Wratten 1A safelights, OK for modern papers?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Wade D, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I recently found a couple of 10x12 Wratten 1A safelights for a few bucks.
    Are they safe with modern B&W papers? I have a couple of smaller OC saflelights which work well but thought that the larger 1A's would give better illumination in the darkroom.
    Thanks,
    Wade
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Only way to tell is to test them. With a bright enough bulb or long enough exposure, pretty well any safelight isn't.
     
  3. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Are those the pale red? Used indirectly they may be safe.
    Safer with Graded. I keep my Graded paper darkroom very
    well lit using yellow-ish orange safelights. Hard to find now
    days but years ago yellow was a darkroom standard.
    Darkrooms so well lighted most would think some
    room lights had been left on. Dan
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yes, they are. In fact, I think they might even be more safe than the de facto standard OC. I use 3 of them in 5 1/2" round bullet safelights with 15 watt incandescent lamps in my darkroom with all sorts of papers and ortho-litho films and don't have any fogging problems. OC is easier on the eyes, but I do hate switching out filters so I just leave the red 1A's in place and make do.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2009
  5. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Both are Kodak Model D fixtures with 25 watt bulbs. They have chains for hanging from the ceiling and are meant to be pointed up. Certainly I will test them to see if they are faded from age.
    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Wade

    The term 'safelight' is pretty confusing to beging with, because none of them are safe. All they do is protect the paper for a certain time. If that time is just a few minutes, they are not safe, if it is 1/2 hour, they are, because you often need a combined processing time of 15-30 minutes.

    The Wratten 1A filter is is OK if you don't have papers that are sensitive above 600 nm, because that's where Wratten 1A stops. Wratten 2 is better, because it goes to 640 nm. By the way, the Wratten OC (light amber) has a 10% transmittance above 560 nm, which can harm some papers. If you don't know your paper's spectral sensitivity, do yourself the favor and test your safelight.

    In the dark, expose, but don't process, your paper under the enlarger so that it would develop to a light gray. Then, drop six coins on it and expose it to the safelight. Take one coin off after 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 minutes. Then process the paper normally (preferably in the dark or at least away and shielded from the safelight). How many tell-tale signs can you see? You should not see anything but the 32-minute 'coin' to be 'safe'.

    Many people do this test, and only then realize, why they never printed an image with brilliant highlights and good midtone contrast.

    Don't forget, you can make your safelights 'safer' but not only changing filters. A dimmer bulb will also extend the 'safe' time.
     
  7. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Not so. They can be mounted upward, but are not "meant" to be that way. You likely also have two studs protruding from the sides that allow a bracket to be used. Then the light can be directed toward a particular area.
     
  8. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    They do have mounting studs for a bracket. I thought that with the 25 watt bulbs they should be pointed up away from directly shining on the work surface and paper. I know that no light is "safe" for too long a time so when I get my chemical, film and paper order from Freestyle next week the "safelights" will be tested. The darkroom looks kinda cool with the red safelights. Just like what you see in the movies.:wink:
    Thanks again for the replies,
    Wade
     
  9. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    Wratten 1A safelights

    I do just that, but I have made ND filters for the safelights, using heat/age damaged B&W paper, which has been developed, fixed, washed and dried. I use a 7-1/2 watt bulb in each fixture, and they hang about 30-inches above my sink.

    I also have several 5x7 safelights, with the same home-made ND filters, and use a 4-watt bulb in each. The filters are pieces of old red lithographic masking film, taped to a piece of scrap 5x7 Plexiglas.