Freestyle is an APUG sponsor, and this kit might give you some ideas if you decide to go the plastic reel route:
Browsing through this section of the Freestyle site may give you a sense of what things look like, as well as some of the costs involved. Don't worry, you don't need or want everything there .
I'd suggest you get a good book. In the meantime, take a look through the Ilford site, especially the "Getting Started" topics:
There are lots of other good internet resources. The Kodak publications list has some of my favourites:
If you don't mind dropping just shy of $200 on a changing bag I can say that the Harrison Tent is a great outfit. The arm sleeves are at just the right angle and the construction and materials instill confidence. They call it a tent because it's shaped like one and uses the same type of flexible fold-together rods that tents use to make a self supporting structure. You can get other bags for much less, or even do the closet thing at night until you decide that darkroom work agrees with you.
You can get perfectly serviceable dark bags off eBay for about $20.
Any double-layered changing bag should do nicely. I'd recommend going with a 27x30 inch bag. You should be able to get one from B&H, Freestyle, or Adorama for about $30 or so.
Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..
Hmm, lots of stuff here, so lets pick out some pieces to deal with.
Originally Posted by BimmerJake
There are two kinds of reels, stainless steel and plastic, unless you drop one (bending it out of shape) , stainless steel reels should last virtually forever, so don't buy cheap ones, some of the cheap SS reels come pre-dropped. You need separate SS reels for 35mm and 120, you want a tank big enough to do 120 though, and often you can stack 2 35mm reels in the same tank.
Plastic reels are usually adjustable, but they may then take up more space, if there is ever a chance that you could do multiple rolls one after another, then make sure you have twice the number of reels as space in your tank. For example if your tank can accommodate 2 reels at a time, then you want a minimum of 4 reels. Plastic reels must be completely dry before using them or the film will stick to the reel. So having an extra set means not having to sit there with a hair dryer trying to get the reel dry,
Tanks tend to match the reels, so plastic tanks and plastic reels or stainless tanks with stainless reels. Either way, pick up a roll of cheap expired film at your local shop and practise loading the reel, first time in the light, second time with your eyes closed, third time with the lights off or in the bag.
Changing bags, get the largest one you can afford, they are all pretty much the same. I always turn the lights down when using the bag though.
For a first attempt use a normal developer like D76 or ID11 (they are really the same), other then that you need fixer, any will do. I suggest though the first time you mix the chemicals, do a clip test to make sure they are working and you have not goofed anything up, some guys doing it for years still do this.
Books, don't know what is current, go to the Ilford website, there is lots there.
See my Blog at http://clickandspin.blogspot.com
The greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years is not digital, it's odourless stop bath....
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I'm sorry, but I think that there are so many better ways of spending two hundred bucks than on a changing bag, tent whatever. For that much you could easily buy a real tent, a lot of opaque fabric and some thread and make yourself a portable darkroom. Patent Pending on that idea, but ill let you use it.
Originally Posted by Denis K
There are reasons to buy a Harrison and those that need them buy them. For starting out, a regular changing bag will work. I use to put a modified card board box inside to keep the cloth from laying on everything inside. I would cut the top off and one side so it was like a bin. Eventually, I got a darkroom and not longer used this bag. After moving I no longer had a darkroom and got out the old changing bag again.
Unfortunately, its rubber coating was dried up and crumbling. So, I went on a quest to replace it. I now could afford to get a better one. Since I wanted to do larger format and wanted a bit more luxury, I purchase a Photoflex. Although it was nice it was a bit insane to set up. I finally decided to buy a Harrison and I have to say, it’s great. I lucked out and got it for $125 from a fellow APUGer who purchased new and never used it.
That said, starting out, a regular changing bag, large as possible, will suffice. A darkroom or a closet would be the best.
The Patterson is the best by far.
Paterson with one 't'.
I've used the Paterson System for 22 years and have no complaints. Hey, the reels are adjustable for 127-film too.
I have quite a collection of plastic tanks that I've accumulated over the years. Among them are a couple of Paterson tanks, and these are really very good. They fill and drain quickly; the reels are easy to load and of good quality construction. I recommend them. With a minimum of care, they will last practically forever.