Should a color darkroom always be without lights?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by game, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. game

    game Member

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    Should a color darkroom always be without lights?
    I have the feeling I once read an article in which was stated that it is possible to have special spectrum lamps that also allow you to see stuff even in a color darkroom. Something about Natrium light??

    Anyone a clue, I could not find a thing when searching the forum
    Thanks GAme
     
  2. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Since color film is sensitive to all visible light the color darkroom must be completely dark.

    Sodium vapor safelights can only be used with B&W papers.
     
  3. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    In previous port said "film" and meant to say "film and paper".
     
  4. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I've been told by experienced workers that RA-4 papers to in fact permit a very dim orange safelight. I don't know if it can be bright enough to actually see anything, but at the least, it'll let you cut down on bumping the enlarger with your head...
     
  5. game

    game Member

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    Ok, well I can always ask my photoshop (the actual store outside:smile: )
    but I don't know if they'd know anything about it.

    The orange light I never heard of, but I very dimmed light would be pleasent I feel. In a B/W darkroom I can see quite good after an hour.

    Anyone else?
    Thanks
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I always work in the dark until my paper is entirely in the processor. However; Both Thomas for their sodium vapor and Jobo sell safelights that emit light of a very narrow wavelenght band that are supposed to be usable with color paper.

    How good do they work? dunno.
    Claire
     
  7. game

    game Member

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    By the way I am talking about paper only...!
     
  8. game

    game Member

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    Thanks Claire.
    I already thought something like this existed.
    Maybe there is someone that has actual experience with these kinds of light.

    -can one see something with such a lamp or is it too little light?
    -doesn't it affect the prints at all?

    Game
     
  9. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    I have a very nice darkroom lamp - Durst Sanat, dedicated primarily to colour work, with a natrium spectral lamp inside plus an interference filter... alas, it was designed for old papers :sad: Today's papers like Kodak Endura are so sensitive that they get the nasty bluish fog with the lamp, though its light is quite indirect. One can minimize it by using some ND filters inside the lamp, but I prefer to work in a complete darkness for better safety. The ergonomics of your color darkroom is quite important, then :smile:

    Cheers from Moscow,
    Zhenya

     
  10. roy

    roy Member

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    The most used sodium safelight over here is safe providing that it is not too brightly set. (it is adjustable) It is always wise however, to carry out light checks as distance from sensitive materials is often critical.
     
  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I've got an old Kodak safelight with a colour filter. It's so dark I'm not even sure it's on. I want to say a 13 filter?
     
  12. game

    game Member

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    Well my darkroom is very small, so complete darkness isn't that bad. If there was a lamp that I could use that was completely harmless it would be just even better...

    I quickly sought the internet and indeed found some stuff about the Durst Sanat. Some are enthousisatic some less. If indeed newer paper is more sensible and therefor less suitable for natrium that is too bad.

    Maybe someone can make things even clearer.

    Game
     
  13. edz

    edz Member

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    Come-on Gerald! Sodium Vapor lamps are not just for B&W papers but quite well suited to colour. As with all lamps (notice I did not call them safelights yet) they must be tested with the environment and papers. Some like the Osram/Kaiser Duka lamp (NA-10FL sodium vapor lamp with integrated vapor deposited dichoic notch filter to only let the major line through) have even a (mechanical) mechanism to adjust the amount of light. Others like my Durst Sanat (NA-10 lamp + filter) or the Meteor-Siegen (SOX-E based lamp) need a bit more effort and are ill-suited to "on the fly" adjustment to different materials. Should attenuation, for instance, be needed with my Sanat it must be installed as a neutral density filter inside the lamp. I use both Osram/Kaiser Duka and Durst Sanat lamps in my darkroom.

    Some of the new RA-4 materials like Kodak's Endura have been designed for digital rendering in machines (Fontier, Lambda, LightJet and the like) and are really too sensitive (and fast) for our darkrooms but can still be used: loads of neutral density to our colour heads and safelights (resp. turning the Duka down very very low). Fuji Crystal Achive, however, is much slower and I've found I can run my lights at much higher levels (I also like the paper better).

    Since the light levels are lower than when working with B&W materials (I have a very bright hanging lamp from Kindermann called the Dukalux Tandem I got for B&W to conserve on my use of expensive sodium bulbs) not every inch of my darkroom is well flooded during colour sessions. To look for stuff I then use one of those glamorized LED pocket lights from Jobo.

    Add into the mix the light coming from my colour analyzer (Lici) and the place is hardly "total darkness"... and brighter than some "B&W" darkrooms I've seen (or not seen)...

    As one can tell I like to work in bright light :smile:
    My design goal is to have things as bright (subjectively) as is possible without any detectable effects on my photosenstive materials. Its so bright in my darkroom--- even during colour sesssions--- that I don't need much any time to "adjust" my eyes.


    P.S.: These lamps are also suited to ILFOCHROME (!).
     
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  15. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Colour papers have a sharp dip in their response at around 590nm which allows the use of sodium vapour lamps and suitable LED based safelights. As others have pointed out, you need to test your materials, especially with the sodium lamps as they reportedly drift in colour as they age.

    Cheers, Bob.

    P.S. Use of a sodium vapour lamp is why I can read my handwritten notes even when using VC B&W paper... their sensitivity does not reach much above 550-560nm - I find the red filter that comes with my Duka unnecessary.
     
  16. game

    game Member

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    Thanks for responses!
    I am not sure, but I think I indeed amm going to use the fuji paper. In that case I could pick up a Durst Sanat if I see one.
    I also read in the topic 'outofoptions' hyperlinked that one can use luminous tape to indicate places in the room.
    Seem like a usefull tip to me (not see stuff, but to find it. Like the main light in emergencies... or the input of my machine...), any objections against the tape?

    Game
     
  17. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi

    I have the Maxilux from Jobo wich I always used with Ilfochrome without any problem, works with LEDs. It has 3 different filter settings one for B&W one for Positive Diapaper and the last for normal Colorpaper.
    I only used it far away and indirect up to the white seiling.
     
  18. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    I will second what Donald says above. I attended a community college in St. Louis that had them on the wall behind the enlargers. There was some disagreement about whether they should be on or not. From my experience it was not an issue when they were on. They were a very dim orange, although they didn't save my head. :mad:


    g
     
  19. game

    game Member

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    Guess, I'll be working in full darkness for a start. If that turns out to be very anoying I'll get back at this
     
  20. game

    game Member

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    Cooking water before mixing with developer

    Has anyone heard of cooking water before mixing with developer?
    In that way oxygenlevels should get lower and with that the oxydation of chemicals. This off course makes sure the mixure does not get old as quick as it would get normally...

    A guy in the shop told me this today....

    Game
     
  21. game

    game Member

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    hmm, I'll post the above in a new topic, seems quite out off place here.... :smile:
     
  22. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Sodium vapor (yellow) kept to a low level is acceptable. The big ones with the doors that open on the top are not ok for a small home darkroom. Sorry can`t remember the brand.

    Osram or Duka are the ones you need. They are soccor ball size cut in half and are on a pivot so you bounce then off the ceiling.
     
  23. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Game,

    There is a very good safelight from JOBO called the 5-star. There is a review of it in Shutterbug online somewhere (at least I think there is). Having said that, I process RA-4 in trays in complete darkness (I'm a cheapskate) without problem. I use an audible timer and handle the papers with one hand using an examination (~$10 for a box of 100). Once you overcome the fear it's really quite easy.

    Neal Wydra
     
  24. edz

    edz Member

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    Its not from Jobo but Nova. Its basically a couple of yellow LEDs in a plastic box with a cable to a variable AC-DC power supply (to adjust the intensity). The rear of the "light head" has some velco to allow one to attach and fix it to well defined positions.
    The 5-Star is OK but doesn't produce much light. It is quite far removed from what I'd consider a viable darkroom illumination solution. It has its uses but, like the Jobo Minilux (and Minilight), only in conjunction with other lights.
    For functionality the sodium vapor lamps can't be topped. The Kaiser Duka and Durst Sanat lamps are "the best" but they both have one very significant shortcoming: they are designed around special very expensive spectral lamps. A NA10-FL (used in the Osram/Kaiser Duka 10/50 and NOT to be confused with the NA10 which is a very different bulb and even uses a different voltage) costs nearly 200 EURO. There is good reason then that Durst abandoned the Sanat (which when it was available was 600 DM without bulb!) and replaced it with a LED safelight: the Labolux (a very good lamp at a significantly lower price and without call for expensive bulbs).
    While the newer SOX-E bulbs (used in the Meteor-Siegen, Thomas and a few other safelights) are a small fraction of the price (and much more common) could have been used to design a new lamp with LED technology it clearly makes no sense.
    Is the Kaiser Duka better than any LED lamp for colour? Sure, but........ when one considers that for less than the price of a single spare bulb one can ......
     
  25. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Good points - when the lamp on my Duka goes I will be on to www.maplin.co.uk to order some Lumiled LEDs - 150 GBP for a new lamp is just not on. You can still find the Duka safelights on the auction site from time to time for a fraction of their new price; just be aware that when the lamp goes, you will be throwing it away!

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  26. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I've just binned two for that very reason. Note also that the LED type are cheaper to operate with a much lower waste heat output.