Darkroom Timers

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stephen J. Collier, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. Stephen J. Collier

    Stephen J. Collier Member

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    Quick, a show of hands..., well actually a statement of opinion on you favorite darkroom timer. I am trying to figure out what I want from a timer and I thought that I would put it to all of you to help me out with some suggestions. I want the timer to be able to control the enlarger, obviously, but I also want it to have a long enough time cycle to be able to time my neg. developing by. So let me know what you use and why you like it best. Thanks.
     
  2. Julian Hart

    Julian Hart Member

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    Hi Stephen

    I have used an RH designs Stopclock (enlarger timer) for the past 6 years and I love it. Fstop printing, test strip function in 1/4 stop increments, 2 channels and multiple burn in sequence memory programming. Best of all its really simple to use!

    Now the downside. It only goes up to 255 secs. Sorry!
    I use a separate cheapie digital triple timer for process timing

    Julian
     
  3. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    I used a LPL digital for enlarging it is not suitable for negatives though.. because of the led display and the rather shorter timing..(2-3mins i beleive)
    I use a cheap timer i bought from radioshack that i can operate in total darkness with ease.. does the job

    but i forgot to mention i tray develop 4x5 and 8x10 negatives so it will be much different for tank developing 35mm negs..
     
  4. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    RH Designs Stopclock Pro for the enlarger. Expensive, worth every penny, accept no substitute.

    For film processes I use my Palm unit and a wonderful free program called Foto Timer which remembers all the times and agitation patterns for different films for me and even warns me when an agitation is due. Much easier than a normal timer and highly recommended.

    For the trays I use a sports stopwatch, half the price of a timer from a photo store and at least as good.
     
  5. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    As does Deniz, I use an LPL digital timer for printing. It has a red LED display that doesn't affect paper exposure and allows timing in 10ths of a second. (when calculating a 9% to 12% dry-down adjustment, that feature is very useful.) It's also not too expensive (less than $140 I think...I don't remember with certainty) and fits nicely on the enlarger table or on the wall.

    The wet side uses an old Time-o-Lite analog timer (looks very similar to a GraLab 300) with metal hands which are easy to reach out and adjust for developing negatives or timing developer or fixer. When I first began to tray develop film, I asked about the affect of the glowing hands on the film and was assured there would be none. That's proven true.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2004
  6. tomtom

    tomtom Member

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    i use a gralab 300 for processing film. it looks like a giant black clock with markings from 0-59. it glows in the dark so when i'm running sheet film i move it beyond the fixer tray and angle it toward to wall. so far no film fogging issiues. i throw a towel over the timer when i'm loading film. it's really simple to use, great for running film but i wouldn't recommend it as a enlarging timer.

    for enlarging i use an old lectra or beseler audible timer, but julian's timer sounds great!

    which ever timer you do choose for printing make sure it's a repeating timer or you'll go crazy :smile:

    tomtom
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Metrolux II for 5x7 enlarger

    545 Gralab for 6x6 enlarger

    625 Gralab for timing development and other timiing stuff.



    Michael
     
  8. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    I find that it makes a lot of sense (well, for me, anyway) to use separate timers for dry and wet processes. For the enlarger, I cast another vote for R.H. Designs. I use their Analyser Pro. The model I have is specifically designed for the Ilford 500 Multigrade head. When I first got it, all I could say was, "Wow!". I still do; it's great.

    At the sink I really like the Zone VI compensating developing timer.
     
  9. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    For the enlarger, if you are using a coldlight, you will need a compensating timer of some sort. I'm using a MetroLux, actually two of them. It has memories, drydown, lamp decay compensation, timer or compensation timing, shutter speed timer, the buttons have a nice feel, rugged as can be, exposures from 0.1 to 9999 sec. Can be used for platinum printing. Great timer.
     
  10. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Dedicated multigraph timer and control unit on the L1200 (no choice really). Durst AT 100 on the modular 70 and a Paterson wind up timer for films and trays. I find the tick rather soothing.
     
  11. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    RH Designs Stop Clock Pro enalarger timer incorportating fstop timing, drydown feature, compensating feature for cold cathode and a it is programable for all burning and dodging manipulations.

    For film and paper development the RH Designs Process timer with 7 programmable channels each with 5 different processes.
     
  12. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    For enlarging and contact printing, a metronome and a footswitch.
    For processing, a Gralab... the older the better.

    I don't know that I'd ever need anything else.

    Because using a metronome while listening to music is somewhat problematic, this setup necessitates listening to music only when processing film, but listening to talk radio while printing.

    -KwM-
     
  13. lee

    lee Member

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    Les has been drinking the RH Designs koolaid again.:smile: I have a Gralab 451 for the Elwood and a Metrolux II for the D2.

    lee\c
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2004
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  15. Stephen J. Collier

    Stephen J. Collier Member

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    Ansel Adams, somewhere in Heaven, is smiling.
     
  16. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    After reading quite a lrg number of recommendations of RH Designs products, I decided recently to spend the extra on their product the Analyser Pro. Having used it now for a few weeks, I can confidently say that there is not one positive comment regarding quality, features or ease of use that I would consider an exaggeration.
    It is an outstandingly well designed, quality product.
     
  17. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    I use two Gralab 300s. One for the enlarger and one on the wet side for processing. For dodging/burning I use a kitchen wind-up timer that ticks 4 ticks a second (240 ticks in 60 sec, actually).

    I previously reported the definitive phosphorescent phog phallacy phindings: I held a Gralab, after 30 min. in open room light, then in total darkness in close proximity to a sheet of Bergger 200 ASA B&W film. The Gralab was sitting on top of one edge of the film. At 30 sec. there was no fogging with N+1 dev. I also put my glow in the dark watch directly on top of the film for 10, 20, and 30 sec. There was ZV fog from 20 sec and Z2 from 30 sec.

    QED: Don't cover your Gralab or turn it to the wall. Take off your watch when you load film holders.
     
  18. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    I've been covering my Gralab!

    I am thinking about something digital- reaching out and moving the hands of the Gralab is just too sloppy- I would like to try F-stop, does anyone make a cheaper timer than the RH that has F-stop capability?
     
  19. rjr

    rjr Member

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    Mobtown,

    any clock has "f-stop" capability with a "Brain 1.1" upgrade - you! ;-).

    The other advice isn´t helpful, either - some time ago I found a cheap GDR darkroom timer that has this function. RTF Exakt, build in mid1990 just before the company collapsed... I doubt it was exported nor build in high numbers the price in 1990 was 195Mark, quite steep. Got if for a mere single Euro - it was a blind buy at Ebay.de, the seller didn´t know what he was doing and I had a slight suspect about it´s functionality. ;-)

    Perhaps some of you stumble across one - small, bright orange plastics. If so - grab it and run.
     
  20. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Being a humble hobbyist, I use a GraLab 300 on the wet side, and a GraLab 505 with the enlarger.
    So far, both are great and serve their intended purposes very well. IMHO, a digital timer is the way to go on an enlarger.
     
  21. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    For enlarging I have a Kearsarge 200 (I think it's 200) with a foot switch. Pretty nice I think, although I'll get one of those cool RH things someday! For film I use a cheap kitchen timer bought at Walmart, since I'm too cheap to buy a Gralab 300 off Ebay for more than $20 (but I'm still looking!!). For my 4x5 film in trays, I've been using the same cheap kitchen timer for the development part.
     
  22. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I'm in the metronome camp too - there is a timer in-line but I only use its on/off switch. A piece of black foamboard waved under the lens begins and ends the exposure (or if I'm burning sky, I use that card).

    In contrast, I use my laptop to time processing of both film and paper (Jobo for film & a red safelight filter over the LCD screen for paper. Free software called LeLab available here does the film & paper timing.


    Cheers,
     
  23. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Gralab 541 for the enlarger, PalmPilot (err, Handspring Visor) for everything else, "fototimer" sw does a great job of managing chemistry process chains, with configuarable metronomes and tones etc and can do things like handle processing times for a variety of different films at different speeds and temperatures that all chain into the same unified sequence of stop/fix/wash, etc. Great stuff and pocketable too, if I'm walking around (which I usually am, when processing film). As I understand it, the program COULD drive a jobo or an enlarger! But I already have the Gralab, which I like a lot.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2004
  24. heninger

    heninger Member

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    I have a 23C with a zone vi cold light; have not noticed too much drift in exposure times wihtout the compensating timer but I have not gone looking. I'm sure I'd find it and I like the idea of a compensating timer to make it a closed-loop system. I have the Zone VI compensating timer for my slot processor now and love it.

    Right now I'm trying to decide whether to buy the Stop Clock Pro Vario to get the compensating portion (plus digital and fstop functions). Unfortunately, I also want to use the Analyzer pro functionaity, but from my reading on the RH Designs website, this isn't recommended because the light fluxuations would cause problems.

    How serious is the need for the compensating portion in your humble opinions? Would it really screw up the use of the analyzer? Man, that grayscale display is cool...

    Thanks in advance...
     
  25. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Gralab 300. I even get away with keeping one on the kitchen counter!
     
  26. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    i just downloaded foto timer. what a great idea and i will be programming it to the specific films.