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  1. #1

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    starting

    Hi all,


    I would just like some hints on how to start thing off with using a darkroom. I never used one or had any instruction on how to either.

    There seems to be a lot of enlargers out there at different prices…I am looking at a Nikon 6x7 maybe with nikkor lenses, is this a good enough one?

    Any links to useful articles or threads?

    What’s the difference between a color and BW enlarger?

  2. #2

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    Hi Alexis, it might be helpful to first read a little. There are some good books which will go through the basics, explaining the different types of enlargers, what equipment you need to get started etc. I'd really recommend this as a first step. It will simplify things substantially, help you organize, and you'll be in a better position to start collecting your gear. Of course along the way you can ask lots of questions on here but I just figure it will be less confusing if you first get some of the basics down from a good book. You'll get a lot of opinions and personal experiences in the forums but it is much easier to sort all that out after some relatively easy reading. Even something as straight forward as the Time Life books (at most libraries) would be a great start.

    Michael
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 03-16-2012 at 01:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Michael.

  4. #4
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    Color enlargers have adjustments for each color channel built into the light head instead of having to use corrective filters below the lens.

    I don't recommend starting off using color printing, or a color enlarger.

    For medium Format I highly recommend a Beseler 23C. They are sturdy, extremely well made, easy to find parts for, and a fantastic machine. The El-Nikkor enlarging lenses are superb, but so are the Rodenstock enlarging lenses.

    I also concur that looking through ancient photography books lin libraries is a good thing to do, I did this when I taught myself film developing. Nothing much has changed with regards to the basics so the information there should all be relevant, with exceptions being of course, product recommendations, or chemical that may no longer be made by the manufacturer.

    For paper, if you don't already have a preference, I would start off using Ilford Multigrade IV RC. It's a great all around paper.

    PS, Welcome to Apug!
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

  5. #5
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    How about a Durst Graduate enlarger? Very simple and a good enlarger to learn with.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Hello Alexis and welcome to the dark side. EASmith is pretty straight on. Getting what you need depends on where you are in the world, in the states the Beselar 23C is a super enlarger that should last your lifetime, and Omegas are awesome as well. Anywhere else in the world, there are many other options including Dursts. I have given away several Beselar machines in the last couple of years, and still have more to go.
    BTW, my cousin has a daughter named Alexis M.--you aren't from north central Pa. are you?
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  7. #7

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    I agree with Rick and Micheal. Asking which lens or enlarger is quite a bit premature at this stage.

    There is a great book by Barbara London and John Upton, titled "Photography". It's quite an expensive book if you buy new but since it is often used as a college textbook for photography courses, old editions are available quite cheap. (I bought mine for 25 cents!) I highly recommend it. It gives you a very good overview of the process with enough details from start to the end.

    You might want to find a club or an art school with darkrooms before trying to setup one of your own. Or - depending on where you are, one of APUG member may be able to show you his/hers. If you are in Central Florida, you are welcome to come see mine.

    I think it's important to learn the basics first. Many of us here have been doing this for years - in some cases, for decades. We all have tweaked our process to our liking. It may be more confusing for you to try to piece together a working process from many individual processes.

    Often, the choice of enlarger starts with what's available in your area. Mine is Omega D2 and DII. I bought one for 40 dollars and the other one was free. I picked up nice Nikkor lens locally and on APUG classified. My suggestion would be to read and investigate local availability first.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #8
    winger's Avatar
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    You might want to find a club or an art school with darkrooms before trying to setup one of your own. Or - depending on where you are, one of APUG member may be able to show you his/hers. If you are in Central Florida, you are welcome to come see mine.
    And if you post your location, you might get other offers. If you're near SW PA, I'd be happy to show you the basics. I also like the Beseler 23C, and you can frequently find them on Craigslist in the US.

  9. #9
    ROL
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    If you're new to the darkroom, it would probably be best to take an introductory class, if possible. Or travel to a workshop, though I seldom recommend them, if necessary. Darkrooms can be confusing and complex for the uninitiated.

    I've written a series of introductory techniques articles, which you may find occasionally useful as you progress, but they are undoubtedly insufficient in their breadth for your needs at this time. I add to them as the spirit moves me.

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Hi Alexis - welcome to APUG and the wonderful world of the darkroom.

    All the advice above is good. I'll add a book recommendation: Henry Horenstein's "Black & White Photography - A Basic Manual"

    And two links:

    1) Kodak: http://wwwtr.kodak.com/global/en/pro...bs/aj3/aj3.pdf

    2) Ilford: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=9

    You can also look up ROL, one of the members here. He has a number of useful materials on his website.

    The Kodak and Ilford materials referred to in the above links are good (where still available) but you aren't limited to them - there is still choice available.

    The "Nikon 6x7" you refer to may actually be a "Nikor 6x7" enlarger. I think you might find it hard to source parts and accessories for it.

    EDIT: looks like ROL beat me to it

    PS have fun!
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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