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(Analog) darkroom tools
Old 11-17-2004   #1
denishr
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(Analog) darkroom tools

Hi!

In the last few months I've been able to get some extra doodads for my analog darkroom. I must say that one of the most important and valuable additions was a digital thermometer - measures down to 0.1 (one tenth) deg. Celsius, and is very quick and easy to use.
Besides my DIY Palm darkroom timer, there is also a Jobo processor CPE-2 with lift, and several other gadgets.
I was thinking that I need something to help me speed up the process of getting the enlarger exposures in the ballpark... So far, I'm using test strips, and those are a pain... Takes me 3 different test strips (of 5 exposures each) to get the (approximate) proper exposure. It takes long, and is no fun at all
I was thinking of an enlarger exposure meter, something like Ilford EM10. I *do* have a color analyzer (Philips), and I think it could also help me in this regard, provided I could use it as some kind of densitometer. I don't have any instructions for it (bought used, cheap), but I think it shouldn't be too complicated, provided I can get the hang of it.
OTOH, Ilford EM10 exposure meter looks very compact (important, since my darkroom is tiny), and from what I've read about it, seems to be simple to use. Can be had cheap from ebay ($15-$20).
Now, if anyone has an Ilford EM10 for sale/trade, I won't ask any further
Otherwise, what are your suggestions for speeding up the process of determining a proper exposure for a print?
I've even thought about using a scanner for such things - I use Silverfast software, and it has a densitometer function. But, that doesn't sound very practical, either....

Denis
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Old 11-17-2004   #2
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Hi,

I don't have the EM10, but from what I know about it, it does not seem very practical - because with the system it uses, you don't change printing time but the enlarger lens aperture to get the right exposure, IIRC - which means that you can't always enlarge at the optimum aperture of your lens...
I have a Jobo Comparator, which does it the other way round - but I don't use it any more - it is too inaccurate to really get the right exposure and contrast with one measurement, so the first print usually is only approximately in the right region, and I have to fine-tune to get it really right - might just as well make a test strip in the same time; if I print more pictures from the same roll of film, I usually only need one test strip to get me in the right direction, and at most another one for each frame to get it really right.
As for exposure enlarging meters, I think the only ones that work well are those that allow multi-point metering, like the Gossen Labosix, but those are way more expensive...
The best solution would be a Heiland Splitgrade system, though!

Roman
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Old 11-17-2004   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roman
Hi,
...you don't change printing time but the enlarger lens aperture to get the right exposure, IIRC - which means that you can't always enlarge at the optimum aperture of your lens...

Thanks, Roman - I haven't thought of that...
It really doesn't sound very practical, since I tend to use one aperture only for enlarging...

The other possibilities sound expensive...

Denis
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Old 11-17-2004   #4
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Denis, even though I can usually guess the aperture and exposure time, I still use test strips, increasing the exposure by 2 second intervals, using a special slotted mask made from black foam board.

The EM10 comes in handy when you want to change the height of the enlarger head. You take a reading on more or less a small solid gray area within the frame and adjust the dial on the EM10 until the green LED lights up. Once you adjust the enlarger head up or down, then all you need to do is place the EM10 in the same spot. Then open or close the aperture until the green LED lights up.
It definitely saves time and paper, when cropping or moving to a larger paper size.
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Old 12-08-2004   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Solinar
The EM10 comes in handy when you want to change the height of the enlarger head. You take a reading on more or less a small solid gray area within the frame and adjust the dial on the EM10 until the green LED lights up. Once you adjust the enlarger head up or down, then all you need to do is place the EM10 in the same spot. Then open or close the aperture until the green LED lights up.
It definitely saves time and paper, when cropping or moving to a larger paper size.
Too funny. I bought a darkroom from Ebay and it had one of these still in the box. I was going to trash it cause it seemed pretty useless to me. Now it makes sense though....cropping....excellent! I will give it a whirl.
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Old 12-08-2004   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roman
Hi,

I don't have the EM10, but from what I know about it, it does not seem very practical - because with the system it uses, you don't change printing time but the enlarger lens aperture to get the right exposure, IIRC - which means that you can't always enlarge at the optimum aperture of your lens...

...
Somehow I missed this thread before. I haven't been in a darkroom in too many years. But what I was taught and taught myself, was that reciprocity worked with enlargers too. That is, if you open up the aperture one stop, you halve the time, and vice-versa. Close it down one stop and double the exposure. Papers are slow anyway, so reciprocity failure didn't seem an issue. It always seemed to work for me. Was I just lucky?
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Old 12-08-2004   #7
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Hmmm, in the meantime I've checked various sources and texts on the Web, and the Ilford EM 10 gadget looks useful, indeed.

Anyone willing to sell/trade one of those? I'm interested.

Denis
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