Old Darkroom Set-up again

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Guest, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I have access to a darkroom that's been out of service for nearly 30
    years now. Its in a home basement, and has been moderately cold most
    of that time. Not dry tho, but not flooded either. And its been pretty
    much in the dark that whole time, with the door shut and has remained
    light tight.

    It has most of the requisite equipment, and more imporantly the
    chemicals.

    I am only planning on using it to develop black and white film, or at
    least to try doing this.

    There are two bottles of Photoflow in unopened original brown-glass
    jars. This should be workable no? If I hold it up to the light its
    'clean' and doesn't seem to be gelled or at all solidified. There's
    another one that was mostly used up, looks clear, but, again, its
    mostly used up so perhaps I should jsut throw it out too.

    There is a 'flattener' to prevent curling of any prints that looks
    'clean' also in an unopened brown glass jar.

    There are tin cans of d-76, microdel-x, and d-50 powders. These should
    still be useable right?

    There is a smaller bottle of 28% acetic acid which should serve to be
    diluted as a stop-bath no?

    There /were/ paper bags, unopened, of d-76 and a Fixer, they didn't
    seem to be caked tho but they've been thrown out figuring as being
    unusable. There was also a 'brown coloring agent' but that had all
    sorts of junk soldified in it so thats been thrown away.

    There is also a paper-vault that is supposed to have quite a bit of
    paper in it, probably kodak paper, but I was told that that is almost
    certainly garbage because of the time invovled. Is this correct?

    And there was also a small tin can of something called 'acufine' or
    somesuch, apparently its used to reduce grain size. I don't know if
    its for using with the print(which I probably won't be making) or the
    negatives (which i plan to scan via a 35mm film scanner)

    These things should be, for the most part, what was in it when it was
    originally 'shut down'. I'm hoping that all I have to do is purchase
    the fixer in order to get started (well, outside of shooting some bnw
    film now). Anyone know if these chemicals are definitely not good?
    Maybe they aren't as good as they were perhaps or have to be used in
    different combinations? Any advice would be appreciated.
     
    Guest, Apr 4, 2005
    #1
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  2. Should be ok if no mold.
    Should be ok if no mold.
    I would not bet on it. If the power is in any way brown, it is dead.
    If it looks OK it may be dead. Buy new, it's cheap
    Yes, and it should be ok.
    The fixer was likely ok, but it is cheap enough.
    Film developer. Likely dead.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Apr 4, 2005
    #2
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  3. Guest

    Peter Irwin Guest

    You've already got some good advice from Joseph Meehan, but I'm
    going to add mine anyway.

    The photoflo is almost certainly good if it looks good. If it
    is of the 1:200 variety, you may find diluting it to 1:400
    works better. This is a matter of experiment because it can
    depend on the hardness of your water.

    The flattener is for fibre-based prints. Most people find other
    ways of getting their prints flat. Fibre paper tends to curl a
    lot. I suggest you start out with RC paper, it doesn't need
    flattening and it washes and dries very quickly.

    The cans of developer may or may not be good. If the powder looks
    white, it is very probably good. You may wish to keep the cans
    as decoration. Fresh packets of developer only cost a few dollars,
    and you might want to start with fresh packets and try the old cans
    later because it is nice to have your first efforts rewarded by
    success. Kodak D-76 is a very good choice for a film developer.

    The acetic acid should be fine. It is stop bath to be diluted
    with about 20 times its volume in water. I use a 1+3 dilution
    of 5% white vinegar.

    The paper may be fogged and/or low in contrast, but it is
    worth a try. Only open the paper safe or boxes under proper
    safelights.

    Acufine is a film developer. Some people like it a lot.
    It claims inflated film speed with fine grain. Such claims
    deserve a fairly large dose of scepticism, but if fresh it
    will certainly develop film.

    If you have a darkroom with enlarger, I would strongly suggest
    you give printing a try. It is a lot of fun seeing the prints
    come up in the developer.

    My suggestion is to start off with fresh chemicals. Buy a package
    of D-76 and a bottle of rapid fixer. Follow the film maker's directions
    for your first film. Most film makers have PDF files availble on
    the net which give complete instructions for developing their films.
    Ilford and Kodak also have PDF files giving instructions for
    beginners.

    If you have never loaded a developing tank before, then practice
    loading with a cheap or outdated roll of film. Most people have
    some trouble on their first try. Practice in the light first,
    and then in the dark until you have confidence you can do it easily.

    Try making your contact sheets and enlargements the old-fashioned
    way. It is a lot of fun, and you may surprise yourself how quickly
    you can make really good prints.

    Peter.
     
    Peter Irwin, Apr 5, 2005
    #3
  4. "Acufine" is a film developer for pushing faster films without
    excessive grain increase. I've got data sheets around here
    somewhere. They say to rate Tri-X at EI 1200.

    What you say about the other chemicals sounds probably right, but I
    have no special expertise to justify this opinion.

    Have fun!
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 5, 2005
    #4
  5. <SNIP>

    Most of the other answers gave good advice.

    The fixer is easy to test for freshness: Put a film leader (which you
    cut off when loading a developing tank) or an old piece of film in the
    fixer, moving it occasionally, and measure how long it takes to become
    transparent. If that time is about half the recommended fixing time,
    your fixer is fine.
     
    Chris Loffredo, Apr 5, 2005
    #5
  6. <SNIP>

    Most of the other answers gave good advice.

    The fixer is easy to test for freshness: Put a film leader (which you
    cut off when loading a developing tank) or an old piece of undeveloped
    film in the fixer, moving it occasionally, and measure how long it takes
    to become transparent. If that time is about half the recommended fixing
    time, your fixer is fine.
     
    Chris Loffredo, Apr 5, 2005
    #6
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