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Thread: Thoughts

  1. #1

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    Thoughts

    Well, I did it. I purchased a Besler 23cii xl and last night I purchased a Nikkor 50mm 2.8 enlarging lens for 28 dollars. The Besler comes with trays, tongs, and 11x14 and 8x10 easels. It also has some other items, that I'm not sure about, maybe a timer. It also comes with two lenses that I since read are less than great. Rodenstock omeger or something to that effect. Anyway, what I would like to know, what paper should I buy, to begin with, and chemicals. I've been developing my own film for a number of years, so I'm familiar with that side of things, are the chemicals that same? Is there any thoughts about what I should obtain to make this process easier, gear or anything else? Also, there are filters with the enlarger. I assume this is for contrast, just like when I expose the film?
    Sean Depuydt - Escanaba Michigan

  2. #2

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    General questions, hard to know where to start..
    Paper: first decision - graded or variable contrast (VC). Fiber or resin coated (RC). The filters you have (running from yellow-green to red-purple?) are probably for VC paper and may or may not be good. I would start with RC paper for convenience, and VC to try the filters. Ilford MGIV is good, I don't know about others, but you can get by cheaper with other brands - someone else can chime in here.

    You can research this and the enlarging forum with key words to find out a lot about getting started. (like "print developer", "paper fixer", etc.)

    Once you have some paper, get your fingers wet. Most supplies come with instructions, I would start there.

    And oh, yeah. . . Have Fun!!

  3. #3

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    For paper, I would recommend Freestyle's Arista EDU Ultra (VC/RC). It is less expensive than Ilford, but still give good, consistent results.

    I use Kodak Dektol for developing paper. You can use the same brand of stop bath and fixer that you use for film. The instructions that come with these chemicals will give you guidance on dilutions and times. You can reuise the stop bath until it turns color. You can also reuse fixer. I check my fixer with a piece of undeveloped film and discard it when it takes longer than 30 seconds to clear the film. Don't use fixer or stop bath that you have previously used to develop film and vice versa.

    Always make a contact sheet from a roll of film before trying to print individual negatives. If you use a consistent time and contrast setting for your contact sheets you will be able to get a rough idea of the contrast level and density of any given set of negatives.

    Make a test strip to get your exposure time before making a full size print.

    Good luck and have fun!!
    -------------------------------
    Peter Schauss

  4. #4

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    Ilford multi-grade RC Glossy paper is very standard. I believe you can still buy 25+15 pack if you want 8x10. DEKTOL by Kodak is also pretty much standard. Fixer is the same stuff you use for film and so as STOP bath. Keep the storage bottles separate though.

    With multi-grade paper, you use filter to control contrast. #2 or #3 is considered "standard". Lower you go, less contrast. Higher you go, more contrast.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5
    ann
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    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=93

    this site should more than help get you started.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the help!

    Since I purchased the enlarger, have not received the item, seller is trying to add some additional shipping costs to what he estimated initially. I dont know how this will turn out, so, I may still be in the market for that elusive enlarger! But I really do appreciate all of your thoughts and suggestions.
    Sean Depuydt - Escanaba Michigan

  7. #7

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    Well... enlarger being a heavy and bulky (and difficult to box) item, I'd imagine the seller is having a heck of time trying to ship it to you. I have an extra one too but it's just too pain in (you know where) to ship it. Anyway, good luck and have fun!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #8
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    Eskyone, I just bought an Omega enlarger on the auction site about three weeks ago and the same thing happened to me with shipping. The poor seller, who really did not make very much on the sale, vastly underestimated the shipping cost. I ended up giving him some extra money over paypal to cover some of the additional shipping so he didn't totally get screwed.. If the shipping costs the seller gave you are much under $40, he's probably trying to figure out what to do. You might want to contact him because you don't want him skimping on the packing to ship it.

    MGIV paper is very nice. You can also try the Adorama house brand, which is about half the price, and might make you feel a bit better when you mess up a bunch of it. Freestyle's is also very reasonably priced. You might want to start with an RC paper to simplify things. I would agree that Dektol is your developer to start with. I purchased Ilford Multigrade developer to go with the MGIV, which also works very well.

    The paper will have instructions on using the contrast filters. But to start off, forget about the filters and just print without them. The paper will give you about a grade 2 contrast. Stop your lens down about 3 stops and start with exposures around 15-20 seconds. You will figure it out fast.

    After you have had a chance to make a couple of prints take a look at http://www.darkroomautomation.com/support/index.htm and http://www.waybeyondmonochrome.com/WBM2/TOC.html

    Stick with the fine folks here on APUG and they will get you started. I have not been steered wrong yet!

  9. #9
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    I've just gotten back into this recently myself after having done it many years ago with help. Doing it on your own is different then doing so with instructors or friends.

    The 50mm f/2.8 El-Nikkor is what I use, a very nice lens for 35mm. It is sharpest at f/8 but still pretty sharp at f/5.6 but the edges are not so sharp at f/2.8. Most of the time I do prints at f/8, occasionally f/5.6 with a dark filter at 11x14" size which is a big enlargement.

    Paper developers are usually different than film though there are some that will do sheet film and paper. I've mostly been using MultiGrade developer mostly as well though I've been burning through enough of it that I'm trying Bromophen now (I wouldn't use enough of the 5 litre jug of 1+9 MG in 6 months but I could use up 5L of Bromophen 1+3 in 4 months). I use Ilfostop stop bath and Ilford Rapid Fixer too for both film and paper but as mentioned above, I keep separate working solutions for each use.

    I've been using Ilford MGIV MultiGrade (variable contrast) paper since it is the easiest to get here. I've been using RC and fiber in regular tone and and WarmTone. The WarmTone paper is slower (needs much longer exposures) but is as it says, nice warm brown tones instead of black and white. Fiber is more challenging to get it to dry flat and takes longer to develop, fix and wash but the fiber is really nice for some pictures so don't be afraid to try it. You can get 10, 25, 50, 100 and larger packs so you can get some 10 packs just to try stuff out at first. I've been using glossy, pearl and satin RC and glossy and matt fiber finishes, all yield slightly different results so depending on the effect you want, all are good at one time or another.

    Multigrade filters affect the contrast, low numbers for low contrast, high numbers for high contrast. The darker ones need longer exposures too, the paper fact sheets show the effective sensitivity depending on the filter and I have a little wheel which you spin if you change filters so you can adjust the time for the same effective exposure.

    A drying rack is also useful, I have an old Eagle one though I think I need some more. So is an exposure timing mask so you can make a test image without actually uncovering the paper, mine is an old one by Kodak.

    A washer is also helpful, I have a Kodak siphon print washer that attaches from the tap to another tray so it changes the water automatically.

    It's fun! I hope you can get it shipped soon.
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

    Happiness is...

  10. #10

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    Thanks again, everyone.

    I really do appreciate all of the feedback. On a side note, the original cost of shipping was 91 dollars. The seller would like 130 dollars.
    Sean Depuydt - Escanaba Michigan

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