getting back in the b&w game and need your help plz

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by polock, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. polock

    polock TPF Noob!

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    ok here we go,

    bout 7-9 years ago in highschool i took photo I II III and IV and loved it so much that i set up my personal b&w darkroom. long story short, college and beer made my darkroom end up in storage. now i am a home owner and settled family man with a 1 month old daughter and have decided to bring the ole darkroom back out and get er running again. here is my delimma:

    my chemicals have been in storage in a cool dark place for 7 years. Think they are ok????

    I have a beseler enlarger, can't remember how to put the lens's back in, figure i can find a diagram on their website.

    I do not remember which chemicals are for paper, and which are for negatives. does anyone have a good tutorial on getting back the darkroom knowledge?

    my paper has been in storage for the same amount of time... i figure once i get everything back up and running i can just test my luck and see if everything will work.

    my main question now that i just got a canon elan II off ebay for under 100, is... i have all these really nice lens's that fit on my contax 139 quartz camera. has anyone ever used the adapters that go from contax to canon eos?? if they work good, i could get an adapter and still have all my good glass. see below for my list of equipment. also, anyone have any pictures of a very small black and white darkroom setup??? i am looking to set mine up in a 8x6 utility room in my basement. i think it can be done, just need some pointers.
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to TPF!

    Here's a tip: everything old is new again. ;) That means, the stuff you have that got old is probably all still available. You can still easily find Ilford, Kodak and so many other products. Figure out what you need to get mixed up and click on one of the banner ads at the top: B&H, Freestyle, Adorama will carry anything you might need.

    I have used Ilford MGIV glossy paper the most, and can easily recommend it. I'll let others weigh in on their choices - there is a wealth of papers out there! Freestyle carries a lot of student-grade stuff, which might be good for you to practice on while you re-learn. (My best guess would be that developing film is developing film; those big radiology processers just want industrial amounts of Kodak or Versamat chemistries, I'd imagine. I wouldn't confuse it for anything you want on a smaller scale at home, though. Stick with what you remember.)

    Any reason you don't want to take the Contax in for repair? Might work like a champ with a little love, and you already have lenses for it. Same thing with the Canon. I'd be tempted to keep shooting what I had and just concentrate on getting a few rolls shot so I could get going with the developing and making the test prints. 400 speed film is wonderful for lower light, 100 or 200 is fine outdoors - but there are no hard and fast rules - shoot what you feel familiar with if you want.

    I'll let others weigh in here to give you new camera advice - again, the choices are numerous and these days there are outrageous deals to be had.

    Have fun! I loved getting my home darkroom up and running. :D I spend many happy hours in there!
     
  3. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    im not much of a buff on paper,
    but as for film, i like the entire Ilford line.
    the Ilford PanF 50 is my favorite, but it also takes alot of light.
    I've found that i like all of Ilfords film and of course Kodak t-Max films. I've used Ilford and kodak T-max developer. The t-max developer i really like and the Ilford developer i accidently left in the car over night and it froze and it didnt work so well the next day.
     
  4. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    Liquid developers are the easiest to use. My preferred combination is all a Kodak lineup: TMax developer, indicator stop, and rapid fixer. I use Dektol for developing paper, and, as with any powered chemical, I try to mix it up a day or two ahead of time to give it time to dissolve properly.

    For paper, I use Ilford MGIII RC glossy. Or is is MCIII...? Anyway, it's discontinued, I believe, but there's Ilford's IV version. I'm just using the III because it's what I've got, and I've got a lot of it, and it was (best of all) free.

    In film, I'm fond of Kodak's TMax. They're not too difficult to get (WalMart carries TMax 400, and I used to be able to get TMax 100 there, too). I've tried HIE infrared, Plus-X and Tri-X once or twice, and they're allright, too. So far, I find that film is film, and I haven't really started examining them closely. I'm going to be trying some 3200 TMax, and some of that Ilford Pan F (I think it is) pretty soon. Any film with E6 is getting harder and harder to get processed (I don't do it myself), so for color, I prefer Kodak's UC films. They've got really nice color rendition.

    I used to use a Canon EOS model of camera, the Rebel GII. The Rebel series of cameras isn't bad, but I found it too limiting after a while. Too much fiddling with controls, just to change aperture. I upgraded to an Elan 7N, and I'm entirely satisfied with it. I like it better than the EOS 1 and 3 models, too... less button-pushing. My absolutely favorite lens is the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.

    I also use a Canon AE-1 Program, which despite being probably as old as I am, is a workhorse. I recommend it highly as an affordable and effective used camera system. The lenses are easy to find and fairly cheap, too. Beyond those, I've got a couple of antiques, and a couple I've built myself, but I don't imagine that's quite what you're looking for.

    HTH
     
  5. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Contax may well have a high-enough resale/trade value to make it worth while repairing. Might just need CLA [cleaning, lube, adjustment.]

    There are many Canon bodies available on ebay or in the used departments of B&H, Adorama and KEH.

    Either way, it would be a shame to have to re-buy all those lenses. It's precisely that which is keeping me from going digital.
     
  6. Luke_H

    Luke_H TPF Noob!

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    Polock, I just took a b&w class at a community college this summer. We used Ilford Multigrade IV RC paper. It cost me 41.25 for 100 sheets of 8x10, which is nearly cheaper than any of Freestyle's other papers... As for film, I shoot lots of various types.. I like Tri-X, PanF+, Tmax 400, etc.. depends on my mood, what I want to bring home for the 'look'.

    I found that I was using Ilford's filter kit when printing to boost the contrast a lot.. Typically a #3 - #5 range of boost.

    Nothing has changed really in the last 9 years. Once I got back into it, it is all very similar. I used Kodak chemicals in highschool and we used Ilford chemicals in college. I prefer the Ilford chemicals.. Less stinky/messy/work faster.

    But the process is all the same, and I find it to be highly rewarding on a personal level compared to digital photography.

    Oh, and I second Torus: Get a camera that allows you to use the lenses you already have.

    However, if money isn't really too big of a worry, I have invested (on ebay) 150 in my Nikon N80 and 75 in Nikon's 50 1.8 AF/D lens. That's really all I 'need'. Pro style features and capabilities, just not built as well.
     
  7. polock

    polock TPF Noob!

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    just won a canon eos elan II on ebay for 80 bucks, with a 28-80 lens and a tiffen uv filter with camera bag. figured this was a cheap enough deal???? will post what all lens i have on here for you to give me advice. also, i have seen contax to canon lens adapters, do these work???

    my lens i have now

    CANON:

    FD 28MM 1:2.8
    FD 70-210MM 1:4
    FD 50MM 1: 1.8

    TAMRON ADAPTALL 2
    HOJA 55MM UV FILTER
    CARL ZEISS PLANAR 1,7/50 LENS

    TAMRON
    1:2.5 28MM

    SIGMA 1:3.5 ~45 35-105MM LENS
    W UV FILTER SAYS SIGMA ZOOM AII OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT

    CONTAX 139 QUARTZ BODY
    NON-WORKING NOT SURE WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO FIX

    CANON T50 BODY
     

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