I'm setting up my little darkroom and I need help.

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Tom Sawyer, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer TPF Noob!

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    Hello!

    This will be a thread about the problems I am most likely to encounter in this new adventure in the dark.
    I will be making prints for now, developing film later, but for now my questions will be about prints.

    I bought a used enlarger, and it came with a lot of stuff, including some chemicals. I know I need at least developer, stop bath and fixer.

    I have two bottles of fixer, "Tetenal Superfix", that seems to be suited both for film and paper. Then I have a developer: "Tetenal Ultrafin liquid". On the bottle it says it is for developing film, so this won't do for making prints, will it?

    Then I have one bottle that says "Wetting Agent". It's made by Tetenal too. What does that do?

    So now I need at least stop bath and probably developer. What should I get? Does it have to be Tetenal? Or can I buy Ilford or Kodak developer and stop bath and use it with the Tetenal fixer?

    Thanks for now, I will be using this thread to ask lots of newbie questions from now on.
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    check out this pdf file from Ilford. it should give you a good starting point.

    ILFORD PHOTO - Printing in Black & White

    you can use any combination of developer or stop bath with the fixer.

    the wetting agent is used after washing film to help avoid water spots occuring as the film dries. Use as directed on the bottle.

    You might ask the seller how old the chemistry is, and has it been opened and sitting around?

    the brand name you use will be based on what is available in your location, unless you start buying on line and then your option may be greater.

    have fun.
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Tom: Ann is giving good advice and a link to an excellent resource here.

    In addition, take time to check out the B&W Film series that is in our Articles of Interest forum. There are 7 parts. Since you're doing enlargements for now, you may want to start here. When you're ready to look at film development, you can start at the beginning. This series was written by our own Torus34, so he's always around if you need clarification on anything.

    The more you ready and experiment, the quicker you'll pick things up. Good luck on your new journey! :D
     
  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer TPF Noob!

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    Great, thanks guys! The only chemicals that I can get here are Ilford, so I'm gonna go with those.

    Thanks for the links, I'm gonna do some reading now.
     
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer TPF Noob!

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    My enlarger as a little red colored plastic "flap" that can be flipped under the lens. Is this a filter? It's for changing the contrast, right?
    The enlarger is a pretty old model, and it hasn't got that "filter tray" that a lot of sites talk about. If I want to use the Ilford Multigrade filters, can I just attach them to the holder where the red plastic thing is now?
     
  6. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    what model enlarger do you have? If its a color enlarger you would adjust the contrast with the Magenta, Yellow and Blue nobs on the enlarger.

    On my enlarger the red plastic deal is to flip in front of the lens to stop light from hitting the paper, since paper is not red Sensitive.
     
  7. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer TPF Noob!

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    No, It's a really old Kindermann. I guess it's from the 50s/60s. It's very basic, just what I need to get started.
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    you can get a set of under the lens filters.

    they come with a gadget that fits onto the lens and then the filters slide into the holder.

    you can not use the filters on top of the red safe light filter. For many years those red filters came on all enlargers , that would enable someone to put a piece of enlarging paper under the light path to check focus, or whatever.

    you might be able to remove the red gel and place a enlarging filter on top of the holder, you will just need to be careful not to knock it off, etc.

    i don't remember what the negative carrier looks like on this enlarger, but you might be able to place a filter on top of the negative carrier but it becomes ticky depending on how stable the negative stage is. just another thought.
     
  9. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer TPF Noob!

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    Does it matter where the filter is? Under the lens or between negative and lens, etc.? Or is the important thing that the light has passed the filter one way or another before reaching the paper?
     
  10. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    there are some who think before the lens is better.

    we have run some test in our lab and the prints look great regardless of where the filter is; however, you will probably have someone else tell you the opposite.

    In photography as with so many other things in life there are very strong opinons.
     
  11. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My natural tendency would be to rig [or modify] a filter holder under the lens.

    Reason: I've just made a print, looked at it carefully, and decided that the framing is perfect and the focus is perfect but the contrast should be kicked up a notch or two. With a 'below-the-lens' filter holder, I can swap filters without disturbing anything else.
     
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer TPF Noob!

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    I already have a good plan to make a filter holder. :thumbup:

    Another thing:

    I just made my first print! Hooray! It turned out better than I expected, actually it's quite nice.

    But I have a few more questions: Can I reuse the fixer and the stop bath? Or do I pour everything away?
    And how long should I wash my prints? I have read in an old german Tetenal booklet that the prints should be washed for 20 minutes. Twenty! Is this necessary? I can't afford that much water, haha. On the internet I have picked up more of a 2 minutes idea.
     

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