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  1. #1
    Ellenmarie's Avatar
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    Shopping list for start-up chemicals?

    Hi all... I'm fairly new to this forum and have taken the plunge and rented a darkroom. It has all the equipment I need except for the chemicals. I'd love some recommendations for what chemicals I need so that I can use it as a referral for shopping. I plan on both developing and printing and would prefer maybe premixed? Thanks so much for any help!
    [FONT=Book Antiqua]Ellen Marie[/FONT]
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    Hi Ellen Marie !
    If you have to devellop films, stick to old adopted standards :
    Kodak D76 or Ilford ID11 used one shot at 1+1 dilution will set you in the game.
    Use a stop bath from Kodak, Ilford, Tetenal or others.
    For the fixer, Ilford Rapid fixer (used at film strenght and used solely for film, do not re use it for papers) or Kodak brand. Check time of fixing on the box and stick to it. Do not oer use the fixer if you want your negs to keep.
    Use eiter a salad spinning device to expell water from film or a wetting agent either from Kodak or Ilford.
    For papers, try Kodak Dektol or Ilford Universal or PQ universal; the same brand of stop bath and the same fixer, this time at paper dilution.
    Check what brands and type of products are availlable from your nearest dealer. If you go to the "bigs" companies, you can't go wrong.
    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    Ellenmarie, I assume you wish to do B&W?

    It may help if you mention your country as then people may be able to more precisely forward you to available products.

    The amount of material and the type eg:- 35mm or 120 film. Paper sizes you wish to print on?

    Are you thinking of a semi commercial situation, this will influence the amount of raw materials for best buying.

    These questions would be what I would ask someone first, before preparing an answer.

    Mick.

  4. #4

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    Hi Ellen Marie,
    I think for the beginning you would need: a bottle of Rodinal, some Ilford Microphen, maybe some Ilford Ilfosol-S - that's for your films. A bottle of acetic acid or commerical Ilfostop is needed, also some rapid-style fixer (Ilford indeed makes one, but I forgot the name - there's plenty of other choices, though). Some wetting agent is very important (I use Ilfotol). Now to paper developers: Ilford P-Q Universal is quite adequate for most papers, as I can understand. But the choice of paper developer depends on your own preferences - you can try some and see what on do you like the most in term of final picture tone. My list is hugely inclined towards Ilford - there is of course many other fine suppliers, but Ilford's chemistry never failed in my hands, and it should be available in your shops.

    Cheers from Moscow, Zhenya

  5. #5
    Ellenmarie's Avatar
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    Thanks so much! This helps. And sorry.. guess I should have given more details. I'm in the USA and use 35mm and 120mm film - B&W. Plan on printing up to 11x14. Also this will be more for my fine art work. I don't think I have time to develop/print all my wedding work although I was thinking of doing some of the prints that are ordered.

    But I think I can get started now!
    [FONT=Book Antiqua]Ellen Marie[/FONT]
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  6. #6
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    If you are renting a darkroom, keep it simple. Stick with liquid products because they are easy to mix and don't usually require an intermediate stock solution (more bottles to keep track of).

    Try to use one-shot chemicals that you mix at home in quantities that you need for each session. For fixer, use quick fixers to cut down on time if nothing else. Also, if you are just starting use RC paper which is a much faster process and will therefore cost you less rental fees.

    Use a foldable cart with a milk crate or something like that so you always have the same chemical bottles organized and easily transportable (I assume you don't want to store the liquid concentrates in the rental darkroom.

    For chemicals consider:

    [COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Kodak HC 110[/COLOR] for film (goodshelf life)
    [COLOR=Red]Kodak 28% acetic acid[/COLOR] for stop bath
    [COLOR=DarkSlateGray]Ilford Hypam fixer[/COLOR] (it is the cheapest rapid fixer I have found)
    [COLOR=Green]Heico PermaWash[/COLOR] (a liquid equivalent of Hypo Clearing Agent)
    [COLOR=Indigo]Edwal Ultrablack[/COLOR] for paper (shelf life is not that great so use the small bottles or try Ilford/Kodak equivalents)

    By the way, a Jobo MiniLight safelight might be useful for you. You can wear it like a necklace and use it like a safe flashlight when need be.

    I would think that if you rent a darkroom then you really need to get your workflow established and keep things simple.
    Jerold Harter MD

  7. #7
    Ole
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    You don't really need stop bath, so you can simplify by skipping that.

    If you can get Ansco 130 paper developer, that's next to everlasting. Works great even when it's so old it's coffee-coloured.

    One shot film developer: Lots of choices, lots of discussions right here.

    Separate fix for film and paper - these are not single shot.

    HCA or similar clearing agent is not necessary with an alkaline fixer.

    Some kind of wetting agent for films is generally a good idea. I don't use it (very pure tap water = no drying marks), but on the few occasions I've needed it I've used a fraction of a drop of liquid dishwashing soap in lots of water.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  8. #8
    Ellenmarie's Avatar
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    I can store my chemicals in the darkroom. It's a private one I rent monthly with unlimited use at any time so that's very good. But a good workflow would definitely be a welcome thing and simple is always good! Thanks!
    [FONT=Book Antiqua]Ellen Marie[/FONT]
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  9. #9
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellenmarie
    I can store my chemicals in the darkroom. It's a private one I rent monthly with unlimited use at any time so that's very good. But a good workflow would definitely be a welcome thing and simple is always good! Thanks!
    For work-flow, you can use that shown in the Ilford documents " PROCESSING YOUR FIRST B&W FILM" and "MAKING YOUR FIRST B&W PRINT", both in PDF form here (http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/bw.html). Kodak has similar documents on its site too somewhere. It's all standard stuff.

    The only suggestion I would add to the ones above is to buy low odour indicator stop bath and rapid fixer as these are the ones that really pong... developer does not normally smell very strongly. Tetenal and Fotospeed produce them, amongst others.

    Have fun! Bob.

  10. #10

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    For just starting out, I recommend sticking with one chemistry supplier -- that is, all Kodak, all Ilford, or whatever. The reason is that there are sometimes inconsistencies and gaps in instructions when you mix-and-match brands, leaving you scratching your head -- should you follow A's instructions or B's? Sticking with one supplier should help reduce confusion in an endeavor that's likely to be confusing enough when you just get started. Once you've got your sea legs, so to speak, you'll be better able to mix brands, since you'll have a better idea of what function everything performs, why things are timed the way they are, etc. With that knowledge you'll be able to fill in the gaps and resolve inconsistencies in instructions.

    For specific products, I'd say to pick a popular general-purpose developer. Don't get too hung up on this choice, though; among mainstream developers, differences are pretty subtle, at least for a beginner. Getting something popular means you'll be better able to get help if something goes wrong. FWIW, Kodak's D-76 (which is virtually identical to Ilford's ID-11) is reputed to be the most popular film developer, but others that have been mentioned in this thread are also quite popular, so you'd be safe with any of them. Once you've picked a developer, buy the rest of the chemistry from the same outfit. For a print developer, Kodak's Dektol is quite popular, but Ilford and others also make popular products. Note that stop bath and fixer can be the same for both film and paper. (Hypo clear, too, if you use it with paper -- it's helpful for fiber-based papers but is generally not needed for resin-coated papers.)

    One more comment: Agfa (maker of Rodinal film developer and the Neutol line of paper developers) has recently gone under. A company called (IIRC) A&O has bought up the rights to Agfa chemistry and will reportedly be manufacturing it. Agfa products are currently in short supply and so aren't a good choice at this time, simply because they'll be hard to find and even if you find some, you might not be able to find more if you use your first batch up quickly.

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