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  1. #21

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    I used to have a nice dedicated darkroom. Now I only have a walk-in closet and a small bathroom. It can be done. My first darkroom was nothing more than a bathroom. The enlarger sat on the toilet, trays were in the bathtub.

    I use a rolling cart now and sit on a stool. I still keep the trays in the bathtub. The enlarger advice was sound. I use an Omega C700 and find it to be an absolute piece of junk. Atleast compared to an Omega DII.

    It can be done, absolutely. Convenience, bells and whistles, etc. will probably make it not so cheap.

  2. #22

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    Check with local photo stores or any camera clubs about swap meets or photo equipment excanges in the area. Usually the prices are the same or less then you would find on Ebay, you save on shipping and you can see and touch the gear. A couple of years ago I bought a whole darkroom for about $150 for a friend's kid. Included a Lietz Focomat 35mm enlarger with a Focar lens, neg carrier and easel, gralab timer, developing tanks, safe light, and trays. IIRC it even included enough chemistry to get a good start.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  3. #23
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    I used to have a darkroom/bathroom combo in my 1 bedroom apartment. I had a Beseler 23C which I put on top of a wheeled cart from IKEA (take a look and see what they're offering now...they often have bar carts or other such items quite cheap that are the perfect size), and then had a Nova 16x20 vertical slot processor which sat on the bottom shelf of the cart when not in use. The slot processor is a really neat concept, but quite pricey if you buy one. It takes up less space than a single tray of the largest size the processor will accommodate (ie, a 16x20 processor has a smaller footprint than a single 16x20 tray). If you have an interest in building one, I can send you designs for how to build one out of Lucite for a fraction of the cost of a pre-made one.

    When printing, I could wheel the entire kit into the bathroom, put the slot processor on the toilet seat, my wash tray in the tub, and then print up to 16x20 in a space not much bigger than David Goldfarb's. The Beseler 23C is a tank, to be sure, but once you have it on the cart, it's pretty manageable. You could also look at a lesser model in their lineup if the weight is a real issue- I think they make one that they call the 67, which is a smaller, single-column enlarger that weighs probably half what the 23C does. The advantage to the 23C (above and beyond the weight, which makes it quite stable when printing larger sizes) is that Beseler has been making them for close to 50 years in one form or another, so there are TONS of accessories out there for them, like lensboards and negative carriers, and unless you insist on buying them brand new, most are quite inexpensive.

    One thing that nobody here has yet touched on in regards to darkroom setup is: your enlarger lens.

    This is the one thing you should NOT try to skimp on. Just as you wouldn't put bad glass on your camera, don't put bad glass on your enlarger. Look for a modern, six element, Nikon, Rodenstock or Schneider lens (for 35mm enlarging, an El-Nikkor 50mm f2.8 is a very nice lens that can be had for a very reasonable price). Just about everything else you can get away with cutting corners.

  4. #24
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    And these days, enlarging lenses are so cheap you don't have to skimp.

    If you're interested in printing big occasionally, what I do is use trays for sizes up to 11x14" usually (though I do have trays for 16x20 that I'll drag out occasionally) and print drums with a Uniroller for larger sizes.

    Another handy thing that I recommend is to get a couple of retractible clotheslines like they have in hotels for hanging film or other things that need to dry. You can usually find them at a hardware store.

    An office supply should have some rubber coated racks for sorting letters--these are really useful when you have lots of small RC prints to dry, for instance when you join the APUG Postcard Exchange and find that you need to print 40 postcards.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    One thing that nobody here has yet touched on in regards to darkroom setup is: your enlarger lens.

    This is the one thing you should NOT try to skimp on. Just as you wouldn't put bad glass on your camera, don't put bad glass on your enlarger. Look for a modern, six element, Nikon, Rodenstock or Schneider lens (for 35mm enlarging, an El-Nikkor 50mm f2.8 is a very nice lens that can be had for a very reasonable price). Just about everything else you can get away with cutting corners.
    Note that most manufacturers have at least two "grades" of lens. Often one uses a 4-element design and another uses a better 6-element design. Schneider and Rodenstock distinguish these by model names (names ending in "-on" are the 6-element designs and those ending in "-ar" are the 4-element designs), but Nikon doesn't. If you get the Nikon el-Nikkor 50mm, be sure it's the f/2.8 model; the f/4 model is the 4-element design and isn't as good.

  6. #26
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    I'm moving to a smaller place this weekend and will be setting up in the only bathroom there. What are your concerns about chemical contamination of the sink or tub surfaces? How do you clean the tub after spilling chemicals in it or dumping them into the sink?

    Bryan
    Little Rock, AR

  7. #27
    glbeas's Avatar
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    A little soap and plenty of water. Flush it down good. Most photochemicals only stain if allowed to sit and dry. Good housekeeping to prevent the mess is the best solution.
    Gary Beasley

  8. #28

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    You might keep an eye out for a Czech made Meopta Axomat or Opemus enlarger. They compact into a suitcase and are durable and their Anaret lenses are very good. While Nova slot processors can be pricey, they did make one simple version for up to 8X10 that consisted of 3 troughs that sat separately in a simple base. I've seen a few very cheap on eBay($30). Good luck.

  9. #29
    glbeas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post

    An office supply should have some rubber coated racks for sorting letters--these are really useful when you have lots of small RC prints to dry, for instance when you join the APUG Postcard Exchange and find that you need to print 40 postcards.
    And to top that, I used to use the top rack in my old dishwasher to dry RC prints in, just left it hanging open while they dried. It even worked well for 8x10 prints if arranged carefully.
    Gary Beasley

  10. #30
    AgCl4ever's Avatar
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    I am in the midst of doing the same dark/bathroom thing. I am using battens (1x2 boards) fastened to the walls to hold a 30 inch wide piece of melamine covered medium density fiberboard over the toilet that sits there from wall to wall and can be removed when the room returns to ordinary bathroom status, to take the enlarger. A piece of melamine board over the tub provides space for trays.

    Ken

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