Pilot Light on a Lens Board?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Max Power, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    OK,
    Here's my silly question of the day...

    I was searching out a 39mm lens board for my newly acquired Beseler 23CII and came across a lens board with a pilot light. Please excuse my ignorance, but can somebody please explain what this is and why it makes a lens board so expensive?

    The one I have for my 50mm lens (which came with the enlarger) is a simple piece of 4x4 aluminium with a 39mm hole in it.

    Thanks,
    Kent
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Aren't pilot lights intended only for aerial photographs? :wink:

    Some enlarger lens boards have a lucite rod near the lens opening. The end of the rod is beveled at 45°, and mirrored to project a bit of light on the aperture ring, so you can see the setting.
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    It simply has a plastic rod mounted in it to pipe light from the inside and reflect it to the aperture indicator. I have a few like that and never really make much use of the feature.
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    It's a board with a little tube. When the light is on the tube lights up and lets you see the lens aperture. At least in theory. My beseler came supposedly from a well known Canadian art photographer. One of the mods he made to the thing was to paint all the pilot lights so they didn't transmit any light. I think the newer Rodenstock and Schendier lenses actually light up. I've got mostly Nikons and an older Rodenstock. These don't light up and I've never felt the need to scrape the paint off the lensboards.

    Get your self a threaded 39mm board. Then you can just unscrew the lens when you need to change things. Changing a Beseler board isn't hard but unscrewing a lens is even easier.
     
  5. eric

    eric Member

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    It makes you see the F/stop. That's all. I just remember how many clicks from wide open. So f/11 for me is 3 clicks from f/4. Habits you learn in the dark.
     
  6. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Just this evening I was trying to read my f stop by the light of that thing and thinking how utterly useless it is
     
  7. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I like my lenses that have illuminated aperture scales... one doesn't and it usually involves turning the room lights on to check it's right!
     
  8. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Ah ha!!
    Well, I learned something new, so the day starts well.
    In Quebec there is an expression that fits well here: Je vais me coucher moins niaiseux ce soir...I will go to bed a little less stupid this evening!

    Thanks for your answers everyone,

    Kent
     
  9. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    I usually resisted the temptation to turn on room lights with an enlarging paper in the easel. Finally I took a cheap, throw-away promotional pen light, and taped a piece of rubylith to the end. Now I can keep the room lights off and find f stops with a little concentrated safe light.
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    The problem with the lens I have the problem with is it only has one aperture marked (f22), and it doesn't stand out greatly as well. Using 'wide open' as a reference point would be easier but it a little movement after what I think is supposed to be the wide open stop which confuses my counting, combined with it's max aperture of f9 which adds confusion to the counting process... and I end up all confused! I usually make sure it's right before getting paper out, but a couple of time have had to put it back in the paper safe and recheck. The torch idea might work so will give that a try! :smile:
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As a promo thing, fotoimpex.de was giving away keychains with little red led lights in them--very handy for reading the aperture on the enlarging lens.
     
  12. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    I didn't like the light, but I didn't paint mine over. Instead, I used the proper tool - duct tape! :smile:

    -chuck
     
  13. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Yeah, my lensboards have those goofy lucite rods. I also find them utterly useless. I actually count 'clicks' to set my aperture.