RH Designs = Digital?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jamusu, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    I was considering purchasing the Stop Clock Professional in combination with the Zonemaster II from RH Designs; and in the future maybe the Analyzer Pro. After reading what they are capable of doing, I have come to the conclusion that I may as well switch to digital. They basically give you all of your exposures, and even have a gray scale screen that allows you to see the image before you print it. You are basically photo-shopping your images in the darkroom with a different type of computer.

    There are many Apuger's who despise digital, but yet these same individuals own some of the equipment previously mentioned. Can they not be considered as "QUASI-DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS", or even worse "WET DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS"?

    I am not posing this question as a means of starting confusion. I really want to purchase equipment from RH Designs, but do not know if I can still call myself a traditional photographer by using it.

    Do I have a point, or am I overeacting?
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that you are making a photo shopped print when using a digital timer in the darkroom.

    If you find them convenient tools, use them. If not... don't. I like my flasher thingy, and I decide the time to use. I've never quite figured out the timer I have so I still use my trusty Time-O-Lite.
     
  3. ITD

    ITD Subscriber

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    I'd say that the RH Designs stuff is more akin to using AE and electronic shutters than digital.
     
  4. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    Overacting.
    it's just like the same that leaving the meter at home: It's a help not a replacement of common sense or a completely different kind of work.
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Before I just go off....

    You are being serious, right?
     
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  6. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Photographic analysers esp those meant for analogue colour printing were around before the first consumer digicam was on the market. Ditto goes for all those handheld lightmeters when TTL metering was still a thing of the future. My take: especially these days analogue photography can use all the help it can get :smile:

    Hans
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    No, you don't have a point, and yes, you are overreacting, and talking daft to boot.
    If you don't like the product why are you considering purchase?
     
  8. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Whoaa...

    Calm down everyone. I like the product which is why I posed the question. It is not my intent to offend anyone who uses any of them. I am just a bit confused as to whether or not by using them if it is similar to digital or photoshop because of the gray display screen that allows you to see the image before printing it.

    That is why I asked if I had a point or if I was overreacting. If I am overreacting, which it seems as though I am, I will purchase them in the near future.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2007
  9. Matthijs

    Matthijs Subscriber

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    Then Polaroid is just like digital too!

    No, seriously, the Analyser hasn't got anything to do with digital photography, because the photography isn't digital, only the analyser is. The grayscale 'preview' is based on a series of calibration tests with your enlarger/paper/developer combo. It basically predicts where the tones will be on the grayscale, without you having to make a test strip. The final print is still a product of your analog craftsmanship and based on your printing skills. The only difference is that you don't have piles of used test strips in the bin after a day of printing. And it's a great timer too.
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Before the major push in digital, we used a VCNA *video ,colour ,negative,analyser.*
    we used this to get a good starting balance , for our negs then used a translator to tune the negative readings to the paper channel . After the first test we then went fully manual for precision adjustments.
    A good VCNA operator was the key to the best workflow

    1978 time frame, it was a perfect tool for working on colour negatives,

    I think I would look at this screen the same way , basically an good tool.
    I was not aware that RH made this with their timers and I am glad you posted this thread , as it could be useful in our shop.
     
  11. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Hi Bob,

    I think you are the first person I've heard talk of a VCNA in years! I'm very familiar with them. I trained many operators how to use the system and it worked very well. It was a great tool for the lab and for our customers and it was amazing to see how good the quality could be. It couldn't match our 100% hand enlarged prints (no dodging or burning) but for inexpensive color enlargements it was hard to beat.
     
  12. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    I have the Stop Clock pro and owning it hasn't stopped me from using up half of the Amazon rainforest to make a decent print. I don't think the technology, as great as it is, can substitute for technique and experience.

    That bastard Carnie could probably produce a great print using the sun and a sundial! :tongue:
     
  13. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I am assuming that you are currently using a metronome, or perhaps a hand wound analog clock. Is this correct? It seems to me to use anything other than those two things would start throwing you into the realm of "Quasi-Digital" would it not???

    So, if you are not currently using a metronome (which, btw, I happen to know a very GOOD printer who does just that) then, perhaps you need to decide exactly why you are considering these purchases. What will owning them do for you? What are the benefits?

    I own a StopClockPro, and I still have to make just tons of decisions about my printing. It helped tremendously to learn about split-grade printing from one of our resident pros (the venerable Les McLean), and the SC Pro has reduced considerable the amount of paper I waste in the darkroom.
     
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  15. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Until two years ago this upcoming January I knew nothing of photography. I had not even loaded a piece of film. Now, I can't get it out of my system, especially printing. There is nothing like watching the image emerge from the developer. It is my goal to one day be a master printer, but I did not know that other tools such as timers or analysers were being utilzed until I joined APUG. I only knew test-strips, burning, and dodging.

    If I were to purchase the RH Designs equipment that I previously mentioned and bring them into the darkroom I know that my fellow students and teachers would have alot of questions and would accuse me of using digital manipulations. With the answers that you have given me I feel more comfortable with purchasing them and feel that I can adequately defend their use when asked questions.

    I was just a bit confused with the use of the gray-scale screen, but it seems as though such items were used in the past as well.

    Thanx
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well then I wont go off. I wouldn't have anyway. :smile:

    I get these sorts of arguments from digivangelists occasionally, trying to assert that there isn't a difference in our processes (why that is so important to them IDK) usually targeting enlargers as machines (which they are, for even a shovel is a machine) and this falls into a bit of the same category.

    Digi imagery takes an image in an analog form and converts it to bits, using an "analog to digital converter" It works a little bit like the transporter in Star Trek. The image is chopped up into discreet identifiable parts that exist only as numbers. The numbers have values assigned. A complex processor and program interprets those numbers, regurgitates the values, and arranges the information as an image again. All of this concerns the image, and direct machinations concerning the image are made by powerful processors and software, directly to the numbers. You sit by, and attempt to control and direct the manipulations through an interface. It is a very powerful process, and very capable in the hands of the right person.

    In the darkroom, a timer controls how long a light bulb turns on, and that's it, no matter how fancy it is.

    The only point here is the one on my head. :smile:

    Welcome to APUG BTW!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2007
  17. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    I think I know where you are coming from with this. You've prided yourself for a while with your low-tech approach and wondering if this is a sell out. Let me assure you its not.

    And having seen Les Mclean operate one, I seriously reckon he could get a tune out of his one. He IS the Jimmy Page of StopClock Pros. Play Stairway there Les :D
     
  18. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I am going to recommend this to you... if you ever have the opportunity to take a darkroom class with Les McLean, PLEASE do so! I took so many darkroom classes at my local JC that the teacher finally told me to just come & not pay for the class. BUT, it was not until I took Les' darkroom class that I learned how little I really knew!
    I am glad you found the darkroom and relish the joy you feel with printing! It's kinda why we are all here! :smile:
     
  19. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Fintan...

    You hit it right on the nose. I was wondering if I would be a sell out. After printing with nothing besides my calcualations I did not know if this was the right thing to do or not. I just needed feedback from my fellow Apuger's on the matter. It seems as though I may have overreacted.
     
  20. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    You haven've over-reacted really, your workflow is important to you, it is to all of us.

    Treat yourself to a StopClock in the new year, its anything but a sell-out.
     
  21. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I think that jamusu just found out how the guy felt in those old B&W western movies who accused the gunslinger of cheating at cards!

    PS...Is is just me, or did John Wayne act better in those movies than he did in his later color ones?

    Merry Christmas, everyone.
     
  22. ITD

    ITD Subscriber

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    I'm not sure what you imagine this 'screen' to be doing, but it's just a series of LEDs which light up next to a label on the box which represents the tone of grey that you're likely to get at the given exposure. Nothing terribly high tech, but with practice (I'm still trying!) it can cut down on test strip printing.
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Don

    I was a big fan of the VCNA,

    To the original poster here are some thoughts.

    Behind all good imagery is a workflow, ours is made up of curve shapes and finding differences by some tools we use. Ron *pe* could write a book on how this works and I will not even enter his world.
    In the past and even today it was all about finding the numbers that did not match and bringing the balances that were right for a paticular paper , neg type and chemistry used.

    PS was developed on this basis and the only reason an old fart like myself can understand it is because the tools are made from principles developed in the 60's , 70's and 80's.
    Cut and paste tools in PS have nothing on Jerry Ullesman.He created magic by hand with simple tools and a lot of experimentation. I would bet the farm that Mr Ullesman can/would be able to understand CS3 because he basically created the images that the PS designers tried to mimick.

    Not to take this thread in a wrong direction, but I have over the last few years spent a major amount of time working on PS. I can say that it has helpled me in my traditional work immensely and I am a better printer because of those hours studying curves, and other tools in the computer world. Even calibrating my output devices have taught me immensely, and guess what, the same principles apply today in printmaking that they did when I was using a VCNA and translator 25years ago.

    These are only tools, and they are designed to help you get closer to a good starting filtration, pack, exposure, contrast, .

    What comes next is your ability to improve on what the machine is telling you and go from there.
    I do not use test strips in the darkroom, basically I use a whole sheet outflanking method MAS described in View Camera 15 years ago.
    I would not have any problem using this RHtimer as a starting point and I am sure I would waste less paper.

    but I love to see images that are 1-2 stops darker and 1-2 stops lighter, also too high in contrast and too low.. Sometimes a magical image appears that I never would have thought to look for..
    that probably is the only reason when I print by hand I do not have any high falutin timers in my darkroom, because it truly is the room where I can play.
     
  24. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    An advanced timer may make your life a little easier but it will certainly not produce the print for you. You still have all the creative decisions to make; at best it will let you be more efficient in your use of time in the darkroom.

    I use my laptop (with safelight filter on the screen) extensively for b&w printing and film developing and my reflection densitometer with colour printing (to measure colour-casts as I'm somewhat colour-blind - just started colour printing so it remains to be seen how well this works out in practice :wink: ). All these just make things easier (or in the case of me and colour, practical).

    I used to just use an electronic metronome and piece of black card to interrupt the light path which worked perfectly well too. Get what you think will help you get to where you want to go and have no worries about what others may or may not think: they are not you and only you know what is best for you.

    Have fun, Bob.
     
  25. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    My darkroom is a high tech (clean) room with all necessary equipment to make life easier, including a Split Grade computer unit, remote control switches, densitometer, color analyser, automatic controlled wash unit and sometimes a loan 0,5u/5u particle counter :surprised:

    Super efficient when you have less time, especially a Nova processor, Heiland TAS film processor unit a.s.o.
    It doesn't matter, I just feel comfortable with all that equipment to make the best of my own pictures in B&W and color.

    Merry X-Mas to everybody!

    Robert
     
  26. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Thanx everyone for the advice. It is really helpful.

    As stated earlier I am relatively new to photography and am still learning. I don't like using test-strips. In fact I have not used any in over a year and a half. I usually make my calculations based off of one sheet of paper and make my adjustments accordingly. I have read on this site that RH DESIGNS equipment will aid me in that process if used correctly which is one of my reasons for starting the thread..

    Where would I be without APUG!

    Jamusu.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2007