Black & White Darkroom

Find a good darkroom book!

One of the best is The Darkroom Handbook by Michael Langford. There are others just as good. You could do a search on eBay in Books, Photo Equipment , or Instruction Manuals for 'darkroom'. Read up on what is involved in setting up a darkroom before you make a major investment in time, space, and money.


You will need space, a room that can be made light proof. It should have some kind of counter top; make sure it is at least 31 inches high, the height of most kitchen counters. If you have to bend over constantly to reach the trays, prints etc., your back will feel it in short order. You will need enough room on the counter to set about 3 11"x14" trays, a timer, and an enlarger. The room should have electrical outlets for the enlarger and timer. It is nice to have running water but not necessary. The ability to control room temperature is important. Black & White development and printing require precise temperature control, in the range of 65 to 75 degrees F. You will need storage space for paper and chemicals. It is not required but it is best to have a refrigerator in there, you will need a cold one from time to time. Most of the chemicals, film, paper, and beer you will be working with will keep better and longer in the refrigerator. Set it at about 52 degrees F. make sure you remove the light from that fridge before you reach for that cold one.


You will need a tank to develop negatives, $5.00 to $15.00 on eBay. You will also need chemicals to develop the negatives and the prints, $20.00 to $30.00 will get you started.

Prices as of June 1999

Chemicals ~ For negatives and Prints
Hypo Clearing Agent 1 gal.              $3.00
Dectol Developer 1 gal. $5.50
D-76 Developer 1 gal. $5.50
Indicator Stop Bath 16 oz. $5.50
Kodafix 1 gal. $6.50
Photo-Flo 16 oz. $7.50


You will need an enlarger, $75.00 to $200.00 will get you an enlarger that will do 35mm black and white (used on eBay). A GraLab model 300 darkroom timer will cost about $45 on eBay. Paper for prints will run, $25.00 to $100.00, depending on how much you buy. If you use RC paper it dries quickly and washes quickly. It's very handy to have a paper safe for easy access to enlarging paper, but not essential. Scissors or a paper cutter will help to make test strips. Some odds and ends, plastic kitty litter trays are great for 1114 prints, have nice high sides and only cost a few dollars, 5 sets of tongs $15.00, (Polycontrast filters $25.00 very nice to have), safelight $10.00 on up, 5 gal. of distilled water to mix chemicals, $.0.99 each, Some type of plastic dishpan to wash prints. You should be able to make prints, but a pile of, nice to have, items have been left out.

Equipment ~ For negatives and Prints

5 Kitty litter trays.      @    $3.00          $15.00
5 sets of tongs @ $3.00 $15.00
5 gal. Distilled water @ $0.99 $5.00
Safelight $15.00
Enlarger (Used 35mm) $150.00
GraLab model 300 timer $45.00
Polycontrast filters. $25.00
Developing tank (Used) $10.00
Paper $30.00


~ Mickey

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