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Darkroom aficionados?
Old 01-06-2017, 12:39 PM   #1
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Darkroom aficionados?

I read a Facebook post about how analog photography is coming back into style and that got me thinking about darkroom gear. I'm curious about how many others had home darkrooms. In the summers of 1966 and 67 I worked for the Chicago Schools photographer. He taught me how to use a Graflex 4x5 camera and how to do black and white print processing from the 4x5 films. When I was 25 I bought a Meopta Axomat enlarger (Czech company) trays, lights, chemicals, etc. and even built a home brew print timer. I was mainly into black and white 35mm and did some special effects stuff with Kodalith. Also a little bit of Cibachrome color slide to print work.

It was a lot of fun and I kept the equipment for decades. In about 2000 or 2001 when my daughter became interested I dragged the stuff out of the attic and set up a basement darkroom that she used for a year or so. When she dropped that interest I gave the gear away to a 20 something who was taking a class and was interested in expanding into her home.

No way I would go back to analog now but it was interesting.
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:16 PM   #2
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I did quite a bit of darkroom work back in my teens. While it was fun and I was fairly proficient at it I have zero interest in turning my bathroom into a superfund site again. Those chemicals were NASTY.

Call me lazy, but I find digital to be superior to film in pretty much every way. The exception would be for larger format work (4x5 or greater) where the resolution of digital cameras still can't compete (at any reasonable price point). I have seen some stunning large format film work produced in the digital age, but that really seems a narrow niche to me.
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:17 PM   #3
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I did a lot of 35mm black and white in the '70s, had a desire to go pro in the Air Force but that didn't pan out. Started shooting again about 12 years ago, and found digital makes things so much easier...

That said, there are a few of us who are doing and kibitzing large-format black and white of trains on another forum. I haven't actually shot anything yet, but I dug out my Nikon F2, 28mm, 50mm, and 105mm lenses, and my developing tank to try sometime this year. I'll chemically develop the negatives, but I'll scan them and post-process digitally. I don't have the real estate or inclination to do a full darkroom.
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:25 PM   #4
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I was on my high school photo staff for the newspaper and yearbook and was a motion picture cameraman in the USAF. We did our own developing and printing in high school and also at home. I preferred to use 35mm but had a good friend that gravitated to the larger formats including an 8x10 single lens reflex portrait camera. I still have my Nikon F2 Photomic and my Leica CL from the 70's.

Some of us were steam train fans and enjoyed taking pictures of the trains on steam excursions. Fun days!
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:30 PM   #5
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DD (27) set up a darkroom in our house when she was in high school - the equipment is still in our garage. She now lives in NYC and last year took a class at a local cooperative darkroom and has the bug again. For Christmas we gave her some B&W professional film, and one of her uncles gave her his collection of lenses and other photo equipment built up over the years (much of her gear was stolen from her apartment when she was in college).
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:46 AM   #6
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I, too, would never consider going back to analog photography. However, there are, apparently, enough of those that would to get Kodak's attention:


https://www.dpreview.com/news/950367...ack-ektachrome
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:06 AM   #7
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Yes digital has changed things significantly. With film you had to have some knowledge to get good shots. Now you just shoot hundreds and hope to get a good one or two. Or post up out of focus, badly exposed shots straight out of the phone.
Rant off!
I also did some B&W and Cibachrome slide work. Had fun with it, but enjoy digital more.
BTW how many shoot in auto mode? I still shoot manual and Aperture, almost never auto or program modes. And when I was shooting sports with a Canon 1D3 almost never used burst mode, always anticipated and timed my shots and got great action shots.
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by folivier View Post
Yes digital has changed things significantly. With film you had to have some knowledge to get good shots. Now you just shoot hundreds and hope to get a good one or two. ...

BTW how many shoot in auto mode? I still shoot manual and Aperture, almost never auto or program modes.
Oh, how I remember the many shots I lost because of having to "conserve" (out in the field miles from a store that sold film, for instance... or simply because of the cost involved). I would not want to go back to that.

My camera(s) is always set to "Program" because most of my shots are spontaneous and don't allow for "setup" time -- street photography, for instance. Nevertheless, when I have the time (which is actually quite often), I use whatever gives the best (in my mind) result -- either Av or Tv. Rarely, if ever, do I go full Manual (no patience, I guess). In other words, I generally trust my camera to make the right decision but reserve the right to override.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:06 AM   #9
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I put together a darkroom in our basement when I was 12 years old. I had a bogen T35 enlarger, and a full tool set for shooting and developing B&W negatives and prints. I entered into color for a brief period a few years later. I'll never forget the 'magic' I felt when taking my first freshly shot roll of film and developing the negatives and then prints. I was absolutely hooked! That whole experience really gave me a great foundation in understanding the photographic process, one that today's digital shutterbugs may never have benefitted from
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:15 AM   #10
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That whole experience really gave me a great foundation in undertstanding photography, one that today's digital shutterbugs may never have benefitted from
I quite agree. However, I gained far more in-depth understanding through many years in Photoshop... and this is recognizing that, even now, I don't know a lot more than I do know.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:56 AM   #11
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Sounds like a nice time to visit Kodachrome Basin in Utah. I wonder how many young folk know where the name came from?
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Old 01-07-2017, 09:48 AM   #12
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I've got several cameras and some gear in the pile waiting to donate for a tax write off.

Anyone have a better way to dispose of this good quality but old camera gear? It has to be an easy method as I'm not into Ebay selling.
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:00 AM   #13
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Try a local college. They may have a photography class that still uses film stuff. I donated some Minolta gear a couple years ago.
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I've got several cameras and some gear in the pile waiting to donate for a tax write off.

Anyone have a better way to dispose of this good quality but old camera gear? It has to be an easy method as I'm not into Ebay selling.
If you have some old quality lenses, PM me.
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:20 AM   #15
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Note that one of the survivors of Kodak announced they will bring back Ektachrome by the end of 2017. Ektachrome can be processed by non professionals, using the E-6 process. Kodak commented that demand for analog film has come back, and this means a return the slide film by Kodak.
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:39 PM   #16
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Set up my 1st darkroom at 15 and then took photography class in high school working on the yearbook and shooting sports for local paper. I then went onto photo school and started my photographic career that lasted 39 years. Donated all my darkroom equipment to our local high school when we switched to digital. We just retired but I still remember working in my darkroom.
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:54 PM   #17
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BTW how many shoot in auto mode? I still shoot manual and Aperture, almost never auto or program modes.
Mostly manual with TTL flash at family events. I now have four SB-900 strobes and might get one or two more from eBay. If we're outside, mostly either aperture or shutter priority depending on conditions. I'll use either a Colorchecker Passport inside or Expodisc outside to set white balance.

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Note that one of the survivors of Kodak announced they will bring back Ektachrome by the end of 2017.
Wow, perhaps I should hang on to my Cannon AE-1, lenses, and Vivitar 283 strobe! Most of the gear was bought with overtime money but normally I didn't have much to spend on film and processing so I shot mostly Kodachrome. I had been thinking about either selling or donating all that stuff to the college near here.
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:55 PM   #18
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With Dektolman as a handle I would expect you spent more than a few hours in darkrooms.
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