Kodak Color Densitometer Model 1 (Art Deco) - A question about the color filters.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by holmburgers, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Hi all,

    I have an opportunity to buy an old Kodak Color Densitometer Model 1. However, judging from the picture (the 1st attached photo) the filter "tab" is missing, as evidenced by the 2nd photo of what I believe to be a complete unit.

    So, without the filter tab, is this unit still useful for simple black & white densitometry (non pyro negs)?

    Moreover, it doesn't seem like it would be too hard to make my own filter tab, if indeed it is only a strip of metal with 3 patches of filter material. I guess the question then is what are the appropriate filters to use. I have Wratten 29, 47B and 58's that I could cut off a small patch from and mount it in some cardboard.

    Your expertise is most appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Chris
     

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  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I'm not up on what it uses for the intensity sensing. If it is an extinction type, give it a pass unless you want it for a historical boat anchor/shelf queen.

    I would hold out for an old MacBeth. They are solid as a rock. The only achillies heel is their photmultiplier tube.

    I am pretty sure that they used filters similar to what you are quoting. teh filter in mine are a bit mottled, but still give me reasonable numbers, so I am not going to screw with them.
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Hi Mike, thanks much for your input.

    It works on the visual princicple; that is, you have to match a reference patch by turning the wheel and the readout is your density. Does that make it boat anchor worthy?

    I've heard that these are surprisingly accurate, foolproof and adequate for basic densitometry and that's what I'm looking for.
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Well, if it is colour, then how do you visually judge the density of just one part of the spectra?
    I am always baffled about colour measurement electronically; to throw my visual system into the measurement would confuse me even more.
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I honestly don't know. It sounds terrible on paper, but in practice I think it's a perfectly satisfactory method. Our eye's are quite a sensitive instrument and apparently matching densities isn't that tricky. Though I agree, it seems like introducing color would complicate things... though if both patches are colored it shouldn't be too hard.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have one and it works reasonably well for an antique of this nature.

    I really don't see anything missing in the photo. The horizontal silver strip is the "filter tab" with an R/G/B filter set that can be moved into position. The yellow wheel on the right back is the density adjust wheel. Presuming they work as designed there should be no problem.

    Internally there are 2 light bulbs and an adjustment pot. That is about it. The case is pretty empty otherwise.

    PE
     
  7. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thanks Ron, that sounds great.

    I like old stuff... they don't make things like they used to.

    What about Mike's concern, "Well, if it is colour, then how do you visually judge the density of just one part of the spectra?"
     
  8. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I had one, and it worked well enough. But it's slow, and not as accurate or repeatable (the fault of my eyes, no doubt) as the electronic ones. It looks like the one you show has the filter, but maybe not the wooden case. I never used mine for color, but I did try it and it seemed to work ok when I compared it to my new xrite 810.
     
  9. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I mainly want it to compare b&w separation negatives. For instance, I made an in-camera separation of a scene using color filters the other night. So, I can check the gray-scale included in the image to see whether or not I have equally exposed seps.

    I'm excited to give it a go. I guess I'll just have to recalibrate it once my eyes start giving out... :wink:
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Since this device relies on the human eye, it will probably vary in result from person to person, but basically you are matching two dots, one within the other. You match densities. There is not much provision for calibration.

    OTOH, they use pretty much the same filters as other, larger and more expensive densitometers use. From that POV they are quite usable.

    You do not need a color densitometer to compare separation negatives as they are B&W. However, this unit has a B&W mode.

    PE
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Can you think of any other makes/or models of these older "visual principle" densitometers? I read reference to one made my Marshall, though I suspect that these Kodak model's were sold in disproportionately large numbers.
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    There is a color probe in my closed-loop enlarger head that uses filters. Here are the numbers. However,I think those special dye filters may cost more than your drvice is worth.

    Color Probe Green Filter = Wratten 99 (non-Special Dye)
    Color Probe Blue Filter = Wratten 47B (Special Dye)
    Color Probe Red Filter = Wratten 92 (Special Dye)
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thanks ic-racer.

    Indeed, wratten 99 & 92's are hard to find and I don't have those. I wonder if using red 29 & green 58 would give inaccurate results using this densitometer.
     
  14. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I use 98, 99 and 70. There is an alternate set that I can probably look up.

    PE
     
  15. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Here is yet another set of three (these are the three in my Tobias color transmission densitometer):
    Wratten #92 (red)
    Wratten #93 (green)
    Wratten #94 (blue)

    I'd probably just cut some little pieces out of a Rosco sample pack (if they still give those away).
     
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    If not free, b&h sell them for something like $6, and the ideas and opportunities you get from looking at them are priceless.

    The website of the Strobist promoted the free swatchbook use for modifying off camera flash, and that killed the free swatch book from Rosco, I believe. There is now a Strobist modified minim selection swatch pack. I would suggest thet you would benefit from the full book.

    There is a threatrical swatch book, and a cinematography swacth book. Both are useful to photographers.

    If you are european based, then a Lee, a british gel vendor's swatch book may be easier to source.
     
  17. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yeah, I have a few Nixie tubes here somewhere in the shop. Those old beauties were interesting.

    PE
     
  19. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Well I won the auction for $26 shipped, so fingers crossed!
     
  20. rjmeyer314

    rjmeyer314 Member

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    I brought one of these about 20 years ago at a photo swap meet. At the time I called Kodak and they sent me an instruction manual for it. I still have the densitometer, and probably have the manual somewhere. If you can't find one on-line send me an E-mail and I'll scan it (if I can find it).
     
  21. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thank you!

    I should be getting it soon and a manual would be a great thing. I'll keep you posted.
     
  22. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Just a brief update... the densitometer arrived BROKEN! The yahoo packed it like a child and there was bakelite everywhere. It still works however, and I must say that the visual matching seems to be a very accurate system. I'm gonna try to find another clean one, but it should work in the meantime.
     
  23. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hello !
    Bakelite can be glued (and restored) using two component epoxy glue. Get the slow curing brand, and use 3M tape to hold the parts during cure. If you remove the tape before total settling, you will have minimum trace. Epoxy glue can be colored and mixed with powder from small broken Bakelite to get the color right.
    I use this method when repairing old radio cases and it works quite well. A google search on radio restoration sites will give you a ot of good advices.