Coldlight vs Ilford 500H

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by snaggs, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. snaggs

    snaggs Member

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    Whilst I mull over the enlarger question, I still have to choose a head for B&W. Lets assume I buy a new Beseler 45 enlarger, I will still need a head. I can buy a new Coldlight VC head, a condensor or a 2nd hand 500H.

    Now, I've read that the Ilford 500H was probably the best choice of VC heads. I've read that Coldlight heads expose so quickly that dodging and burning becomes difficult, but may make sharper prints. Finally, I've read that nothing beats a condensor like those found in a Durst or Focomat.

    So my question is..

    1) Do cold light heads serious compromise the dodging and burning you can do assuming your still learning and not proficient.

    2) Are new Condesor heads like that sold new by Beseler not up to scratch compared to older designs like a Focomat and so pointless?

    3) Would this make the 500H the king of B&W heads, or is multi-grade just a waste of time.

    Thanks all for teaching us newbies :smile:

    Daniel.
     
  2. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    I have a 500H head for my Durst 1200. It works nice for multigrade. I bet it will work grat for graded as well, but the speed of printing may be less? I'm not sure about the spectral sensitivity of graded papers, but I guess some are sensitive to blue light only. If that is so, one could easily remove the color filters (green and blue) in the 500H head and have a hefty 600 W halogen output, which actually might be too much for smaller prints.

    My only gripe with the 500H head is the heat. If I'm lith printing I'm exposing for several minutes, and the thermostat shuts the head off every now and then. This might be an issue of my 500H head, and there might be a simple remedy, like cleaning the fan or something.

    Now when I think of it, I don't know if this has ever occured during exposure of a print, or only during focusing. There might be a timer in the focus mechanism that prevents one from forgetting it or something.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    We have both light sources at the lab, and i don't know where the idea that the times for a cold light head are fast.

    Both of these sources in our lab have longer printing times than condensor heads.

    I have not tested a new condensor head against the older ones i have, but i find it hard to understand how a new condensor head is not similar to the older ones, at least with the same manufactor.

    just as a point of fact (in our lab) we have 11 workstations and i have made a print from the same negative using the same time with each and none look alike.

    You will need to test your equipment and adjust your exposure and development times for your negatives.

    There has been an age old decision about which light source is better, condensor or cold light. Learn to control your tools and it becomes for the most part a moot point.
     
  4. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    Ann,

    Do your 500H heads shut down after a minute or two of focusing?
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    nope.

    sorry can't be more helpful