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Help needed in buying Dark room equipment


Guest NEIL-D-WILLIAMS
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Guest NEIL-D-WILLIAMS

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Guys

I've been looking at buying darkroom equipment from B&H but its like the blind leading the blind. My plan is to wet print both B&W and color, is the such a thing as a enlarger that can do both Black and white and color.

they also range from 5k to less than 1k, could someone help point me in the right direction for an enlarge, lens, filters and timer for printing up to 36" 

Thanks

Neil

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Neil,

addressing your specific questions.

Yes it is possible to have the one enlarger do both B&W and colour, the colour head is needed though, but this can be used for B&W.

I reckon, unless you know what you are buying, and I suspect you don't (no offense), you might be better trying your hand in a commercial darkroom, one which allows you to go, try and experiment.

My darkroom dates back 50 years, but it is still a work in progress.

Gary

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Guest NEIL-D-WILLIAMS

Mate I did a 7 day devoloping and printing class already so I'm past the basics. I'm going to build the darkroom ~400 sq/ft into the design of my new house in Phuket.

I will probably get most of the gear from eBay with the help of the expert darkroom print expert who taught me the basics.

I know there are going to be comments around knowing the basics after 7 days but I've got broad shoulders so let them squeel

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I think you really just need to get down to real biz and borrow Marvin Odum's private jet and shuttle yer' buttle off to Germany for a couple days to get the custom low down from Fotoimpex. Check out the goods from peeps like Heiland and Deville and then once you got that plump order all kosh, future proof your new dark digs with one of these bad boys from Durst

 

That ought to pull about 20-50K out yer' wallet post haste, you'll be as golden as a Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei circa 92'.

 

Bam!

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Guest NEIL-D-WILLIAMS

I think you really just need to get down to real biz and borrow Marvin Odum's private jet and shuttle yer' buttle off to Germany for a couple days to get the custom low down from Fotoimpex. Check out the goods from peeps like Heiland and Deville and then once you got that plump order all kosh, future proof your new dark digs with one of these bad boys from Durst.

 

That ought to pull about 20-50K out yer' wallet post haste, you'll be as golden as a Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei circa 92'.

 

Bam!

Can you run that by me again as I have no idea what your talking about.

Oh by the way I have a M6 already

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Mate I did a 7 day devoloping and printing class already so I'm past the basics. I'm going to build the darkroom ~400 sq/ft into the design of my new house in Phuket.

I will probably get most of the gear from eBay with the help of the expert darkroom print expert who taught me the basics.

I know there are going to be comments around knowing the basics after 7 days but I've got broad shoulders so let them squeel

Neil,

I fully realise the width of your shoulders, it is one of your positive attributes, truly.

But coming from my side, I'll wager you have very little idea of what colour processing is like.

So, with that in mind, get yourself a good M/F enlarger, with a dichroic head, and get started.

At worst this will mean B&W is done, or if you master it with aplomb, colour. The worst that can happen is you will burn some discretionary dollar.

Here (in NZ) I wouldn't think of buying new, there is more than enough used gear for next to nothing price-wise.

Good luck, we'll all be waiting for the next installment.

Gary

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Mate I did a 7 day devoloping and printing class already so I'm past the basics. I'm going to build the darkroom ~400 sq/ft into the design of my new house in Phuket.

I will probably get most of the gear from eBay with the help of the expert darkroom print expert who taught me the basics.

I know there are going to be comments around knowing the basics after 7 days but I've got broad shoulders so let them squeel

Basics are fine, but colour is a different story, Neil. It calls for experience -I agree with you, only one way to get it- and even more precision.

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I would personally have a B&W darkroom and a scanner and high quality printer for colour.

 

The exception would be Cibachrome, if it were still available. I loved the look of Cibachrome prints and I found it quite easy to work with when I used to have my makeshift darkroom! 

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That is exactly the way it is, James. And those 30+ year old Ciba prints still are as brilliant as the day they were drying...

 

Indeed Jaap, I just wish I'd made more CIbachrome prints at the time, but this was when I was 18 or so and my funds didn't stretch far! I've only got a few now, most were given away or lost in moves.

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That is exactly the way it is, James. And those 30+ year old Ciba prints still are as brilliant as the day they were drying...

I agree. I still have some Cibachromes from back in the mid-1980's that look as good as they did when new. Somewhere I've still got stacks of Cibachrome contact prints from 6x6 Ektachromes. It was a great loss when Cibachrome / Ilfochrome became extinct.

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I am doing both - B&W and color printing. I was fortunate enough to get hold on a second Beseler diffuser-based enlarger with color head for color prints which I develop with the RA-4 process.

Regarding enlargers, yes, you can do B&W and color prints with such color-head based enlarger. But it is not the same B&W printing without additional adjustments compared to a traditional condenser based enlarger. The contrast between both types of enlargers is shown differently in the developed B&W print - but you can adjust the settings with the color head based enlarger to make it look very similar. I decided to keep two enlargers - one Beseler 45M (condenser-based) for B&W only, and the Beseler 67S II for color prints.

 

I am only using contrast filters if absolutely necessary for B&W prints. Filters for color prints are already within the color head - yellow, magenta, and blue. For color prints, leave the blue alone in zero position and start with 60 for yellow and 60 for magenta. Adjust the settings after making a test print.

 

The largest prints I am making are 14x11" - I am limited in space in my dry darkroom, and this is the maximum size of easel I can fit in underneath each enlarger. I am mostly using 35mm format negatives - here you need a 50 mm enlarger lens. I am using a Wollensak 50 mm Raptar lens on my 45M enlarger, and a Nikkor 50/2.8 EL-enlarger lens on my 67S II enlarger. I bought the Nikkor 50/2.8 EL lens for about $30 used in excellent condition on ebay since the original lens of this enlarger suffered from fungus inside the lens elements.

 

For digital negatives which I print in 4x5" size, I am using a Wollensak 162 mm Raptar lens on my Beseler 45M enlarger. This focal length is also suitable for medium format negative prints.

 

I am using two timers (one I got for free, the other one I bought for $30 in mint condition on Amazon):both are Time-O-Lite models. I wouldn't go crazy here investing in high end ones......

Edited by Martin B
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(copied from your duplicate thread in the film forum)....

 

Even if I returned to film/darkroom (won't happen after designing and building 4 b/w darkrooms over 30+ years), I would only do b/w.  For color, I would stick to an all-digital workflow, including camera.  Not just easier, but better IQ (than scanning) and more flexibility than using a darkroom....at least for me.

 

I've been in color darkrooms, but never regretted not setting one up.  I wish, though, back in the day that I had the skill, knowledge and patience for dye transfer printing, where at least the results could be phenomenally better than traditional color work.  Ctein, one of the last doing dye transfer (until recently), has an old video (Video Journal #11) on LuLa that shows his process....great stuff.  

 

These days, for me, digital is as good as I'm going to get for color.

 

Jeff

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(copied from your duplicate thread in the film forum)....

 

Even if I returned to film/darkroom (won't happen after designing and building 4 b/w darkrooms over 30+ years), I would only do b/w.  For color, I would stick to an all-digital workflow, including camera.  Not just easier, but better IQ (than scanning) and more flexibility than using a darkroom....at least for me.

 

I've been in color darkrooms, but never regretted not setting one up.  I wish, though, back in the day that I had the skill, knowledge and patience for dye transfer printing, where at least the results could be phenomenally better than traditional color work.  Ctein, one of the last doing dye transfer (until recently), has an old video (Video Journal #11) on LuLa that shows his process....great stuff.  

 

These days, for me, digital is as good as I'm going to get for color.

 

Jeff

 

(copied from your duplicate thread in the film forum)....

 

Even if I returned to film/darkroom (won't happen after designing and building 4 b/w darkrooms over 30+ years), I would only do b/w.  For color, I would stick to an all-digital workflow, including camera.  Not just easier, but better IQ (than scanning) and more flexibility than using a darkroom....at least for me.

 

I've been in color darkrooms, but never regretted not setting one up.  I wish, though, back in the day that I had the skill, knowledge and patience for dye transfer printing, where at least the results could be phenomenally better than traditional color work.  Ctein, one of the last doing dye transfer (until recently), has an old video (Video Journal #11) on LuLa that shows his process....great stuff.  

 

These days, for me, digital is as good as I'm going to get for color.

 

Jeff

 

I have a different opinion here....and I do both digital and analog photography. Color film is not the same as digital - with a lot of post processing of the digital files you might get close. Printing on color -based silver gelatin paper is also different....even the difference here compared to a good color inkjet print on photo paper are not as big. The main hassle with the RA-4 color print process is the air sensitivity of the developer - I found drum processing best to cope with it and to minimize the used liquid amounts. Here an example of a final result:

 

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