a fine balance

Cheap laboratory balance to weigh photography chemicals

Toronto. I began to take photographs in grade school when someone gave me a simple box camera. In high school, I joined the camera club and began to print and process my own photos. Once I started working, I decided to also develop my own negatives.

On a shopping trip down to Toronto, I found an old lab balance which I still have. The local Rexall Drug Store happily ordered my list of chemicals. A copy of the Photo-Lab-Index provided the necessary “recipes” for me.

After learning how to “roll my own”, I moved on to packaged chemicals, finally settling on Microdol-X for negative development. Acetic acid for the stop bath and ordinary prepackaged fixer completed the process. Many a pleasant evening was spent developing negatives and prints. I tried various so called fine grain developers but ended up with Ilford’s Microphen (competed with Kodak’s Microdol-X). I even struggled with colour print technology by Ferrania (Ferraniacolor).

A bit over a decade later in Montreal, I used drums, new colour processes and special filters. The advent of the fast processing shops like Eddy Black’s and Japan Camera ended all home development since they were faster and cheaper for negatives and small prints (3,5 x 5 and later 4 x 6). For a while I developed negatives (black & white) and made prints both B&W and colour but even that ended by the 1990s.

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