68 votes
Accepted

Why is a dark-room safelight safe?

Photo films and papers are made from salts of silver that naturally only darken when exposed to violet or blue light. In the early days of photography, this was all that was available. Therefore these ...
  • 36.6k
32 votes

How do I safety check that there is no light in Darkroom / Darkbag?

In the darkroom, place a piece of the material you will be developing, flat, face up, on the work space. Place a handful of coins on this material. Using a timer, remove a coin every 5 minutes. 12 ...
  • 36.6k
31 votes
Accepted

How do I give a darkroom course without negatives from the attendees?

Make negatives specifically for the course: Ask yourself what you want to actually teach in your class, and come up with negatives to function as aids to those lessons. If all the students are ...
  • 2,275
24 votes

Can I use a cheap night lamp as a safelight?

It's likely to fog your paper. You need a specially designed red or amber filter or bulb. But... there's an easy test. Place a large coin on a sheet of unexposed photo paper. Expose the paper to your ...
  • 1,076
21 votes

What should I look for in a respirator for chemical processing of photographic materials

Except for the smell of acetic acid, an ingredient in both the fixer and the stop bath, photo chemicals are relativity benign. Some rare cases of contact dermatitis which goes away if usage is stopped....
  • 36.6k
20 votes
Accepted

How do I safety check that there is no light in Darkroom / Darkbag?

If you are talking about locating a light leak in a changing bag for loading film into magazines and cameras without a darkroom available… Periodically, to check the condition of your changing bag, ...
  • 5,431
16 votes

Why is a dark-room safelight safe?

it seems a little odd that there is a type of light that doesn't affect film or developing paper etc. There are types of light that don't affect the rods and cones in your retina, too. You can't see ...
  • 31.2k
16 votes
Accepted

Is stop bath necessary for black and white prints?

Conventional wisdom says yes, you should use a stop bath. The stop bath is a very weak acid (similar to white (distilled) vinegar) and is used to neutralise the developing agent. This guarantees two ...
13 votes

What should I look for in a respirator for chemical processing of photographic materials

In general, don't. It's far better to ventilate the darkroom than to wear a respirator. Easier on you (respirators are stressful to wear, as everyone ought to know after more than a year of COVID-19),...
  • 6,319
11 votes

Can I use a cheap night lamp as a safelight?

Dedicated safelight is the best. But when unavailable you can work with red bicycle light or red LED Christmas tree decoration. Colored LEDs have a narrow emitting band and are usually safer than ...
  • 5,900
10 votes
Accepted

Can I use a cheap night lamp as a safelight?

Te test proposed by @bvy is a nice one. I would just add a couple of tips. Put the light the furthest away you can. If the light does not heat, try using some layers of red cellophane paper https://...
  • 21.3k
8 votes
Accepted

How would you remove power lines from a photo in the darkroom?

Not in the darkroom, but at the retouching (spotting) table. If you're working with large format film, you can paint them out on the negative. But that's risky. Most of the time you retouch the ...
8 votes

Would a professional photographer in 1920s Europe have access to an enlarger?

The answer to your question is yes, a pro photog in 1920's Europe would definitely have had access to a darkroom enlarger. In fact, some enlargers available in the early 1920s were amazingly ...
8 votes
Accepted

Cannot get true blacks with my enlarger

Three things to check in this situation. Are your prints fully developed (that is, are you developing by time rather than snatching the print when it looks right under the safelight)? Adox seems to ...
  • 6,319
6 votes
Accepted

How to make color darkroom prints?

Wet silver color printing is slow, tedious, and requires trial and error to get the color balance right. I don't miss those days. Even if you want to cling to film for some reason, scanning the film ...
6 votes
Accepted

Darkroom 8x10 prints aren't as sharp as 4x5 negatives

With a grain focuser, compose with the lens wide open. Now stop down to the aperture you will be using. Now use the grain focuser. It is likely that you are focusing wide open, it is likely that the ...
  • 36.6k
6 votes
Accepted

Can red LEDs be used as darkroom safe lights?

Before making assumptions on monochromaticity with LED lights that aren't built for this purpose, test and/or measure. LEDs are often overdriven, and/or allowed to get reasonably hot, and/or used in ...
6 votes

How to develop large dark room prints?

No need for all that, you lay the un-developed print on a plastic drop cloth. Have the developer, stop and fixer in a plastic pail. Using a large brush, such as wallpaper's use to apply wall paste. ...
  • 36.6k
6 votes

What should I look for in a respirator for chemical processing of photographic materials

It depends on one's particular needs. Developer is quite toxic, fixer and stop - not really. Developer doesn't evaporate anything except water vapor, stop and fixer evaporate some non-toxic (but ...
  • 229
6 votes

What should I look for in a respirator for chemical processing of photographic materials

I agree with the answers that suggest that you don't need a respirator for health and safety reasons, but if you simply don't like the odor of acetic acid or if you are worried about exposure to the ...
  • 161
6 votes

Downsides to using test strips from different packages of photo paper?

Leftover test strips imply that you have more test strips than you need. Implies that a pack of paper includes enough test strips (or more than enough depending on how you look at it). This suggests ...
5 votes
Accepted

What are the differences between D-76 and Xtol?

Xtol is less stable and is liable to fail without giving notice. Other than that, it's got an excellent reputation. Kodak provides this comparison between its developers: The main difference ...
  • 4,009
5 votes

Can I use a cheap night lamp as a safelight?

Photo print papers are mainly sensitive to violet and blue. Therefore, you can use a strong red filtered light bulb. The red coloration renders the outputted light void of violet and blue. The ...
  • 36.6k
5 votes

How can I avoid a yellowish hue in my darkroom print highlights?

Photo prints will yellow if improperly washed. We wash prints after the fix bath to completely remove residual chemicals. Try to save these prints by re-fixing and then washing in running water for ...
  • 36.6k
5 votes

Enlarging - how to increase exposure time without closing the aperture too much?

Using an ND filter is the best option however, if this lash-up is for black & white printing, you can install a common lamp dimming switch. Only do this if the lamp operate at line voltage and ...
  • 36.6k
5 votes

Developing an image on photo paper, using a scanner?

Photo paper is ordinary paper coated with light sensitive chemical. These are crystals consisting of silver combined with iodine, or chlorine, or bromine. In their natural state they resemble table ...
  • 36.6k
5 votes
Accepted

Instax Film Developing Red

Were these posts false Yes. Yes they are. The iconic darkroom safelight is usually red or reddish in color. The reason for this is that the black and white photo paper that one is using to print ...
  • 20.3k
5 votes

How do I give a darkroom course without negatives from the attendees?

A big fun factor in seeing the darkroom at work for the first time (and all other times) is seeing your own image appearing on the paper So... Let them have fun then! There are several projects they ...
  • 21.3k

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