Photographic Laboratory

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Photographic Laboratory


a room or several rooms protected from external light, designed for work with photosensitive photographic materials. Such facilities have a wide variety of photographic equipment, depending on the requirements of the work performed.

Permanent photographic laboratories are equipped with supply systems for electricity and water, plumbing and ventilation systems, and, often, air conditioning. Tables are provided for loading film holders and cameras, developing, fixing, intensification and reduction processing, washing, and other operations. Shelves are used to store necessary chemicals, solutions, films, and vessels. The laboratories are equipped with devices for printing, copying, drying, and heating, as well as safelights, phototimers, thermometers, balances, and chemical vessels. The walls and ceilings are usually painted white or light yellow.

Large photographic laboratories consisting of several rooms are provided with equipment that ensures an efficient sequence and standardization of processing operations as well as high labor productivity. Such equipment includes machines that perform all film processing operations, from developing to drying; apparatus for contact and projection printing of positives and diapositives, equipped with devices that automatically focus, determine the exposure time, and ensure light flux stability; and color analyzers for determining the proper printing operations for color photographs. The laboratories are also equipped with copying devices, such as photocopiers and microfilming machines; devices for finishing operations, such as glazing and the application of protective coatings; and devices for extracting silver from used solutions. The solutions used for processing materials are prepared in vessels with mechanisms that ensure complete dissolving of the chemicals used and filtration of the solutions; the solutions are supplied where needed by means of a pipe system. The quality of the solutions and process parameters are monitored by chemical and sensitometric methods.

Photographic laboratories at scientific institutions, photographic studios, and clubs are provided with equipment for semiautomatic processing, including hermetically sealed tanks and large trays with devices for maintaining constant solution temperatures and for mixing, copying and duplicating machines, enlargers, exposure meters, and electrical apparatus for glazing and drying prints. In this type of photographic laboratory, the solutions are prepared in small quantities and are supplied to the work sites by hand. Laboratories for amateur photography are housed in residential or utility buildings.

Mobile photographic laboratories may be installed in motor vehicles, airplanes, and spacecraft. They are usually equipped with devices for automatic and high-speed processing. A special type of mobile photographic laboratory consists of a portable trunk that makes it possible to reload film holders and process photographic materials under field conditions.

All photographic laboratories must satisfy fire and worker safety regulations for the handling of various chemicals.


Iofis, E. A. Tekhnika fotografii. Moscow, 1973.
Fomin, A. V. Obshchii kurs fotografii. Moscow, 1975.
Kraush, L. Ya. Obrabotka fotograficheskikh materialov. Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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