Discussion in 'Photography' started by Matthew Del Buono, May 3, 2004.

  1. I'm considering starting to develop my own pictures, rather than pay $13 for
    each roll... (since I generally push film, I have to go to a professional
    studio where they seriously jack up prices).

    Anyways, a few questions about enlargers:

    1) What's a good company?
    2) Does the difference in price really show which one's better? I don't need
    anything fancy -- I can think on my own...
    3) Would a 50mm lens on the enlarger be able to develop 32mm film?
    4) What's the best place to buy it from?

    Oh, and one last question: Is developing your own pictures worth it? I mean,
    obviously the initial price is much higher, but does it eventually pay off
    (i.e. no more than $10 per roll for chemicals, etc)?

    Thanks for the help
    -- Matt
    Matthew Del Buono, May 3, 2004
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  2. You need to ask which enlarger is best.
    Omega and Bogen to name a few..
    A 50mm enlarging lens is used with 35mm film..
    Your best bet here is to buy from a used camera shop..
    In the end you'll pay more to do your own.

    I quit doing color processing and printing a long time ago because I
    could get it done cheaper elsewhere.. I now have my own film scanner
    so I get just the film processed and scan only the pics I want.

    However.... Black and white home processing and printing is cheaper to
    do once you learn the tricks of the trade..

    Colyn Goodson


    Camera manuals and mercury battery fix

    Weston Ranger 9 battery fix
    Minolta Shooter (Colyn), May 3, 2004
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  3. I'm considering starting to develop my own pictures, rather than pay $13 for
    Why do you usually push your film? Pushing is a corrective technique.
    Randall Ainsworth, May 3, 2004
  4. Matthew Del Buono

    dadiOH Guest

    Beseler, Omega, Bogen...

    Does price determine which camera is better? It all depends on what you want.
    Lenses don't develop film. An enlarger in conjunction with a lens projects an image on a piece of photographic paper. You then develop that piece of paper.

    Any lens that will cover the negative can be used. For a 35mm negative that means 50mm lens or longer.
    An enlarger store. sheesh...
    Color? B&W? Personally, I would never advise anyone to process/print their own color.


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    dadiOH, May 3, 2004
  5. I disagree. It can produce some interesting effects. I shouldn't have said
    "usually," but maybe 30% of my film is pushed.
    Matthew Del Buono, May 3, 2004
  6. Matthew Del Buono

    ericm1600 Guest

    Bessler and Omega are two the jump to mind.
    Not at all. Pricing is a marketing function. Many people will
    automatically assume that the more expensive product is better.
    You'll need a special enlarging lens. While it might be a 50mm focal
    length, it won't be the same as the one on your camera.
    The best company is your local, knowledgeable, fully equipped photo store.

    Unfortunately, finding all three is sometimes an impossible task. I buy the
    bulk of my equipment and supplies online from B&H: http://www.bhphoto.com/

    It's not ideal to buy online unless you know exactly what you want, though.
    You can save money over local stores, but you need to do a lot more research
    to make sure you know what you want.
    I think so. My chemical costs are on the order of 10 cents a roll. A lot
    cheaper than $10. :) But even if I had to pay the same amount to develop
    my own, I would still do it just from the quality control perspective. I'd
    rather spend time processing my own film than spend time after the fact
    dealing with embedded dust and scratches on the negatives. I get better
    quality by running my own.

    Another alternative is to develop your own and then scan them. That's what
    I do. While I'd love to have the luxury of being able to spend lots of
    uninterrupted time in a darkroom using traditional printing methods, I'd
    rather be available for my family at this point in our lives. When my child
    is older and is interested in spending more time with outside friends, there
    will be plenty of time for me to sneak into a darkroom for hours on end.
    Until then, I can work on my images and making prints in short intervals of
    ericm1600, May 9, 2004
  7. Matthew Del Buono

    Chris Guest

    In-home processing and developing isn't really necessary yet, although
    service prices are increasing abit.

    It depends on how you go about it. There are reasonably inexpensive "all in
    one" kits that will do it all, but they're often off-brands, with no real
    hope of support once they disappear.

    Best bet, invest alittle here and there, do your research, and put together
    your darkroom at your own pace. It's not needed just yet, but it's
    forseeable in the future. Another poster mentioned getting his negs
    processed, known through the various print services as a "process only"
    order, and then scanning them into his PC for later print work. I favor
    that kind of approach, and you might also.

    I've always thought about having a darkroom, but fact is, I can't really
    find a place for it right now. About the only area I can set aside is a
    shared bathroom, so it'll have to wait awhile.

    That's another thing to take into account before shopping for an enlarger
    and equipment. Measure off a space to set this all up. It'd be a shame to
    buy it all, and then find out your room is just afew inches too small.

    I myself will likely go the scanner route, atleast for now, but I atleast
    intend to learn the ins and outs of development and processing, for when I
    do make the transition. Good luck! :)
    Chris, May 9, 2004
  8. Matthew Del Buono

    O R Guest

    Although an expensive enlarger is better than a cheap one, it may not
    necessarily be better for *you*. For example, if the largest size film
    that you will be printing is 35mm, you will be wasting your money buying
    an enlarger that can handle 4x5 inch negatives.

    Just like with a camera, the most important part of an enlarger is its
    lens. An excellent lens in itself can cost more than a mid-price
    enlarger/cheap-lens combination. Go to a camera store that specializes
    in darkroom equipment so that you have a nice choice of lenses and
    enlargers sold separately. If you plan on printing only 35mm film, you
    can make do with only one lens (50mm -- buy an EXCELLENT one). If you
    also plan to print medium format film, you will need an 80mm lens. You
    CAN make 5x7 inch prints from 35mm negatives with an 80mm lens, but in
    order to make larger you *will* need that *second* lens (exception in
    next paragraph). If you plan on making no larger than 5x7 inch prints
    from 35mm, an excellent 80mm lens will be better than a mediocre 50mm

    The second most important quality of an enlarger is rock-solid
    steadiness. Your exposures will be L-O-N-G. The bigger your
    enlargements, the further up from the base you will have to extend the
    head and the more important will be solid construction to maintain
    steadiness. If you decide on an 80mm lens and cannot raise the
    enlarger's head high enough to provide an occasional giant enlargement,
    consider an enlarger that has the provision to swing around and project
    onto the floor. The farther the projection, the more solid the enlarger
    has to be. If you are only going to make 4x6 and 8x10s, get a 50mm lens
    and you will not need an enlarger that swings.
    Then you can save a ton of money by buying a set of color printing
    filters and an enlarger that has a filter drawer. This as opposed to
    buying an enlarger with a dichroic head. Be prepared for a lot of
    trial-and-error wasted paper and frustration.
    Black and white, yes. Color, my personal opinion is no. In addition to
    your enlarger's filter settings having to be dead-on, you have to
    maintain the temperature of the chemicals to within half a degree in
    order to end up with colors you will be satisfied with. That means an
    EXPENSIVE enlarger (not only dichroic head, but computerized analyzer)
    and temperature-controlled chemical trays. The amount of your
    trial-and-error will depend upon expensive equipment or your ability to,
    in your words, "think on your own".

    That reminds me. As the electric company's voltage into your house
    varies, the color temperature of an enlarging bulb varies. Expensive
    enlargers have voltage regulators to compensate for this. Whether or
    not *your* neighborhood's voltage requires the additional regulation,
    only you can determine.

    Go to a REAL camera store and discuss all this with a KNOWLEDGEABLE
    O R, May 9, 2004
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