Establishing a darkroom.
Old 11-06-2011   #1
PollitowuzHere
street shooter
 
PollitowuzHere's Avatar
 
PollitowuzHere is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 68
Establishing a darkroom.

The title mostly says it all.
I've been developing my own B/W for the past year and I've really taken a liking to the whole DIY process. The logical next step is to start printing my own pictures. I'm currently looking to buy a Beseler 23c, it seems like the best choice out there considering the wealth of parts and it's flexibility. However, I'm not sure how the whole printing thing works or at least how to set up a darkroom. I want to print 35mm and 6x6-6x7. So, what do I need to get started?
Thanks!
__________________
Bessa R3A, Nokton 40mm
Pentax MX, 24mm /3.5 SMC Pentax-K, 35mm /2 smc Pentax-M, 50mm /1.4 smc Pentax-M, 85mm /1.4 Rokinon
Yashicamat 124G
Canonet QL17
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #2
Vics
Registered User
 
Vics's Avatar
 
Vics is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: California, USA
Posts: 3,289
OK, I'll start. Get three El-Nikkor enlarging lenses. The 50mm f2.8 for proof sheets and 35mm film, 75mm f4 for 6x6, and a 90mm for the 6x7 (or make the 90 do double duty for both MF formats.) Buy neg holders for all three formats. Get trays for all sizes you want to print. I use 8x10 trays for almost everything, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10. then I use 11x14 trays for 11x14. Three print tongs, color coded. Safelights, buy 'em big and bright. I use two timers, one for each side of the room. There's more but my brain hurts.
__________________
Vic
Sony a200

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #3
GaryLH
Registered User
 
GaryLH's Avatar
 
GaryLH is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 6,180
By to timers, since u are new, just to make sure.... Vik means the one for the enlarger and the one for the tray work. Make sure the one for the tray work is a big one, easy to see. Good darkroom ventilation is a must or u are going to taste and smell fixer.

If u live near a community college, they used to have BW photo courses that include dark room work. Good way to learn all the basics before u invest.

Gary
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #4
PollitowuzHere
street shooter
 
PollitowuzHere's Avatar
 
PollitowuzHere is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 68
I'm thinking of a El-Nikkor 105mm 5.6 for double duty in MF, but I really couldn't find a lot of information about it on the internet. Do the trays have to be the ones that sell in B&H/Freestyle or can they be normal trays like the ones you get in your local hardware/department store? Same goes for timers, does it have to be a GraLab timer?
__________________
Bessa R3A, Nokton 40mm
Pentax MX, 24mm /3.5 SMC Pentax-K, 35mm /2 smc Pentax-M, 50mm /1.4 smc Pentax-M, 85mm /1.4 Rokinon
Yashicamat 124G
Canonet QL17
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #5
FrankS
Registered User
 
FrankS's Avatar
 
FrankS is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Canada, eh.
Age: 62
Posts: 19,391
No it doesn't have to be those name brands, but specialized darkroom gear is tweaked to work the best. For example, real darkroom trays have grooves on the bottom that allow one to easily grab the print with the tongs.
__________________
my little website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

photography makes me happy
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #6
cosmonaut
Registered User
 
cosmonaut's Avatar
 
cosmonaut is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 1,207
I just set a simple one up. I have a Besler 23c on a roll around cart with a timer mounted below it. Five trays, develop, stop bath, fixer on one table. Two washing trays by the sink, one with a washing aid, one with just water. I have never had drying spots. Get A LOT of canned air. Dust is your enemy. Extra enlarger bulbs. Mine seem to have a short life. Get some cheap expired paper to practice with
You are going to waste a lot learning. Then you need contrast filters to make them pop. Patience is your friend, good luck. It is labor of love.
__________________
Cosmo
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #7
crawdiddy
qu'est-ce que c'est?
 
crawdiddy's Avatar
 
crawdiddy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: left of center
Posts: 1,602
Photo timers are dirt cheap these days. I personally like the Time-O-Lite for the enlarger, because it auto resets to the last time you used (don't have to try and remember).

I like the large Gra-Lab for film processing. (And it's just a cool looking device.)

You might try Schneider Componon-S lenses also. I picked up a 50mm f/2.8 that is super sharp.

As for paper, I bought a guillotine style flatbet cutter that I use for cutting down to different sizes (8x10 to 4x5, 5x7 to 3 1/2 x 5, etc.) This is a bit of a pain, but it saves some money. It's not as hard to master in the dark as you might think.

I definitely agree about having a spare lamp. Nothing is worse than burning one out when you're ready to print.

I also recommend a piece of heavy plate glass, for contact sheets. Mine is a round table top, slightly larger than needed. I wish I had one just the right size, but it works.

I use the utility room sink rather than lavatory or bathtub, because the bottom is flat-- uses less water. I also find that a wind-up kitchen timer works well for timing the rinse process. Oh yeah, and I hung up a line over the bathtub with plastic clips for print drying.

Have fun. Printing feels magical, and it's addictive! But time consuming!
__________________
--Dan
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-06-2011   #8
PollitowuzHere
street shooter
 
PollitowuzHere's Avatar
 
PollitowuzHere is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 68
I guess for the lenses either a El-Nikkor 50mm 2.8 or a similar Componon-S.
Do I need anything (I'm guessing I do) to hold down the paper to the base board?
And safelights, what color or wattage is recommended?
I'll imagine that printing is as fun as developing, there's nothing quite like it. Plus the smell of fixer is something that one gets hooked on
__________________
Bessa R3A, Nokton 40mm
Pentax MX, 24mm /3.5 SMC Pentax-K, 35mm /2 smc Pentax-M, 50mm /1.4 smc Pentax-M, 85mm /1.4 Rokinon
Yashicamat 124G
Canonet QL17
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-07-2011   #9
batterytypehah!
Lord of the Dings
 
batterytypehah!'s Avatar
 
batterytypehah! is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New England, USA
Posts: 1,794
Will you be able to find an enlarger locally? It so happens that I got a Beseler 23 for free recently, but it's just too big and heavy for my temporary set-up. I'd give it to you, but shipping to Puerto Rico looks prohibitive.
__________________
WANTED: Fujimoto/Lucky 70M negative carrier

“Hair-splitting, of course. But hey, it's a LEICA. Probably there are those who get excited about the colour of the hairs you split.” – Roger Hicks

Contax IIa + Leica IIIf + M3 (project) + Zorki-1 (project) + Fuji GS645 + FED-2 + Vitomatic II + Revue 400SE + Olympus XA + more + still more
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-07-2011   #10
PollitowuzHere
street shooter
 
PollitowuzHere's Avatar
 
PollitowuzHere is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 68
The only local enlarger available is an old Focomat 1c that's really dusty with dead wiring and they want $500 for it.
I was thinking of buying a Beseler on eBay, found a pretty good (I think) deal for an overhauled one. Of course, if I could get it for free, I'd be more than happy to pay for the shipping
__________________
Bessa R3A, Nokton 40mm
Pentax MX, 24mm /3.5 SMC Pentax-K, 35mm /2 smc Pentax-M, 50mm /1.4 smc Pentax-M, 85mm /1.4 Rokinon
Yashicamat 124G
Canonet QL17
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-07-2011   #11
batterytypehah!
Lord of the Dings
 
batterytypehah!'s Avatar
 
batterytypehah! is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New England, USA
Posts: 1,794
OK let's see if we can work something out! I'll send you a PM.
__________________
WANTED: Fujimoto/Lucky 70M negative carrier

“Hair-splitting, of course. But hey, it's a LEICA. Probably there are those who get excited about the colour of the hairs you split.” – Roger Hicks

Contax IIa + Leica IIIf + M3 (project) + Zorki-1 (project) + Fuji GS645 + FED-2 + Vitomatic II + Revue 400SE + Olympus XA + more + still more
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-07-2011   #12
rsosa
Registered User
 
rsosa is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 188
take a look at used DURST L1200 enlarger, built like a tank, very versatile
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-07-2011   #13
DominikDUK
Registered User
 
DominikDUK's Avatar
 
DominikDUK is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 1,029
Here two links you might find interesting the first is Kodak's How to build a darkroom instructions for amateurs
http://www3.telus.net/drkrm/pdf/kodak_design.pdf
The second is to ctein's post exposure - advanced techniques for the photographic printer.

Good luck

Dominik

P.S. If you speak German here's a link to ilfords Multigrade Darkroom Handbook

http://www.blende7.at/datenblaetter/ilford/handbuch.pdf
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-07-2011   #14
PollitowuzHere
street shooter
 
PollitowuzHere's Avatar
 
PollitowuzHere is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 68
Thanks! The Kodak link looks interesting, but you forgot the Ctein one.
I'm currently reading "Black & White Photography" by Horenstein and "Way Beyond Monochrome" by Lambrecht and Woodhouse. Very informative books, although the latter one is really overwhelming at times.
__________________
Bessa R3A, Nokton 40mm
Pentax MX, 24mm /3.5 SMC Pentax-K, 35mm /2 smc Pentax-M, 50mm /1.4 smc Pentax-M, 85mm /1.4 Rokinon
Yashicamat 124G
Canonet QL17
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-11-2011   #15
batterytypehah!
Lord of the Dings
 
batterytypehah!'s Avatar
 
batterytypehah! is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New England, USA
Posts: 1,794
Did you get my PM about the Beseler?
__________________
WANTED: Fujimoto/Lucky 70M negative carrier

“Hair-splitting, of course. But hey, it's a LEICA. Probably there are those who get excited about the colour of the hairs you split.” – Roger Hicks

Contax IIa + Leica IIIf + M3 (project) + Zorki-1 (project) + Fuji GS645 + FED-2 + Vitomatic II + Revue 400SE + Olympus XA + more + still more
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-11-2011   #16
Leigh Youdale
Registered User
 
Leigh Youdale is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,629
Just for thought-starters, here's my compact darkroom setup in a house laundry room.
__________________

Fuji X10
Leica M6
Bessa R4A
Rolleiflex (3): E3 Planar 2.8, WA & Tele
Nikkormat FTn (2)
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-11-2011   #17
swoop
Registered User
 
swoop's Avatar
 
swoop is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York City
Age: 36
Posts: 1,709
I had a small darkroom setup in my basement apartment. I had it in my bedroom, right beside the bathroom. Only really used it a handful of times but it was nice to know I had it.

It was an Omega C700. Really compact and simple. Got it for like $50 from an internet ad. The woman said her sister left it at her apartment for 2 years and she asked about it and her sister told her to get rid of it. It was wrapped in plastic brand spanking new.

A lot of people will recommend the Beseler 23C. get the II or III variant. Those are the enlargers that were in high schools and colleges across the country. And they have entered the used market en mass. So you can get them for a decent price.

You'll need at least 3 trays. Developer, stop bath and fixer. And then a bin to wash the prints in. I would just put a rubbermaid container in my tub, fill it up and drop the prints in there. That was the best part about having my setup right next to the bathroom. Oh, get a safelight. It's easier to work with. Don't bother with a timer. You can use a wristwatch that has a glowing back. I used my timex in college when rolling film. It illuminates but isn't bright enough to light up the room and react with the silver. But then again timers are pretty cheap anyway.

These days I work all digital and the investment in a wide format printer has replaced the darkroom. Doing it digitally is still fun. I think a lot of people miss out on the print making process when it comes to digital but it is just as important as when working with film.
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-13-2011   #18
ChrisPlatt
Thread Killer
 
ChrisPlatt's Avatar
 
ChrisPlatt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Queens NYC
Age: 58
Posts: 2,800
I too am quite pleased with my Omega C700.
Between uses it stores easily in my closet where a Beseler 23C would not.
Carriers and other accessories are cheap and plentiful.

Chris
__________________
Bring back the latent image!
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-13-2011   #19
sepiareverb
genius and moron
 
sepiareverb's Avatar
 
sepiareverb is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Johnsbury VT
Posts: 8,265
The highest quality enlarging lenses have never been cheaper. But printing smaller than 11x14 you'll never notice the difference between a Nikkor 50/2.8 and the APO-Componon-HM 45.

my wet side left to right




__________________
-Bob

Last edited by sepiareverb : 11-13-2011 at 14:23.
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-13-2011   #20
sepiareverb
genius and moron
 
sepiareverb's Avatar
 
sepiareverb is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Johnsbury VT
Posts: 8,265
enlarger


standing desk and film dryer


and the drying screens, just outside the darkroom
__________________
-Bob
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-24-2011   #21
Derwent
Registered User
 
Derwent is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 48
I am in the process of settin up a darkroom now...got a damn good deal on a bunch o gear from a pro lab that shut down.
DeVere 5x4 enlarger with Rodagon lenses.
Got carriers from 110 up to 5x4....
Picked up a FB print glazer and an RC print dryer, Nova washer, and loads of assorted bits and pieces.
Contact frames, an Ilfochrome contact printer, safelight, timers and colour analysers and a weird device for making some kind of sensitometry strips that hadn't been used in twenty years but is seriously cool with its knobs and dials...

I think the time has never been better for gettig high end darkroom gear cheap!
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-02-2012   #22
Tom A
RFF Sponsor
 
Tom A's Avatar
 
Tom A is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Age: 75
Posts: 6,074


My current darkroom, using a digital camera of some kind (could have been a Ricoh Gr1). I have built ay least 5-6 darkrooms in my life - always try to improve upon past designs. This was a clear space when I started. I built the walls form 3/4 marine plywood (I never have to look for studs to attach anything). The sinks are stainless steel (one 8ft by 30" and 6" deep), the other is 36's by 30" by 18" (should be used for washing print, but is now the storage for odds and ends. 2012 resolution is to clean t up! Water intake runs (cold) through a 5 micron filter and a 220v/3 phase water heater. This means that I dont have to worry about draining the hot-water tank.
Two enlargers, a Focomat 1c Color (ie, has a filter drawer and not visible to the right is a Focomat IIc, again with a filter drawer.
Notice the power outlets - high up on the wall and plentiful. This means that I dont have too much of tangled power cords to contend with. Multiple Gralab 300 timers (3 at the moment as well as a back-up).
Large collection of Paterson reels - never can have too many as they can take a while to dry.
There is a workspace outside, kind of an office with negative files, books, drymount press - Seal 210 for flattening fiber prints and a print drying rack (25 "racks" - each capable of holding two 11x14" prints. This is also the area where I mix chemistry for film and print developers.
The yellow colored walls are a Kodak matched color - one advantage is that it will not fog RC prints if you get spill light from the enlarger.
One of the rules for building darkrooms is "never finish it completely - once you do - something happens and you have to move!". Hence the wall behind the Focomat 1c is still yellow instead of black!
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-03-2012   #23
ooze
Registered User
 
ooze is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Posts: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
The highest quality enlarging lenses have never been cheaper. But printing smaller than 11x14 you'll never notice the difference between a Nikkor 50/2.8 and the APO-Componon-HM 45.

my wet side left to right

It seems you loved Agfa paper

So did I.

I'm amazed at your drying racks. So many!
__________________
My film photography and darkroom blog (Turkish language): http://www.geldurkal.blogspot.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-03-2012   #24
sepiareverb
genius and moron
 
sepiareverb's Avatar
 
sepiareverb is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Johnsbury VT
Posts: 8,265
Quote:
Originally Posted by ooze View Post
It seems you loved Agfa paper

So did I.

I'm amazed at your drying racks. So many!
I sure was a fan of Portrigia and Insignia. Record wasn't so bad either. Been printing on the new Adox version MCC which is certainly an improvement over the AGFA MCC.

Here in Vermont it can take a really long time for prints to dry in the summer months, even with a fan running. Days sometimes. If I print three days in a row I would certainly run out of space with fewer screens. Winter-time fiber prints dry incredibly fast here, even faster than my last darkroom. Last week I had stuff dry in almost seven hours. Couldn't believe it.
__________________
-Bob
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-03-2012   #25
ChrisN
Striving
 
ChrisN's Avatar
 
ChrisN is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Canberra
Posts: 4,436
Here's mine:


Darkroom by Another Chris, on Flickr

Build details in this thread.
__________________
Chris


"The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each to himself. And that is the most complicated thing on earth."
Edward Steichen

RFF Gallery

Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2012   #26
ChrisPlatt
Thread Killer
 
ChrisPlatt's Avatar
 
ChrisPlatt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Queens NYC
Age: 58
Posts: 2,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisN View Post
Here's mine:
Wow, must have been hard getting those pipe and conduit bends, curved counters and shelves just right to match those walls...

Chris
__________________
Bring back the latent image!
  Reply With Quote

try to visit Craigslist 3-4 times a week.
Old 01-06-2012   #27
kuzano
Registered User
 
kuzano is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,953
try to visit Craigslist 3-4 times a week.

If you are not in a large community, put Craigslist for a larger nearby city on your favorites list. I am about 100 miles and I see complete darkrooms listed for near giveaway prices for the whole shebang. Anything you don't need you can resell on eBay or Craigslist, if you buy a whole setup.

I live in a town of about 90,000 (150,000 for the greater 3 county area) and, on craigslist, I found a like new 7 foot stainless steel custom made darkroom sink with a stainless steel back panel. The back panel was fully plumbed with a hot/cold temperature mixing valve setup. Run both hot and cold water lines to the mixing valve, set the desired temperature and let the system maintain the desired temperature through the valve.

Paid $100.00 for the setup.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 19:43.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.