is your safe light on or off while the enlarger is on?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by stradibarrius, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I have always plugged my safe light into my timer so it went off when the enlarger came on. But in a darkroom class I took last year the safe light stayed on all the time. It didn't seem to fog the paper or cause any trouble. I am working on a new darkroom and doing my planning of where everything should be placed and how to wire the room.
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    Some find it easier to focus with the safelight off. Especially if the safelight is very bright. Most timers have that feature, but it's not mandatory.

    Also, in a multi-user darkroom, such as found in a school, it's impractical.
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Mine stays on but it is very dim and a decent distance from any paper.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just on a point of information some timers do not work properly with the safelight on. RH Designs Analyser Pro is such a machine but the safelight "cut out" is part of the kit so no problem.

    My Phillips one is fine with the safelight on but needs to be calibrated that way and if I were to move to a cut-out system I'd have to re-calibrate it. I only discovered this by accident when just for fun I switched off the safelight while leaving the probe on the same spot on the neg. The exposure changed immediately and by enough to make a difference

    Until then I had assumed that the safelight made little or no difference to the enlarge meter

    pentaxuser
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    No "safelight" is completely safe. So to reduce the cumulative light exposure it should be off during focusing and exposure.
     
  6. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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    The photo sensor in the metering is likely human vision range and the paper is sensitive to mostly green and blue. Any out of paper sensitivity band light falling on the sensor would appear in your reading if within the sensor bandwidth and above its minimum threshold. Since the safe light 'lux' would be constant it is likely a slight offset to the actual light through the enlarger contribution. It would hide from you until you made a safe light off reading. Either light on or light off numbers :smile:work on their own. It is so much apart of life that the full environment is active in what we do. And much of it hides in the circumstances quite well.
     
  7. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    How does leaving the light on when focusing increase the cumulative light exposure? The paper should be in a light tight box until ready to expose, i.e. after focusing.
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    gleaf raises a valid point, if you use an enlarging meter you can throw it off.

    I personally took the safelight off the timer after several near misses where I was using the timer (a GraLab 300) to time development, and being horrified that the safelight came on when the time was up. I was developing sheet film in trays!

    I had to rearrange things to open up an electrical outlet in the wall for it. So sometimes the "safelight" socket of a timer is the most convenient outlet.
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    My safelight stays on.

    Jeff
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    is your safe light on or off while the enlarger is on?

    On, why shouldn't it be? My safe light is quite dim and therefore hardly effects viewing when viewing the enlarger projection.
     
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    On....never seen a problem with my LED safelight. I use them during 10min+ lith development and they're fine.
     
  12. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Both safelights (a DIY 635nm red LED unit, or a Thomas Duplex LPS unit) are always left on during the entire session. Both have had their filter packs custom augmented and have been carefully tested using pre-fogged Ilford MGIV RC (LEDs) and Kentmere Bromide FB Grade #3 (Duplex). The LEDs out to 60 minutes, and the Duplex out to 30 minutes. Not a hint of fog in either test. Or in actual prints made under the same safelight conditions.

    The room is comfortably bright in both cases. With the Duplex vanes open all the way, however, it's actually uncomfortably bright and makes easel focusing difficult or impossible. To see the image on the easel I must close the vanes. With open vanes my sense is that the Duplex is about the same as having a 40-watt conventional light bulb switched on in the room.

    Ken
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Mine is always on. It's not that bright though. In standard size bedroom, I have two 15 watt kind. Once my eyes are adjusted, it's quite sufficient.
     
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  15. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Seems to me those few seconds (of exposure) are negligible when you consider the time spent handling the paper and running it through the various baths. There must be some more practical reason -- does it make dodging/burning easier to have the safelight off during exposure time? I don't do enough of it, so I don't know.
     
  16. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Mine are on all the time, except for very long running processes like lith.
    + I have my safe lights on a wall switch, and the location of the timer is not very convenient to where the light needs to be anyway.
     
  17. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    That's why my safelight (just the one over the enlarger - I have four in my darkroom) is connected to the timer. It's easier to see what you're doing when you dodge and burn. I occasionally check my lighting to be sure it's safe, and even with several minutes exposure, there seems to be no effect on the paper. I do pre-expose it a little before the test. I use old red safelights with 15W bulbs.
     
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Right now I'm using a Patterson and a Jobo Maxilux LED, both of which are plugged into the same cord that goes into the timer, so they go off. I do own a Duke 50 sodium though. I don't use it now, preserving the impossible-to-replace tube life for the day I get back into RA4. That safelight has t be left on all the time. It takes several minutes to come up to full brightness and I believe can actually be damaged by switching transients, or at least have the bulb life lowered greatly, by being switched off and on by a timer. It used to stay on when I used it for all my work.
     
  19. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I have to pay the electric bills, so . . . mine is "off". Of course the timer does this without my intervention.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Same here, although I have just three safelights in my darkroom.

    It is a lot easier to see the image for burning and dodging.
     
  21. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    My safelights are always on. They're also red and fairly dim. As well as being aimed more across than down.
     
  22. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    That was the biggest improvement I've made recently.. the ability to turn off the safelight. I've done tests too and am not worried about paper fogging, but I find it easier to focus and see what I'm doing for dodging and burning with it off.
     
  23. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Mines goes OFF when I am working the enlarger.
    - I cannot focus well with the safe light washing over the easel.
    - I cannot use my exposure meter with the safe light on.
     
  24. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Same here.
     
  25. randyB

    randyB Subscriber

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    Both, the safelights at my enlargers are plugged into that enlarger's timer and go off when I focus or expose but I also have 2 other safelights on the other side of the darkroom that stay on all the time giving enough light to see the paper safe, dodging tools and trays.
     
  26. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    So follow-up to my parable about not liking surprises when I'm developing film. I forgot to mention. When I am printing, three safelights are on. Two over the fix and one over the developer. There is a tiny Jobo Minilux in a meter housing on top of the enlarger illuminating the volt-ohm-meter which is telling me indirectly how much light the Aristo grid is kicking out. Wish I had a Tik-Tok metronome or a Horowitz stabilizer, but this is best I can do for now... It's reading about .384 K-ohms now, I just track this number on my print notes. They're all on right now, waiting for water temp to stabilize...