A Beginner’s Guide to Darkroom Equipment

©opyright 1996-2004 by James Ollinger. All rights reserved.

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A darkroom is just what its name indicates—a light-tight area where film can be handled without being exposed to light. It can be as large as a suite of rooms, or it can be as small as a changing bag. For a hobbyist it’s usually a converted bathroom, basement, closet, or an add-on room. There are a number of books on building home darkrooms, from spartan, temporary work areas to big, permanent setups. A good library or bookstore ought to have them.

This file is going to deal with the equipment needed, not the darkroom itself.


  1. Reference Books
  2. Kits and Outfits
  3. Processors
  4. Tanks
  5. Chemicals and Jugs
  6. Thermometers
  7. Misc. Items for Developing Film
  8. Enlargers
  9. Safelights
  10. Timers
  11. Trays and Drums
  12. Misc. Items for Printing Photographs

Section 1. Reference Books

I highly recommend getting a book on darkroom procedures. If you’re starting off you don’t need a thick textbook. A lot of people on rec.photo.darkroom recommend the Ansel Adams books. They’re great books, but I don’t think they are appropriate for beginners. They’re thick, they’re dense, and they’re intimidating. They are very well written and useful, but I believe they are better suited for people who are comfortable with developing and printing first.

Kodak publishes a book called Basic Developing, Printing, Enlarging in Black & White (they also make one for color) that I highly recommend. It was the book I started with and it was very handy. It is clearly written, heavily illustrated, and easy to follow.

I have a number of book reviews available, including darkroom-related books.

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Section 2. Kits and Outfits

Starter kits are a great idea—you get all (or most) of the stuff you need in one box instead of having to buy it all separately and make a thousand decisions. Unfortunately, in reality these kits are of dubious value. It is convenient, but usually you get just a few good items and the rest of the stuff is junk. (This is true for camera "outfits" too). I’m not going to blanket-condemn all kits and outfits, but I strongly recommend that you go through them first and see exactly what you’re getting for your money and be prepared to replace the worst of it. Also be aware that when a kit claims to be "everything you need," that it’s probably wrong. Kits may include things (like stirring rods) of low priority and leave out very important items (like a good thermometer). I advise against buying any kit unless you know exactly what to expect.

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Section 3. Processors

There are a number of machines on the market that can handle the chemical processing of film and paper for both B&W and color work. They tend to start out expensive and go up from there.

The low end of the spectrum, for B&W work, is a stabilization processor. These look rather like computer color printers—you put the exposed paper in one end and it comes out shortly from the other end completely processed (though damp). Stabilization processes work with commonly found paper—namely the Kodak papers that have "rapid" in their names. Rapid papers have developer incorporated into their emulsions and the special chemicals in the processor work with it to form the image. You can also use "rapid" papers in trays in the conventional method, but you’ll have to use conventional chemicals.

Stabilizing processors offer convenience and they may be great if you want to knock out a lot of prints. But many people find that conventional developers yield a better print, and a lot of people don’t like "rapid" paper to begin with.

Most other processors use conventional chemicals and papers in a variety of ways. Depending on how complex they are, they may be able to process B&W (which has comparatively few steps) and the more complex color work. B&W work is very simple to do and processors are a huge luxury. Color work, which usually demands a lot more precision and is far less forgiving of mistakes, may benefit more from a processor.

Due to the cost of processors I advise beginners (especially those starting out in B&W) to forget them and learn the tank-and-tray method. Not only is it cheaper and offers more flexibility, but you’ll have a backup method if the machine breaks down.

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Section 4. Tanks

Roll film (35mm, 120, etc.) is almost always developed in tanks (except for commercial labs, which run the film through machines), and these are almost always daylight tanks. A daylight tank is light-tight—the film is loaded onto a reel in the dark, then the reel is placed in the tank, the cap is put on, and then the rest of the work can be done in daylight without fear of ruining the film. (The kind of tanks that are not light-tight have no caps, and they’re used for developing sheet film on hangars).

Inside these tanks there are reels. The film gets wound onto these reels in a spiral so that the film surfaces don’t touch each other—this allows the chemicals to cover the entire film surface.

If you look in a photo shop, you’ll probably notice a number of different makes and styles of tanks. You can easily divide these into two kinds—stainless steel and plastic. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.

Stainless steel: the best thing about these is that they’re durable. You can drop them on the floor and they won’t break, whereas plastic may crack, chip, or splinter. Even if you take good care of plastic it can still break just from use—but unless you’re Dennis the Menace you probably won’t hurt the steel tanks.

Steel tanks are also nice because they conduct heat well; this makes them useful when you’re working with water jackets to control the chemical temperature. I have also found that the reels and tanks seem to be interchangeable. You can grab Acme’s reel and put them in a Smith-Jones tank.

There are problems with steel tanks, though. First, if you get the kind of tank with a steel cap, the cap may freeze on and be troublesome to remove again. A lot of steel tanks have plastic lids which come off easier. Unfortunately, plastic lids aren’t as durable as steel.

Steel reels can also be a pain. Some people have difficulty winding the film onto steel reels. And if you drop them—they won’t break, but they may get knocked askew, which will make it much harder to load the film properly.

Furthermore steel reels come in single-sizes—such as 35mm, 120, etc. You need at least one reel to handle each film size you plan to develop, and chances are you will want more than one. It used to be that there were a lot of sizes—35mm, 120, 616, 127, 110, and the like. But thankfully (for our purposes here) most have been discontinued, and it’s just down to 35mm and 120 (and APS and 110, if you happen to use those sizes).

Plastic tanks and reels are very different. First they tend to be “systems” and they’re all incompatible. If you buy a Patterson tank you will need Patterson reels. If you get a Jobo tank you will need Jobo reels, and so on. Plastic units, particularly the big brands (Patterson and Jobo), can also get pricey. This is a lot like buying into a camera system—if you lay out much money, you are going to be committed to the manufacturer’s system for awhile, and you’ll have to look to that manufacturer for whatever parts and accessories you may need later on.

There are plenty of nice things about plastic, however. The reels may have aids to make loading the film easier. The reels may be adjustable, so that you can make one reel handle both 35mm and 120 film, and that old 127 that was in Uncle Oscar’s baby Rolleiflex when he died. Plastic tanks may also have larger, easier to open tops, they may fit special agitation motors, and they may even go into special water-jackets (for temperature control) and processors. A good plastic tank and a set of reels may be worthwhile if you can afford them.

One problem with plastic reels is that they may become impossible to load when they’re wet. Stainless reels don’t have this problem because the film is wound onto stainless reels, but it’s usually pushed into plastic.

Some things to look for in a tank, no matter what you end up getting:

The tank has a water-tight cap you place on it after you pour the liquid in. You pick up the tank and turn it upside down and then right-side up again to agitate it. The good part is that this is the tried-and-true method of agitation and it works pretty well. The bad part is that if the tank isn’t well sealed, the chemicals may leak when it’s inverted (i.e. down your arm).
Spinning by a spindle
A spindle is attached to the reel and it sticks up where you can grab it and spin it for a certain number of seconds. The good part is that chemicals don’t leak out and you don’t have to flip it over. The problems are—first, the film may walk off the reel and get stuck to the side of the tank like clothes in a washing machine (I had an old FR tank with this problem. But then, that FR tank had just about every problem.) Second, some people find that the edges of the film develop more than the center using the spin technique. Inversion agitation doesn’t seem to have this problem.
Spinning by motor
In this case, a watertight cap is placed on the top, then the tank is set sideways onto a motorized base which rolls the tank. This is a nice, hands-free tank operation, but the motorized bases seem expensive to me. I don’t know if they suffer from the same uneven development problems as spindle-spin tanks. Someone [I lost the attribution credit—my sincere apologies] told me that he uses an old rock tumbler to spin the tank.

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Section 5. Chemicals and Jugs

Powder vs. Liquid concentrate

Darkroom chemicals usually come packaged either as a powder or as a concentrated liquid. Powders tend to be less expensive and bulky but they can be a pain. Often when pouring powders into mixing containers some of the powder goes into the air like dust, so it’s best to mix chemicals (particularly powders) in a well ventilated area. They may also resist dissolving completely in water.

Many chemicals come in liquid form, which I personally prefer. They mix easily and they don’t cloud the air the way powders do. Also some liquids—Kodak’s Indicator Stop Bath for example—can be mixed up in whatever quantity is needed. Powder chemicals have to made to whatever quantity is marked on the package (unless you have a good scale and a proper container for the surplus).


Darkroom chemicals have to be stored in bottles or jugs when they are not in use. In B&W work, all of the steps except developers can be kept in any decent bottle. I recommend plastic over glass because plastic will not shatter if it’s dropped. This can be very important with darkroom work—not only are you going to be handling bottles, but you’ll be doing so when your hands and the bottles are wet. Plus some darkroom chemicals (developers for instance) are extra-slippery; it’s too easy to inadvertently let a bottle slip out of one’s hands.

Developers have two special concerns that may affect the choice of container:

  1. they’re somewhat light-sensitive, so it’s best to keep them in dark-colored or opaque containers, unless the bottles are going to be stored in a dark place most of the time.
  2. developers leach oxygen (that’s what they’re doing with the film) and they are more than happy to get it from the air when nothing else is going on, which means the developer will go bad just sitting on the shelf. All chemicals have shelf-lives, but developers' lives are particularly short.

There are a variety of ways to slow down this process.

Stop baths

The stop bath is really a step, not a chemical. It halts the action of the developer by lowering the pH of the residual developer on the film below the working threshold. (Most developers need an alkaline environment to work). Once the pH drops below a certain level (I believe it’s 8), the developer stops working.

If you want to save money and you have a lot of water, you can use water to do this instead. Water has a pH of 7 so it’s not very efficient. If you use water for film, fill the film tank up with fresh water, agitate it for a minute, and then dump it. Do this ten times. For B&W prints try running water for a couple minutes.

The most common stop bath is acetic acid, which has a pH of around 3. That makes it very efficient and it saves a lot of water. I suggest getting Indicator Stop Bath, which has a chemical that turns color when the pH level gets too high. Kodak’s Indicator Stop Bath is normally orange under room light and clear under the safelight. When it’s spent it turns purple under room light and looks dark under the safelight.

Photo stores sell acetic acid in concentrate form, usually in two strengths—28% and 98% (glacial). Glacial is the cheapest by bulk because a pint of it makes a lake of working stop bath. Unfortunately it’s very nasty stuff. It’s very strong, so if there’s an accident it can burn your skin and wreak havoc with your eyes. A good whiff of it can send you out the door for fresh air. It has a low flash point, so if it gets hot (less hot than you might think) it can burst the bottle it’s in and then you have concentrated acid and shards of glass (or plastic) all over the place.

For home darkroom use, 28% is a far better buy. One pint of 28% makes a lot of working stop bath, and working stop bath lasts a long time in B&W work (color, on the other hand, is much harder on it).


Fixer is the last major step for B&W work. There are several different kinds of fixers available. For beginners I recommend plain old fixer, as opposed to Rapid Fixer and non-hardening fixers and the like. I also recommend (for beginners) using a one-bath process. Once you get to where you’re making prints you are really happy with and want to keep them, then look into a two-bath system.

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Section 6. Thermometers

A quality thermometer is a good investment. For darkroom work you’ll need to know the temperature of the chemicals in order to determine how long they need to work. In B&W work you can get away with a thermometer that’s marked in 2-degree gradations (so you can read it to a single degree Fahrenheit). For color work you’ll want it in 1-degree gradations (so you can read 1/2 degree Farenheit). If you’re in the US, get a thermometer that’s marked in Fahrenheit, since just about every chemical process chart I’ve seen has listings in Fahrenheit. If you can get one that has a Celsius scale too, so much the better. But I would shy away from a Celsius-only thermometer.

You don’t need a thermometer that will cover a huge range. For B&W work, the coldest usable chemical temperature is around 65°F and tops off around 80°F. For color work, it’s more like 75 to 105°F. Some chemicals need hot water to mix, and the hottest temperature I’ve seen called for is 125°F.

Thermometers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so here are my comments on various kinds.

Glass vs. Plastic vs. Metal-clad
I do not like glass thermometers because they’re too easy to break. And you not only have broken glass to deal with, you may have mercury as well. Plastic tends to crack when it breaks and it’s more resilient. Metal is the toughest—though they can be kinked and ruined.
Linear vs. Dial
A linear thermometer is the ubiquitous kind—it has a long, straight scale and you just look at the fluid level to read the indicator. Dial thermometers, however, have a round gage and a probe, and the needle on the gage swings to show you the temperature. Dial thermometers are usually easier to read, but they can get out of whack and need to be reset periodically (just check it against a known-good thermometer). If you buy a dial thermometer, get one that can be adjusted. [A caveat emptor on dial thermometers—I have one that has a luminous dial (even though I’ve never had any reason to use it in the dark), and that luminous dial fogged my paper. Always be careful when you introduce anything that’s luminous into the darkroom.]
Mercury vs. Alcohol
Some thermometers use mercury and some use alcohol as their indicators. Mercury is the tried-and-true, but the nice thing about alcohol is that if you break it, you don’t have mercury globules to clean up.
Digital vs. Analog
Digital readouts are great because you can get a precise readout—no more squinting to figure out where the fluid level is. But the problem I’ve always seen is that they’re slow to react. Analog thermometers (dial and linear) react very quickly to sudden changes in temperature, but digitals usually lag; this can be maddening if you’re trying to adjust a chemical temperature. Always try out a digital thermometer before you buy it to see how fast it reacts.
Other comments
The better thermometers are usually flattened or have something on them to keep them from rolling when you put them down. Most thermometers are cylindrical, and when you put them on a countertop its very easy for them to roll off the edge and break on the floor. Also avoid thermometers that have the gradation painted on the outside. I have a nice thermometer with raised gradations on the glass, and they used to be painted—but that lasted until I used it the first time and the paint came off. Many thermometers just weren’t meant to get wet.

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Section 7. Misc. Items for Developing Film

Those are the basic B&W chemicals, but you can add others to suit your needs. Edwal makes a fixer test solution in a small bottle. You put a couple drops in the fixer and if a cloudy precipitate forms, the fixer is spent. It’s a good investment.

A lot of people use a hypo-clearing agent, which efficiently gets rid of the fixer on the print and cuts down the wash time. Fixer used to be "hypo" back when the main ingredient, sodium thiosulfate, was called sodium hyposulfate. Thus the name "hypo-clear."

Another useful item is a wetting agent (Kodak’s version is called “Photo Flo.”) The wetting agent reduces the surface tension of the water on the film, and makes it much easier to squeegee it off when you dry the film. This cuts down the chance of getting water spots.

Note: color chemicals are most often sold in kits, with all the chemicals packaged together. The manufacturer should explain any special bottling and handling requirements for each item.

Changing bags are often very useful. A changing bag is a large, light-tight bag that looks kind of like a coat that was sewn shut. One puts the film and the developing tank into the bag and zips it closed, and then puts his hands into each of the armholes. One can then open the film inside the changing bag and load it into the tank. These are very convenient for people who don’t have a regular darkroom. I find mine is also useful for extracting film out of jammed cameras.

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Section 8. Enlargers

I’m not going to address the subject of enlargers here. I wrote a file similar to this devoted exclusively to enlargers called The Beginner’s Guide to Enlargers.

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Section 9. Safelights

The job of the safelight is to provide illumination without fogging (unintentionally exposing) your material. Different kinds of emulsions are sensitive (or blind) to certain kinds of light, so it is important to get the right one.

Modern film is usually not handled under a safelight because it is sensitive to everything we can see— if you can see it, the film will see it too. Safelights that can be used with film and color papers are usually too dim to be of any use.

B&W papers mostly use an amber colored light. Kodak’s filter for it is called OC.

Like anything, there are a variety of different kinds of safelights that run the gamut on price.

The cheapest ones I’ve seen are just red bulbs, which I’ve never tried and don’t trust. A lot of people think that any red light will work in a darkroom and that isn’t the case.

The next step up from the bare light bulbs is the kind I started with, a little Kodak Brownie that looked a lot like a tail-light from an old car. It was about the size of a peach and it screwed into a standard light socket. It put out a surprising amount of light and it worked well. This little guy was very useful. When I started out I’d set up my darkroom in the bathroom. I’d grab a table lamp and put the safelight in it and set the lamp in the corner. Later I got a more permanent setup. The bathroom had two lights—each had its own switch. One was the regular light, the other was a high-intensity heat-lamp that was supposed to help dry oneself off after taking a shower. The heat-light never got used, so I replaced it with the safelight.

Now I have a permanent darkroom and I use a larger lamp (a Kodak Model D, the kind that looks like a headlight off of a Model T. It also screws into a standard lightbulb socket. The nice thing about it is that I can easily get different colored filters for it. Of course, I’ve yet to actually use those other filters, because most are so dark they’re useless.

The best safelight I’ve seen is expensive, but it’s the most flexible. It is a box that hangs from the ceiling, and it has hinged flaps on the top that can be set to different opening levels. The light bounces off the ceiling, which makes for more overall illumination, and the intensity adjustment is a nice thing to have. It would be overkill for my little darkroom, but it does have its advantages.

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Section 10. Timers

There’s an absolutely bewildering number of timers on the market. The low end ones are nothing more than regular kitchen timers where you turn the knob to the desired time and it dings when it’s done. The expensive ones tend to have memories for different time settings, and will handle very precise time intervals.

Timers are used twice—during the exposure of the print, and during the chemical processing of the print. Depending on your budget and how resourceful you are, there are any number of strategies for using timers in your darkroom. But for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll break them down into enlarging and process timers.

The enlarging timer controls the light on the enlarger for the exposure of the print. You can do this by hand using the enlarger on-off switch and a stopwatch or a metronome, but if you have to dodge and burn then this can be inconvenient. Typical enlarging timers have a socket for the enlarger to plug into. You flip a “focus” switch which turns the enlarger light on for as long as the switch is on—this allows you to compose and focus the image. When you’re ready to expose, you flip the focus switch off, set the timer for the desired interval, and then press a button which will turn the enlarger light on only for the desired time.

The older timers, such as the Time-o-Lite, are mechanical count-down timers. You set the timer for the desired time, push the button, and when it gets to zero it automatically resets to the desired time. It’s simple but it works.

More modern and expensive timers tend to be digital and have various time settings in memory. They also have fractional settings, like tenths of seconds, which are easy to set and repeat. Some of these features look nice on paper but are pointless in use. For instance, in any exposure over 10 seconds or so, a fraction-of-a-second difference in exposure is going to be negligible, so being able to set the timer in 1/10th second increments is not going to offer much practical value. Short exposure times are often avoided because they have offer little room for error, don’t allow the printer to dodge and burn properly, and are far more affected by vibration.

I advise beginners on a budget to get a simple mechanical type, like a Time-o-Lite, and use the money saved on other things. Trade up to a better timer later as the extra features become more useful to you.

Process timers, unless they’re running some kind of film processing machine, are more straightforward and simple. All they have to do is count down time intervals. The best ones are those that can be read and set in the dark. The fancier ones will have memories so you can preset all the times for each step and let the timer go through them.

My favorite is the venerable Gralab 300 (and its older brother, the Gralab 100). It is a square block with a clock face calibrated 0-60. The face is luminous and the hands are easy to read and set in the dark. For printing I use the timer in its simplest form—I start the thing at 59:59 and let it count down to zero uninterrupted. Thus if I put my paper in the developer at 45:30, I let the hand sweep the face twice to 43:30 and pull it out at that point. I could do the same thing with a clock with a luminous sweep second hand. It saves me having to fumble with the paper and reset the timer at the same time.

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Section 11. Trays and Drums

Paper (and sometimes sheet film) is usually processed in trays or drums. A tray is just a flat, shallow, lidless pan that you can fill with chemicals and drop paper into. A drum is much more like a developing tank—it’s usually a light-tight cylinder that you put the paper into, close up with end caps, and then pour chemicals into the drum and agitate by rolling it. Trays are most common in B&W work because you can use an adequate safelight with them. Drums tend to be used for color work because trays are much more difficult to use in the dark, but drums (the ones rated for daylight) can be used in room-light conditions.

There are two considerations for trays: size and features.

The size of the tray ought to be one step larger than the biggest print you will normally make. This allows a little room around the edges to get fingers or tongs onto the paper. If you put 8x10 paper into an 8x10 tray, it can be very difficult to extract it again without bending or creasing the paper.

The major special feature of a tray is contouring on the bottom of the tray. A cheap tray will have a flat bottom, and the print may get stuck to the bottom of the tray and be difficult to remove (particularly if the paper is the same size as the tray). The better trays will have some kind of contouring to keep the paper from sticking flat to the bottom of the tray. One that I saw has little ridges that are raised on one end of the tray so that it’s easy to get fingers or tongs under one side of the print. Other ones I have seen have huge ridges across the bottom. The problem with huge ridges is that the print ends up sitting well off the bottom of the tray, and you have to fill the tray to a higher level to make sure the paper is covered completely.

The better trays will have some sort of easy pour spout on one of the corners, too, so that the chemistry can be poured out with less chance of slopping it all over.

Another tray I recently saw had special ridges to keep the tongs from sliding into the tray. This may or may not be useful, depending on whether this is a problem in your darkroom. My tongs have tabs and rubber boots that keep them (usually) from sliding into the soup.

Drums are a lot like film developing tanks and much of what applies to tanks applies here too. They’re isn’t much to them, so the primary considerations are durability, ease of loading, and how much chemistry they use (this is especially important for color, since color chemicals are a lot more expensive than B&W).

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Section 12. Miscellaneous Items for Printing Photographs

Photography is a hobby that is particularly prone to gimmicks and tools. Here is a short list of stuff that’s commonly available:

Lintless cotton gloves
I recommend them highly for handling negatives.
Stirring rods
These things are used for mixing chemicals. They’re useful but don’t spend much on one. A big plastic kitchen stirring spoon should do the same thing.
Projection print scale
This is a little pie-shaped step wedge that Kodak makes. You put it on the paper and make a 60-second test exposure and then pick the pie-shaped wedge that looks properly exposed. It’s very useful for beginners and it’s a good, low-tech tool that doesn’t have to be calibrated, voltage regulated or slide-ruled to use it.
Dodging and burning tools
These things can be useful if you need them, though I’ve been too cheap to buy any myself. I make what I need with cardboard and a sharp knife. Seriously—it can be convenient to have these things around, but it’s very easy to make them yourself and save some money.
Filtered funnels
I hate them, even though I own one. The filter cuts the flow rate way down and it’s very easy to overfill the funnel and slop chemicals all over. They are great if you have to filter a lot of crud out of the liquid. But it seems to me that if you have to filter a lot of crud out of the liquid, you’ve got problems that a filtered funnel won’t cure.
It’s that little magnifying eyeglass that jewelers use to examine gems. They’re useful for examining negatives and slides. Prices range from fairly cheap ($10 or so) to outrageous. I suggest starting with cheap and buy a better one if you use it a lot.
Focusing magnifier
This is kind of like a loupe, but you put it under the enlarger and examine the projected image for critical focus. Like loupes, they run from cheap to outrageous. I suggest starting out cheap and going up from there. I got along for years without one because my eyesight was good enough to tell when my images were sharp, but they are very useful in color work. Color negatives don’t have the kind of contrast in the image structure that B&W does, and it can be a lot tougher to focus a color negative than a B&W one.
Paper safe
These are light-tight boxes that you can store paper in conveniently while the lights are on. They’re a nice convenience but I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners on a tight budget. Use the original box and spend money on other things.
There are all kinds of ways to dry paper quickly. I have clothespins hanging over my sink and I hang the prints like laundry, but they may drip where one doesn’t want them to (like my head). Blotter paper is absorbent paper that you either unroll or open like a book, place the prints on the paper, and then roll or close up for awhile. Some people use racks that are stackable. Some people build drying cabinets with warm air forced through. And there are machines that can take prints and dry them. Pick whichever method seems the most convenient and affordable. As above, I don’t recommend expensive dryers for beginners—spend your money on more useful things. If you do pick up an old dryer, be careful to make sure it takes the paper you use. I had old ferrotyping dryer, which is a polished metal drum that was heated from the inside. You’d stick the paper onto the drum (image down), let it dry, and then peal it off. If you used fiber-based paper, the ferrotyping would yeild a glossy surface. But a ferrotyping dryer will ruin resin-coated paper. (Ferrotyping surfaces also have been to be cleaned and polished.)
Exposure Meters
These work much like a light meter does. You place it under the enlarger and it reads the light level that hits it. The idea is to program it to recognize an "exposure" that you want to reproduce. For instance, you can set it to recognize flesh tone, and theoretically you can always get that flesh tone again on subsequent prints. I do not recommend exposure meters for beginners because it’s very easy to misunderstand what they really do. All an exposure meter will do is tell you is when it sees a specified quantity of light. For instance, if you set it to recognize a light level that prints as medium (neutral) gray, you can measure a spot on another negative and set everything up so that spot prints as neutral gray. it’s a very useful tool to have, but it’s also very easy to be mislead by its readings or to use it improperly.
Color analyzers
are exposure meters—they measure the intensity of the light through color filters on the probe. They’re useful for color work but they have the same advantages and drawbacks as other exposure meters—you have to thoroughly understand what they’re really telling you in order to use them properly.

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Miller Time

That’s it. For a more in depth discussion of darkroom tools and their uses I refer you to the local library and the many darkroom books that are available.

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