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Photography Both digital and film. Discussions about cameras, gear, exposure, technique, and sharing your photography

Experience in the dark

View Poll Results: How much darkroom experience have you had?
Yes, lots, but b/w only 38 22.09%
Lots of b/w and color 22 12.79%
Lots of color only 2 1.16%
I've done it, but not very much 54 31.40%
Never 56 32.56%
Voters: 172. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-08-2005, 04:31 PM
dennford dennford is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Perth; West Australia
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by Kraellin

welcome to RP!

i would ask you what a 'monorail' camera is and likewise a 'quarter plate' but i'd probably put myself to sleep in trying to understand


Hi Craig,
A monorail camara is usually a large format camera that has bellows mounted on a rail, it has a front lens panel and rear film plane that are moveable in all planes thereby being able to manipulate perspective and depth of field to a far greater extent than a normal camera. You may be surprised to find that they are still in use today in the studio and architectural fields.
A quarter plate simply takes the name from the size of the glass plate, whole plate being 8.5"x6.5" - so our quarter plate is 4.25" x 3.25". my particular quarter plate camera is probably over 100yrs old, made from wood, black leather and brass, it has an aldis f3 lens that although a little soft still gives good quality.
Hope this has explained okay for you.
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Old 12-13-2005, 09:19 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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thank you, denn!

now, what is the 'glass plate' and what does it do? (never answer a technical question with a technical answer. it only inspires or kills all other questions )

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Old 12-13-2005, 10:09 PM
dennford dennford is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Perth; West Australia
Posts: 5
A glass plate is exactly what it says - before images were on film (a photographic emulsion on a celluloid backing that is our cuurent day negative or slide ) it was usual to coat a sheet of glass with photographic emulsion, place it in the camera (where the film would be nowadays) ready for exposing . This meant putting a new plate in for each exposure and then removing it for developing After which the image would be on the glass rather than on film as we have today
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:14 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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thank you

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Old 01-17-2006, 05:33 PM
dkcoats dkcoats is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The frozen North
Posts: 519

Ah, a Calumet 4x5. I'd recognize one with my eyes closed, I think. First view camera I ever put my grubby mitts on, long, long ago.

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Old 01-27-2006, 08:17 PM
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awhimaging awhimaging is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: England
Posts: 2
Talking Dark room

I was teaching darkroom until about two years ago - from novice to exibition printing. This was at a lovely farm called the Black Thorn Centre, Cricklade, Wiltshire, England. Since then I have moved to digital and now teach in that area. One of my best student (and friend) is Suzanne Farmer whose work can be seen at

I still write/maintain a web site for where chamicals can still be purchased.


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Old 02-10-2006, 10:32 AM
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Photo678 Photo678 is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
its interesting to see not a lot of color experience.

i guess those machines are pretty expensive. i learned entirely too much from color project was trying to print a black and white negative on a color enlarger with color paper.......TOUGH business. but it really gave me a good grasp of color
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:45 AM
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aylaah aylaah is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Newcastle NSW Australia
Posts: 106
My father is a professional photographer and has been for over 40 years, so I grew up in the darkroom! Now, he has a studio with a professional darkroom attached, and I'm not allowed to touch anything, lol.

In all honesty though, photoshop is a much better darkroom for me - as much as I can feel my father cringing at that coming out of me! I enjoy the instant nature - I'm impatient - and I enjoy being able to pick it up with no knowledge whatsoever and create something - or 10 different somethings, backtracking from mistakes etc - all within minutes. I find digital photography easier and obviously more cost-effective to muck around with and experiment - and it allows for failure without cost.

I'm just not good enough a photographer to be able to effectively create what I see in my mind in a darkroom.

In saying that, it saddens me to see the darkroom demise, I prefer certain things off film than off the computer.
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Old 03-23-2006, 07:26 PM
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Pocoroba Pocoroba is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Houston, Texas USA
Posts: 59

I ran an E6 dip and dunk line in the early 90's, back when I was still using Imaginator Paint for retouching. We wrote the finished retouched files to a Fire 1000 on E6 4 x 5 transparencies and gave those to the client. Those scanned files were about 500 MB a pop to have the resolution needed for the Fire 1000.
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:05 PM
SharonH SharonH is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 1
I've worked in a commercial photo studio for years (now I'm a co-owner). We've always had an in-house lab for custom B&W and color printing. It was the only way to get the quality we wanted when we needed it. I've spent many hours dodging, burning and color-correcting in the darkroom. Now I spend hours at the computer. In fact, we are in the process of phasing out color printing (using up the last of our paper). We were always our biggest lab client but are shooting digital 99% of the time now. It's sad to see the darkrooms go. But digital is way better - I always get exactly what I want. Plus I hated dust spotting.
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