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  1. #1

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    reasonable time in the darkroom

    Hello Friends,

    How much time spent in a darkroom would you say is reasonable in order to get a good 8x10 print? Assume that I have good negatives that print well on standard MG fiber-based paper. Also, assume that I'm making appropriate test strips for each print and that I dodge and burn only modestly. (please, no jokes about assuming - just go with it;-)

    Obviously, this is different for every individual, but I'd like to compare my time and, possibly, efficiency.

    Thanks!

    - rwreich

  2. #2
    zsas's Avatar
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    Lets work backwards....
    Wash 15mins
    5 prints or so till I get it right - 50 mins
    2 test strips 20 mins
    Setup 20 mins

    1.5 hours min probably. That's a clean-perfect neg...
    Andy

  3. #3

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    Thanks Andy - that's kinda what I was hoping you (or somebody) would say. I'm also thinking that after the setup is done, it's about an hour for each good print after that.

    Does that sound about right?

  4. #4

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    I take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 months. My wash setup is in garage so it is not included in this time estimate.

    Even with good negative, it takes me quite a while to get the contrast right and density right. With modestly complex manipulation, it can easily run more than a day to get it right.

    I don't care about efficiency If I'm printing on fiber, it is a good image that deserve to be printed to my satisfaction. So I take my time and do it over-and-over until I am satisfied with the result.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5

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    tkamiya - I appreciate that, I really do. I understand exactly what you mean about "printed to my satisfaction." I doubt, though, that I can afford to be such a perfectionist. I'm trying to assess just how much I'm spending in this endeavor and that includes money and time in the darkroom away from my young kids and family. I'm all for achieving the best possible, but I can't lose sight of what is reasonable.

  6. #6

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    rwreich: I don't think it can do any good for you to compare your time spent, or the number of sheets of paper or whatever other quantitative yardstick to other peoples' habits. Comparing methods, procedures and techniques can be of value, and this kind of learning may help you discover ways of becoming more efficient in the darkroom if that is a goal. But in the end if it takes you longer than someone else, who cares?

  7. #7

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    Well, Michael, it may not matter if it takes me longer. I understand that this is an individual pursuit and that this thread is really only about a ballpark guess. That's fine with me and I am grateful for your input.

    My thought is related to a value-judgement about how much a good print is worth and how to account for time-spent in the final ledger. If I want to sell a print, and I don't want to come up short or over-sell, then I need to know how to compare my time with some type of average.

  8. #8
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    First print about 1 hour, later other prints from same film strip are going little faster - if I use same paper and same size. But my prints are far from what can be called fine art print - I am satisfied with imperfections on my prints when I do it for me only.
    When I am doing it for somebody else - double the time.

  9. #9
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Andy's estimate is spot on for me. The trick is what your workflow is. I prefer to print a work print (right contrast and exposure, maybe some obvious burn and dodge) and live with it for a while.....put it in my office, darkroom or some other place I see it regularly. Then I decide how I want to print it as a final print, I do that probably at a larger size. You are much better to put out 4 amazing prints per year than 40 OK prints so don't feel any time pressure. If you don't have enough time in one session, that is OK.
    Your first 10,000 pictures are the worst - HCB

    www.markjamesfisher.com

  10. #10
    zsas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwreich View Post
    Thanks Andy - that's kinda what I was hoping you (or somebody) would say. I'm also thinking that after the setup is done, it's about an hour for each good print after that.

    Does that sound about right?
    Generally. I usually only have 2 hrs to print so, if the neg is easy I can maybe get it done (8x10 only) in that 2 hr block. But hard negs and larger prints take multiple 1.5-2hr sessions.

    Helico Perma wash is a life saver....
    Andy

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