How to Choose Darkroom Photography Equipment

When setting up a good basic darkroom, there are a few essential components you will need in way of darkroom photography equipment. The following list will get you started on your selection of various components that will fill your darkroom with photography equiment

Materials You Will Need

  • Pricing Guides
  • Pen and Paper
  • Dark Room to store and setup all your equipment
  • Cash or Credit

Step 1 - Pick an Enlarger

An enlarger is one of the more important components in your darkroom. You can use an enlarger to make your photographs almost any size you want. Make sure the enlarger you purchase has a 35mm negative carrier at at least a 50mm enlarging lens. It should be able to  handle not only the size of the negative, but also the size of the photographs you intend to produce.

Step 2 - Select an Enlarger Timer

An enlarger timer is responsible for controlling the amount of light and the overall amount of time light is exposed to your negatives. It is responsible for the eventual outcome of the photograph as it relates to the light and the dark contrasts.

There are two options when it comes to an enlarger timer. The first is an automatic option, which will automatically turn on and off your enlarger per your requirements. The second is a timer that is more of a manual process and therefore will require you to turn it on or off. This decision largely depends on budget constraints. If budget is not an issue, then you are best to purchase an automatic enlarger timer.

Step 3 - Purchase an Easel

An easel is a good thing to have as it holds the photographic  printing paper while you are exposing it. The easel does hold the paper flat during the exposure. There are 8x7 or 5x7-inch single or bladed easels. 

Step 4 - Purchase a Safelight

There are several different options to choose from when it comes to picking a safelight. Not only will you need to pick your safelight but you will need to select your safelight filter. Two common safelights include OC (amber) and AI (red). The type of safelight purchased depends on the type of paper you will use during the developing process. Check the manufacturer directions on your paper in order to determine the appropriate safelight for your use.

Step 5 - Purchase Processing Trays

There are four processing trays that hold four different processing solutions. The first, is for the developer, the second tray is for the processing solution, the third tray is for the fixer and the last tray is for the wash. Remember to purchase trays one size larger than the paper you will use in your photograph developing processes.

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