View Full Version : Getting back to the darkroom

John Chayka
22-Feb-2006, 11:44
First post out & here and similar to another thread, but seems issue with temporarily abandoning the darkroom has to do with inability to concentrate, i.e distractions. My daughters (19 & 17) are just about of of the house and I really look forward to getting back to the darkroom. I spent the last two years going digital and there's some real rewards, but seems nothing replaces the Large Format B&W darkroom experience. With digital seems you (almost) don't have to concentrate, it's clean, quick and easy. Darkroom requires a lot of concentration
But...after going through every format, packing a 14 megapixel digital and a Hasselblad on every car ride - I'm really excited about getting back to the 4/5 with the Schnedier 210mm

Question - which has probaly been discussed countless times - where are we right now with supplies. Are TriX, HC110, Graded Orinental Seagull, Ilford Galarie and Dektol still viable (and available) combinations. If not - what woudl you substitue??

22-Feb-2006, 12:18
I can't comment on the papers that you list, but TriX, HC110 and Dektol (all of which I use) are still available. I use Forte paper which is also still available (although we had a close call last year).

Kevin Crisp
22-Feb-2006, 12:58
HC110 is still around, if it was brown last time you used it now it is yellow. Tri-X is now new Tri-X, slightly thinner base, you might need to make a minor adjustment to your development time, but not much, unless you rotary process. It may take a little longer to fix it. Oriental papers went away for quite some time then came back, so you timed it right. Graded paper is still available and they have a glossy variable contrast fiber paper that is quite good and tones like gangbusters in selenium. If you go the VC route, your old filters might need updating, they look different now. Dektol is still Dektol, with packaging that seems a little better than the old envelopes. I can't comment on Ilford papers, but I think so. You could check the web to find out. Welcome back.

22-Feb-2006, 14:19
I think Galerie is toast, or its now an inkjet paper or something equally mortifying. The rest are alive and well, although the new Oriental is not quite the same as old Oriental. Agfa is dead. All Kodak paper is gone, though few miss it. Plenty of stuff left though, Ilford, Forte, Kentmere all make fine papers.

Dean Cookson
22-Feb-2006, 14:27
You'll find lots of good info here and I also encourage you to check out APUG (http://www.apug.org/) for info.

Personally, all of my LF shooting right now is 8x10 on FP4+ and TMY developed in Pyrocat-HD and contact printed onto Azo in Amidol. I've just started chasing my kids around with 35mm and I picked up 25 sheet packages of Ilford's FB, FB Warmtone and Kentmere Fineprint VC to try out.

I believe all of the things you mention are still available and as are a plethora of other papers, films and developers. Despite the amount of gloom and doom you see posted in various places, it's actually a great time to be an LF photographer.

John Chayka
22-Feb-2006, 15:51
Thank You

Eric Biggerstaff
22-Feb-2006, 16:07
I think most of the items you list are still available, but some might be more difficult to locate.

According the the Ilford site you can still get Ilfobrom Galerie FB and I think Freestyle Photo has it in stock.

I am not sure about the graded Oriental.

22-Feb-2006, 23:53
Gallerie is still made. Grade 5 has gone though due to lack of demand. The Oriental papers have new emulsions and are not the same as they were (so I read - never used it). All Kodak B&W papers are gone. You might want to try Kentmere - if you are in the US, it used to be re-branded as Luminos - now sold under its real name.

One of the large online stores is probably a good place to check out what is available. You may also want to visit www.apug.org for lots of discussions on traditional materials.

Scott Davis
24-Feb-2006, 09:58
I used to use the old Oriental Seagull, and its replacement, Cachet. Those two papers were essentially identical. Then Cachet went out of the picture, and someone else brought out New Oriental. New Oriental is not nearly as good a paper as the old Seagull. It is flatter, more prone to fogging, and slower as well.

You should look into the Kentmere, Foma and Bergger papers. I have been doing testing with them, and have been quite happy with the results from all three. Kentmere tends to run a tad contrastier at a given grade (I am working with VC paper here), and is about 1 1/2 to 2 stops faster than the Bergger warmtone paper. All have very nice double-weight fiber papers which tone nicely, and respond well in a variety of developers. For paper developers, definitely give the new Ilford Warmtone and Cooltone developers a try - beautiful stuff, and very economical. They're pre-mixed liquid concentrates. If you don't mind mixing your own, try the Ansco 130 formula, available from several of the big online merchants, or directly from Photographers' Formulary. It is a Glycin-based paper developer, and gives very nice rich even tones. It is a more neutral-tone developer. It also keeps a very long time when mixed to working strength.