Brightest Safelight I can use for vc paper in my big, scary-as-hell room.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by MFP, May 4, 2009.

  1. MFP

    MFP Member

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    Hey Apug,

    So I have had my darkroom set up for over a month now, and all of a sudden I have noticed fogging with my 11x14 prints. I though it could by something with the paper tray, so I tried to fix what problem there may be, still fogging. I have a feeling its the crappy, $3 painted bulb style safelights in my darkroom, and the fogging "shadows" from print tongs would agree(I talked to them). That's reason 1 of why I want to change out my safelights.

    Reason two is: It's friggin' dark in here. My darkroom is a pretty big room, in the basement, wooden ceiling(unfinished bottom of the floor above), cement block walls. It has a bunch of random crap in it, including the furnace and water tank/softener/etc.(both light safe) So basically it has a bunch of nooks and crannies, and its the same room that when I was younger I wouldn't dare to enter alone. And now I'm making photographic prints in it, alone, under dim red light, and with the feeling that when I develop this next photo its going to be the face of satan like that scene from that movie("the negative", i think?). Oh joy. Oh and I use VC paper.

    So the problems with my safelights are conflicting, but I need the brightest safelight or safelights that I can set up that won't fog my paper, and I have about 7-8 feet of head room if I should mount the safelight(s) from the ceiling. I have heard of the Thomas super Duplex(two of which light my slightly smaller school darkroom with orange-possibly OC filters, but they have weird standards there), and 10x12" ones with the bulb inside an enclosure that are also hang-able. Also, are OC or 1A (or other) safelights better for my situation?

    Sorry for my long as a train explanation,
    MFP
     
  2. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    That sounds like your problem. I had a couple similar bulbs in Japan and nothing but trouble. I now have an old sodium vapour hanging from the ceiling type safelight with OC filters. Once it has warmed up, the whole room is quite bright. I bought it used real cheap.
    I never liked working under a red safe light. I feel OC filtered light makes it easier to see...
     
  3. Tim Boehm

    Tim Boehm Subscriber

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    get a thomas
     
  4. E76

    E76 Member

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    I'll second the recommendation to get a Thomas Duplex safelight (they are, after all, designed for large darkrooms), but make sure you get it with the FBD filters (OC). The FCD filter is for color paper (and I think a 1A). It is yellow, and will more than likely fog VC paper.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You need:

    1) a better safelight or two; and
    2) some light coloured surfaces to bounce the light off.

    A temporary ceiling would really help.

    Matt
     
  6. L.J.SILVER

    L.J.SILVER Member

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    On the question about safelights, my question is to lith printers. What's the brightest safelight you'd recommend for lith printing inspection?
     
  7. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Generally the highest levels of lighting are
    achieved using Graded paper. That is due to
    the color of safe lighting permissible which is
    yellow to orange. That is a range of color to
    which the eye is quite sensitive. Once the
    green portion of the spectrum begins to
    be eliminated visibility drops off. VC
    papers are green sensitive so that
    color must be filtered out.

    Not so with the blue only sensitive Graded
    papers. I've gone as much as 20 minutes,
    all that time with Graded paper under
    rather bright light. No problem. Easy
    to see the snatch point. Dan
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    And as to brightness I would throw in on the multiple safelight idea. My downstairs half privy serves as darroom for enlarging an there are some tight corners that prevent any light travelling. I have nowhere to plug in another safelight but if I had that is the route I would choose.
     
  9. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I use a red 8 x 10 safelight suspended upside down 18 inches from my tile ceiling. It has a stronger bulb than recommended for that very reason. I also have a round red safelight hanging over the developer tray for inspection. It's very easy to see with the light spread so evenly, this will work with any color safelight. The overall level is not that extraordinary but having light bounced into the shadows makes it all seem much brighter. My preference for red dates back to my graphic arts process camera darkroom days I guess, that and the fact that any type paper except panchromatic can be used under it without fogging. If you have concerns about how good your filter is you can paint the reflecting surface the same bright color as your safelight filter and absorb even more of the offending wavelengths on the bounce.
    FWIW my darkroom is 12x14 with 10 foot ceilings.
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    My favorite safelight is a red E27-R24 LED bulb from Superbright LEDs. This is much brighter than the amber conventional safelight it replaced, and I've had no problem with fogging. I've heard of people using amber LED bulbs as safelights without problems, but I've not tried these myself, and YMMV. FWIW, I've got two safelights -- one is the LED bulb I've mentioned and the other is a red-coated tungsten bulb. Sooner or later I plan to replace the tungsten bulb with another LED bulb, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Broadly speaking, VC papers are sensitive to a broader spectrum than are graded papers, so if you use VC papers, you're more likely to need a red (rather than an amber) safelight. This varies from one paper to another, though. By reputation, certain eastern European papers (Fotokemika, for instance) are more likely to require a strictly red safelight than are papers from western European manufacturers (such as Ilford). I've not done testing on this point, though.

    Ultimately, the only solution to your problem is testing. What works for me, or for anybody else, might not work for you, since positions, distances, time in the light, and materials are all variables. So find something you think sounds good, buy it, and test it. If it produces fogging, move it further from your paper and/or add stronger filtration to it.
     
  11. jtzordon

    jtzordon Member

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    Red led christmas lights do the trick for me.
     
  12. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I'm a big fan of LEDs, because they have such a narrow output spectrum. It isn't a case of outputting a bunch of wavelengths and hoping that the filter filters them out; with LEDs there literally is nothing below a certain wavelength emitted. I have one of these screwed onto an old CPU heatsink with an LM317 set up as a constant current source and a 12v ac adapter. I can run 700 ma through it but with even 100ma it is quite brite in my darkroom with just one. I've heard of people using LED taillight bulbs from the automotive store, which run right off of 12v.
     
  13. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I have been using my usual dim lighting setup, with a 'safe' flashlight. That way, I only am blasting the print with light for short periods of time near the snatch-point.
     
  14. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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  15. MFP

    MFP Member

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    The LED lights suggested by srs5694 sound good, and the red ones emit light at the 635 wavlength, which from ilford's data is very safe for VC papers Does anyone know how bright they are in comparison to a Thomas duplex with an OC filter/ how many LED bulbs would equal one thomas?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2009
  16. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    As I mentioned in my post (the last one on the previous page), my own red LED safelight is much brighter than the amber safelight it replaced. That was a Premier-brand safelight. IIRC, it had a 15W or 20W bulb behind a plastic filter. There'll be a lot of variability on both the traditional safelight and LED safelight product lines, depending on bulb wattage, non-LED light technology, LED technology, number of LEDs, etc., so remote direct comparisons may be difficult or impossible.
     
  17. wogster

    wogster Member

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    A couple of suggestions:

    1) Paint as much of you can of the darkroom area a light grey, the light bouncing off the walls will make it brighter without adding more light.

    2) Get one of those cable curtain rods, hang it across the room just outside the darkroom area. Hang an old bed sheet or two over the rod, when you want to use the darkroom you close the curtains, the white or nearly white sheet(s) will also bounce light back into the darkroom. When your not using the darkroom, you can slide the sheet(s) to the side and have a big open space for others to use. You can sew a pocket into one side to go over the rod.
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I'm another fan of LED safelights. I have a few extra that I could sell you (I have a classified ad up if you are interested). I have had zero fogging with extended lith development. I try to use the safelight recommended on the paper so I have both a red and an amber. Honestly, I think the amber is probably safe for all papers due to the LEDs very specific wavelength, but I have not tested it. My walls are all painted white with a white ceiling except I've painted the area around the enlargers flat black.
     
  19. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I use two safelights set at about 41/2 ft above my work surface. One is a 5x7 ilford 902 amber with a 15 watt bulb and the other is a durst amber led arrangement above the wet bench. The Durst has a dimmer and I don't have it at full strength. For papers that need a red light I use two 10x8 lights (with 15 watt bulbs) one above the enlarger and one above the wet bench. They are considerably dimmer than the amber lights. My entire darkroom is painted white except the wall and ceiling around the enlarger. They are painted matt black. My darkroom is 10x10x7. I dont have any fogging issues.
     
  20. andrewkirkby

    andrewkirkby Member

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