Darkroom equipment question - enlargers, etc

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by brighteyesphotos, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. brighteyesphotos

    brighteyesphotos TPF Noob!

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    I am building a darkroom. I have asked about this before. I want to know the following:

    Which enlarger do you like best and why? (mostly black and white)

    Which timer do you prefer?

    What brand chemistry do you like? I have used the school's but I don't want to be restricted to those chemicals.

    And how do you store your used fixer for proper disposal?


    PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTIONS! :D
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    My favourite (and to my mind the best) enlargers are made by Beseler. There are too many good points to list but the drawbacks are size, weight and cost.
    The best all round enlargers that don't suffer from those drawbacks are the ones made by Durst - particularly older models like the Laborator.
    Stable, well-built, easy to set up and no bad habits. If you buy a larger one you just get different condensers to cope with different film sizes. I still have a 645 in a box somewhere.
    The Durst timer works as well as any.
    But I used to have a big Junghans process timer for development timing.
    Always used Kodak developer and Ilford stop and fix.
    Heavy duty 5 gallon plastic jerry cans.
     
  3. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I absolutely agree with Hertz on the Beseler. Don't forget... just like a camera needs a good lens, so does an enlarger.

    I always used a Graylab timer for film and print processing, and a Time-O-Lite for the enlarger exposure.

    It wasn't often that I used anything other than the yellow packages (Kodak). I don't have a strong background in chemistry.

    I always stored my exhausted fix in the drain. Is this not OK these days?

    Good luck!

    Pete
     
  4. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No one has ever been disappointed in the performance of a Graylab.

    I've standardized on Microdol-X normal strength for many years.

    My enlarger is a Simmons Omega with a color head and Rodenstock lenses.

    My used fixer, stop bath, developer, toner, etc. go down the drain.
     
  5. Majik Imaje

    Majik Imaje TPF Noob!

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    Nice Thread!

    Besler all the way I have had Omega and others but BESLER 23C & 4X5

    Gra lab all the way

    Time-o lite all the way

    chemicals ? I made my own or used Kodak, paper: Kodak only! (color)
    the very best b&w developer I have ever used was Dr. Buetlers formula
    2 step process

    STORAGE BOTTLES: go to drug stores hospitals ask for empty BROWN GLASS!

    disposal ? YOU MUST NEUTRALIZE chemicals. especially Color chemicals, this is easly done by using baking soda down the drain with lots of water to follow!

    http://majikimaje.com/drkrm15.jpg


    I sure hope you paint that darkroom WHITE! do not paint it black!
     
  6. Weaving Wax

    Weaving Wax TPF Noob!

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    Do the glow in the dark hands on the graylab mess with the film when you load it?
     
  7. Majik Imaje

    Majik Imaje TPF Noob!

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    When you first turn off the lights in the room, the hands will be "charged" up. and if you were to hold the film close to those hands I am sure it would have an effect. but if you turn around when loading the film then there is no problem, also as time goes on that "charge" weakens.. and your not quite faced with the same issue. but tha'ts just my opinion.
    from experience.
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I doubt it. But, being a bit anal, I would always turn it around while I loaded film.

    Good thought.

    Pete
     
  9. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The actual amount of light emitted by luminous clocks and such in the darkroom is very small. The human eye is far more sensitive than film so although it might look bright to you it actually isn't very. It shouldn't have any effect on most films but it is always better not to take risks and take sensible precautions instead.
    You should regularly test the 'darkness' of your darkroom, especially if you process a lot of fast films.
    Load a sheet of Tri-X or similar into a 5x4 darkslide (if you do not posses such a thing then it is simple enough to use a piece of 35mm and some black paper. The DDS just makes things easier).
    Uncover about a fifth of the film and place it where you normally work.
    Leave it for 1-2 mins.
    Uncover a fifth more and leave for 1-2 mins.
    And repeat until the whole piece of film is uncovered.
    Then process.
    Do this for several key locations in the darkroom. If you have a luminous clock then expose some film 2-3 feet from it.
    Any fogging on the film indicates light leaks. By doing the test at several locations you should be able to pinpoint any leaks and fix them.
    In very bad cases the film can actually look like a step wedge.
    You should also carry out this test for the printing area using photo paper and doing it with the safelights on.
    If you get fogging repeat the test with the safelights off to eliminate this as the cause.
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My God... and I thought I was anal!!!
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    You forget that I used to set up and run quite big darkrooms in Colleges - if a film got fogged I knew it was the student and not the darkroom.
    ("No, it's not OK to turn the light on while you're loading your film... I know you can't see what you are doing... yes, it is dark in there. That's why we call it a 'darkroom'...)
    I would recommend people do the tests when they first set up a darkroom. Safelights are not always that safe, and if you are using things like high speed recording film pushed 2 stops it doesn't take much light to cause a problem.
    It's also worth doing with some IR film if you process that. You can't see IR and it can leak into a darkroom where no visible light can get in.


    ...and I'm only anal in the darkroom - to such an extent that I had it surgically removed :lmao:
     
  12. Majik Imaje

    Majik Imaje TPF Noob!

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    May I ask.. sir! what color were those darkrooms?
     

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