Aristo VCL4500 & RH Designs Timer.....?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by SusanK, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. SusanK

    SusanK Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Someday..... someday, I would love to add an Aristo VCL4500 & RH Designs Timer to my darkroom. I've read many threads re: the RH Designs timers but, I have yet to figure out which timer model would work w/ the Aristo.

    Can someone answer this question...? Please keep in mind, I'm of a left-handed artistic (autistic ?) mindset. I'm nowhere near being a tech head and some of the posts that I've read re: RH Deigns timers have confused the heck out of me. I like the idea of wating less paper but, don't want to be so confused/frustrated by the technology that I don't utilize it.

    Again, this is a wish list only for the time being but, I am putting thought into it.

    Thanks,
    Susan
     
  2. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I understand that the RH Designs Vario timer is what you want. It has a light probe that measures the output of the cold light and adjusts the time based on light output.

    I use that timer with a dichro head. I bought the Vario model because I thought that I might get a cold light someday.
     
  3. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbar
    SusanK

    Beware that even so, you will need to split print as the Vario cannot control both tubes, blue and green, at the same time. Under ideal conditions you will have good exposures, but the blue and green do drift independently. Also, note that the VCL4500 is not a very bright lamp and exposure times may be a couple of stops longer than what you are using now.

    Consider a V54 tube and filters. With these and a Vario or other closed loop controller, you will get perfect exposures either split or not, lots of light, and less expensive.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have a VCL 4500 and I consider it bright enough. I also use the Metrolux II with that light source. I have a Stopclock Pro that I used with my condenser head enlarger. (Durst 138s) The Metrolux has a probe to help make it a closed loop system. Loose Gravel has one way to do it and I have another. Good luck on finding the solution that is best for you. BTW, although the Metrolux II can allow you to control both lights in one exposure, I prefer to split print everything I print.

    lee\c
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2006
  5. SusanK

    SusanK Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A little more info: Presently, I have an Oriental Seagull (I think?) cold light head on my Besseler MXT. It's black with illuminated green buttons, if that helps to recognize it. I don't think it's made anymore. All of the controls (time, filter, focusing light, programing... which I don't understand) are located on the head itself so, I have no external timer. It exposes using green/blue lamps therefore, I am accustomed to the low light level. Unfortunately, on occasion, the lamp "flickers" a bit and my exposures lack consistency.

    This setup (as well as some other equipment) was bequeathed to me upon the passing of a friend a few years ago. I feel very fortunate that he thought highly enough of my passion for photography to consider putting me in his will.

    A couple of days ago, I posted my most recent image in my apug gallery. This is the first print in 15+ years that has internal luminence to it.... and I have no idea how I did it. Grrrr. I only know that I want MORE prints like that one. I was so inspired by the image that I've recommited to learning all I can about film exposure/development. Eventually, I want the cold light head & timer to go w/ that knowledge so that I no longer consider my trash can to be the most important piece of equipment that I own.

    I want my prints to be "better"..... just like everyone else does. :smile:

    susan
     
  6. RJS

    RJS Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    RHDesigns and Aristo

    I've been using the RH Designs Pro with an Aristo V54 for some time. Printing 11X14 from a 4X5 neg my exposure is about 4 seconds ar f11. While I am sure there is some variation in tube brightness from one exposure to the next I could not detect any in a series of six test prints. Perhaps with a #5 filter a difference would show, but then I don't often do that.
     
  7. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'll have to agree strongly with Loose Gravel on this. I've used 2-tube cold light heads and dichro color heads, and while they all work fine, my favorite system is the one I'm using now--a V54 Aristo head (the T-12) with below the lens filters, and an RH Designs Stop-Clock Vario model. And I use the split-filter method. This system gives me the best results and the most control of any system I've ever used.
     
  8. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    In regard to the Oriental cold light head, I remember a good review of it and description of how it worked in one of the old Photo Techniques supplements about black and white printing or variable contrast printing. I ordered them all from the magazine and they are worth having. It was a very expensive and interesting light source but I have never seen or used one.

    I would never like using filters below the lens. I am sure it can work fine, but why go to all of the effort and expense of generating a large format negative only to enlarge it through a $2 piece of plastic? I've never used a cold light, but I would prefer a filter drawer above the negative.
     
  9. DKT

    DKT Member

    Messages:
    504
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
  10. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In general I agree with your thinking, Jerold. In my case, I found it very difficult to make a filter drawer for the Aristo T-12 that would not disturb the negative during filter changes, and keep the cold light diffuser very close to the negative. My solution was to use a high quality glass filter below the lens. I fit Tiffen 47B and 58 glass filters in a turret filter holder that rotates smoothly below the lens. I can quickly and very smoothly switch from blue to green. As I mentioned, this works great for me, and in testing (up to 4x) I have never seen any degradation.
     
  11. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbar
    RJS, I have recently taken data on the V54 versus time and temperature. It is very interesting and it explains why one can get consistant prints if one is having a lucky day. I need to get this data posted here.

    Your exposure times are similar to mine with the V54, too. I had the VCL8100 for a bit and it was about 3 stops slower. More than I could tolerate. I find the filters quick and easy. Even though they are cheap, they are optically pure, just like a gel. I have never found any degradation in the print. If I did, I'd move it between the negavite and the light source and use the even cheaper lighting gels.
     
  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is most likely the ZBE VC head. If so you already have the best VC head made [with the exception of the ZBE Starlight head]. Flickering is usually an indication of worn-out tubes. Tubes for the head were available from Aristo at some ridiculous price -- I have always wondered how well the local neon-sign shop could do at making replacement CL lamps -- you may want to give them a buzz.

    The ZBE is a closed loop head and provides very steady light output, far better that you will be able to manage with a compensating timer and an Aristo XXX head.

    ZVI makes an LED VC head that should rival the ZBE for only $2K.

    My recomendation is to get the head working and spend the money on a printing workshop. Workshops have improved my work far, far more than any peice of equipment I ever bought.
     
  13. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbar
    If the ZBE head provides a steady light output, it does so at the expense of maximum light intensity. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a different approach than a compensating timer. However, to indicate that this provides a more accurate exposure would be false. I cannot speak to the RH, but the MetroLux exposures are near perfect in all the tests I've done, even compensating for turn on and turn off light.

    The ZBE head is a fine tool, and if you can get it working it will serve you well. However, there have been postings that suggest ZBE no longer services this and other older products. Something to factor into the equation. Maybe a call to ZBE would be in order.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    657
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Yorkshire Da
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    We recommend that the Vario's sensor be installed in such a way that it does see both tubes, but you are correct that if the tubes drift independently then that cannot be compensated for. However, that will affect contrast mainly - the overall amount of light delivered to the paper should remain constant. I would agree that split printing is probably the optimum way to go, but I have personally never printed with this type of light source, preferring a dichroic diffusion enlarger.
     
  16. SusanK

    SusanK Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I just went to the ZBE website... I don't think that's what I have. At least, mine looks nothing like the image of their VC head. I'll get a photo of my enlarger and post it here in the next couple of days.
     
  17. jstraw

    jstraw Member

    Messages:
    2,703
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    Topeka, Kans
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an Aristo/Zone VI head that currently utilizes a Y40 correction filter and will be upgraded to a V54 lamp. I am saving up for the Stopclock Pro since my conversations with Richard clarified for me that as long as I continue to use the probe and Zone VI stabilizer, I can take full advantage of all the Pro's features and am not limited to the Vario.
     
  18. SusanK

    SusanK Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Oooops, found it.... it's a "ZBE VC-CLS". Which was replaced by the Starlight head. Found a company in Canada who works on them but, am not sure if light tubes are still made for them. If the .gif that I attached works, I'm including a photo of it.

    Where do I find info on a ZVI LED vc light source ?
     

    Attached Files:

  19. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hi Susan, here it is;

    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/EN6400.html

    ...but beware...their marketing people really know how to 'talk up' a product.

    Murray
     
  20. SusanK

    SusanK Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What kind of timer does one put w/ the ZVI LED vc light source? And, I think I'd need a "head adapter" for this light source to fit my Besseler MXT. The chasis where the head sits is round, rather than square.

    I know that my equipment was well used prior to me receiving it. Wouldn't surprise me if it'd be more cost effective to purchase something like the ZVI, rather than try to have my current head fixed/tuned/checked over and light tubes replaced (if they're even made anymore).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2006
  21. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Any timer should work with the Zone VI LED head. I am not aware of any commercially manufactured adapter to fit it to the Beseler, but an adapter should be very easy to make.

    The Zone VI LED head was in the prototype stage for years, and I was not aware that Calumet had put it in production. I would want to see some independent evaluation reports from other users before I invested in this head. Does anyone on APUG have one?

    If you would go the split-filtering route, you could use a white LED light, much like the conversion listed here
     
  22. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbar
    resummerfield, there was a review of the LED head in View Camera. Alan Ross evaluated it. As I recall, he thought it was okay (but he is still printing with a V54). LED source has problems acheiving high contrast levels as the blue LEDs are not blue enough to generate the higher grades. Also not as bright as the V54.

    White LEDs would suffer the same problem as they are blue LEDs with a phosphor to generate wavelengths longer than the blue emitted. Doesn't go the other way, i.e. you can't use a phosphor to go to shorter wavelengths.

    There are violet LEDs and UV LEDs, but I have not seen these used in light sources. They are much harder for the human eye to see and not as bright as the blues.
     
  23. DKT

    DKT Member

    Messages:
    504
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    i've actually owned aristo VC4500, VCL4500, D2 and D2H heads along with a metrolux timer...and I use a beseler 45S dichro head and a D2H where I work. My main enlarger at home was first the VC4500 (pre-V54 tube) that I later on had a green tube installed in, to make the variable contrast unit. When I got the metrolux, I mounted the probe to the blue tube, aimed at the green at an oblique angle. I calibrated the first channel (lux 1) for a blend of the two tubes at a setting of 3.5. It works good enough--tends to run at slightly faster pace for the higher settings, and slower on the lower end of the scale, but the output is consistent. It's just like getting used to the settings on the head--the speed of the timer runs faster & slower, just like the numbers represent the blend of the tubes--not a specific grade of paper. Once you get used to it, it's no big deal. I calibrated the second channel (lux 2) for the full blue, or the adjustable blue tube. With this, I can flick the settings over in a snap, and then do burns etc, or use the two channels for green/blue spit printing as well. I've gotten pretty used to it over the years, but it might seem kinda quirky to some.

    I bought another VC4500 a few years ago, because it was dirt cheap used, and I thought I could get that upgraded to a VCL--but since it has that new tube (v54) in it, aristo doesn't do that anymore. So, I was stuck with it--I tried using it on my second enlarger, but I liked the VCL so much more...I took it into work, but I liked the dichro head more, so it just basically became a doorstop more or less.... I finally got rid of it last month. There's nothing really wrong with it--it worked good enough, it's convenient with the filters above the lens--but honestly, I find it easier to split print with the filters below the lens on the older aristo heads...if anyone is interested in it, it's up for sale at a camera store, where I traded it.
     
  24. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I didn't think of glass filters. I would still obsess about dust but that is alot cheaper that a VC head and potentially compatable with some of the DIY LED heads with white bulbs.
     
  25. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    the glass filters wont show the dust Jerold. They are not in focus. I use gels in front of the light source of my 138 Durst. Before I got the Aristo head I had an Elwood 5x7 and used just plain gel filters under the lens without any problems what so ever.

    lee\c
     
  26. jstraw

    jstraw Member

    Messages:
    2,703
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    Topeka, Kans
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you have a pointer to such turret filter holders?