Ilford Multigrade 500H and RH Design StopClock

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by L.J.SILVER, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. L.J.SILVER

    L.J.SILVER Member

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm setting up a Multigrade 500H head on a Laborator 1200 (brimming with excitement!) and I have a couple of questions regarding RH Design timers which I hope users of these equipment can shed some light on.

    I've been told that the RH Design StopClock 500 timer is excellent and is well worth the big bucks it sells for. I'm hesitant because I'm not sure about getting a timer that is model specific and dedicated solely to the 500H - apparently it can't be used with any other enlarger heads. Can the 'regular' StopClock be used with the 500H?

    Also, my understanding is that the StopClock 500 timer works by a two exposure method to give a particular contrast grade - sort of a serial double exposure with varying times for the blue and the green bulbs (instead of varying the intensity of the two and exposing simultaneously). Well, this double exposure method does sound (dare I say without having used it) clumsy. I also anticipate difficulties in repeatability in dodging and burning. At the very least it does sound like it'll be a hassle to work with. I'd very much appreciate your views based on your experience on this please?

    The 500H I've got does come with the original Ilford timer. Any opinions on this Ilford timer compared to the StopClock 500? I'll be printing with both graded as well as variable contrast papers by the way.

    Thanks and best wishes!
     
  2. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,948
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Location:
    South Norfol
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Stop Clock 500 is useful because it automates f-stop orientated printing which otherwise requires some note making. The green light is easier to focus the negative with on the base board.

    BTW) On APUG it is often helpful to know the country you're posting from.

    Tom
     
  3. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    RH Designs makes 3 versions of the StopClock timer: the standard Professional, the Vario with extra provisions for use with cold light heads, and the 500 for the Ilford system. I personally use the Vario, and use it on both my cold light head and a Durst CLS501 halogen head. I suspect the Vario could also be used on the Ilford 500 system if you use the standard Ilford controller.

    I can use my Vario to expose by the common single exposure method, where I set the ratio of blue/green with filters, or I can expose in two separate exposures (one for the blue light, and one for the green light), which is commonly called split-printing. I much prefer using the split printing method, and I seldom if ever use the single exposure method.

    I would suggest you phone or email RH Designs for their suggestions. I have done so in the past, and have been very pleased with their customer service. And yes, the timers are well worth the expense.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,202
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    RH Designs has a reputation second to none in terms of customer support. An e-mail from a customer will always be answered. Not only is it the owner's living but analogue photography is his hobby as well.


    pentaxuser
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  6. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,948
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Location:
    South Norfol
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I personally should try working with the ILFORD control unit for a while to get a good idea of how it functions.

    Tom
     
  7. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Blue Mountai
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have both the RH Analyser Pro designed for the Ilford 500H head (which I bought new) and the original Ilford controller.

    The enlarger was second hand and the controller well worn, so one reason, but not the main one, to buy the RH unit was to have a fallback should the Ilford controller die.

    The RH Analyser is my usual choice, at the very least it allows fairly good prints for economical paper use, and at best nice control of prints.

    I do occasionally find the Ilford controller useful: the grade choices and times are just what one punches in--right or wrong--and it's handy for split grade and contact printing.

    Regards - Ross
     
  8. L.J.SILVER

    L.J.SILVER Member

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for all the replies. The last time I printed or had a darkroom was over 20 years ago(!) and I'm feeling my way back into the dark so to speak.

    Resummerfield, would you care to say why you prefer to use the split printing (double exposure) method? You don't have problems with repeatability in terms of dodging or burning? And presumably you don't find it a cumbersome process?

    Tom, please excuse what may be a silly question but why is the green light easier to focus with? (By the way, I'm based in the land down under).

    ic-racer, It's not that I don't like the Ilford timer/controller, just that I'm attracted by the convenient f-stop exposure controls. Never had this in such an automated way in the 70s and 80s.

    Ross, I've read some of the threads comparing the RH Analyser to the StopClock. I think I understand some of the differences but not having used either I think it has added to my dilemma as to which may be best for me (or as Tom has suggested perhaps I should just stick to the original Ilford timer). Can you say why you chose the Analyser over the StopClock?

    Perhaps Richard Ross might be persuaded to come in with some information and comments?

    Thanks again!
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    F-stop timers are a nice convenience, but a little calculator and the numbers "2", "1.4", "1.26", "1.18" and you are set. (that's whole-stop, half-stop, third-stop and quarter-stop)
     
  10. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Blue Mountai
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I didn't research the Stop Clock at all. The Analyser Pro came to my internet notice as being specific to the Ilford 500H. I believe that it is higher in price, but it appeared to be easier to use for my skill level. I liked the graphic display of the estimated tonal range. I had the money (thanks Australian Tax Office for rebated refunds for older workers).

    Maybe if you approach Richard direct rather than waiting he can help, although his partner designed the Analyser Pro and is a little more au fait with its finer points.

    Regards - Ross
     
  11. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    657
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Yorkshire Da
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The fundamental difference between the StopClock 500 and the Analyser 500 is that the latter includes an exposure meter with our patented grey scale display. There's a product comparison table on our web site which lists all the differences.

    My usual recommendation is buy the StopClock if you want to squeeze every drop from a negative with several exposures, or buy an Analyser if you want high quality prints from a number of negatives with the least effort.

    Remember that the 500 products can only be used with the Ilford Multigrade 500 system and no others!
     
  12. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I find I can get the optimum print grade faster using the split printing method. If you keep notes of times and filter settings, repeating the settings are easy.

    There is so much information on APUG about split printing..... enough to fill a large book! Do an advanced search for "split printing" and be prepared to read for hours. After I developed the required habits and techniques, I can achieve a better print, and with less effort, than I can with the single filter method.