I have a very different take on this. If you are a beginner, start with good quality, fresh stuff......brand name SLR, 50mm lens, fresh Kodak/Ilford/Fuji film, Ilford MGIV paper, and fresh chemistry for every session with stock within date. If you do that while learning, the quality is all about you. This stuff all works and the quality control is perfect. There is no second guessing. After you learn, you can do whatever you want. Crappy cameras, old chemistry, etc can be part of the creative process if you know how it all works. Personally, I only use material and equipment I know well (crap or otherwise). I prefer to be creative with the stuff I can control than random chance. Random chance more often gives me crap than art!
Agreed entirely! There have been a few folks seen here and on other photo forums who start out by trying to break the rules before they know the rules. Those folks have almost always ended up frustrated and unsuccessfull. I'm all for creativity but in almost all endeavors one must understand the basics at more than just an academic level before getting too creative.
I get especially annoyed by those at APUG who swear that it is good to save money by using dish washing liquid instead of PhotoFlo and by using Borax instead of the chemicals supplied by photographic companies. Not only are they hurting the people that do not know better, but they are also reducing the market for companies like Kodak and Ilford.
I hardly think using 20 mule team equates with using exhausted solutions or outdated color materials. I'm sure people have experienced a wide range of results from the latter, from good-as-new to entirely unacceptable. The drawbacks of Borax AFAIK are entirely "theoretical"-many people including myself have used it for years or decades without any trouble, and the reports of less than adequate performance are few, if any.
The ones I am referring to equated using dish washing liquid and 20 Mule Team Borax were equating it with the second coming and hence were pushing for everyone to convert over to their new religion.
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I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I caution that thinking that newby's all need to be classically trained is nice; however, some of the greats were dropouts or created with minimal tools with less than traditional paths to success (Sadie Benning, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs).....
from what i understand borax can be replace sodium metaborate in some formulas even though it is sodium tetaborate
( in d-23 for example ) and i think ( correct me if i am wrong ) the film developing cookbook says this ..
i don't think there is any harm using grocery / healthfood store bought ingredients if they are nearly the same as
i purchased a bunch of sodium carbonate at a pharmacy and i never saw a difference between what i paid 40$ for
and what i would have purchase at a grocery store for less than 50¢. ( if i knew i could buy sodium bicarbonate and evaporate the moisture out of it
and covert it to sodium carbonate, i would have done this and purchased THAT at a grocery store and saved myself 39.50$ )
not sure if there is a huge difference between grades of ascorbic acid either and i usually buy 1lb for about $6 instead of scientific grade.
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I must have missed the Palmolive discussion. I know my bottle of Photo-Flo will last me for decades because I only use a drop or two, so I wouldn't save much by buying it at the grocery. I don't know, and don't much care, if dishwashing fluid is even a suitable substitute. But Borax, unlike Clorox, IS a proven substitute for many photo applications. I've always used grocery store washing soda too. It works, and is consistent. Nothing else matters. I would not use Clorox, even though it's bleach.
But doesn't Palmolive soften your hands while you do your film?
I'd heard the dish-soap thing before from someone working in a photo store. He told me only use it in a "pinch" (if you really really have to and can't get the correct stuff), and that with proper technique surfactant probably isn't even needed.