A little money saving tip if you make square prints from your medium format. If you have a rotary trimmer in your darkroom, you can take the spare 2" X 8" strip off the end of 8" x 10" sheets before exposure and use it for your test strip. That way you get a 20% saving in paper. Also, if you make contact prints before printing you can get a feel for the difference between negs on the same film so that once you have a good exposure for one, you can get a fair idea for the others.
Only powdered developers? Do they also make you drink powdered wine and scotch?
Originally Posted by ghinson
I think someone is pulling your leg with the "Homeland Security" ruse. There are certain chemicals that are on the restricted list for air transport into the U.S., and there is probably a separate, potentially more restrictive, no-no list for the U.S. Post Office. AFAIK, both of these sets of restrictions existed long before Homeland Security was created. If UPS does deliveries onto the island (once a day via ferry?), you should have no problem with liquid developers, I'd guess. Even if so, I'd probably opt for an occasional ferry trip with the car to the mainland to stock up from a mainland dealer.
The most convenient and economical print developer I've found around here is ½ liter bottles of Agfa Multicontrast developer ($2.50/bottle @ B&H, my local dealer sells it for $2.09). Half the bottle makes enough mix for an 11x14 tray and a typical printing session. The remainder lasts long enough to not oxidize in the bottle before the next darkroom session. Larger bottles might be less expensive per ounce, but risk wastage due to in-bottle oxidation.
Like Gene, I prefer to make full-sheet "test strips" so I can see the entire image area and use the test sheet info for devising a dodge/burn plan. I vary the placement and angle of the "blocker sheet" based on the content of the image, so the transition lines between exposure segments don't get hidden by elements in the image. But, I also cut a few sheets in half for localized, "fine tuning" test strips.
About a year ago I bought an enlarging meter from RH Designs in the UK - a ZoneMaster II. It provides both exposure and contrast grade info, along with other features, so the first test print is in the ball park. It's a little pricey (£150), but well worth it.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
I think Ethol LPD can beat the economics. $8.49 for powder to make a gallon of working, which comes out to $1.12/per ½ liter. Then I further dilute it to 1:4, 1:8 for processing prints. I use 2 oz of the working per session of it if I am making 5x7s or smaller, and 6oz if I'm working in an 11x14 tray. I think I'll try mixing up a tray from a liter of stock solution that is about a year and half old that I forgot about to see how well it holds.
Originally Posted by rbarker
I agree with everything Ann said.
And have fun.
If you have access to someone who you respect their printing, get critiques often. It will probably help your progress.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
I'm not sure what your personal definition of affordable is, but I'm in the same situation you are. I buy Kodak Polycontrast IV RC paper (100 sheets 8x10) for $27.95 on eBay from the seller chambrenoirecan 's store. Here's a link to the paper, they always have this paper in one listing or another: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...853629634&rd=1
B&H sells the same paper for $44.95, so it was a good deal for me. I'm no expert, but the paper seems good to me. It's not fogged, images look nice.
Considering the price, I'm not as conservative when messing around in the darkroom as I was before when paying $15 for 25 sheets of Polymax.
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I just realized they have 8x10 100 sheets of Ilford Multigrade IV RC even cheaper for $23.50:
I placed an order from the above ebay seller for 100 sheets of Ilford MGIV RC in Pearl. I also am watching the seller printingsupplydepot who has 100 sheets of Ilford MG FB Warmtone ranging from $5.00 to $15.00 current bids.