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Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Todd Barlow, Mar 8, 2008.
Does anyone one currently make an equivalent to the Zone VI Developing Timer?
I assume you mean the timer with the attached thermometer that adjusts the development time based on the temperature of the developer?
I don't think so. However, there was a recent thread indicating that RH Designs is has a new process timer in the works that might have similar functionality. I do not think they make a similar product currently.
Sadly, it seems to have been one-of-a-kind. Once in a great while one shows up on eBay, but they usually go for 300-400 dollars and even then they are rare. No one wants to give them up!
I used one for years and they're amazing -- try to get your hands on one!
I had seen the thread on process timers without really understanding their function as those posting clearly understood their functions. Seeing this thread and the above price makes it opportune to ask what do they do. For this kind of money I am presuming it has to be more than simply calculating time for temp. The Ilford chart would appear to do that for nothing.
It's got 'real', 'film' and 'paper' modes. I don't know what they used for establishing the time-temperature curves but I'm guessing TRI-X in HC110 for film, and the original Zone VI Brilliant in either Dektol or their own Zone VI developer for paper.
I stick the temperature probe into the film developer tray while doing negatives, and if the developer heats up the 'seconds' will start to speed up, or if the developer cools down the 'seconds' will tick by slower. If your development time is let's say 6 minutes, you just develop until the timer hits 6 minutes whether it's the fast/warm 6 minutes or the sloooow/c-c-cold 6 minutes. The beauty is that your film agitation sequence and timing will be consistent for every batch of negatives. Sure a water bath will work, but this is neater.
For prints you put the probe into the developer and you'll get consistent prints even if you take a long lunch and the developer cools off significantly while you were away (as long as everything else remains the same...). It also beeps every 30 seconds and has a red digital display which is real handy when doing films in open trays in total darkness and you can't see your Ilford chart or your thermometer
I use a Zone VI compensating timer, and although the original "paper" mode was Zone VI Brilliant and Dektol, I have tested it with Azo and Amidol. My "2 minute" 78 degree print (actual time about 90 seconds) looks identical to my "2 minute" 63 degree print (actual time around 3 minutes). Richard Ritter told me that he did much of the original testing to determine the algorithim (sp) but he has lost track of the raw data over the years. Zone VI tested the timer with a wide variety of materials prior to marketing the timer.
Can't imagine being in the darkroom without one of these gems.
Two thoughts. Ritter once said that careful photographers always use fresh chemicals and Ansel Adams proposed the factorial method wherein you waited til the first grey areas in the print emerged while developing then multiplied that time period x3 to give the base print developing time. These usually work for me. This 'factorial' method would compensate for changes in temps or running down of the developer.
As for film development I use a Jobo and always use the same thermometer. Many a printer finer than most of us had their own systems and did wonderful work without this device. Its one of those things we all want but can do without in my opinion...
You're right. Then again, so am I
Yes, the beauty of this timer is you always use "2 minutes" (or whatever) for paper and "8 minutes" (or whatever) for a particular film/developer combination, and no matter what the temperature is when you start and no matter how it changes during processing, the time will adjust to give you absolutely consistent results. Having used one of these in the Middle East where temperatures could escalate rapidly during processing, it was great to have as it gave all my developing of films and prints absolute consistency and dependability.
It's well worth the money if you can get your hands on it, even at inflated eBay prices.
I picked one up on ebay for a couple of hundred bucks a few years ago to combat cold temps in my basement darkroom in the winter. I don't use the temperature compensation for film development but, until I found a great temperature controlled water bath for my developer tray I used the paper mode often. Now its just a good, reliable process timer for film and developer, and I can use the probe if necessary.
By "this device" are you referring to the Zone VI timer or the Jobo?
For those of you who kindly directed answers to my question, thanks.
I refer to the compensating timer. Of course the Jobo is also just an added advantage that one could do without. What I am getting at, is what most of us would admit. Using standard methods and materials with competence procedure can get the best out of our film and prints if we become 'expert' in our individual methods and standardize we can tweak til the cows come home.
All the other devices and gizmos can make it easier or more difficult. I sometimes suffer from just plain lack of basics and my time in the darkroom is totally frustrating and wasted. I remember once spending 4 hours trying to get just one decent print and cursing my papers, and testing for basic black and safelights etc. when I finally realized that I was just cheap and had re-used exhausted developer. I don't know how equipment can override brain farts. At least not yet...
my work around - compensating darkroom guy, not timer
I have hijacked an old Kodak film development dial calculator, and re-purposed it for paper.
I have a dial calculator thingie that came in a mid 80's kodak darkroom dataguide - It is called a development dial. The other side of the dial is an enlarging dial - also a handy dial computer.
On the development side, basically you work out what your best film processing time is and look at the dial for the temp and time combination - that equates to a single development number. The dataguide has charts to suggest the best development time in terms of developmen number to start with. It also has percentages on the dial so it is easy to work out n+1 push time, or n-1 pull time when developing sheet film.
The next time the film and developer come together, set the development number, and look at the time that corespomds to the temperature you want/have. Set the timer to match, and a way you go.
I have extended the idea ( and in some cases the scale on the dial) for paper development. I try to standardize on a paper and developer combination - like say dektol/agfa100 at 1:2 20C 2' for RC - maybe 3' for FB ( i would have to look to my notes). That combination equals a development number on the dial calculator. I use 20 minutes and divide by 10, because the dial scale from Kodak doesn't work very well at 2'.
But life doesn't always work at 68.
Say I am printing once the kids are in bed and my wife has on 20/20 which I can't stand on a friday night. The session is going well, and the room and tray etc are at say 68F/20C (I wish it was that warm down there some days). But I am tired out by the week, and it is midnight. So I drop saran wrap over the trays and head to bed. The next morning I am up at the usual 6am (I wish I could convince my body to sleep in on weekends). No one will be going anywhere til 10am. A few hours of darkroom time!
Back in the darkroom the chems in the trays are a chilly 62F. No priblem (apart form cold fingers) Look at the development dial and compute the equivalent to 68F 2' time. Reset the timer to this new time, and check the temperature after half an hour to see if your fingers have warmed the solution, and you can set the timer for less time to develop a sheet for standard development.
Note - don't do this with developers that include glycin. I actually try to do ansco 130 etc at about 75F. My solution in this case is to stick the tray itself, or a jug into which the devloper has been poured, and pop out into the laundry room to 'my' microwave, and warm the solution for 20 seconds or so. If I heat it abouve my target temperature - no priblem - look to the development number dial calculator and see that - ah , for example, I should be developing for 1'40".
We have something similar in the works, please see this thread.
That's very good news.
also I have a software version of a compensating developing timer that was released at the end of march. see: http://www.curtpalm.com/Software.html