illegal but I'm only running an enlarger of it and a safelight. The proposed darkroom is super small so it'll be a challenge! I'd like to use heater trays etc. which require proper current I will install a proper spur from the mains although I simply don't have any room (I can fit 2 bicycles and hang coats but that is it!)
I'll maybe try the dirty Rodenstock lens (I'm near sure you can't open it unless you have a link for this?) as It'll be good practice anyway! The 'beamed' negative looks OK but I'm sure it will show on paper!!!!
Brilliant explanation of the micro focus finder, that makes sense and I should have worked it out myself LOL
I can't set my Pentax cameras (2x ME Super's) to leave a film leader but don't worry I already have a leader retriever!
I'm really glad you can load straight from the cannister and I'll do chamfers etc.
As for the advice about wetting agent, would a couple of droplets per 500ml of water be sufficient?
Thanks again for your expertise!