what kind of UV lights BLB, BL or HID?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by shinn, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. shinn

    shinn Member

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    In a recent move I broke most of my BLB(black light) lights. I've used the BLB's for a couple years now and wonder what lights others are using and why. The white lights are way cheaper than the BLB's. I print in many different processes but plan to concentrate on Ziatype for now. I'm also thinking about getting an HID unit and wonder if its a better option? I will be printing up to 11X14. Thanks.

    Happy Days
     
  2. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Go here: http://unblinkingeye.com/

    Sandy King has an exhaustive article on black light bulbs, which you should choose and why.
     
  3. shinn

    shinn Member

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    Thanks Joe,

    I have read the article and should have said that(sorry) but I was hoping for some opinions of what people prefer for their own work, working conditions and work flow. As the day goes by I'm thinking harder and harder about the HID and now wonder what others that use these think and maybe what the pros and cons are VS a box unit with tubes?

    Happy Days
     
  4. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    I have just started with cyanotypes(30-40 printings so far), and I can recommend that you don't try the 175W Mercury Vapor lamps. Their advantage is that they are inexpensive (<$30 for lamp and fixture at Home Depot), but the UV output must be abysmal. My exposure times are 1-3 minutes in sunlight, and 3-6 HOURS! under the MV lamp. In his article, Sandy King mentions that they are "slow", but that is understating it a bit. The higher power units apparently have significantly more UV output, but my next step is to build a bank of fluorescents, and try BL bulbs.
     
  5. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    I just replaced all the original bulbs from my Palladio Company UV light box. Every decade or so, you should replace them 8)

    Used F15T8BL bulbs as a direct replacement for the bulbs that came with the unit. Normal time for TMAX 400 sheet film was between 5 and 15 minutes. Digital negatives on lith film are 2 minutes, 2 seconds.
     
  6. sanking

    sanking Member

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    At this time I am using both a bank of twelve 48" BLB tubes (with vacuum easel and light integrator) and a NuArc 26-IK plateburner. I previously used a 1000 watt metal halide light, also with vaccum easel and light integrator.

    These are my opinions about working with these three light.

    1. Printing speed --The bank of BLB tubes prints faster than the other two light, by about 1/2 stop. BL tubes (or SA for Pt/Pd would print even faster. I bought the NuArc to replace the 1000 watt HID expecting that the former would print faster than the latter, but it did not, at least not when the bulbs are placed at the same distance from the printing easel.

    2. Contrast -- Very little difference between the three lights, either with colloid processes or Pt/Pd.

    3. Sharpness -- The HID light and the NuArc 26-IK have a slight edge in sharpness when you test for it, but in practice offer little or no practical advantage over the UV bank of tubes (if you use a vacuum frame). Of course, both vacuum frame as well as light integrator are integral to the NuArc 26-1K.

    4. Ease of use -- For me there is very little practical difference in ease of use between the NuArc 26-1K and my UV bank. If there is any at all it must be on the side of the UV bank because I tend to use it more than the NuArc.

    Bottom line -- All three lights are equally useful so the main question is which is easier or least expensive for you to set up?

    Sandy King
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm using a 125W Mercury Discharge lamp, and get times from 12-20 minutes for cyanotypes, 15-30 for van Dyke. All compared to 2-5 minutes in sunlight - which I don't get too much of around here.

    Obviously YMMV...
     
  8. shinn

    shinn Member

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    Thanks everyone

    I'm gonna go with the BL's for now, and in the meantime do some more research on the HID setup. What is the difference between Mercury Vapor and Mercury Discharge? Ole's time's are reasonable(and close to mine with BLB's) but with a lower wattage lamp than what jking's using, whose times seem long.

    I'm looking into this because in the sun (inconsistent from day to day) I can dodge and burn some whereas in a UV box I really can't accomplish it with out increasing the distance between my neg and lights which would cause me to stand there for toooo long. Those of you who use HID's do you find it possible to dodge and burn at all better/easier or am I wasting my time with switching?


    Happy Days
     
  9. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Have you considered looking for a platemaker such as the NuArc 261K on ebay? The going price of used NuArc 26-1k platemakers appears to be from about $400 to $700, and at the lower end of the price range such a unit, which comes with vacuum easel and light integrator, would cost less than putting together a new 1000 watt HID Luminaire unit, where you would require a separate vacuum easel and integrator.

    Dodging is very easy with the NuArc and HID units (but use UV googles to shield your eyes), but in fact it is only slightly more complicated with a bank of UV tubes.

    Sandy
     
  10. shinn

    shinn Member

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    Thanks Sandy that's a good idea I'm definately gonna look into it. I'm not using a vacuum frame at this time and have been looking at them since I'm moving towards making bigger prints now.

    Happy Days
     
  11. wmlaven

    wmlaven Member

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    I can dodge and burn some whereas in a UV box I really can't accomplish it with out increasing the distance between my neg and lights which would cause me to stand there for toooo long.

    You can dodge and burn with UV light and little distance. Use rubylitch masks which offer FAR more precision than using your hands anyway. If a rubylith mask is laid on top of the glass, the slight distance to the print is enough to soften the edges so you don't get hard egdes on the dodge/burn areas. I cut a mask recently for an 8x10 neg (I do them for 4x5's, too) which effectively dodged electric wires going every which direction and bruned small, precise areas I could never have succesfully done with my hands.

    Secondlyt, if you are printing with Pt/Pd consider Super Actinic bulbs which are at least a stop faster than traditional BLB's (very nice with pyro developed negs). SA's can be found at a good light supply store or ordered from Universal Light Source in San Francisco (ask for Doug, tell him I sent you and I don't get a dime for referrals!) or they also sell SA's for aquariums. SA's have a narrow output range right around 415nm and are great for Pt/Pd and POP and maybe others that I've not experimented with.
     
  12. shinn

    shinn Member

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    Ive never used rubylith(?) masking I've wanted to try though, would I find this at an art store? I've thought about the SA's but I would have to get new balasts as well (I think), still might be a good option to explore, faster is better right?

    With the Rubylith your cutting it to match where you want to dodge and burn right?

    Happy Days
     
  13. sanking

    sanking Member

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    You could use Super Actinic tubes in the same ballast so long as they are normal output tubes, i.e. 20 watts for the 24" tubes, 40 watts for the 48" tubes. However, you should not use High Output (HO) or Very High Output (VHO) tubes of any type in regular ballast.

    Sandy King
     
  14. wmlaven

    wmlaven Member

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    As Sandy said, 20 watt 24" tubes should use the same ballasts you have.

    Rubylith can be found at better art supply stores or probably online, like at Daniel Smith. I tape my neg to the light table and tape a sheet of reubylith over it, trace the areas I want to cut out (for burning) or leave intact (for dodging) and then cut the rubylith (NEVER over the neg in case you cut through the rubylith. You only need to score the rubylith the cut away the red part and a swivelling x-acto knife works great because you can make precise tight turns with it. good luck
     
  15. shinn

    shinn Member

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    Thanks everyone,

    I ended up with a new rack of BLB's. First I had purchased some sylvania Grolux/Aqua lights, DO NOT BUY THESE it was a Big, Big mistake 1.5 (should have been 2) hour exposures vs. 5-10min (Ziatype's) with the BLB lights one inch from the top of the frame. Also, there seems to have been some sort of change in the labeling of flourcents, now they are Cool and warm, bright...confusing.

    Found some Rubylith as well, does the portion of the image that is being dodged get any exposure at all?

    Happy Days
     
  16. Stan. L-B

    Stan. L-B Member

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    Hello Shinn.

    I query your idea of BLB. You say thay are black light which is not as I understand. A BLACK LIGHT is usually designated by BL not BLB which is black light BLUE.
    The BL bulbs emit enough UV light that requires relitively short exposures, whereas, BLB bulbs emit less UV. The BLB bulbs are also more expensive.
    Do you have any other ideas? Thanks Stan. L-B. :smile: