Clueless boyfriend needs darkroom help.

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by j0n, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. j0n

    j0n TPF Noob!

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    Let me start out by saying I know nothing about photography. My girlfriend, however, is quite talented and absolutely loves it. I know she's always wanted a darkroom so I thought it would make the perfect Christmas gift. The only problem is... I have no idea where to begin. I've read various "how-to's" on the net and have a general idea of what's needed but was hoping I could get some help from some enthusiasts. :D

    Thanks in advance!

    -Clueless boyfriend
     
  2. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Does she do any developing as it is?

    You could go with a hybrid film/digital setup, which would forgo a darkroom in place of a changing bag/daylight negative processing equipment and a good film scanner.

    Here's a shopping list:

    1) Black and white film
    2) Changing bag (or light proof room)
    3) Fixer (suggest kodak rapid fixer)
    4) Developer (suggest hc110)
    5) Stop Bath (suggest kodak indicator stop bath)
    6) developing tank (suggest a two reel patterson)
    7) Kodak Photo Flo solution
    8) A couple jugs of distilled water
    9) Syringe for measuring developer (baby medicine syringe at the local drug store)
    10) Two opaque jugs for storing fixer and stop
    11) Some close pins and a line for hanging negatives
    12) four clear measuring jugs (at least 800ml) for working solutions of fix, stop, developer, and photoflo

    Sounds like a lot, but you should be able to buy it all for around $100. www.freestyle.biz is the store I recommend.

    AND

    a negative scanner for digital print making, along with some canned air for blowing dust of the negs before scanning.


    If you want to go with full-analog processing you need all the above (besides the scanner) as well as an enlarger an actual darkroom and a bunch of other supplies for printing on paper.
     
  3. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    or, how about a gift of a class at a local school that would teach her the basic darkroom techniques first hand. Hopefully, there is one in your location.

    i know that may sound pretty boring, but in the long run it will be very helpful in shorting the learning curve.

    you could always put the gift card in a box of film, or paper, something more tangible .
     
  4. niccig

    niccig TPF Noob!

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    You could always go with a couple of gift cards for B&H (www.bhphotovideo.com) and eBay. Some people are very particular about their film/paper/chemistry, so that might be a safe option. It's so sweet of you to get her a darkroom for Christmas!
     
  5. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Check out www.freestyle.biz. Get here, as earlier suggested, gift cards and buy her a subscription for TPF and APUG. Between the two we'll get her going. Also check out the magazine in my sig. There are some good starting out articles written by David Vickers.
     
  6. j0n

    j0n TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the replies! Just to answer a few questions she did do developing back in High School but I don't know how much. She's currently a senior in Nursing school so adding another class to her already insanely busy schedule probably won't be the best idea. I really like the idea of the "hybrid film/digital setup" as it's not only cheaper, but seems easier to set up(Not that I want to appear cheap, but unfortunately I'm not independently wealthy :lol: )

    Can that be set up in a room that sees daylight?
     
  7. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the film will need to be loaded in a "dark" room, from there on the development of the film and then the scanning can be done in any type of light.

    remember the scanner needs a computer and then a printer if she wants to print out anything herself, or can scan and burn to a disk or flash stick and taken someplace else for printing.

    makes sense if she is still in school that she doesn't have time for a darkroom class.

    if she has done some darkroom work then how to develop the film will come back to her within a short time.
     
  8. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As to the darkroom, any room can be made light tight with enough towels and blankets as my downstairs half bath can attest. Just make sure there's enough elbow room for her to get around. Bigger is better but a small 6x6 room will do if it has some kind of running water or at least somewhere to set down a slop bucket. Heck, a step closet would do in a pinch. Good luck and post any questions you might have here.
     
  9. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can also use a changing bag to load the film onto the reels. Cost about $25.
     
  10. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Of course for the cost of a decent film slr, a 35mm scanner, and developing equipment/chemicals you are approaching the price of an entry level digital slr like a nikon d40.

    Developing is for those of us that really enjoy that classic analog look, and like spending time in the dark with smelly chemicals.... make sure it's for her.
     
  11. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From the OP's first paragraph:
    Give someone who is leaning that way a digital camera and there will probably be tears and a sense of being completely misunderstood. :lol:

    I have found a lot of scientific minds tend to love traditional photography and the thrill of the darkroom experience. Given that she is a senior in Nursing she'll probably take to it like a duck to water.
     
  12. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    FIXER! FIXER! FIXER! Oh, soooooooooooorryyyyyyyyyyyy! - Animal
     

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