Brand new & need help

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Tweesdad, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. Tweesdad

    Tweesdad TPF Noob!

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    Hello to all
    Now that I have retired, I am proceeding to get back into some moderately serious photography. I have had experience processing and printing B/W film, but am looking to get into color. (I love B/W) Anyway, never having tried it, is is realistic for me to try to process my own color print film? I have been away from processing of any kind for a number of years, and am wondering if it is realistic for me to get back into it. I still have some of my old gear, but am willing to purchase whatever I would need, as long as it is within reason.
    (< $2500)
    What do you all think? Good idea or pipe dream?
    Thank you
    Tweesdad
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure how to advise you here. If you have the time, the money to buy what you need, and the desire to learn the process - combined with prior experience with processing B&W - I want to say: Why not? :)

    But I've never done color; just heard it's more involved and a stricter process than B&W. There will be a learning curve and a new setup involved. I'm sure you've done some research on it and have an idea what you'll need.

    Most people are satisfied to send out their color work to avoid the hassle-factor, but it's doable. You're not trying to build your own space craft in the back yard - that might be a pipe dream. ;) It sounds more like you finally have time to pursue your hobby and learn something new with it - and it's hard for me to call that a pipe dream. Go for it, and have a blast. :thumbup:
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Having done it, and knowing the problems, I would say it's not worth it.
    However.... If you can get hold of a good pro film processor cheap then it might be worth it.
    I used to have an old Colenta rotary processor that took everything up to 10x8. You could even get drums to take cine film. It was the old rotary drum model and you had to put the chemistry in by hand, and load the films onto the drum in the dark. But it had a temp controlled water jacket and did the business.
    I picked it up for nothing from a College that was throwing it out.
    I'd used them before and they can give excellent results and will do C41, E6 and B&W.
    Colenta still do processors but they are expensive new
    http://www.colenta.de/color/filmprocessors/filmprocessors.html
    Shop around. If you can find an old working pro processor for nothing, or next to it, then colour processing is a piece of cake.
    Otherwise I wouldn't bother.
     
  4. Seveneer

    Seveneer TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    having just taken this route myself I can tell you that colour is not as straight forward as b&w when it comes to printing. I am still on my first box of 100 sheets of paper (so still new to it) and my ratio of keepers to binned is not good.

    If you want to save money this is not the way forward. However, the prints that have come out well have been far, far richer in colour than those printed professionally (I've printed from professionally processed negs and compared results of these prints to those originally supplied by the shop).

    Processing the films is very straight forward if you have some way of standardising the temperature and agitation (I use a Jobo CPE2). 6x6 transparencies are just beautiful and really easy to do with the three bath kits on the market.

    My advice would have to be to get some second hand equipment from ebay or whatever and give it a go then upgrade later if you get into it. I set my colour darkroom up for about £220 this way which means that if I decide, in a few months, that I'm not achieving the results I want I can sell it on and not lose much money.

    Good luck,
    /Phil.
     
  5. Tweesdad

    Tweesdad TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your replies. I now have a bit to think about, but looks as though I am going to take a shot at it. What the heck, all I would risk is a bit of cash, and I can get most of that back if I resell whatever I buy,
    Seveneer: Good to hear from the UK. My Dad was a Brit., and I visit family in London yearly. Good of you to reply.
    Tweesdad
     
  6. Seveneer

    Seveneer TPF Noob!

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    Good for you, mate :thumbup: . I hope you have as much fun as I'm having experimenting with colour.

    /Phil.
     
  7. rangefinder

    rangefinder TPF Noob!

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    If you have the time, money and location it's a blast.

    Color is more demanding. Remember that color films and papers are sensitive to all colors of light so you need a totally dark room. The biggest factors for me was a place I could make totally dark and temperature control - very important in color processing.

    I used an image pro for film processing (35mm, 120, 220). I even spent $1000 on a beseler color enlarger. But it all got too expensive for me. So now the image pro sits in a cabinet and the beseler with only two hours use sits on the counter with a dust protector over it.

    So I spent more money and went digital which in the long run is a lot cheaper.
     
  8. Tweesdad

    Tweesdad TPF Noob!

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    Rangefinder
    Can you suggest a digital that would give acceptable results in the $500 - $600 range? Maybe I'll try that route.
    Thanks
    Tweesdad
     
  9. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    Sitting here in my darkroom I have a Durst RCP 40 color processor, 2 Bessler color enlargers and analyzers. What have I done with it all? B&W. When it comes to my darkroom hobby it is alot less agg to keep it simple. Unless you have alot of processing to do, it is not cost effective to have special order chemicals and paper that are time sensitive on the shelf. I do thoroughly enjoy B&W and it is much simpler and cost effective with great reward. Other friends I have are constantly processing color so, I guess it depends more so on your particular circumstances.
     
  10. Seveneer

    Seveneer TPF Noob!

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    I spent all afternoon yesterday in the darkroom. I wasted 3 sheets of paper and produced 7 acceptable colour prints. It's not cost effective but it is fun.

    From my point of view, I have 7 more 8x10 prints that I otherwise would never have got around to getting printed at a pro lab. They're cropped where I want them cropped and the colours are pretty good.

    Overall, the hassle of setting up the darkroom every time I want to use it and dismantling after is a bit of a chore. The cost of the chemicals and paper is more than sending films away to be processed and printed. The cost of using my digital SLR is far less than using film, wherever it's printed. However, I do this as a hobby not to save money. If I wanted to save money I should probably have just bought some photos to hang on the wall. Then I wouldn't have had to go to the expense of buying a camera at all!

    I say, "Give it a go".:thumbup:

    /Phil.
     
  11. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I looooove spending hour after hour in my darkroom. :heart: I don't even bother with the "is this cost effective" line of thought. Going to the grocery store or the gas station is hardly cost effective for me these days, but I still have to do it - just to have a life. ;) That's how I feel about the processing side of photography. If I was going to let every aspect of my life come down to weighing the rock-bottom cost of everything, I think I'd become miserable pretty quickly. :lol:

    I just love having my hands in every part of the process, and get a thrill from pulling that perfect print. :lovey: Every scrap of it is mine. I'll gladly pay what I have to pay in order to do it.
     
  12. Seveneer

    Seveneer TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I'm with you Terri! :wink:

    Go on Tweesdad. You know you want to!

    /Phil.
     

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