new to the forum : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I am new to this forum and so far have found it to be very interesting. I have enjoyed photography and working in the darkroom since age 16. I am now 32 and have decided to get my photography through Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. If members of the forum would not mind replying, I am curious to know more about the other members here. 1. What area/ region do you reside in? 2. What is your profession if not photography? 3. How did you gain most of your knowledge of darkroom processes? 4. I am looking at purchasing a better enlarger, not sure if it will be new or used, the one I am currently using is old and is falling apart. I am looking for some input as to what everyone reccomends. What are you currently using? What if money was no object, what would you use?

I just purchased the Film/ Darkroom cookbooks they should be here tomorrow. I am looking forward to reading them. one of the classes I have this fall at the University is Photographic Science (chemistry). I hope I will be able to participate in future discussions regarding developers and related chemistry. The photo stores here in St. Louis do not stock much in photo chemicals, just the basics.

Thanks for any information you wish to share with me!


-- Rhonda Buchmann (, June 21, 2000


Also, on the Bulletin board is the Film and Development site. It's good too. Just push the LUSENET button at the top of the page and you'll get a whole list of sites, but the film site is great too.

I gained most of my limited knowledge by failure. I had a bad East German enlarger that was lousy, and then my brother gave me his Omega that he didn't use so now I appreciate just what a nice enlarger is. This is also a great place to post things. Good luck with your B.A. and anything your textbook can't answer, you'll get 12 answers here which will divide into 6 concurring opinions, 4 opposing, and two way out there. I usually listen to the six and 2.


-- Dean Lastoria (, June 21, 2000.

1. Westchester County, New York State - just north of NYC.

2. Technical writer - I write documentation (mostly manuals and online help) for computer software... but nothing you're likely to have used! I've been doing this since 1982.

3. My parents are pros, having had their own little two- or three-man commercial photography business in Yonkers, NY for over 50 years. I was put to work as soon as I was tall enough to peer over a developing tray!

From the mid-60s to the late-70s, I did b/w darkroom work constantly when I wasn't in school or away at college. (Loading/unloading and processing 4x5 and 2x3 sheet film, processing 120 and 35mm rollfilm. Contact-printing, enlarging, and developing prints from all those negatives. Opaquing [i.e., retouching] large litho negatives. Washing and drying prints - a huge daily job in the pre-RC paper era... As you might expect, I got in some signficant camera and lighting experience too! We used old Graphic 4x5s, Nikon SLRs, Mamiya TLRs, etc.) So I was a pro from a young age, but most of my experience is on equipment and materials that are pretty old-school compared to what's available now...

(This is to say, I know my way around classic b/w processes - and Kodak films and chemistry - very well, but I'm totally ignorant of Jobo machines, digital timers, recent superfast films, etc... not to mention color darkroom work. Also, my training was rigidly pragmatic and low-tech: detailed rules of composition, the formal sciences of optics and chemistry, and the Zone System remain an utter mystery to me, though I absolutely know in my gut how to get the best image out of any scene, and the best print out of a given negative.)

4. Re enlargers, I adore using our old Omega D-3v with 135mm Computar and 50mm Nikkor lenses (also an 80mm or 90mm whose brand I can't recall just now). It's been heavily used nearly every day for over 40 years, has never needed a repair, and it still produces great prints on everything from my Minox negs up to 4x5. And its autofocus (more like keep-in-focus-as-you-change-image-size) feature works wonderfully and is very convenient. Classic old-tech, built to endure. The more common D2v is nearly the same without the autofocus feature - there are loads of these around on the used market for good prices, as they're nearly indestructable! (BTW, the v stands for variable condensor: you change the position of the condensor lens to optimize the light projection based on the size negative you're working with.)

We also have a Beseler 23C and a Durst M600 for back-up use; with good lenses in them, these are also quite nice machines, if not at the industrial-strength level of the Omega. There are certainly lots of good used enlargers around - one nice side-effect of the slow death of b/w amateur and school/press photography...

I can't speak too much development chemistry: I have tried plenty, but I keep coming back to good old D-76 1:1... I know: though I'm only 45, I think like a photographer of 75! (Given my background, I think it's actually pretty understandable...)

-- Michael Goldfarb (, June 22, 2000.

33, copy-editor(newspaper), Oklahoma City, exp:12 years in the photolab business, 1 year photo-tech school 2years photoj school, pre-war Omega D2(slider), no-object: 1010hv Eseco horizontal with oil-filled carriers and lots of track because I'd like to make it into a garden railroad loco (electro-motive) and ride it around the backyard while wearing my Osh Koshs and engineer cap.

p.s. I'm one of the two than Dean mentioned.

-- (, June 22, 2000.

sorry, deadline pressure..

I'm Trib and I don't edit my posts

-- Trib (, June 22, 2000.

Mason does...

-- Trib (, June 22, 2000.

Rhonda, Your going to love the cookbook! In the past I have made up alot of different developers and thoroughly enjoy testing and keeping what I like. I'm a corporate photographer in MA and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Photography years ago. I have done photography since I was 12 (when my father showed me "the magic" in his hobby darkroom) and am now 42 and have never been happier! I currently, and will keep my Omega D2 with an Aristo cold light head. I love the D2 and with my 4x5 shooting, it is a joy. One of my majors in college was Chemistry and very much enjoy making my own developers for different situations. It is part of the fun... If money was no object, as far as enlargers go, I would still get another D2! Cheers, Scott

-- Scott Walton (, June 23, 2000.

1) Baltimore, MD suburbs near the Cheaseapeake, plenty of great photo ops.(I will, however, always consider myself a native New Yorker)

2) Contracting Officer for the USCG (civilian) I have in the past worked as a in plant photographer,shot weddings (hated that) and I have taught basic photography in an adult education program. I am now working on my first gallery show up in NYC.

3) My dad has had photography as a hobby for as long as I can remember. I first went into the darkroom at 10 and was on my own by 12. As a matter of fact while most dads taught their sons to play ball my dad taught me how to load a stainless steel reel in the dark! After college (majored in History and Art)& the Navy I took a course at Germain School of Photography.

4) I'm using dad's old Omega B-8XL vintage 1968. If I could afford it I would get an Omega D-5 with an Aristo VC Head.The B-8 is a fine piece of equipment, I just wish it could handle 4x5 negs.

I'm not much of a chemist so I stick with pre-packaged chemistry. A really good source of darkroom chemistry and equipment (and anything dealing with photography) is B&H Photo in NYC.Their mail order service is top notch and most deliveries get to me within 2 days without extra shipping charges. Prices and customer service are good as well. BTW I'm 51

-- Robert Orofino (, June 23, 2000.

1. Imaging Services, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.

2. I am currently printing custom prints of all sizes in B&W and color up to display size. I also am heavily involved in the digital revolution. If you have been on any NASA sites you have probably seen something I have done. Most Chandra X-Ray telescope photographs which are released for public consumption are routed through me. We are primarily a research and development center responsible for propulsion systems, but we are also involved in astrophysics, microgravity research, biology and microbiology, environmental issues through our Global Hydrology section, as well as many other research projects which will eventually touch our lives (and hopefully make everything much better)in many different ways. All in all this is a pretty exciting place to work.

3. Most of what I know from the 30 years I have been involved in this business has been self taught. At the age of 52 I am finding new and exciting things to learn in the realm of digital imaging.

4. Enlargers, mmmmmmm. I am used to working on pretty high end equipment, but you can't beat the old Omegas. Make sure you get good lenses--Schneider or Rodenstocks--this is the ultimate definitation of the information contained in your negative.


-- fred (, June 24, 2000.

1. New Jersey (one of the nicer parts)

2. I write about photography, do a bit of web design, and run B&W World in my spare time.

3. Learned the basics from my uncle Dave when I was 10 years old. Kept taking beginners courses until I could teach them myself, then moved on to more advanced stuff.

4. I use Omega D2 and B22 enlargers. If money were no object, I'll take a Leitz Focomat, please (it would match my Leica M3 nicely...).

Good luck & welcome to the B&W World forums!

-- Mason Resnick (, June 24, 2000.

1. D|sseldorf, North-Rhine/Westphalia, Germany

2. Physicist, working in technical standardization in acoustics and noise control

3. Reading, trying, erring, reading again in the same and other sources, ... This forum has proven very helpful, and so have a couple of good books. Yet, you learn most by doing it yourself, possibly wrong, when it's the first time.

4. As you are after a recommendation for a new piece of equipment, mentioning that I use an old and simple Czech MF enlarger with a fine Schneider lens will not be of major interest to you. If money were not a concern, I would probably still be using it, because it works fine, has never let me down, and the greater potential for improvement in my prints probably lies in inproving my technique rather than my equipment. I stick with Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz' statement: "Once you've got decent equipment, material is the place to spend money in."

Good luck with your B.A., and don't forget to enjoy shooting, processing, and printing.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, June 26, 2000.


1. Denver, Colorado

2. Manager for UPS overnight air delivery.

3. I've acquired my knowledge over the past 31 years from experience, books, and the internet.

4. I bought an Omega D2 with lenses for 4x5, 6x7cm, and 35mm formats at an estate sale for $335 not too long ago. The lenses are Wollensak and perform very well. Yes Schneider lenses are better but equipment isn't the most important factor. You can achieve superb results with older equipment such as Graflex but you need to do a little research when buying. My recommendation for a B&W developer is PMK. It is a phenomenal developer. I have extensive experience with Rodinal and Xtol which are my second choices. For film, try Ilford's Pan F plus, FP4 plus, HP5 plus, Delta 100 and 400. Dont worry about digitalreplacing conventional processes. Fine art prints will survive just as other art mediums such as paint, pastel, watercolor, etc.

Best wishes, Greg

-- Greg Rust (, June 26, 2000.

I have Meopta's OPEMUS 5 (6x6cm) enlarger, 15 years old, and it looks and works like new. And it is secondhand(I do not know how many people are using it before me). I get it (with 50mm and 80mm lenses, colour head and transformer) for less than 250$. Meopta is from Czech Republic, page is They have superb, lenses and everything else for darkrooms, and very good prices. I would like to use Leica's Focomat III but it is too much to pay for me... It cost arount 2000$, have 50mm and 100mm Leica lenses, it is autafocus, and up to 6x9 cm negative formats... I am 31, from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowina and working as DTP. Majority of my knowledge is from talking with professionals, reading and of corse working. Sorry for my English...

-- Haris Dobardzic (, July 19, 2000.

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