Darkroom productivity-Negatrans/Roll Easels/Workbenches

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I am planning an upgraded darkroom with a strong emphasis on productivity and ease of operations/ergonomics, as I get older and so that I can concentrate more on images than irksome processing routines.

I need to figure out a way to efficiently and quickly produce 4x6 or 5x7 proofs from 35mm and 120 roll film.

Question 1. Aside from Beseler and the Negatrans, do any OTHER enlarger manufacturers offer negative carriers that let you scroll through a strip of negatives as you print them in sequence (i.e. without standing up to remove the carrier, move the strip, and replace in the negative stage)?

Question 2. What are roll paper easels? What brands of B&W paper are available for these ? Are they a usable productivity tool for speeding up producing proofs in 4x6 and 5x7 size? Are they practical for a home darkroom?

Question 3. Its taken me 25 years to figure out that sitting at my darkroom enlarger, in the manner of a workstation or my office desk will greatly reduce fatigue and improve productivity. Any ideas welcome...

-- Mani Sitaraman (bindumani@pacific.net.sg), February 07, 2001


Let's see. What kind of enlarger do you have now? I have a rapid carrier for an Omega D2V, it's not like a negatrans, not geared like that, but it works pretty good. I'm sure Durst, or DeVere, or any of those other sort of industrial enlarger manufacturers offer(ed) a rapid carrier of some sort. Even Leitz Focomats are like this.

The only roll easels that I can think of right now, are made by ESECO. Unless you have a paper processor though, I really don't think you should go this route. It would have to be a dry to dry processor as well. I work in an in-house studio/lab and routinely print 250 or so 5x7s of one neg. for PR uses. I just tape the easel in place, and make alot of trips to the processor. Real zombie work.

You could try to look at some of the online catalogs for the big lab equipment companies. Like COLEX, KREONITE, REGAL/ARKAY, LEEDAL, these sorts of places. I only say this because they make all sorts of furniture and equipment for labs to be ADA compliant. You might get some good ideas from this , but if you plan on buying any of this stuff, it's pretty expensive. One last thing, you could think about a small tabletop processor like a Fujimoto, or a Printo. That way you could maybe just turn around and feed a print through and move on. A halfway decnt exposure meter like an Ilford EM10 would help speed things up too. Hope this helps.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), February 08, 2001.

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