WTB Cheap safelight

Discussion in '[Classifieds] Want to Buy' started by powasky, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. powasky

    powasky Member

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    I'm looking for a cheap safelight for my first home darkroom. I'm working with B&W so I would prefer it to be red. Other than that, I don't have any requirements.

    I know that one of you has an old safelight sitting around somewhere!
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Read the Kodak information at the following site for safelights. http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/products/techInfo/k4/k4Facts.shtml

    I quote from Kodak's recommendation.

    "The 'safest' color safelight filter for a particular material is not always the recommended one. For example, a red safelight filter often has less effect on photographic papers than the amber filter listed in the table. However, most workers find that they can judge print density or perform other functions better under an amber light. (So, although it is a slight compromise in protecting the paper from fogging, an amber filter improves working conditions.)"

    I have used both and what Kodak says is true. With red illumination the human eye has trouble discerning small details.
     
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  3. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    You can make one practically for free. Obtain a free sample box of a Ulano product called "Rubylith" that contains ten cca 8x10 sheets of orthochromatic masking film (red, of course). Stack two sheets and you have a brand new safelight filter. Then build a totally light-tight box with a 25W or 15W of one of those banned and extremely energy-inefficient old bulbs, put a switch somewhere (cord switch is very practical), tape Rubylith on top and there it is - your first safelight!
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You can also get "amberlith".
     
  5. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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  6. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Those tubes that go over a standard flouresent tune work great, and don't bust the bank or leaving you wishing you had bought on later. Calumet should still sell them. Point source stuff cast too many shadows and will infuriate you.
     
  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    For "point sources" like the bulb I recommended, this is easy. Put in a light fixture with reflector you can aim, and aim it at a white ceiling, wall, or white piece of cardboard stuck to same. It's what I do with my Patterson in my current temporary darkroom:
     
  9. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Let me check my inventory(!) I think I might have one or two Kodak standards I can sell.
     
  10. JohnC

    JohnC Subscriber

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    Hello P,
    go for yellow/amber. Irrespective of which you choose, you should carry out a test. A safelight is "safe" only for a certain time. It's a compromise - use dim lighting and bumble around knocking things over and losing stuff; OR use brighter light to see what you're doing, but maybe risk fogging your pix.

    It's simple to do, use the same technique as when making test strips. With your safelight(s) on, place a strip of grade 1 paper partially covered on your masking board for 1 minute, move the cover a bit and leave for another minute, and so on until you are bored with it all (but be sure to have one end of the test strip that has not been exposed for any more than the time it took to take it out of the paper box. Develop, fix and wash, dry, then study it for faint signs of grey scale steps.

    File this as a reference. Most safelights change as they age. Maybe do this every 6 months.

    Have fun. Enjoy.

    Just remembered.... white walls are the thing. If the safelight is safe, then the light reflecting off white walls is also safe. I once knew a photographer who painted his darkroom walls Black !
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    A really bad safelight could pass that test. Emulsions have a threshold exposure below which they are not sensitive but once it is exceeded then tiny amounts of additional exposure that wouldn't have exceeded the threshold will cause further density. The symptoms will be fogged (not always obvious except by comparison to a print done in darkness) highlights while borders are still white. Preflash your test paper with no negative in the enlarger for a light gray overall (about zone VII to VIII in zone terms) then use that method.
     
  12. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Cheapest and safest option is to get a $3 red LED tail light for a bicycle off the internet. You can also wire up a string of ultra-bright red LEDs to a wall-wart if you're feeling DIYish.

    Filtering a dim incandescent bulb with rubylith will work, but a better option is to use LEDs that don't emit the problematic wavelengths at all.
     
  13. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Most of them do emit, at least some. But I agree that LEDs can usually be brighter than filtered incandescents and still be safe.