If you have a paper cutter, you might want to consider buying a box of 8x10 paper. Two 5x7 sheets can be cut from each 8x10 sheet with a little bit left over for test strips. You'll need test strips. It might even work out to be a little less expensive. Freestyle has a 250 sheet box of 8x10 for $58 that will yield 500 sheets of 5x7 with another 500 test strips of 1x5 inches.
One point to consider: You can cut down larger sizes to make smaller sizes, but you can't combine smaller sizes to make larger sheets. (Well, not seamlessly, anyhow.) The only 250-sheet box of 5x7 paper I see for ~$30 at Freestyle is their Arista.EDU Ultra (really rebranded Foma paper), which is fine for learning; but consider that a 100-sheet box of 8x10 Arista.EDU Ultra is $26. The 5x7 works out to $0.12/sheet. Cutting each 8x10 sheet into two 5x7 sheets and one 1x10 strip works out to $0.13 per 5x7 sheet (if you value the 1x10 strips at $0), so it's very slightly more expensive if you want to print mostly 5x7s, but you'll gain the ability to print 8x10s, as well as the ability to print 4x6 and some other small sizes with less waste than would be the case with 5x7 sheets. The 1x10 strips also do have some value, particularly if you print at 8x10 or cut them down to 1x5 strips; you can use them to help judge exposure without wasting a whole sheet. That said, I don't want to seem like an 8x10 "cheerleader;" I just want to point out the option of cutting down bigger sheets.
Originally Posted by Stephanie Brim
Dektol is popular, and when you're learning, there's something to be said for that. Given your health/toxicity concerns, though, you might want to consider Silvergrain Tektol or Agfa Neutol Plus, (but not Neutol WA or other Neutol varieties, which are entirely different from Neutol Plus). Both Tektol and Neutol Plus are based on phenidone (P) and ascorbic acid (C) rather than metol (M) and hydroquinone (Q). MQ developers are popular, but P and C are generally considered less toxic than M and Q. (I'm not sure why Freestyle has Neutol Plus listed as an ORMD item.) You could check the MSDSes for all three developers. Both Neutol Plus and Tektol ship as liquids, so there are no concerns about airborne powders. Unfortunately, AFAIK Tektol isn't available from anywhere but Digital Truth, so you won't be able to order it along with your paper from Freestyle. Note that I've never used Neutol Plus, although I have used both varieties of Tektol, as well as the mix-it-yourself DS-14, which is an earlier version of Tektol. With Arista.EDU Ultra, I find that Tektol/DS-14 produces results that are very hard to distinguish from Dektol.
As a beginner, should I go with Dektol? Are there any good liquid concentrate developers for beginners? Being pregnant, I'd like to avoid powders as much as possible for the next four months, but I can always have Adam mix it up for me.
As others have said, both gloves and tongs can be useful in this respect. I suppose you could add a lab coat (or dark clothing stand-in), particularly if you're wearing short sleeves.
Also, since I'm pregnant, I'm more worried about exposure. Probably more than I have to be, but I want to be cautious. I'm thinking of having Adam help me by doing the actual developing of the prints with me just standing and watching him. We'll be in a well ventilated area so I'm not worried about that, but getting any chemical on my skin is something I don't want to do.
I'd recommend Zonal Pro Warmtone Paper Developer for a liquid dev.
It lasts a long time after opening and you can vary the tone thru dilution. It is my favorite warmtone developer.
Ilford RC paper for beginning printing. Pearl is a good comprimise between glossy and matte.
If you are planning on making postcards, Ilford postcard paper might work well with your plans. Although if you don't mind cutting the 5x7 paper down, it would work too.
Congratulations on your new baby! The enlarger too!
... Hmmm..., f5.13 @ 1/23 should do it.
"You will have more than enough to after the delivery! Printing a bunch of postcards will seem less of a priority then . See if the local minilab will make b&w cards from color print film and have bunch of those printed. Save the handmade cards for after you've caught your breath!"
I STRONGLY second this, unless you are thinking you're OK with getting the birth announcements out any old time in the first year or so. A baby can suck up time in an unbelievable way. I speak not just from personal experience with my 3 offspring , but from my years of experience working with pregnant and newly delivered women as a midwife.
As far as darkroom chemicals go - good ventilation and gloves should protect you. Are you past the first trimester?
Last edited by sly; 08-04-2007 at 01:08 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Well past, yes. I'm 5 months when I go back to the doctor the 10th.
And I should be able to do the postcards...sometime...eventually. I'll have Adam to help me. Otherwise there's always blaze-on.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.
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sprint makes a good print developer too.
easy to mix 1:9 ...
i went to the "factory" a while back to pick up some film developer
they suggested they would be selling off of their webpage sometime soon ..
good luck + have fun!
I am happy to know that I am not the only one that had to squeeze them like crazy to hold a print...
Originally Posted by ben-s
- Note to self: Next time processing a film, take notice of the shape of the beer bottle and the shape of the fixer bottle, and note the differences. -
You've gotten some good advice, Stephanie! I would agree... getting into the darkroom after the baby arrives may prove difficult. If worse comes to worse, and the baby is approaching a year before the announcements go out... a roll of commercially developed XP2 may be a relief! I love the idea of using Ilford postcard paper, though! And if you can find the time... yay!!!
Good luck in the dark, and beyond. Can't wait to see a few photos of your model...err...baby!!
You can have Adam mix Dektol powder to the stock solution that you can further dilute for use without handling the powder yourself. For years I've dilute Kodak Polymax T liquid concentrate as needed for printing with Kodak and other brands of paper. It should be more available than some imported products. Porter's Camera Store in Cedar Falls http://www.porters.com/ stocks it. I also use it for quick rough sheet film developing, for boosting contrast in sheet film, and always for developing Tech Pan to make the most of that film's high contrast and fine grain.
I suspect modest precautions make darkroom chemicals safer than many of the foods and toxins that people overinduolge in for pleasure.
I'd just use tongs in the chemicals. You don't want them on your skin anyway, if only because even tiny amounts of fixer on your fingers can get onto the next sheet of paper you handle and leave nasty white finger prints on the image.