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Photography QnA: What Does a Darkroom Look Like - Paper & Supplies

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : What Does a Darkroom Look Like - Paper & Supplies

What does a darkroom look like you ask? Find answers to all of your darkroom supply questions in this Q&A.

Page 1 : 1 -5 of 5 questions

Photography Question 
Brian McDonald

member since: 6/22/2004
  1 .  When to Use Different Photo Papers?
I am curious to know for what different applications I would use a glossy, semi-gloss, matte, or satin photo paper. Is it just personal preference and I should print on each one to see what I like best? Thanks in advance for the info.

12/13/2004 6:27:50 PM

Vince Broesch

member since: 6/5/2004
  This question has been around since I started in the photo processing business in the '70s. It is really just a matter of personal preferance. It seems like amateur stuff goes glossy and pro stuff goes matte, but it's not written in stone. In general, amateurs want over-saturation and high contrast and high sharpness, which glossy can give the perception of. Pros want lower saturation, contrast, and sharpness; more neutral for better skin tones. But this is all just a generalization.

12/13/2004 6:43:10 PM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  It's a personal choice, of course, but sometimes there's a need. In the wet darkroom, there are a variety of papers [with names like Resin Coated, Silver Halide, etc.]

If your into printing on an inkjet, particularly black and white, you need to investigate a lot of papers. I like Kodak Ultima [Glossy or Satin,] Ilford [the Pearl series] and, of course, Canon Photo Pro [glossy] for my Canon S800 printer. Using different papers gives you a choice of "feel" both literally and figuratively. I've found glossy to be less exciting for B&W, however.

Check They offer a private label set of inkjet photo papers and you can purchase a Starter Kit containing 2 sheets each of several different papers. I haven't used these yet, as my supply of Kodak, Ilford and Canon is holding out well.


12/15/2004 8:14:37 AM

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Photography Question 
Sreedevi Swaminathan

member since: 3/14/2002
  2 .  Color Correcting Prints Using Filters
I've been searching everywhere including the online Kodak store for this. I know it exists, but I don't know where to find the filters you can use to view prints so you can see how to color correct them. I think they come in all six colors with values of 5 points and 10 points and they're 8x10 sheets. Can you help me with who makes these and what exactly they're called so I know where to find them. My eyes start to lose their perception of color after staring at a print all day long.


5/22/2002 5:37:01 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  I think you're looking for Kodak Wratten Color Compensating (CC) and/or Color Printing (CP) filters. I don't have any more info.

5/23/2002 12:27:35 PM

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Photography Question 
Kelly Allison

member since: 3/19/2002
  3 .  Kodak Ektamatic
Kodak has discontinued Ektamatic paper. This is the paper my newspaper (that I work in) has used. It makes quick prints in just a few seconds when run through a processor. They make another paper that will take the activator I have, but it has to be fixed for 2 minutes per print. This will make the newspaper late when I get 8 rolls of film and need to make 40 prints. I was wondering if any other company made newspaper-friendly paper, that prints quickly. If anyone knows the web page for Fugi or any other film company, this would be helpful. Thank you.
--Kelly Allison
Lakeville Journal

3/19/2002 10:45:45 AM

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Photography Question 
Jason P. McWilliams

member since: 3/1/2002
  4 .  Darkroom Equipment Kits?
I am looking for a good economical 35mm devloping and processing kit. I tried to find some more info here on this site and I can't seem to locate any kits. I do however see folks talking about the kits. Any info would be great leading me to where I can buy such a package.
Thanks in advance!

3/3/2002 3:43:40 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  What do you consider economical?

3/4/2002 1:28:27 PM

Jason P. McWilliams

member since: 3/1/2002
  I would like to pick up the kit for somewhere between $250 to $500.

3/4/2002 2:07:44 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Have I got a deal for you! ;-)))

I've got an enlarger that will handle 35mm to 6x7 negatives plus lenses for each format. And I have a starter kit that has everything you need minus chemicals to develop and print film. It's all in original boxes and has never been used. I'd like to get $400 out of it (paid $525 for it originally). Let me know if you're interested. You can contact me at

3/4/2002 2:38:03 PM

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Photography Question 
Jo A. Metz

member since: 3/2/2002
  5 .  Photo paper surfaces
What are the differences between paper surfaces? ex. Matte, Luster, Pearl, etc.

3/2/2002 3:06:35 AM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/13/2004
  **Bumping, I'd like to know this answer too.**

I know matte is your non glossy photo.

9/12/2005 3:13:46 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2004
  I think there's glossy which is all shiny and gets finger prints on it easily. Matte is more textured. As to luster and pearl, I think they're pretty much the same thing but specific to the brand. If you go to most places and get enlargments they will probably make it on luster which is like a semi-matte I think. If you're using Ilford, I think they call semi-matte pearl?

9/21/2005 7:49:04 PM

Linda S. Pearson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/27/2005
  Check this article on It explains the differences in papers.

Hope this helps.

9/21/2005 8:32:54 PM

Philip Pankov
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/30/2004
  One thing to remember glossy paper will always give you deeper D-max - i.e. your blacks will be more black on the glossy paper than with other surfaces. This is very important in traditional Black & White photography, but less so with color photography.


Philip Pankov
Pictures of Ireland - Fine Art Black & White Photography of Ireland

9/25/2005 4:41:51 PM

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