good starter kit?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by puckhed33, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. puckhed33

    puckhed33 TPF Noob!

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    I would like to start up a decent B&W darkroom on a budget.
    Are there any good kits out there that anyone could recommend?
    I am starting with literally nothing.:hail:
     
  2. niccig

    niccig TPF Noob!

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    I can't recommend any specific kits, as I haven't quite started my darkroom yet either. However, I have been buying supplies for my b&w photo class (paper, tank, reels, etc), and I've found that Freestyle is by far the cheapest of the popular online places for getting supplies. Especially if you get Arista brand stuff. You can also find some really good deals on ebay if you know what you're looking for.
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know of any complete kits.

    One way to go about putting it all together is to get what's needed for one stage of the process at a time. Eg., start with film development. A tank with the appropriate reel(s), thermometer, developer, stop bath, fixer and rinse detergent does it. Clothespins are film clips and readily available bottles contain the chemicals. Most kitchens have a funnel. A clock with a second hand can be found in most homes.

    Then on to contact printing. Again, get what's needed. Use it to make contact prints of the negatives. Kitty litter trays are makeshift developing trays. Finally, and most expensive, there's enlarging. By that stage, there will be only a very few things needed -- enlarger, timer, easel and contrast filters.

    Best wishes to you. B&W darkrooms are places where magic happens.
     
  4. AltLars

    AltLars TPF Noob!

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    Hey Puck,
    I have just got back into B/W these past few months. I had most of the things I needed in storage. There were things I still needed (wanted) so I went to e-bay. My enlarger is a Beseler 67cp, I bought it new in the early 80's. Condenser head, have to use filters to adjust contrast and to color correct when working with color. I wanted to get a dircho color head but to buy new from a place like Adorama it would have cost me over $400.00 I bought mine on E-bay for $25.00 with the power supply and it turned out the seller was from the area so he drove it over while doing some photo work. I also bought a negative carrier from another seller called a negatrans for $18.00 they are over $200.00 brand new. I'm always looking to add to my darkroom a little at a time. Right now I am looking at getting a GraLab timer and a couple more safelights.

    I knew what I was looking for and what I had funds for to get it. Most of us are in a big hurry to get something, but if you research what you need, and are patient you will be able to aquire the things you need and then get the things you want.

    Before I place a bid on e-bay I google the product I'm looking for. I'll check prices and reviews.

    When using household items such as funnels and such, so not reuse them in the kitchen, no matter how clean you think they are. Once taken, they become yours.

    Best of Luck
    and
    Best to All,
    AltLars
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    There are ready to go BW darkroom kits out there, but they are usually made up of the very cheapest, most basic equipment. For the same price (or even cheaper), I'm sure you could put together your own BW darkroom on Ebay, or other used markets, and the equipment will be of much higher quality and ability.

    One thing I'd recommend is that since all enlargers are going cheap these days, get one that will do medium format film as well as 35mm. They are just as cheap as the 35mm only enlargers on the used markets these days. If you never try medium format, well then, you have a nice, sturdy enlarger that will make really big prints from 35mm. But if you do decide to try out medium format film, then you are pretty much ready to go; you'll just need the right enlarging lens.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The darkroom articles are being added at a pace of 1/mo. Two are posted, two are 'in the can' [Film development and contact printing], and I'm working on the one covering enlarging. There's also a set of enlarger exposure correction tables based on the distance from easel surface to film holder. I hope to also add one on a simple system of scene-to-print control aimed at the photographer who isn't willing to devote one roll to one scene. I may also write one on exposure meters and metering.
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm just teasing you, Torus, I know it's time consuming work.

    One thing that's very handy in the darkroom is a book about the darkroom. My 2 favorite BW film darkroom/photography books are by Henry Horenstein, and are titled "Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual", and "Beyond Basic Photography: A Technical Manual". These are well written, and easy to read, and are basically Photography 101 and 102 classes in book form. They are under $20 new, but I see them all the time in used bookstores for $5 or $6 each.
     
  9. puckhed33

    puckhed33 TPF Noob!

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    Thanx for all the info guys. I was a member of these forums a while back but had a hiatus. Once I was able to get back to photography I knew I had to come back here. Everyone on these forums is so helpful, especialy to noobs like me.
     
  10. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Photography is such a vast field that in some areas, we're all newbees.
     
  11. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You might find a complete "kit" on ebay. Look for enlargers, and you'll see that a lot of times people will sell the enlarger with timer, filters, easel, trays, and even dev tanks, for next to nothing.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    And check your local resources too. Some newspapers will post "want to buy" ads for free, or next to free. If you get the word out that you are looking for darkroom gear someone may be willing to give it to you just to get their closet space back. Darkroom gear is so cheap on Ebay that for many people it's not worth the trouble trying to sell it on Ebay (besides, shipping charges for an enlarger are a lot). Three or four times a year someone approaches me trying to sell their BW darkroom. When I say I'm not interested (I already have more than I need), they often offer it for free. They just want to get rid of it.
     

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