A fine basic darkroom can be built under $200 if you have the time to shop. But before buying the necessary stuff, you must have the habit of ‘reading directions’. Start that habit by going to a camera store and buying a good book on film and paper processing.
If you do not have enough funds, your average bathroom can come to your rescue and can be transformed into a natural darkroom. The seat can be used to put the enlarger, and the bathtub can be used for holding three developing trays (11X14). Also, the light can be sealed out easily. Your bottled chemicals can be placed in the bathtub as well; even if they drip, they won’t affect the porcelain material of the tub.
Enlargers vary from $75 (used) to thousands (new). Enlarging lens is the most important factor. If you buy a used one, make sure you get a money back guarantee so that it can be tested for color purity and sharpness. Lenses range from $20 to hundreds.
You will need developing tank and reels. It enables you to develop film in a light-tight environment. First, load the film on the reels, and then place inside the Nikkor tanks. After that put the top on and turn on the lights. You can pour the chemicals in and out without the light reaching the film.
You might want a timer if you want to go fancy.
Print tongs are absolutely important. If you insist on dipping your fingers into the chemicals, they can cause you a lot of problems. A thermometer and a safe light are also necessary. After washing the film, use a hairdryer and rubbing alcohol to dry it. Dip the film into an alcohol filled tank for 15-20 seconds. After removing it, use your fingers as a squeeze and then gently wipe away the liquid.
If you are in a hurry, use hairdryer, but don’t let the heat get too close. However, it is better if you do not rush the process of film-drying. The alcohol will rapidly evaporate, therefore close the door slowly and just wait for 5-10 minutes.