Worst piece of photography/darkroom equipment

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GreyWolf

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Well the "present opening" has completed and we all have had an opportunity to be delighted with our new toys and gadgets. This has started me thinking about some of the worst items that I have owned over the years.

Seems that some are worst than others and I could probably place a few items on the list but for now I will begin with just one or two.

When I first started 4x5 printing I bought a used Beseler 4x5 enlarger. Eventually I wanted a colorhead for both color and VC printing. I have purchased (used) a Beseler Dichro 45 Computerized Colorhead on two separate occasions.

In my humble opinion this piece of equipment rates as the "worst piece" that I have ever used. Totally unreliable and finicky to keep working and constantly needing repair. I cursed the day I bought the first one and for the life of me, cannot explain why I would repeat the mistake and buy another.

Coming in at a close second in this category was the Minolta/Beseler flash tube colorhead. In fairness the Minolta model worked fine but had excessively long print times and the tubes were expensive to keep replacing. The Beseler 45 colorhead never did work properly and that is probably why so many of these show up "used" in the stores.

So what would you pick as your worst experience in equipment?

Kind Regards,
 

arigram

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Myself. I have been meaning to change me as I keep producing bad prints and horrid negatives, butI didn't get the appropriate gift this Chrismas...
 

eric

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- Aquavac or something like that film washer. The water won't go up and down, it would just stay on the bottom.

- Cheap dodging tools

- The beseler 50mm lens that came with my Beseler 23c

- Besides that, I think I've had everything in my darkroom for close to 20 years now. I've gotten about 3 digicams in the past 3 years. And spent just about the same amout of money. There's something wrong about that....
 

David A. Goldfarb

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The Voss 50/3.5 enlarging lens that came with my Bogen 22A Special enlarger.
 

dschneller

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Accura 35mm enlarger

When I was first starting out I got an Accura enlarger from a garage sale. It was denifitely the "worst piece" of equipment I have ever used and no suprise that they aren't around anymore.

Dave
 

rbarker

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I'm a fairly conservative you-get-what-you-pay-for photo shopper, so I haven't had too many real duds - with the possible exception of a cheap flat print drier that I bought back in the late '60s. By far, the worst piece of gear over the years seems to have been the external shutter-release activator - me. :wink:
 

Tom Hoskinson

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Horse race between the guy doing the focusing and the guy who can't seem to see all the elements in the composition - Myself.
 

Flotsam

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Years ago, I had an Agfa 120 daylight-loading tank. To this day there is still an Agfa 120 daylight-loading tank shaped hole in the wall opposite the door to my darkroom.

'Nuff said.
 

Peter Schrager

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Faux Pas

Worst Equipment:
1.Zone VI Type I enlarger. I bought into a lot of the stuff that ZoneVI produced but this time they went too far. Luckily I pawned it off on someone else and replaced it with a 50 year old Burke and James 5x7 enlarger that I retrofitted to a VC litesource. The B+J is a masterpiece of simplicity and it comes apart in 3 pieces for travel.
2. Canham 8x10 camera. Finally got rid of this one too. Maybe it led to my demise of using 8x10 but that camera and me were NEVER friends. Too many slippery movements for my taste. Hopefully Jim Chinn can come out with a reasonably priced 7x17 camera that functions!
3. Assorted Schneider lenses that I bought new- not really crap but I must have sent back about 5 or 6 lenses because of "Schniederitis."
4. Schnieder 150mm componon-s enlarging lense. I always knew it stunk but the truth showed up when I purchased a Apo-Rodenstock 150mm enlarging lens. Expensive but worth every penny.
Photography is a long journey-places like APUG can sure save people alot of wasted time and money
Regards Peter
 

Ed Sukach

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Without question, the Kodak Daylight Loading Developing tank from my early days. This piece of sheer crap NEVER loaded a film correctly. Ever. It hung around my darkroom until one day I took it to the Range and put a .357 through it. THAt was satisfying! (Yes, I cleaned up the Range afterwards).

I can not think of one other stick of equipment that even approaches that one. Maybe ... Kodak Photo-Flo full strength. That left concrete-like brown drips on my film. I've used Edwal LFN (Like F...... Nice?) as a substitute for many years, now.
 

Bob Carnie

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Lousy speakers for my sterio, I am always blowing them and looking for a set that I can listen to Black Sabbath at full volume without them craping out.
 

Ole

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The worst thing I've used is the "Johnson Cutplate and Film developer tank". Ten vertical slots, no agitation possible.

But even that turned out to be useful for stand development of 9x12cm negatives - 90 minutes on the (heated) bathroom floor in dilute FX-2 and they came out great.

There are several "objects" I haven't used, haven't dare use, or haven't figured out how to use yet. Several of thes were "accumulated" in large packs of "stuff", some of which seemed neat at the time.
I still haven't used my Kodak Plate Drying Rack, for instance, but I have used the contact printing frame I bought along with it...
 

Loose Gravel

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My old paper cutter, which Santa was nice enough to replace. A dual color, VC coldlight --- just not bright enough, but it is now long gone.
 

John McCallum

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That would be the cat.

Oh and the Durst 800AC fully automated enlarger. Hand all enlarging control over to a piece of equipment that thinks it knows what it's doing (but doesn't really), without the option of telling it what you want it to do ..... and well...... frustration ensues. There were many times I felt the same about it as Neal about his daylight loading tank. It was just lucky I couldn't lift it.
 

Flotsam

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John McCallum said:
There were many times I felt the same about it as Neal about his daylight loading tank. It was just lucky I couldn't lift it.

It would have been much harder to live with the resulting hole in the wall too.

Oh yes, and I don't endorse my technique as a way to deal with the cat either :smile:
 

Aggie

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A new acquasition I made in the form of a polaroid conversion to 4x5 format camera. So far it is DOA. The shutter will cock, but not fire, and the F stop dial is frozen place on 1/30th of a second. Don't dare send it back, and have the problem of never seeing it again. I just have to sink more money into it to have it work.
 

lee

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Aggie said:
A new acquasition I made in the form of a polaroid conversion to 4x5 format camera. So far it is DOA. The shutter will cock, but not fire, and the F stop dial is frozen place on 1/30th of a second. Don't dare send it back, and have the problem of never seeing it again. I just have to sink more money into it to have it work.

I feel your pain.

lee\c
 
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rjr

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Mmmmh.... I know there is an darkroom item that makes me feel embarrased when I think it... I just can´t remember what it was.

On the exposure equipment side that would be the Tamron "Superzoom" that I got as a beginner, jumping off the 1,8/50 Ultron (actually Zeiss/Rollei Planar!) that came with my VSL1 SLR. I searched for other lenses but was told that there was not much in the market re M42... so I got the 28-200. WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP. I keep it just for collecting all the bad lighting and deceased developers ghosts from my other items...

Neal, is that tank a Rondinax 60U? I got one -after getting excellent results from the Rondinax 35U (35mm).... I messed up a film, had my problems with a second... just to learn the reason: a few film makers continue to make holes in the backing paper of the film. When pulling the backing paper out to separate it from the film this hole folds up and blocks the paper, making you pull the film out. Grmpf.

Works like a charm with Agfa and Efke films... no holes, no problems. There might be some artificial dumbness involved. ;-)
 

Flotsam

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Roman, it was long ago and I don't recall the specifics but it only takes a couple of exposed rolls being ruined before they ever get the chance to touch the developer to send the d@mned thing flying. It was nicely built though, it really punched right into the wall.
My changing bag and SS reels have never failed.
 

Konical

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Good Evening,

The Yankee 4 x 5 developing tank is my candidate; it's not the quality of the construction but the awkwardness of use and the inconsistency of development.

Konical
 

blansky

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Aggie said:
A new acquasition I made in the form of a polaroid conversion to 4x5 format camera. So far it is DOA. The shutter will cock, but not fire, and the F stop dial is frozen place on 1/30th of a second. Don't dare send it back, and have the problem of never seeing it again. I just have to sink more money into it to have it work.

That's hard to believe. When I was researching the Littman, the Aussi guy had a lot of followers. I'm sure he'll fix or replace whatever is wrong. The only problem is the shipping charges.

Michael
 

KenM

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peters said:
Worst Equipment:
...
4. Schnieder 150mm componon-s enlarging lense. I always knew it stunk but the truth showed up when I purchased a Apo-Rodenstock 150mm enlarging lens. Expensive but worth every penny.
...

I have this lens, so I'm curious about your statement. What was wrong with it?
 
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Aggie said:
A new acquasition I made in the form of a polaroid conversion to 4x5 format camera. So far it is DOA. The shutter will cock, but not fire, and the F stop dial is frozen place on 1/30th of a second. Don't dare send it back, and have the problem of never seeing it again. I just have to sink more money into it to have it work.

Just a suggestion - if at all possible, remove the lens/shutter from the camera, preferably using the correct slot ring key. It may well be that the shutter will then work and the f-stop/speed controls can be turned. If so,the problem is that the shutter has been fitted without a necessary shim behind it.This is easy to fix, the question then is whether the lens is still correctly collimated (at the right distance from the film) with the shim fitted. If it is, great. If the guy doing the conversion has factored in an adjustment for this, also great. If not, this is where problems start!

Regards,

David
 

Peter Schrager

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Schneider Componon-s

Ken-It's not fair to lambaste all items. I owned two of these lenses and they were both dogs. Maybe the guy in the factory was hungover that particular day. Perhaps yours gives stellar performance. The only way to see is to try a comparison test. I happen to also have a schneider 80mm and 100mm/non-apo lenses; and thay both perform very well.Alot better than the 150's ever did. My concern was that since I decided to do most of my work on 4x5 that I have the best enlarging lens for the job. Someone elses quality standards may be different than mine. Only you can make the final decision. The Apo-Rodagons fetch top dollar-gee I wonder why? If I remember correctly my 150mm was about $1200. As a middle of the road I would check out the El-Nikkor line and a good quality used one should be a good deal. Just make sure you can return it.
Regards Peter
 
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