good deal on used kit?

denada

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hi all. i'd like to start shooting on film -- like high school photo class -- and found a kit just listed on craigslist: Dark Room Equipment

is that what i need? is $200 such a great deal i'd be a jerk to finagle, or should i offer less? normally i'd never pay what's asked, but i've googled the equipment and see i'm getting it for significantly less than 50 percent of what i'd pay new. i'm not sure how photo equipment depreciates, so i'd like a second opinion.

and how quickly will i outgrow this equipment? a two hour round trip, $200, + paper and chemicals sounds like a nice way to get started. but if i'm going to want an upgrade in 6 months i might as well just buy whatever that equipment is now.

much appreciated!
 

tirediron

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To be honest, that seems a bit high. It's a decent enlarger, but I would be thinking more in the $100 - 150 at MOST. I see a lot of similar kit for $50 - 100 in my area.
 

480sparky

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I'm with tirediron. Someone is thinking they spent moo-koo bucks on in back in the 80s so it should start appreciating in value simply due to it's age.

I'd offer a c-note and see what happens.
 

timor

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I think the price is not bad. All, but trays and safety light are listed. If all this items would be bought separately for marginally better price one has to take in account a lot of driving and waiting for a good deal to appears somewhere. And Jobo tanks are not cheap anywhere. A good deal, IMO.
 

Designer

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Years ago I sold all of my darkroom stuff at give-away prices. In general, film/darkroom stuff will be dirt cheap. If you find someone wanting to sell the lot, and it includes some film, some print paper, some chemicals, go ahead and take it (off his hands as a favor) but don't expect it to be much good, and possibly completely no good at all, but you can do some cheap practicing with it. Buy your equipment at cents on the dollar, and then buy new film, chemicals, and paper when you get all set up.
 

vintagesnaps

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To me the info. isn't specific enough - which Beseler? what size Gralab timer? which grain scope? It seems priced a little high but if it was top of the line Beseler that for me would make a difference. That and condition.

The seller may/may not know; often the person is selling equipment that belonged to an older relative.

And don't go by yourself, take a couple of friends (to carry it and for safety reasons).

Or wait and go to the Ohio Camera Swap - one coming up in March and held in 2 different cities every few months - safer option with sellers who usually know what they're selling (they want repeat business and a good reputation so less likely to rip you off).
 

Derrel

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The Besler Printmaker 35 is still made, still for sale, a decent $359 retail, condenser enlarger.Beseler Printmaker 35 Black The fact that the Polycontrast or other "12 filters" (maybe ilford multigrade filter set) are in the set means it's likely a plain, non-dichroic head on it.

The Premier easel is $44.95 new, $24.95 used on Adorama. The Gralab timers are rock-solid and easy to use, something like the modern Gralab 300 series is $124 new, and this is VERY likely almost exactly what the one in the set is like....GraLab Model 300 Electro-Mechanical Darkroom Timer GR300 B&H

The "Job" tank (a typo I assume) might very well be a Jobo processor...or, more likely JUST a fairly simple "tank". Most like a plain ole Jobo tank.

It has a Besler enlarging lens (not a great one, but it'll do, for certain), so yeah, $200 is not a screaming deal....but it's not wildly,wildly over-priced in the current market. Buuuut....I would maybe offer a little less than the full $200...

The days of the $50 and $100 complete darkroom giveaway sales are mostly over in my area. In some areas there's enough demand for film stuff that this outfit might sell at the full asking price.
 

Dave442

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I think there is no problem in making a lower offer, especially as a high school student, the enlarger can go alone for under $100 used and the rest is worth at most $50. Looks like you will also need trays, bottles, safe-light (they may have these items and just didn't write it all out, so ask).

There is usually some cost for turning any room into a darkroom so you may have some other expenses there besides just paper and chemicals. I also started out with a used set like this and I remember the person was more interested in getting the stuff out of the house than the actual price.
 
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denada

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i appreciate all the replies. he describes it near-new and barely used, and sent photos that back that up. he dodged the question of if he's the original owner. looking him up on linkedin, it's likely he acquired it through his warehouse-related profession for nothing or next to. i offered $125.

and unfortunately i meant back like in high school photo class.
 
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denada

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$125 and an 1 & ½ hour round trip. from a nice fella. stuff is like new, as described. was his wife's, and she hadn't used it in over a decade. about to trade my pops all the furniture he’s storing in my strange, cement dungeon (soon to be dark-) room for his retired 35mm camera. gotta read up on how to construct a dry darkroom. i know i still need to find some some safelights, a developing bag, trays, and some sort of chemical tub because a laundry sink is nearby but unfortunately not in the room. and will need to construct or buy some surfaces to work on. i’m gonna be just like sally mann down there. though probably not developing and enlarging quite the same subject matter.
 

timor

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OK. Nice start. You still need safety red light, trays, most likely 8x10, minimum 3 of them. Some square laundry bowl for holding the prints after fixing and some boards for drying prints. ( I am using clipboards from dollar store. Clip removed of course.) When comes to setup of the darkroom nothing simpler. You need table big enough for enlarger and trays. Safety light should be at least 4 feet from developing tray and it' should be tested for fogging. You will need some containers for chemicals and some closet to keep the chemistry in. You will need thermometer and test it if possible against some good one. With prints 2 degrees maybe not big deal, but with film it is critical. Enough for now.
Good luck and "report" the progress. Any questions you have, just shoot at us. One advice; don't try to exactly copy anything. Adapt. In 40 years I never seen two darkrooms operating identically.
 

Dave442

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I've had darkroom's in a few locations with a sink outside. It's doable, especially if your not developing a large amount at one time.

I had (have in storage) that same paper holder, nice for doing a number of prints at the same size very quickly and the older version of that GraLab timer that can control the safelight and enlarger.

I would probably just start with one of those heavy plastic tables with metal legs.

If the room is light-tight then I always preferred to do just load film in the darkroom, safelight off, and skip trying to use a changing bag.

I would look for the trays and bottles in the used market as well.
Congrats and looking forward to seeing some results.
 

jcdeboever

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$125 and an 1 & ½ hour round trip. from a nice fella. stuff is like new, as described. was his wife's, and she hadn't used it in over a decade. about to trade my pops all the furniture he’s storing in my strange, cement dungeon (soon to be dark-) room for his retired 35mm camera. gotta read up on how to construct a dry darkroom. i know i still need to find some some safelights, a developing bag, trays, and some sort of chemical tub because a laundry sink is nearby but unfortunately not in the room. and will need to construct or buy some surfaces to work on. i’m gonna be just like sally mann down there. though probably not developing and enlarging quite the same subject matter.

If you want, I can scan copies of the dark room setups in my newly acquired, used Hedgecoe book, John Hedgecoe's Complete Guide to Black & White Photography and Darkroom Techniques($4.95 shipped). PM me if you would like, pretty cool, setting mine up similar if not identical.

Mod: Can I post the scanned pages in this thread?
 

terri

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Mod: Can I post the scanned pages in this thread?
Sorry, please don't. :) Didn't mean to leave you hanging, I just now saw this post. However, if wanted to do that via PM for the benefit of the OP, with the clear acknowledgement that the images are from the Hedgecoe book, that would be the better option. He'll get the information and you'll keep it off the public forum.
 
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denada

denada

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thanks again for everyone's help. as of yesterday, my darkroom is operational ...

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lots of test sheets and mess ups as i was figuring things out.

forgot to include my colored glass chemical jugs the in the photos, but they're pretty.

window sealed with foam board on the outside and tinfoil and cardboard on the interior. door sealed with caulk, weather stripping, and a door sweep. more than dark enough as is, but a few minor tweaks and it will be a light vacuum. i could probably develop film during the day as is, but will do so only at night until i make those tweaks.

first finished print ...

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wish i would have stepped to the side to put some distance between the utility pole and his head, but this is a new hobby for me, i'm learning, and i'm still alright with the photo. dust marks because my staticwisk brush and white gloves didn't arrive until late that day, and i was already deep in work without them.

bought a space heater, but it's still a huge pain keeping the developer tray at exactly 68 fahrenheit. with the fixer and stop bath, you get a few degrees wiggle room. but not the developer. will be easier when it's hotter out and i can just dip and ice bag in it from time to time, as opposed to trying to keep the room at 68 and occasionally having to pour the developer tray into a graduated cylinder to run under hot water and then pour back into the tray.

darkroom is still functional without running water -- utility sink nearby -- but oh boy would that sink being in the room be nice. do people with dry darkrooms leave a few prints in the still water bath before stepping out and rinsing with running water, or do you step out and rinse after every print? or is there third strategy?

picked up a 10 x 12 glass sheet to make contact prints this morning. i wanted 1/4 thick, but all they had was like 1/10. but as it was 3 dollars plus change and i was already at the store, i purchased to give it a try. figure i can add weights to the sides until i motivate to get to a custom glass shop.

next step is to getting it operational for color prints. i have no idea what's involved with that, but i figure i can take a moment to enjoy and improve on b&w before starting that project. should probably start keeping an eye out for cheap gear now though. whatever that gear is. can parts be bought for the beseler printmaker 35 so it can do color and/or medium format as well?
 
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