Nowadays if you buy good used equipment your cost for supplies will quickly surpass the initial outlay for durable gear like enlargers, tanks, reels, etc.

Earlier this year I bought a Durst 606 enlarger on eBay, just to use for making contact sheets and preflashing paper, for around $60. It came with a very good 50mm lens for 35mm negatives, a decent 80mm lens for 6x6cm, all the original documentation, a handy carrying case and even some 35mm and 6x6 negatives from the original owner dating back to the mid to late 1960s. That's a pretty typical deal right now for a good used older b&w enlarger.

A good used color head enlarger like my Durst M605 will range from $200-$500 depending on brand, model, features, condition and accessories. I paid around $300 for mine, which included a very good 50mm lens, Gralab digital timer and other accessories. Since I bought locally and could examine the enlarger before buying I was willing to pay a bit than I might have online, where some (not all) sellers tend to overrate and overvalue equipment.

For another $100 you can get enough tanks and reels for 35mm and medium format to meet all but the highest production quota needs. If you can buy 'em used the cost will be much less. For example, a new Hewes reel and single stainless tank will cost at least $20-$30. But at a recent camera show I paid five bucks for a top quality older Nikor two-reel and tank system, which included a reel lifter. At the same show I spent another ten bucks with various dealers for additional tanks and reels, a total of $15 for gear that would have cost at least $100 new.

Add a safelight and paper cutter (I use an inexpensive Fiskar's cutter because I don't print larger than 11x14) and you're pretty much set. Most other items can be cobbled together from household supplies.

For example, my print processing trays are lightweight plastic Reynolds PotLux disposable/reusable baking trays, large enough for 8x10. Or I'll use tall, narrow 1-gallon Rubbermaid cereal keepers, especially for HCA baths and similar chores where I don't want to bother interrupting my workflow to agitate prints.

I often print borderless right onto the baseboard so I don't have a fancy easel. When I want borders I'll use a couple of Speed Ez-Els. I would like a good 2- or 4-blade easel, tho', for my square prints.

The rest - film, paper, chemistry, etc. - you can look up for yourself on the ads for B&H, Adorama and many other suppliers. I'm extremely frugal with my expendable supplies so I can usually keep my costs for these supplies to under $500 a year.

At the other extreme I'll bet there are some APUGgers out there who've invested thousands, if not tens of thousands, in their equipment and spend hundreds more, perhaps thousands, a year on supplies.