The Home Roll Film Darkroom
By John Kasinger
All film processing is done in normal room light. Only film loading is done in the dark. Posting # 6 will deal with film loading.
Any home can have a darkroom. There I’ve said it. I’ve used this one for several years. What I’m going to describe in this post is a basic but very workable darkroom capable of producing superlative negatives.
You must outfit yourself with a modicum of equipment. Below you will find a list complete with where to get the items. Used is quite acceptable. ebay has much used darkroom equipment mostly for pennies on the dollar. After you use it once it will be used anyway.
The next post is for a 4 x 5 darkroom.
I will cover loading film and processing procedures in just a post or two but you must collect these items first.
• Developer (B&H or Freestyle) Lets start with Rodinal a long time favorite of mine. It has been around for decades and is a great developer. If I had only one developer for everything this would be Rodinal.
• Rapid fix (B&H or Freestyle) Just enough to make a quart will do to start.
• wetting agent—Edwal LFN (B&H)
• Tank (ebay, B&H or Freestyle) used on ebay is quite acceptable. Must be 16 ounce capacity. This will hold two 35mm reels or one 120 reel. I like the stainless steel ones with black plastic lids.
• Reels (B&H or Freestyle) Must be new to start. I recommend stainless steel as they are easier to keep clean. Be very careful with the reels. If you drop one on the floor just throw it away. It will have imperceptible bent damage that will make it difficult to load forever.
• Thermometer (B&H or Freestyle) New. Get a good darkroom thermometer. Do not use a household thermometer. Accuracy will be CRITICAL through the whole process.
• film clips (B&H or Freestyle) At least 4.
• place to hang wet film. You will need wire or string hung horizontally in a dust free area to hang the wet film. Clothes closets work well.
• timer. Gralab is the best and they are very reasonable used on ebay. Get one like the one shown in post # 1. It will last a lifetime and is very accurate. Of course you may use the one on your cell phone, it’s just not as handy to start and stop.
• beakers 1000ml, 500ml, 10ml (B&H or Freestyle) Get new
• envelopes for the negatives (B&H, Freestyle or Adorama)