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  1. #1
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    Darkroom 101: Second Round.

    I'm going to get an enlarger if it kills me, so now I need some other things. I put an ad up in the classifieds for darkroom printing supplies, but I want to make sure that I don't miss anything and ask for some advice.

    Is a print washer necessary or can I do without one for low volume printing?

    If I plan to do prints that are anywhere from 5x7 to 11x14 in size, should I get trays or go with tanks for developing the prints?

    What is the best paper/developer combination for a beginner?

    And any other advice you can give me, especially on lenses, would be good. I'm starting on a journey...and what a journey it will be.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  2. #2
    Ole
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    1: Print washer is not necessary. I've gone for 30 years without using one. I have one now, but no place to put it...

    2: Trays are easier. With very large prints you can do it with one single tray - develop, pour off developer, pour in stop (or water), pour off, pour in fixer, et cetera. With smaller trays it's more convenient to have at least three.

    3: Any combination should be good. I'll recommend starting with a good variable contrast paper, like Ilford MG IV RC. That does well in any developer.

    Lenses are a whole different subject, especially with the low second-hand prices now. If you were buying new I'd recommend Meopta Anaret-S; but a second-hand Componon or Rodagon can be had for about the same.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  3. #3
    arigram's Avatar
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    Is a print washer necessary or can I do without one for low volume printing?
    Do you use a lot or only FB? Then it might be a good idea. I use mostly RC and only do a rare print in FB now and then so I haven't had a need for one (especially since I can't find one).

    If I plan to do prints that are anywhere from 5x7 to 11x14 in size, should I get trays or go with tanks for developing the prints?
    With tanks, like the jobo 2800 series you will be able to develop many prints at once but you wouldn't be able to see them being developed (bad for lith) and you would have to roll them all the time (if you lack a jobo rotary processor to do it for you). But you will save on chemicals for the larger prints. Maybe you should start with trays and see how it develops (pun?)...
    What is the best paper/developer combination for a beginner?
    You can't really go wrong with anyone.
    I use Ilford Multigrade as paper and developer and I have been quite satisfied. Sometimes I will use Agfa Neutol WA for warmtone papers. Unlike film developers, paper ones don't have that much difference unless you go for the advanced two-bath ones, warm or color tone ones, etc.

    About lenses.
    I use a Nikon and a Rodenstock Rodagon lens. They are both excellent. Along with Schneider, they form the Top Three. Generally, a five element lens, usually a name that ends with -on is usually of the highest quallity. You wouldn't need an APO(chromatic) one unless you do large prints and especially in color. Take care that the lens covers your format. 50 for 35mm, 80 or 90 for MF and larger for LF. Best apperture is usually two steps from the smallest one.

    The best enlarger timers are made by RH Designs. I couldn't live without an F-Stop timer now that I know how to use it and the Analyser helps a lot. They are bit expensive though, but much better value for money than any other simpler ones.

    Anything else you want to know?
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  4. #4
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by arigram
    ... The best enlarger timers are made by RH Designs. I couldn't live without an F-Stop timer now that I know how to use it and the Analyser helps a lot. They are bit expensive though, but much better value for money than any other simpler ones...
    I don't have an enlarger timer, and I don't have an Analyser. Instead I have a cheap electronic metronome, and sometimes use an Ilford EM-10 exposure meter as "analyser".

    If a metronome was good enough for Ansel Adams, it's good enough for me. Besides - like Ansel, I had one already.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  5. #5
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I don't have a print washer. I usually put my fixed prints in a tray and take them into the bathroom and wash them with my shower set to cold.

    I have often wondered if I could wash them in warm water and if there were any benefits or disadvantages to doing this. If anyone has an answer, please let me know. I am talking about RC paper only.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  6. #6
    Lachlan Young's Avatar
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    Trays - get yourself 4 x 11x14
    Washer - track down a kodak tray siphon & a large tray & some hypo-clear

    Minolta 50mm f4.5, 75mm f4.5, 105mm f4.5 enlarging lenses are outstanding and cheap

    Paper/dev combination - what tonality do you like? I mainly use FB paper as I find it easier to use than RC - just make sure you fix and wash thoroughly!
    Also bear in mind that some papers have much less of a 'dry-down' effect than others - ADOX Fineprint has very little dry-down in my experience and can be persuaded to go from a coolish tone in Fotospeed PD5 to a still neutral but rich tone in Agfa Neutol WA.

    Good luck!

    Lachlan
    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous...got me?" Captain Beefheart

  7. #7
    Lachlan Young's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith
    I don't have a print washer. I usually put my fixed prints in a tray and take them into the bathroom and wash them with my shower set to cold.

    I have often wondered if I could wash them in warm water and if there were any benefits or disadvantages to doing this. If anyone has an answer, please let me know. I am talking about RC paper only.


    Steve.
    According to my bottle of Fotospeed wash aid you can get away with a wash of only 5-10 minutes after hypo clearing if you use 20c or warmer water. If your water is non temperature controlled then the bottle says to give 20 minutes for DW paper.

    Hope this helps,

    Lachlan
    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous...got me?" Captain Beefheart

  8. #8

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    For B&W get trays. Get some extra for washing in.

    For colour get drums.

  9. #9
    ann
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    go to ilford's website they have several goood pdf files that will be helpful , one lists materials and equipment necessary.

    get a good book, Les' comes to mind , or Larry Bartlett's book on printing, or both.
    they will be good references for you since my sense is you don't have anyone to work with one on one .

    a tray siphon is nice, but you can also use the soak and dump method for washing.

    ilford MC RC paper would be a good place to start, and you will get a wide variety of answers of which developer. We use LPD, long shelve life and by varing the ratio you can control the warmth, or coolness .
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  10. #10

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    I use one of these for print washing & it seems to work well if not overloaded with prints. Fairly cheap too.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

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