From: Geoffrey S. Mendelson on
I need to outfit my darkroom with safelights. I currently have
red safelights, which I am not fond of, but seems to be all
that I can find here. :-(

Someone gave me a Kodak safelight (large cone-shaped thing with
a 15 watt bulb in it) complete with an OA and an OC filter.
It had not been used in many years, it still had a U.S. plug
on it and a 120 volt bulb in it.

I have yet to try to buy any paper, what I have is several
years out of date Ilford Multigrade and Agfa Brovira. From
what I have read, I probably will only be able to buy Ilford
paper.

Agfa and Kodak are "out of the game" and the more obscure
papers have to be mail ordered from the U.S. or Germany and
have little chance of surviving the trip, except when shipped
via air express, which would be about $100 a box.

I therefore might as well confine my questions to Ilford Multigrade
paper. Will it work properly with a red safelight? Which filter
(OA/OC) should I use in the Kodak?

Any recemondations for a commonly available liquid paper developer?
I plan to make up a tray full of developer and stop bath and throw them
out when done. Fixer will probably be old, but still useable, film fixer.
(should I dilute the fixer?)

Thanks, Geoff.

--
Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm(a)mendelson.com N3OWJ/4X1GM
IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
Visit my 'blog at http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/
From: Richard Knoppow on

"Geoffrey S. Mendelson" <gsm(a)mendelson.com> wrote in message
news:slrnfcija6.7l7.gsm(a)cable.mendelson.com...
>I need to outfit my darkroom with safelights. I currently
>have
> red safelights, which I am not fond of, but seems to be
> all
> that I can find here. :-(
>
> Someone gave me a Kodak safelight (large cone-shaped thing
> with
> a 15 watt bulb in it) complete with an OA and an OC
> filter.
> It had not been used in many years, it still had a U.S.
> plug
> on it and a 120 volt bulb in it.
>
> I have yet to try to buy any paper, what I have is several
> years out of date Ilford Multigrade and Agfa Brovira. From
> what I have read, I probably will only be able to buy
> Ilford
> paper.
>
> Agfa and Kodak are "out of the game" and the more obscure
> papers have to be mail ordered from the U.S. or Germany
> and
> have little chance of surviving the trip, except when
> shipped
> via air express, which would be about $100 a box.
>
> I therefore might as well confine my questions to Ilford
> Multigrade
> paper. Will it work properly with a red safelight? Which
> filter
> (OA/OC) should I use in the Kodak?
>
> Any recemondations for a commonly available liquid paper
> developer?
> I plan to make up a tray full of developer and stop bath
> and throw them
> out when done. Fixer will probably be old, but still
> useable, film fixer.
> (should I dilute the fixer?)
>
> Thanks, Geoff.
>
> --
> Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm(a)mendelson.com
> N3OWJ/4X1GM
> IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
> Visit my 'blog at http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/

Outdated paper is likely to be fogged. While the use
of an anti-fog agent can same some of it its best just to
avoid it.
The red safelights are fine for both graded and
variable contrast papers but are somewhat unpleasant to work
under. The recommended safelight filter is the Kodak OC. Do
NOT use an OA, this is an older type of filter intended for
graded paper and will fog VC paper. The Ilford equivalent
filter is the No.905.
These filters are intended to pass as much visible
light as possible so that the darkroom is easy to work in
without passing light the paper is sensitive to. However,
the red safelights quite satisfactory from the fogging
standpoint.
Safelight filters can fade so should be tested. Both
Kodak and Ilford have test procedures on their web sites,
the Kodak test can be found by entering K-4 in the search
engine on their web site. Because the combination of
exposure to the safelight and to the enlarger results in
greater sensitivity to fogging a simple exposure to the
safelight will not tell you if its safe.
The Kodak bee-hive safelight is a very common item as
are the filters for it. You should be able to find more of
them at pretty low cost.
There is really very little difference among paper
developers. I would use whatever is conveniently available
to you.
The requirements for fixing paper are more stringent
than those for film. Do NOT use partially exhausted fixer.
A better method is to use a two bath fixing system.
The second bath remains relatively fresh and will clean up
after the first bath. When the first bath becomes exhausted
enough its tossed and the second bath moved up, the second
bath being replaced by a fresh bath. The capacity of this
system to fix paper completely is four to ten times the
capacity of a single bath. This system should also be used
for film.
While the Iodide leached out of film tends to slow
down fixing it has relatively little effect on a two bath
system and relatively little effect of Ammonium Thiosulfate
(Rapid) fixer. So, if you are going to use the same fixer
for both film and paper rapid fixer is preferred.
For paper you can use the fixer at film strength, but
be careful of excessive fixing times because acid rapid
fixer can bleach the image a little.
There are a couple of ways to test fixing baths for
exhaustion. The best is to check periodically for clearing
time. This is the time it takes for the emulsion to become
completely clear in the bath. It is very hard to determine
this for paper but it can be seen easily for film. I suggest
using a scrap of film to test the fresh bath and test
periodically using a scrap of the same film. When the
clearing time doubles toss the fixer. This is OK for the
first bath of a two bath system but for a single bath will
result in excessively exhausted fixer. Soak the film for a
couple of minutes before testing because wet film fixes at a
different rate than dry film.
Another test is to use a solution of Potassium Iodide.
This will produce a cloud of Silver Iodide in exhausted
fixing bath. Kodak gives the formula and method in their
darkroom handbook. Fixer test solutions are also available
packaged.
Total fixing time should be about double the clearing
time. For the two bath system fix for half the time in each
bath.
A further economy is to use a sulfite wash aid such as
Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent. This does several things but
among them is the ability to make some otherwise bound up
silver complexes soluble so it has the effect of partially
compensating for inadequate fixing. It is also a definite
economy where water is at a premium.
Standard Acetic acid stop bath is fine. If you use
rapid fixer avoid the use of Citric acid stop bath, such as
Ilfords, because the combination of Citric acid with the
Ammonium Thiosulfate fixer makes a pretty good bleach.
The cheapest way to make up stop bath is to buy Glacial
Acetic (concentrated acetic) acid and dilute it to 28%
working solution. This is then used to make up the usual
1.5% stop bath. A liter of Glacial will make many gallons of
stop bath. Don't try to save the stop bath, just toss it.
Despite the current trend to eliminate stop baths they
serve a useful purpose in preventing dichroic fog in the
fixing bath. A water rinse will work but should be thorough,
at least 30 seconds to one minute in water kept pretty
fresh. Eliminating the stop bath really has no advantage
despite some pretty strong fans of the method.
Ilford makes good paper and, at the moment, seems to be
about the only paper manufacturer with good quality control.
IMO, most of the small manufacturers are using very old
technology and there are many reports of inconsistent
results. Fuji also makes good paper but does not sell it
outside of Japan.


--
---
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
dickburk(a)ix.netcom.com


From: Geoffrey S. Mendelson on
Richard Knoppow wrote:

Thanks for the wonderful answer. It will be a great help.

> Outdated paper is likely to be fogged. While the use
> of an anti-fog agent can same some of it its best just to
> avoid it.

I agree, but it's what I have. :-)

I'll have to see if I can get any paper locally. Darkroom stuff does
not sell well here.

Up until some time in the late 1980's photgraphic equipment (and personal
computers) were taxed at about 250% (two and a half times the price
in taxes), when I moved here in 1996, it had been reduced to 140%. So
very few things were sold here.

Schools had darkrooms and some imegrants from rich countries, but
most, like me had to sell what we had as we could not afford to
buy it again for the tax people.

In the last few years, it has been dropped to simply VAT (15.5%), which makes
it more affordable. However since 9/11 the chance of shipping anything by
air without it being X-Rayed is pretty slim. Surface shipping is safer,
but the temperatures vary from well bellow freezing in the winter to
over 120F in the summer.

In the last few months, the USPS has revised their prices upward, and a
friend sent me a small vaccuum sealing device she bought at a yard sale
for $4. It was about the size of 100 sheet photo paper box, 4x11 inches.
The shipping was $35, without tracking, guarentee of delivery or
insurance.

Freestyle, for example ships only FedEX and therefore a package of 8x10
paper would cost $100 to ship.

> The red safelights are fine for both graded and
> variable contrast papers but are somewhat unpleasant to work
> under. The recommended safelight filter is the Kodak OC. Do
> NOT use an OA, this is an older type of filter intended for
> graded paper and will fog VC paper. The Ilford equivalent
> filter is the No.905.

Ok, thanks. I'll stick to the OC. Now to find a 15 watt bulb. I looked
through Home Center and the smallest bulb they had was 25 watts. Smaller
bulbs have been replaced with miniflourescent bulbs. I'll have to find
a lighting store.

> These filters are intended to pass as much visible
> light as possible so that the darkroom is easy to work in
> without passing light the paper is sensitive to. However,
> the red safelights quite satisfactory from the fogging
> standpoint.

That's good to know. I have two safelights that are red. They are very
dim, and use 7.5 watt night light bulbs, which are easily found, and I
bought a large supply. :-)

I also have two Phillips safe light bulbs, which are like regular
red light bulbs, but coated with a safelight filter. One I bought,
which cost as much as the small safelights and the other was a gift.

I know this is rambling, but I expect that in 10 years, the situation
in the U.S. will be the same. :-(


> Safelight filters can fade so should be tested. Both
> Kodak and Ilford have test procedures on their web sites,
> the Kodak test can be found by entering K-4 in the search
> engine on their web site. Because the combination of
> exposure to the safelight and to the enlarger results in
> greater sensitivity to fogging a simple exposure to the
> safelight will not tell you if its safe.

This is really a gem. I was bought up on the quarter on the paper
safelight test. I'll look for it right away.

> The Kodak bee-hive safelight is a very common item as
> are the filters for it. You should be able to find more of
> them at pretty low cost.

It's the only one I've seen here. It was given to me unmodified
as it came from the U.S. complete with a 120 volt bulb in it.
I would love to find more, but don't have much hope.

> There is really very little difference among paper
> developers. I would use whatever is conveniently available
> to you.

Thanks, I appreiciate that information. I was a big dektol
user and have long since forgotten what liquid I used. :-)


> The requirements for fixing paper are more stringent
> than those for film. Do NOT use partially exhausted fixer.
> A better method is to use a two bath fixing system.
> The second bath remains relatively fresh and will clean up
> after the first bath. When the first bath becomes exhausted
> enough its tossed and the second bath moved up, the second
> bath being replaced by a fresh bath. The capacity of this
> system to fix paper completely is four to ten times the
> capacity of a single bath. This system should also be used
> for film.

Ok, thanks.

> While the Iodide leached out of film tends to slow
> down fixing it has relatively little effect on a two bath
> system and relatively little effect of Ammonium Thiosulfate
> (Rapid) fixer. So, if you are going to use the same fixer
> for both film and paper rapid fixer is preferred.

Ok, that's what I use.

> For paper you can use the fixer at film strength, but
> be careful of excessive fixing times because acid rapid
> fixer can bleach the image a little.

I did not plan to, that's why I said I would dilute it. I can
make fresh and keep it seperate.


> There are a couple of ways to test fixing baths for
> exhaustion. The best is to check periodically for clearing
> time. This is the time it takes for the emulsion to become
> completely clear in the bath. It is very hard to determine
> this for paper but it can be seen easily for film. I suggest
> using a scrap of film to test the fresh bath and test
> periodically using a scrap of the same film. When the
> clearing time doubles toss the fixer. This is OK for the
> first bath of a two bath system but for a single bath will
> result in excessively exhausted fixer. Soak the film for a
> couple of minutes before testing because wet film fixes at a
> different rate than dry film.

Ok, thanks,


> Another test is to use a solution of Potassium Iodide.
> This will produce a cloud of Silver Iodide in exhausted
> fixing bath. Kodak gives the formula and method in their
> darkroom handbook. Fixer test solutions are also available
> packaged.

I have some, but I know it is at least 15 years old. Does it go bad?

> Total fixing time should be about double the clearing
> time. For the two bath system fix for half the time in each
> bath.
> A further economy is to use a sulfite wash aid such as
> Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent. This does several things but
> among them is the ability to make some otherwise bound up
> silver complexes soluble so it has the effect of partially
> compensating for inadequate fixing. It is also a definite
> economy where water is at a premium.

I'm in the desert. :-) Like L.A., you might not believe it if you
see it, but water is at a premium here. I am using some sort of
wash aid, but Kodak chemicals were hard to find here and are probably
gone.


> Standard Acetic acid stop bath is fine. If you use
> rapid fixer avoid the use of Citric acid stop bath, such as
> Ilfords, because the combination of Citric acid with the
> Ammonium Thiosulfate fixer makes a pretty good bleach.

oops. That's what I have.

> The cheapest way to make up stop bath is to buy Glacial
> Acetic (concentrated acetic) acid and dilute it to 28%
> working solution. This is then used to make up the usual
> 1.5% stop bath. A liter of Glacial will make many gallons of
> stop bath. Don't try to save the stop bath, just toss it.

I used to do that in the U.S. I have never seen it here.

> Ilford makes good paper and, at the moment, seems to be
> about the only paper manufacturer with good quality control.
> IMO, most of the small manufacturers are using very old
> technology and there are many reports of inconsistent
> results. Fuji also makes good paper but does not sell it
> outside of Japan.

Thanks for everything, I'll report back. I hope I can find paper,
I've already bought out local supplies of bulk 35mm film, plastic
reloadable casettes, HC-110 and Rodinal.

When asked if more (developer) was on the way, a local store said yes.
which I wonder because the Rodinal was the old Agfa version. Another
store in Tel Aviv danced around the issue, but gave the impression I got
the last of their chemicals. The HC-110 I bought from them had gone bad with
age (something I thought almost impossible for a factory sealed bottle).

Geoff.


--
Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm(a)mendelson.com N3OWJ/4X1GM
IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
Visit my 'blog at http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/
From: Claudio Bonavolta on
On 21 août, 08:39, g...(a)mendelson.com (Geoffrey S. Mendelson) wrote:
<snip>
> Freestyle, for example ships only FedEX and therefore a package of 8x10
> paper would cost $100 to ship.

At B&H, UPS shipment is cheaper than USPS and service is much better
(tracking #, fast delivery, etc ...).
Multigrade, fiber papers are here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/3results/controller/home?O=search&A=search&Q=&ci=3905&sb=bs%2Cupper%28ds%29&sq=asc

I ordered once a bunch of electron tubes from New-York through USPS.
I received them with "some" delay as they went through South Africa
before arriving in Europe.
I suppose someone mixed Swaziland and Switzerland, phonetically close
but just on two different continents ...

> I also have two Phillips safe light bulbs, which are like regular
> red light bulbs, but coated with a safelight filter. One I bought,
> which cost as much as the small safelights and the other was a gift.

They work fine, I use some of them together with their amber
counterparts.
But, as usual, test your safelight to be sure it is safe ...

> I'm in the desert. :-) Like L.A., you might not believe it if you
> see it, but water is at a premium here. I am using some sort of
> wash aid, but Kodak chemicals were hard to find here and are probably
> gone.

As washaid, I just use a plain 2% sodium sulfite solution I through at
the end of the session.
This is a very cheap chemical.
Or you may go the formula Richard gave some times ago which is more or
less similar to Kodak's one.

> Thanks for everything, I'll report back. I hope I can find paper,
> I've already bought out local supplies of bulk 35mm film, plastic
> reloadable casettes, HC-110 and Rodinal.
>
> When asked if more (developer) was on the way, a local store said yes.
> which I wonder because the Rodinal was the old Agfa version. Another
> store in Tel Aviv danced around the issue, but gave the impression I got
> the last of their chemicals. The HC-110 I bought from them had gone bad with
> age (something I thought almost impossible for a factory sealed bottle).

Buy also your chemicals from one of the US large distributors but,
because of air shipments regulations, you're usually limited to dry
chemicals (Dektol, Xtol, etc ...).
In your situation, I would try to find a local supplier of raw
chemicals and mix my own, it may be easier.

>
> Geoff.
>
> --
> Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel g...(a)mendelson.com N3OWJ/4X1GM
> IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
> Visit my 'blog athttp://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/

Good luck,
Claudio Bonavolta
http://www.bonavolta.ch


From: Rod Smith on
In article <slrnfcl22n.r42.gsm(a)cable.mendelson.com>,
gsm(a)mendelson.com (Geoffrey S. Mendelson) writes:
>
> Richard Knoppow wrote:
>
> Freestyle, for example ships only FedEX and therefore a package of 8x10
> paper would cost $100 to ship.

When did you check their prices? I recall that Freestyle added some
overseas shipping options a few months ago, with the goal of making
themselves more affordable for non-US customers. If you did your checks a
while back, it could be you should check again.

A few other options include B&H (in the US, http://www.bhphotovideo.com),
Fotoimpex (in Germany, http://www.fotoimpex.de), and Megaperls (in Japan,
http://www.unicircuits.com/shop/index.php). I haven't checked overseas
shipping prices (or even product prices) at most of these places; I just
happen to know about them and I believe they all do ship internationally,
so they're worth checking out.

>> The red safelights are fine for both graded and
>> variable contrast papers but are somewhat unpleasant to work
>> under. The recommended safelight filter is the Kodak OC.
>
> Ok, thanks. I'll stick to the OC. Now to find a 15 watt bulb. I looked
> through Home Center and the smallest bulb they had was 25 watts. Smaller
> bulbs have been replaced with miniflourescent bulbs. I'll have to find
> a lighting store.

You might see if you can find a red LED bulb. I use one of these as one of
my two safelights:

http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/E27-W24.htm

I've heard some people use the amber ones, too, but I'm not sure they'd be
safe with VC paper.

> That's good to know. I have two safelights that are red. They are very
> dim, and use 7.5 watt night light bulbs, which are easily found, and I
> bought a large supply. :-)
>
> I also have two Phillips safe light bulbs, which are like regular
> red light bulbs, but coated with a safelight filter. One I bought,
> which cost as much as the small safelights and the other was a gift.

My second safelight is a coated low-wattage incandescent bulb, similar to
what you describe. I bought it from B&H or Freestyle (I don't recall
which). Coated red bulbs sold for non-photographic uses might or might not
be safe; the coating might be incomplete or it might pass light outside of
the safe range. If you've got no other choice you might as well try one,
but I certainly wouldn't assume it's safe without testing.

Oh, I've heard of people using red Christmas tree lights as safelights.
I'd imagine those are rarer in Israel than in the US, though. ;-)

>> There is really very little difference among paper
>> developers. I would use whatever is conveniently available
>> to you.
>
> Thanks, I appreiciate that information. I was a big dektol
> user and have long since forgotten what liquid I used. :-)
....
> When asked if more (developer) was on the way, a local store said yes.
> which I wonder because the Rodinal was the old Agfa version.

FWIW, I've heard that Rodinal makes a decent paper developer, but I've
never tried it myself. (It must be used at greater concentration than with
film -- around 1+10 dilution, IIRC.) There's also a mix-it-yourself
version of Rodinal called paRodinal; see
http://silent1.home.netcom.com/Photography/Dilutions%20and%20Times.html
(it's one of several formulas there). The advantage of paRodinal is that
it's easy to make from acetaminophen (Tylenol) tablets, sodium sulfite,
and sodium hydroxide (lye). When mixed, the acetaminophen is chemically
converted into p-aminophenol, the developing agent in Rodinal. Given what
you've said, you might find it easier to track down these ingredients than
to track down a packaged commercial developer.

For that matter, you could try to get more traditional photographic raw
ingredients, such as phenidone, metol, etc. You could then mix a wide
variety of developers. I believe that JD Photochem
(http://www.jdphotochem.com) in Canada ships internationally. Even if
shipping charges are ridiculous, chances are you'll be able to find some
ingredients locally, so the total cost on a per-liter basis of developer
should be reasonable. If you don't know Thing One about mixing your own
chemicals, check out a few resources:

- Steve Anchell's _The Darkroom Cookbook, 2nd Edition_, ISBN 0240804236
- Steve Anchell and Bill Troop's _The Film Developing Cookbook_, ISBN
0240802772
- http://www.jackspcs.com
- http://www.digitaltruth.com/data.html
- http://www.photosensitive.ca/wp/easy-film-developers/

--
Rod Smith, rodsmith(a)rodsbooks.com
http://www.rodsbooks.com
Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking