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  1. #1

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    Off on my own again.

    I went back to college (Non traditional student) to a tech college with an absolutely amazing photography program, along with a state of the art (New in '03) lab with B&W, large format and color facilities. My only problem is, I graduate in May and I'm off to finish my BA at a college with no darkroom access for the program I'm entering.

    I have come to realize, during my time back in school, that I am at heart a very analog photographer. I really don't see myself giving up Tri-X and HP5 or my film gear (35mm to 4X5) for digital anytime soon. So I'm in the process of once again setting up my improvised darkroom.

    I found my Omega B-66 from I collected 15+ years ago, and one timer I bought at a flea market, found my ancient Kodak safelight. My trays, and I fear my good timer vanished just after my developer ate through the re-purposed bottle I was using and damaged my parents bathroom floor....and some downstairs walls. I think those are a decade+ deep in a landfill somewhere. Dad was not pleased.

    It was a pretty primitive setup, back in the day, two horrid lenses epoxied into home made lens holders by the Omega's previous owner. the longer of which is missing, along with the 120 negative carrier.

    I might have a chance to get an ancient Omega from the school (it was a donation) that can handle 4X5, it's either a DII or an early D2. The flower of 40's technology, but if I want to print from 4X5 I'll have to make it work.

  2. #2

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    Sounds good to me. Old DIIs are not bad at all says the man who used to own one or 2 along the way. Sounds like dear old dad will be happy that you are not doing it in his house this time around. Good luck, Don

  3. #3
    agnosticnikon's Avatar
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    Congrats on your current endeavors! I don't have anything against digital imaging per se, and I know some photographers like it because it "frees them from the drudgery of darkroom work". I like working in a wet darkroom, it's relaxing (well most of the time). I have been using Omega enlargers for about 40 years, starting with a model B-3. I still have it in the attic with rotted out bellows. I've used other enlargers over the years, but finally settled on a pair of Omegas. A B-8 with an Omega "flying saucer" cold light head, and a D-2 with both the cold light head and condenser heads. I leave the condenser head on the D-2 almost all the time, as I can print everything from 35mm to 4x5 with it, using the smaller condenser sets. I really like using the B-8 with the cold light head though, depending on the type of negative I'm working with, and it prints up to 6x9.
    As with most things, it's what you get used to and what works best for you.
    But I will admit that I still own a Beseler 23c II that's in storage. It is easier to use in some ways, and there is plenty of used equipment out there that's easier to find than some of the Omega stuff. But I just can't pry myself away from the old B-8 with the cold light.
    Good luck with the darkroom and enjoy yourself!

  4. #4
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    I use an old DII condenser model for 4x5 and it works good and is compact. Good luck!

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  5. #5

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    I stared on a D2 in high school.
    Then I got for myself a Durst M600 MF enlarger. This has kept me going for 40 years.
    Then I got the bug again. I am in the process of upgrading my setup and building a new darkroom. This time with a 4x5 enlarger.

    If you are going back to school, you probably do not have the space for a big or permanent setup. For practicality, I would settle for what you can rig in your new place. My Durst M600 could be packed away into its box between uses, so it was convenient in a small apartment. A friend has her enlarger on a microwave cart, that she can roll into the bathroom. But that cart has to stay someplace when not in use, so it is less convenient for storage than my M600 packed in its box. But it is FASTER to setup and go since it is not packed away, just pull off the dust cover. Trade-offs.

    You can rebuild the B66 or upgrade to a C series (for 6x7). Good 50 and 80mm lenses are fairly inexpensive, less than $50 each.

    gud luk

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ac12 View Post
    I stared on a D2 in high school.
    Then I got for myself a Durst M600 MF enlarger. This has kept me going for 40 years.
    Then I got the bug again. I am in the process of upgrading my setup and building a new darkroom. This time with a 4x5 enlarger.

    If you are going back to school, you probably do not have the space for a big or permanent setup. For practicality, I would settle for what you can rig in your new place. My Durst M600 could be packed away into its box between uses, so it was convenient in a small apartment. A friend has her enlarger on a microwave cart, that she can roll into the bathroom. But that cart has to stay someplace when not in use, so it is less convenient for storage than my M600 packed in its box. But it is FASTER to setup and go since it is not packed away, just pull off the dust cover. Trade-offs.

    You can rebuild the B66 or upgrade to a C series (for 6x7). Good 50 and 80mm lenses are fairly inexpensive, less than $50 each.

    gud luk

    Thanks, I should have rephrased "Off to" a little differently, I'll be commuting to a different college. I'm clearing out a corner of my basement for the darkroom. Running water will be the biggest challenge. I've got a watch list going on e-bay for 50 and 80mm lenses.

  7. #7

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    RT
    One alternative is to develop in trays, then after the fix put the prints into water or a tray of hypo clear.
    Then when are you are done, take the prints upstairs to a sink where you would have a washer setup.
    That is how it is done at my local college. Washing is a separate process outside the darkroom.

    This way you only need chemical in jugs, dilution/rinse water in jugs, and a bucket to dump the used chemicals into.

  8. #8
    M Carter's Avatar
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    For water supply in your basement, look into PEX tubing. If you're at all handy with plumbing, it's a great way to run temporary water. It's easy to work with, no soldering, and inexpensive - there's a crimping tool that can be $50-$100 but many big-box stores rent them. Or see if you can find anyone somewhat versed in DIY home repair that may know how to do it.

    For drains, the nice thing about a darkroom is it's all sinks (vs. toilets and tubs which need plumbing run under the floor). If you have a floor drain, you may be able to run some PVC to it, or if your plumbing cleanout is accessible, you can take out the plug and screw in an adapter to run a drain pipe.

    I made a big wash sink with an underbed plastic storage box and some drain parts and washers. $25 or so.

    None of that would pass a code inspection, but you may not be into permanently altering your house for a darkroom - so temporary plumbing could be fine.

    I'm amazed weekly at what's available on the used market - some beautiful gear's out there. It almost makes me sad... almost!

  9. #9

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    D2 and DII are completely usable. Old, yes, but very VERY well made. I have both of them in my darkroom. I actually prefer DII (older) model so that's what I use for every print I produce.

    Parts are plentiful and cheap, too.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #10
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Tractors View Post
    . . . Running water will be the biggest challenge. . . .
    No challenge at all. Half of the six darkrooms set up for myself over many years have had no running water. Gallon milk jugs stored water in the room, and stabilized at the same temperature as chemicals and trays. A bucket carried waste water and chemicals to a drain. When good darkroom water conservation is practiced, fairly little water is required.

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