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Thread: Just starting

  1. #1

    Just starting

    Hello everyone... I just found this site a few days ago and am very eager to start contributing. I am working on some EXTREMELY basic cameras to start with. Just going to use paper at first and do some contact prints to get my shots. I actually have some lofty plans... mostly having to do with paper as my neg.
    I'm sure I will be asking alot of questions as I go along but it seems like I've happened upon a very helpful bunch.
    My first camera is going to be kinda neat I think. I was walking around Walmart last night looking for boxes... and found an "outdoor utility" box. The neat thing about this is that it appears to be water tight... wich means light tight once I paint the thing... right now it's a hideous blaze orange!
    Does anyone have any suggestions for which type of paint to use. I know I need flat black but I was wondering if one particular brand worked better for this?
    Also, since I moved I have not had a darkroom. I have been renting hotel rooms and pulling all-nighters but that's a little expensive. Does anyone know how long an image will "keep" on photographic paper? Basically... do I have to develope them right away or could I store them in light-tight bag for a while?

  2. #2

    Just starting

    Images on film can, under good storage, keep for decades (I've seen images from films that was exposed in the 1940s that were successfully developed within the last couple years). On paper, however, the recommendation from Kodak has been to process within an hour. I'm sure you'll see little degradation in more time than that, but that's a *lot* less time than they recommend for B&W film.

    You can process paper in a daylight film processing tank, if it'll fit -- for instance, you can process a 5x7 in a stainless tank made for four 35mm reels, by wrapping it around the outside of the tank and leaving the reels out, though the only sensible way to go about it, relative to quantities of liquid, is to dilute the developer to slow its action and then roll the tank on a table or counter so that all of the paper is covered by developer serially, even if not simultaneously. Dektol at 1+9 takes most of ten minutes to develop most papers, so that might be a good choice (use it one-shot at this dilution -- 250 ml is just enough for an 8x10).

    A good alternate is to just use film -- roll film, that is -- process it in a tank loaded in a changing bag, and then rent a darkroom now and then to make prints (or just scan the negatives in the interim). You can rent darkrooms in most good sized cities, especially those with colleges that have either art or journalism programs.

    Still another option is Polaroid, though Polaroid that fits that big box is *really* expensive...

  3. #3

    Just starting

    Heres another question... do you NEED to use a film back for polaroid peel apart films? I don't have much experience with polaroid but I was thinking you could just attatch on of those to the inside of the camera?

  4. #4

    Just starting

    I'm no expert on Polaroid, but the peel-apart films have a little packet of chemicals that needs to be ruptured and the contents evenly spread over the image area for development to take place. The backs have a pair of rollers that squeeze the chemical packet and spread the released chemicals. There might be some other way to make it work but the spreading process is fairly twitchy so I think you'd be better off just getting a back or a pack-film camera from which you can cannibalize the film holder.

    If you look on eBay make sure you don't get one of the roll film types - there is no film available for them.

  5. #5

    Just starting

    That's pretty much what I figured... which is fine. There are plenty of Antique shops and flea markets around so finding a back shouldn't be to hard. On the other hand... you can always push the checmicals by hand to get some distorted images I guess.
    Like I said earlier though - I think I'm just going to start off with paper as my neg. I've got a few neat ideas that I want to test out.
    I'll be sure to post ALL my findings here though... this is a very helpful website!

  6. #6

    Just starting

    if you are looking for an old polaroid camera, this might be helpfull... here they tell you which cameras you can still get film for as well as lots of other cool info...

  7. #7

    Just starting

    Quote Originally Posted by pictureEVERYTHING
    On the other hand... you can always push the checmicals by hand to get some distorted images I guess.
    Worth noting here that the Polaroid films aren't light-tight until they've been pulled through the rollers -- that process sticks the print and negative together, which protects the image surface of the negative from environmental light, but if you pulled a negative/print set out of the pack without the rollers, the two layers would be loose and the negative would fog instantly because nothing covers the face.

    OTOH, if you're talking about manipulating the image while it develops or after, take a look at the "glassed negative" process invented right here by one of our regulars (stormy, wasn't it?).

  8. #8

    Just starting

    NO, not a ANTIQUE SHOP!

    Those people do NOT know how to price cameras. Or maybe they are successful with their absurd prices because there are shoppers who encourage them :O)

    Recent Antique Store discoveries:

    Store #1 Basic 620 bakelite Brownie $20, old non-descript plastic Polaroid $20 : Store is now out of business.

    Store #2: Argus C-3 $50 (?!?) are they ill?

    eBay: Argus 75 TLR 'appraised value (or similar language) $150' Maybe to have one extracted from where ever that guy's head has been...

    Faith-based thrift stores are pretty good. Even the greedy ones that buy from the cheaper ones & resell (get a job!) are better than antique stores.

    Goodwill stores are getting to be kind of sad for bargains...anything decent or perceived to be decent is 'quarantined' and put on their own website with eBay based pricing, seemingly the highest typical eBay the Argus C-3 story above...I've seen Goodwill listings at $25 or so, and most of the inflated eBay C-3 prices at $25 don't get bid on...

  9. #9

    Just starting

    When I was in Seattle, Value Village was the place to go for good deals (not just on cameras, either).

    In general, most places have "We have a truck in your neighborhood" charities, that pick up "unwanted" items (presumably so you don't have to pay to landfill them, or invite thieves to your house with a yard sale). Spot the trucks, call the numbers, find out where their store is; generally they have the sanest pricers, are more likely to know a good "real" camera from plastic junk, and since they make their money on turnover (because they pay just the haulage for their merchandise, or pay only for clothes, or similar arrangements) often have good prices (though the one local to me here appears to have hired the handicapped -- a recent release from the mental hospital, that is -- as a pricer).

    Last time I was there, Seattle area Goodwill was still quite good, too, but that was just before started running their own auctions. Now buying good stuff from Goodwill is a lot like buying it on eBay, only without the professional layouts and nice-looking pages, and without the selection. You can still find "junk" in the stores, though -- I got my Polaroid Autofocus 660 for $3 at the local Goodwill, even though the Carolina Thrift near here would probably have priced the same camera at $29.99...

  10. #10

    Just starting

    Image Maker - thanks for the info on the polaroid films! See, that's why I found this borad!
    As for the antique store comment. Not to worry... I know how to shop around and not get ripped off. One thing you should do is find out which stores are owned outright... and which stores operate on a consignment basis. The consignment stores allow the people who bring things in to price their own goods. So there's no negotiation. Now if you find someone that owns all their stuff outright... I'm sure they'll be happy to strike a deal on the old dusty camera that has sat in their shop for 5 years running!
    It just takes some looking, but thanks for all the helpful comments to!

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