Which Enlarger timer (RH Designs)?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by mealers, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. mealers

    mealers Member

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    I pretty new to printing (about 4 months) and have been using a Paterson enlarger timer/meter which I have found very good for making straight work prints but a little awkward when trying to dodge and burn as it has no visual or audible countdown timer.

    I've been looking at RH Designs Analyser Pro and Stopclock Pro and cant decide which one would be the best buy.
    I did really like having the exposer meter on my Paterson so that points towards the Analyser Pro but I would like to think that I will progress to split grade printing in which the Stopclock Pro would be better.

    If anyone has either of these products it would be good to hear the pros and cons.

    Many thanks
    Mike
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I cannot tell you which would be best for you, but I can say I use a RH Stopclock and am delighted with it.
     
  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    You do not need a Stopclock Pro to split grade print, but it does simplify the process. You can also program dodge and burn sequences into the Stopclock Pro as well, which is a great benefit. I love mine and recommend it heartily.
     
  4. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have a stopclock pro and love it. I can't imagine going back to a regular timer. Realize that it takes some getting used to at first to get your mind thinking in stops rather than seconds but after the brief adjustment, printing is much more intuitive.

    I do wish they made a model with all of the features in one unit.
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Ansel used a metronome to dodge and burn. This isn't rocket science.

    If you have planned out what you need to do, it doesn't matter how you count.
    If you haven't.... it doesn't matter either.
     
  6. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    True enough. If you are an atavistic photographer, just hang a lightbulb, count on your fingers, and contact print some 2 inch negatives from a Holga. But if you are looking for an f-stop timer, the RH Designs is very good. Too bad the dollar has weakened though. One of the sponsors here, Darkroom Automation, makes an F-stop timer also but it seems more eccentric to me. Check it out and see what you think.
     
  7. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I have been using RH Designs' Stopclok Pro for about four years and its f-stop printing feature is, to me, the greatest darkroom invention since, well, the enlarger! With it I can fine tune my printing results in amazing ways with my dichroic enlarger, something I could never accomplish with my standard Gralab timer. Also wonderful is the easy to use dry-down setting feature which prevents my fiber paper prints from darkening. I am passionate about this timer!
     
  8. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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    I use an analyser pro and could not live without it. It is pretty useful having the meter even just to get you into a ballpark set of times for split grading and to give you a feel of the contrast range of the negative (I also use it to estimate lith printing times which don't have to be exact). It is also very useful as a densitometer to tweak your negative developing regime. The downside is that you have to calibrate your papers for any of this to work, but it only takes me about an hour or so.
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Jerrold

    You made me look up 'Atavistic'.

    I'm not advocating ATAVISM, but rather self knowledge.
    Depending on how one uses tools, a simple timer and a notebook might actually be easier.

    I'm only advocating for the photographer. I remain technology neutral.

    .
     
  10. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I understand. I think that is a healthy tension in any craft - how much do I do "on my own" and how much do I do with technology of some sort. And when does technology start to detract from the craft or become the sole point. In my experience, the RH Designs f-stop timer clearly helps me focus more on craft and helps me do things in printing (i.e. more complicated sequences of dodges/burns) than I could do before. Also, I find that I end up making more notes and being much more meticulous in printing when using that timer. So this is one bit of technology that is a winner and hence the ardent fans.

    As an aside, I wonder what tools or technologies in the darkroom people think detract from their craft/process? Sometimes I feel that way about my Jobo CPP even though it is a great piece of gear. It takes up a lot of space and I have tanks and lids all over the place, and now anxiety about its eventual death. Also, I think that a regular linear timer for the enlarger is an encumbrance but I never knew that until I got the RH Designs.
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Although I have gone over largely to contact printing large and ultra-large format negatives, I got an Analyser Pro when I was still doing enlarging. It is a tremendous tool, and you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands. I would have gotten a StopClock Pro with the analyzer add-on, but even 2 1/2 years ago, the dollar was already weak enough against the Pound that I couldn't justify the extra price. You won't go wrong with either, but if you are doing volume printing of images, I would recommend the StopClock so that you can program the burn/dodge sequences. That makes it really easy to make a consistent, repeatable image.
     
  12. steckmeyer

    steckmeyer Member

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    Last December I bought a Darkroom Automation enlarger light meter. In January I bought the companion timer. My printing is at least an order of magnitude better. I could not go back to a standard second timer and guess strips. I am shocked at how far off the recommended filters were for my Beseler 23C Dichro Head.
     
  13. mealers

    mealers Member

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    Thanks for all the replies but to be honest I'm still pretty unsure as to which one would suit me better?
    I think I am leaning towards the Analyser but the help with split grading pulls me towards the Stopclock. I'm not going to order anything till the end of the month so I've got plenty of time to think on it.
    Thanks again.
     
  14. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Ignore this if money isn't a problems but for the first time ever( well first time for me), about a couple of months ago I noticed that the RH Designs machine( can't remember which) came up on the U.K. e-bay and more recently another. Secondhand Darkroom Supplies also had a secondhand one. I guess that the machine is now just about old enough for it to reach the secondhand market.

    While you are thinking about it, keeping an eye on e-bay might be worthwhile.

    pentaxuser
     
  15. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    The models available on the second-hand market are generally superseded models, however these are worth considering, and in many cases can be upgraded to the latest specification at minimal cost, if that is required.
     
  16. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Go for the Analyser Pro !

    Hi Mike !
    I think the key point here is that you have just started printing.
    IMHO, do as I've done, buy an Analyser Pro.
    It will make you the first straight print without a single test strip plus a lot of features you'll discover with time. If you produce consistent enough negatives, the first print will often be the only one ! Because the prints are so good when you just have decided what shade of grey the measured part should be !
     
  17. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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    I like split grade printing, but I only use it with very difficult negatives now I have the analyser pro. I find that now I can get a pretty good print straight off with a decent negative (like Georges says). It took a bit of practice though. And I still use the analyser to get at starting times for the split grading anyhow and use the built in test strip function.

    With regard to dodging and burning. Using the meter on the analyser after a while you can often tell in advance where to dodge/burn and by how much (by getting to grips with the gray scale on the unit and getting to grips with 'placing zones' on the print).
     
  18. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I can't tell you which one is best for you, I just know I bought a Stopclock Pro last year and while I have a few niggles with the user interface (buttons having multiple functions and being of the same size makes for hit and miss moments sometimes) I really like it. I think you'd be happy with either, but if you are going to do split grade printing, I think it would be better to buy the Stopclock Pro even if the learning curve might be different (not neccesarily steeper).
     
  19. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    Hi all, been on hols for a week so just got to this thread. This and similar questions are answered in our FAQ pages. My response to the Analyser vs StopClock debate is to ask about your printing needs. Do you want to get high quality prints from a number of negatives with minimum time and effort (Analyser) or do you enjoy wringing the last drop from a negative by extensive dodging and burning and local contrast control (StopClock)? That is really the difference between the products. If you go the StopClock route you can always add a ZoneMaster later to get the metering functions.
     
  20. tbm

    tbm Member

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    Re Zonemaster II

    Richard, regarding my Zonemaster II which I have not yet used, I have some decades-old negatives that are extremely dark (over-exposed). How do I use the Zonemaster with these inasmuch as the instructions that came with it tell me to meter a negative with a standard spread of tonality from black through gray to white tones?

    Terry
     
  21. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    ZoneMaster with over-exposed negatives

    Hi Terry

    The same applies really but if they are very overexposed and there is little or no highlight detail, perhaps decrease the indicated exposure so that the white LED starts to flash. The meter will do its best to match the density range of the paper to the negative, and the neg will still contain a range of tones even if it's very dense. It's the density range that determines the paper contrast and the meter will choose the exposure to place the densest tone on the highlight. You then adjust the grade to place the least dense tone at the black end of the scale.