B&W on The Cheap

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Znarled, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. Znarled

    Znarled TPF Noob!

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    Just wanted to test the results of the cheapest film/paper/chemicals/camera/enlargers I could find to use for beginning photo students, so here's a couple mediocre shots from a little family outing Sunday.

    -Ilford HP5 400asa Bulk Film (100ft Roll self-loaded)
    -Arista II VC Glossy Paper
    -Arista Film Developer (30 bucks or so for 5 liters of 1:19 dilution no temperature requirement juice)
    -Arista Print Developer (again, cold mix at I think 1:14 dilution and about 30 bucks for 5 liters)
    -Minolta Maxxum 35mm Camera with 28-130mm zoom for about $150
    -Beseler Printmaker Enlarger
    -Rickety Old Canon Scanner (donation so hey what the heck ;p)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good record shots. Note that shadow detail is blocked. Exposure error?
     
  3. santino

    santino TPF Noob!

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    cheapest film I've found is lucky (but I don't like it, thin film base sucks - and curls!!!)
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Arista chemicals aren't for me. Freestyle sells some other brands that are pretty darn cheap. Necco I think is the name of the one I use. I buy a quart of d72 if im just using paper and mix it 12 to 1... comes out to be three gallons for about nine bucks.

    I use the arista paper and their cut film. It's about half the price of the others. For thirty five mm I have a roll of asa 50 that is bulked from freestyle. It is probably fifty feet or so and was dirt cheap. It doesn't have the lucky problem. My guess is that it from the same factory in hungary as their cut film but it's just a guess.

    I don't use an enlarger any more. Since I really cant work in the dark or even simi dark. What I do is to directly scan the negatives with a homemade back light. Paper negatives don't need a backlight.

    This is by far the the least expensive way to make images I know. I make about one image a day. If I shoot on film generally I shoot it one time on cut film. Lately it has been all paper. The exposure is tricky so I shoot a 3x4 negative. Two of them can be cut from a single sheet of 5x7 paper. At about 13.00 per hundred it is 13 cents and about 3 for the chemicals since I reuse them forever. A paper negative image might cost me 15 cents per day to shoot.

    Since it isnt free or easy it isnt for everyone, but the camera might have cost me 50 bucks to build not couple of grand. Since I am retired, filling the time is important to me. All in all it is a system I can live with just fine.
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'd say you did a good job, too, but I agree your shadow detail is lacking - that could easily be from your scanner, though. I usually have to play a bit with my scanned images before they resemble the actual print.

    Of note: your top image appears to have uneven development showing along the left side. Watch that measuring! ;)

    Arista chemicals aren't for everyone, but they have a fair reputation as student grade, and are very affordable. More power to you! :thumbup:
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    btw, I'm moving this thread over to the Darkroom forum where it will get better views than in the Alt forum. :)
     
  7. niccig

    niccig TPF Noob!

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    I love the cheap stuff! I'm using Arista II VC glossy paper for my class, and I can't see any difference between it and the folks that use Ilford. I also have 100' of outdated Arista ISO50 film in my fridge that I got for $12 at Freestyle, but I haven't had a chance to test it out yet. The data sheet looks suspiciously like the data sheet for PanF+, though....
     
  8. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Thats the 35mm film I mentioned... It works very well indeed in fact its so good I stopped using it. I will shoot some of it in an antique 35mm and hope the old camera tames it a little.
     
  9. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I figured it out today... it costs around $20 to develop and print a whole roll of 36 images on 8X10, using Kodak chemistry--and using it one-shot. How much would that cost at Wal Mart? Oh, and since I don't print all the images 8X10 (or print them all at all) it winds up being much, much less.

    This is the cheapest hobby I have.

    [Edit]
    Oh, and also, even the ones that I do print mostly stay at 4X5 size... four to a sheet of 8X10.

    So yeah, this is still the cheapest hobby I have.
     
  10. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Then we must figure out a way to make it more expensive. :twisted: Or start collecting wine.
     
  11. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    Nah, I'm good. Between guns, guitars, and women, I'm pretty well broke.
     
  12. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I was once at an art show long ago. Some middle aged women came to my display. She just LOVED my pictures and said to me. "I can't understand why you aren't rich. These are just gorgeous>"

    "Ma'am" I said. "The secret to my lack of success is slow horses and fast women."

    I had only been married and divorced three times by then. It got worse. Ps.. she didn't buy anything nothing matched her wallpager colors.

    Photography is my only hobby. Except for writing bad fiction. By the way another section of my novel on the blog ended today.
     

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