ok, let me re-ask the question
I am building a darkroom and I am doing the framing Monday and need to know if 8x12 will work or do I need 10x12. I will be doing 4x5 negs and want to print at least 16x20 and maybe 30" prints.
Please advise current darkroom owners, as I really need advice here.
I need to make a decision but because I never owned a darkroom before I am not sure as to the size I am going to need. I have worked in many darkrooms but I never really thought about the dimensions.
My thinking is bigger is better. Although 8x12 would work, it would be handy that extra space.
If it does not add much to the cost of construction, I would go with the 10x12.
"it’s so easy to get famous now. Have a big butt and an Instagram account."...Naomi Grossman
I've never worked in a darkroom that was too big.
As a person who has built things too small before I would opt for the added two feet. I do not own a darkroom but have worked in ones that were too small and one that was spacious. The spacious one was about 10x12 and it was very, very pleasant to work in. I did 16x20's on a regular basis and the space was really nice. Trust me you will fill the space you build.
Mark's first law of space. If it is there it will be used.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
With all the darkrooms I've used I have never found any darkroom to be too big, so my advice would be if you have the choice go for 10x12. Also the squarer the area for me the more comfortable it feels for moving around.
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Bottom line: More is Better. Regardless of neg size more room is better than less room. Whatever your constraints are, go for the maximum space. People process in in bathrooms, closets, under the kitchen table and I know of one woman who used to use a goat shed in Calif. until she built a "real" one. My first darkroom was 5'X11' which was not nearly enough room so my present one is 9X10 (55 SqFt to 90 SqFt) and it is not big enough - my point is whatever it is, it won't be big enough.
Originally Posted by kjsphoto
Go with the larger size. Because of my basement's configuration, I have an 8'x8' darkroom - talk about cozy. I wish it were larger, but... that's life for now.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
My darkroom is 20 x 10 and I could still use extra length, the width is more than adequate. I have a wet side and a dry side with a 3ft aisle down the centre that saves a lot of walking back and forth for after I've done the work at the enlarger I just turn around and the wet bench is inches away. I would also encourage you to think carefully about the height of the wet bench. I decided the height of mine by working out the best height for me to lean comfortably on when I'm rocking trays. If you are over 6ft a low wet bench will cause backache. I also have a 2" x 2" leaning rail fixed along the full length of the wet bench and have found it very useful in preventing sore elbows. The roof does not have the traditional upside down " V " peak, the highest point is the dry side where I have my enlargers. if you have the traditional peak roof the highest point is on the gable end. Just a few points that you may have already considered.
I just recently "finished" my new darkroom. ( Finished is in quotes because it never will be!! ;-) ) The room is under the house. The house is on a hill side. I excavated nearly 40 yards of mostly Bay Area sandstone. The darkroom floor space is 18 feet long, 8 feet wide with a storage area that is 15X8 adjacent. (Storage space = "wife acceptance factor")
Due to the slope and my existing foundation, I cantilevered the wet space counters and sink an 3 additional feet. So effectively, the width is 11 feet. It is comfortable, but if I could have gained more width I would have, even just an additional foot.
If you have the space available, ( it sounds as if you do!) Build as big as you can. This is the cheapest and easiest time to go large. Bear in mind that framing is generally based on 48" widths. (Studs 3X16" OC) Interior sheathing, drywall, panelling or plywood all come in 48" widths. So 12X12, other than additional foundation costs, is probably, in the overall cost, the same as 10X12. The least expensive square footage is at the framing & foundation stage. Unfortunately if you do not, I am sure the time will come when you sincerely wish you had!!
Best of luck and keep us posted.
Geary, Kevin comes down to our valley area often. Why not invite him over to see your new darkroom?