Please help with a darkroom checklist
For the past few years I've been developing my own negatives and scanning. I've decided that I want to go back to manual printing. Because it's been a long time since I printed I want to know if I've considered everything. I got a Leica V35 enlarger with a vario-contrast head that I'm really excited about and the rest of my darkroom equipment was stolen out of a warehouse so I have repurchase everything but the enlarger. Please examine this list and point out anything I've forgotten. Thank you.
Black out material
Safelight compatible with Adox fiber mcc 110 VC paper. Amber OC?
Easel (4 blade 11x14)
Chemistry? I'm just going to get the Adox brand and to support their company because I like that they're producing the old Agfa material.
Trays for developer, stop, fix, wash, tone
Print washer 11x14
Air evac bottles (five two liter) Are these the best size?
Spotting kit? Best one?
I would sincerely appreciate any advice on these items. I hate to buy things twice. I want to start printing as soon as I get these things and I don't want to leave anything out.
What size trays did you get?
I went through iterations with my developer storages. My current working method is to mix 1 gallon of D-76 but store half of it in 1/2 gallon tank and rest in a bunch of 250cc bottles. That way, I can always keep them air tight and air free. You can buy these cheaply at Amazon...
For spotting, I just went through Berg kit and Spotone kit. I had better lack with the latter in terms of color matching with Ilford paper. You do need a very good and tiny brushes for spotting.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I haven't purchased any of this stuff yet but in your question (Jeff) I realized that I should get (11x14) trays to accommodate 8x10 inch prints and a 16x20 print washer that can handle 8x10's side by side to save water because the sound of water running will be a problem.
Thanks for the advice on the Spotone kit. I have some excellent brushes already and a steady hand.
Anything else I've missed?
Fixer test solution & negative storage system if you don't have the means to now
Means to trim paper for test exposures (can be as simple as a ruler or scissors; scissors are good for lots of oter things as long as no sharp ends)
Non absorptive tongs, if you can find them, for handling prints in trays; critical if toning.
Means for drying (clothes pegs on line or screens or blotters)
Flattening option if FB - (large books and matte board)
I mix from scratch, so I usually store developers in 1L or smaller glass containers; the rest goes in well labelled empty 2L soda bottles. The air evacs I think are a waste of time; store diluted developer in a 2L pop bottle , and squeeze the bottle until the air is out.
my real name, imagine that.
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I do not see a paper safe on your list. A MUST for any working darkroom.
Given enough room, I would also invest in a second safelight, one in the vicinity of the enlarger and one near the trays, unless you can rig one in between the two stations. But you should have wet and dry seperated so two would be best as you won't cast a shadow on either side and be able to see your work better.
I would get a GraLab timer. The big black box. It is an awesome timer and, at times, can be picked up on the cheap here or there. But well worth the investment new if need be.
And a nice comfortable stool, both in regards to perching oneself and for working height as well.
In another thread( http://camerazealot.com/2011/01/24/c...subscribe-blog) I read about glass bottles as a solution where the author says he uses glass marbles to evacuate the air, sounds like a good idea but it might be a pain. I can't find the air evac bottles in stock anyway, so I may be using pop bottles. I forgot about a paper safe. My local photo store has a GraLab timer for sale for 17 dollars so I'm on it.
Are fixer test chemicals necessary with fixer that have indicators?
Do you intend to store long term or one shot your chems? If you intend to keep it on the shelf for any amount of time and reuse then hypo testing would be highly recommended.
Another idea might be some test wedges or sheets so you can save time on your paper exposing.
And I know you know this, but 4-6 bamboo tongs would work as well. It's not on your list but sometimes we overlook the little things.
And a place to stow some decent music when your in there and not concerned with timing so much, like set up and clean up.
OH! OH! OH! Almost forgot. I use little baby medicine droppers for dispensing chemistry into solution. They are marked, generally in cc/mL and being small as they are fit into almost anything. And get a good graduated cylinder (11 ounce or so) and a kitchen mixing cup (32 oz).
I would avoid the air evacuation bottles - not very effective (they tend to leak air) and very difficult to clean.
Developer is fairly susceptible to oxidation. The rest of the chemicals aren't, so generally I would say that you needn't worry about marbles or anything similar unless you are mixing up large batches of developer, and trying to keep them for a long time.
Instead, I recommend mixing all chemistry and then splitting them into smaller bottles, as tkamiya has suggested above. Plastic will work fine for most chemistry - if you want to use amber glass you can, but remember that amber glass breaks and is hard to see through.
Personally, I use a combination of systems:
1) I use liquid concentrate developer (Kodak Polymax-T for paper and HC110 for film). I dilute it from concentrate (which keeps for months) and use it one shot;
2) I use liquid concentrate stop-bath. I dilute it from concentrate (which keeps forever) and use it one shot;
3) I use (Ilford) liquid concentrate fixer. For paper, I dilute it from concentrate (which keeps for months) and use it one shot. For film, I mix up working solution and store it in re-used empties of the 1 litre Ilford bottles that the concentrate comes in;
4) The only powder chemistry I use regularly is Hypo Clearing Agent and Selenium toner. For them I re-use plastic bottles originally designed for tomato/clamato juice for working strength storage;
5) For Rapid Selenium Toner, I leave the concentrate in the bottle supplied by the manufacturer (it keeps for a long time) and use the tomato/clamato juice bottles to store working strength solutions.
Hope this helps.
“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
A thermometer might be useful...