The right darkroom book?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by AAvK, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. AAvK

    AAvK Guest

    Curious if there is a current book that covers film 'developing' on subjects such as
    the effects that specific developers will have of specific films and such, like bring-
    ing out the best sharpness and contrasty tonality with shadow detail.

    The idea is a specialist book of teaching these things, I am no expert and have had
    very little experience in the long past... I looked in Border's books, the only two I
    could find were AA's 'The Negative' (too old?) and 'The Darkroom Handbook'
    which looked really old (as new). Maybe either book are kept up in revision?
    Would either book cover the current World's compilation of chemicals and films?

    Any help very much appreciated,
    AAvK, Feb 22, 2008
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  2. AAvK

    Max Perl Guest

    When I worked in the darkroom I was very happy with the:

    Post Exposure (Advanved Techniques for the Photographic Printer)

    Written by "CTEIN" (Focal Press)

    The 2nd edition I have is from year 2000.

    Max Perl, Feb 22, 2008
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  3. AAvK

    John Guest

    Most authors have moved on to the field of digital imaging though in
    truth I don't think materials have changed much in the last 5~10 years
    since the digital desimation. You might consider some of the following

    The Darkroom Cookbook
    Author : Stephen G. Anchell
    Publisher : Elsevier Science & Technology Book
    ISBN 0240804236

    The Film Developing Cookbook : Advanced Techniques for Film Developing
    Authors : Bill Troop & Stephen Anchell
    Publisher : Focal Press
    ISBN: 0240802772

    The Darkroom Handbook
    Author : Michael John Langford
    Publisher : Knopf Publishing Group
    ISBN 0394724682

    The Photographers Handbook
    Author : John Hedgecoe
    Publisher : Knopf Publishing Group
    ISBN 0679742042

    Beyond the Zone System
    Author : Phil Davis
    Publisher : Focal Press
    ISBN 0240803434

    John, Feb 22, 2008
  4. Photographic principles have not changed much since Ansel Adams wrote his
    books. The more recent editions (since 1981) of "The Negative" and "The
    Print" mainly reflect the newer materials available since the first edition
    was printed. Since that time, really good papers, such as Kodak's Elite,
    have disappeared due to decreasing demand and, allegedly, environmental
    concerns. There were no data for Kodak's TMax films yet; IIRC, they came out
    around 1982.
    The principles will be fine. The actual materials can be a little different,
    but in any case, you would need to run tests to cover your particular
    equipment and procedures.
    Jean-David Beyer, Feb 23, 2008
  5. AAvK

    Guest Guest

    Jean-David, does the most recent version of The Print include VC papers?

    As an aside, our local library has a great old book on paper flashing as a
    means to control contrast range. But Agfa #6 is long gone.
    Guest, Feb 23, 2008
  6. AAvK

    Peter Guest

    Thanks for the list, but what became of ?
    Peter, Feb 24, 2008
  7. AAvK

    John Guest

    It's still there of course but I'm waiting for the old registrar
    (Godaddy) to release the domain name to the new registrar
    ( where I'm going to be hosting the domain going
    forward. Unfortunately there is a 4 day holding period from the date
    the registrar receives the authorzation to release the domain. Also,
    once this was done I couldn't update the servers information so the
    domain still resolves to which was the previous webhost.
    It should be released on Tuesday or Wednesday and I'll get everything
    back in order by Friday. In the meantime I've temporarliy uploaded
    everything to one of my secondary domains at

    John, Feb 24, 2008
  8. Mine is copyright 1983. The index cites
    "Variable-contrast papers 26, 30, 31, 48, 121-123.
    He also discusses this in three paragraphs on page 123.
    Jean-David Beyer, Feb 24, 2008
  9. Flashing is mentioned in a lot of older books.
    FWIW, Agfa used a different numbering system for its
    papers, each number being one grade softer than anyone else,
    until pretty late, maybe around 1980 when it adopted the ISO
    standard system. So "normal" contrast, which was No.2 in
    Kodak or Ilford was No.3 in Agfa.
    The first variable contrast papers were made by Ilford
    and Defender about 1940 or 41. I remember visiting a
    darkroom where Defender Varigam was in use but don't
    remember ever having used it myself. It had a reputation for
    producing lower quality prints than graded paper but that
    may have been from lack of skill in its use.
    I do have a couple of old Defender and Dupont Defender
    paper sample books but, unlike their Kodak and Ansco/Agfa
    counterparts, the samples have all become badly sulfided and
    oxidized so there is no way to tell what they originally
    looked like.
    I did use Defender Velour Black for a time, a good paper
    but being in highschool and having no money I switched to
    Gevaert Artex which I could get cheap.
    Richard Knoppow, Feb 25, 2008
  10. Hello, An interesting source are the books that date from before WWII
    and the early 50's. I have a collection of them. Pick them up at garage
    sales and flea markets. As somebody pointed out, photo techniques, per
    se, have not changed, give or take, there new films , papers but the
    basic techniques are valid. The majority of these books are addressed
    to amateur photography enthusiats, phoot club members, kids in
    highschool, so everything had to be well explained, step by step, what
    happens with each step and its relative importance, darkroom tips, loads
    of formulas for everything and anything. You find a lot of them in "The
    DarkRoom CookBook". They have diagrams for wiring, building a darkroom,
    plumbing, everything that a kid needs to know on how to build a darkroom
    with the help of his dad. I find a lot of interesting ideas, techniques
    that are no longer used and forgotten The chemistry is not overly
    academic. They give what you need to know.

    When I was a kid, we used to read "Popular Mechanics" and and there
    would be articles on how to build you own enlarger, using tomato cans,
    magnifying glass, light bulb and what not. Great fun.


    Bogdan Karasek
    Montr‚al, Qu‚bec

    "I bear witness"
    Bogdan Karasek, Feb 26, 2008
  11. AAvK

    Ken Hart Guest

    I remember articles like that in Pop Mech! Actually, I built an adjustable
    enlarger stand from plans in PM. It had a shelf that slid into slots as that
    larger prints could be made than the orginal baseboard would allow. (Tomato
    cans were used for 35mm, if you wanted medium format, you had to use coffee

    Those old books can give you an interesting slant on how to 'make do'
    without spending a pile of money on shiny equipment.
    Ken Hart, Feb 26, 2008

  12. I remember doing exactly that in the mid 1960's. Being broke, but
    inventive, my first darkroom trays were the lids that large
    containers of potato salad, etc came in. I made an enlarger
    from two coffee cans, a light bulb and socket and used my camera,
    a Kodak Tourist 620 as the lens.

    My first roll of film was a flop. I very carefully tray developed it
    using a red safelight as all the books said I could. Unfortunately,
    Kodak had since replaced Verichrome (an orthochromatic film) with
    Verichrome Pan (panchromatic, i.e. sensitive to red) but none of
    the books were new enough to mention the difference.

    By the time I did my second roll, I went out and bought a cheap
    daylight tank.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Feb 26, 2008
  13. AAvK

    AAvK Guest

    Okay all, thank you very much for the replies, I will save everything to a text.
    Much appreciated.
    AAvK, Feb 27, 2008
  14. AAvK

    John Guest

    Speedbump ! Well after moving everything to I started
    getting email from people on AOL saying they couldn't access it. I'm
    moving it back to Godaddy however has the domain tied
    up. What is up with these people ? ! Any, most everything is up at for now. So much fun, so little time !

    John, Mar 13, 2008
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