G.E. Party Light Bulb as Safelight?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Chazzy, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I was in the grocery store yesterday looking at light bulbs, when I noticed a red low wattage light bulb, which the packaging described as a G.E. Party Light. The cost was only 3 or 4 dollars, as I recall. Has anyone tried testing one of these as a safe light? The price is certainly tempting.

    Incidentally, I don't understand what one would do with a red light bulb at a party, unless it were some sort of ortho film processing party. Does this mean that I am getting old?
     
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    I haven't tried them but I remember reading a specific statement NOT to use "party lights" so I assume someone has tried them.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Red light district equals a party? :tongue:

    I wouldn't use it. I forget what the red screw in safelight bulbs cost but it's not much different. Or you could get a used safelight for not much more. Or for less then $30 you could get the 5x7 safelight from Freestyle.

    If you do want to use it you'll need to test. Distance and time.
     
  4. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    It makes it easier to watch the mirror on the ceiling.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Has anyone tried a disco ball as a safelight?
     
  6. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I have a confession:

    I painted a 25W bulb red (using hi-temp spray paint) and have used it without any fogging issues or otherwise, mounted in a normal clip-on lamp.

    I DO NOT reccommend this, as there are issues of safety (given the heat of the bulb, possible paint combustibility, shatering, etc) as well as just too many variables. Mine worked, and still does after a long time (over a year) of use... but after it dies I am getting another, proper safe-light. This was simply an experiment brought on by desperation (long story...) and it happened to work.

    Please take this as no more than an amusing anecdote.

    Peter.
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    However, red X-Mas lights for the tree will work. I did this for several years when I was a starving artist. This was before I became rich and famous. Testing for any kind of safelight is advised.
     
  8. 127

    127 Member

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    Probably work but:

    3x$4 (a bulb + a couple of spares)=$12
    =$10 for a second hand safelight + $2 for a six pack of cheap regular bulbs.

    Not a great saving in the long run...

    Ian
     
  9. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    I've used a red "ceramic" or opaque 25 watt bulb and it works great - no fogging with RC or fiber paper even after exposing them to the light for 8 minutes (the bulb was about 4 1/2 feet away from the enlarger baseboard), and they are convenient since the local hardware store sells them for about two dollars each. They last a long time as well. If nothing else buy one to keep on hand for one of those important weekend printing sessions when the regular safelight craps out and the photo stores are closed.

    Joe
     
  10. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

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    G.E. Party Light

    I have used the GE Party Bulb as a safelight without any problem. I still have it though I haven't used it in quite some time. I bought it when I needed a red light for a paper that was labeled for use with red light only - can't recall what the paper was. I have never used it with any other paper so I have no idea how it would function in general use.
     
  11. Jarred McCaffrey

    Jarred McCaffrey Member

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    You could use a candle for a safelight if the time and distance worked out. The only advantage to using special safelights of the appropriate color for your paper is you can maximize the amount of light in your darkroom. It's all a question of time and distance beyond that. If you can make something that is bright enough yet doesn't fog your paper too quickly, go right ahead and use it.
     
  12. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I've used the GE Party light bulbs with no problem, but be careful that the red coating goes all of the way to the base. My latest bulb didn't...I wrapped electrical tape around the bottom and everything's fine. I can pick 'em up at the hardware store for $2.50, they last for a very long time, they're safe up to 10 minutes at least in my darkroom - I haven't checked them for longer than that, and when I eventually need another it's just a quick trip to the hardware store away. ($10 for a used safelight sounds like a bargain...until you add in shipping and the chance that you'll have to replace the filter.) I love Pary Lights and won't bother with a "real" safelight since they're so easy to get cheaply and they work so well.

    I've been considering a string of red LED Christmas lights over my trays; we'll see if I can find a set cheap this holiday season.

    I think I'm the king of "cheap" solutions!

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  13. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I've seen the coated light bulbs crack their coating. Little threads of white light creep through.
     
  14. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    GE says no. The party bulbs really have a pretty broad spectral range, and they are too bright for most uses. They are likely to cause fog on modern (or even old style) papers. The fog may be subtle if you keep the brightness down, but it's likely to occur all the same. The safelight bulbs have a quite different coating (or glass). Neon lamps can sometimes be used, although the green line in the neon spectrum may cause some problems for VC papers with long exposures. (You might try red cellophane over the neon bulb to attenuate the green line to acceptable levels.) Red LEDs have a narrow spectrum and are generally safe (at reasonable levels).
     
  15. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Hmmm.....

    Fibre-optic artificial Christmas tree, a bit of red gel over the light source....

    Methinks I'll have a festive darkroom in a couple of months time! :D
     
  16. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    Have you measured it? I use cheap red bulbs all the time.

    This is a bit like comparing a 12 dollar bottle of ilford ilfostop against a 75 cent 75 gram bottle of citric acid.

    They both work the same, if you want to pay 20x for a warm fuzzy feeling that's up to you :smile:
     
  17. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I used my BLB spirals that normally get used for AZO in a Halloween display last night along with some red party bulbs and leds I keep for the darkroom, so it works either way....