Ever since Bob Herbst wrote about the X Rite 361 T densitometer they have been going for ridiculous prices at E bay, I even saw one go for more than $700.
Recently a guy had a X Rite 369 for auction. So I called X Rite and asked them what the deal is with this model. Well it turns out it has a blue light source and it is used for diazo or silver films. Now the guy who sold it had no idea what he had in his hands, and since it was called in the title a 361T but then in the description he mentioned it was really a 369 but it looke a lot like a 361T.
Anyway to make a long story short, the opening bid was only $80 and nobody bid on it since it was not a "real" 361T. I took a chance and got it for that price. It turns out that if people are doing alt printing or Azo with stainning developers this is an even better densitometer than the 361T, since the light source is blue, it reads the "visible" channel the same as the blue channel in a color densitometer (I verified this with my color densitometer), and of course if you are reading the UV channel then you get the UV absorption.
Best of all, nobody knows this yet, so if you see a 369 for sale and are doing alt printing or Azo with stainning developers, get it! you just might walk away with a great deal. I imagine that even with non stainning developer this would work great in the visible channel.
Of course, before I bid, I checked the guy's feedback, he had 200+ transactions with 100% positive feedback, so I was fairly confident the item was as described. I just got it today and the things looks almost like new and it works perfectly....There are times when the planets align perfectly and things just work out great. :)
Congratulations. $80 is a great buy for that model.
I was told by someone several months ago that the X Rite 369 had UV cpability but did not see one on ebay and eventually got a Gretag D-200.
Actually, I don't think it is a 'better' densitometer than the 361, but it is at least 'the same' when it comes to UV performance.
From my understanding, the only real difference between the two is that the 369 does not have the Ortho channel that the 361 has. That should not be an issue for any alt printers, but it may be worth considering.
The 369 uses the exact same lamp as the 361 and the 310 (310-60), so I suspect that the 369 has the exact same responce curves as the 361 and for visible, possibly the same as the 310.
I saw one go for $18 about 4 months ago. I paid $72 including shipping for mine, and that included three spare lamps and the calibration tablet. So I figure I did pretty well.
However, now that you have posted this in a public forum, the chance of getting a 369 for under $100 is pretty unlikely!
One warning, the UV channel takes at least 30 minutes to warm up, and it appears to not really stabilize for a few hours. If you calibrate the UV channel when it is still warming up, it will drift a bit over time. The visible channel will stabilize within a few minutes from startup, however.
You can still get the lamps and calibration swatches from X-Rite, and their products are built as good as they come, so unless the unit was mistreated, a used 366 should offer years of occasional service for a photographer. They were designed for continuous operation, and the lamp is recommended to be replaced every 1200 hours, or about 1/2 year. When you buy one on Ebay, it might make sense to replace the lamp and calibration swatch, and then you'll be set for years, assuming that the unit is ont used continuously.
LOL..yeah Michael isnt that the way it always goes?!
Although I only posted this in APUG, I figure I give our members first crack at one of this.
I did not kow about the UV warmup time, thanks for the heads up.
I will need to get a replacement lamp and the calibration plates sometime in the future. This unit seems to have been used in a lab and was treated very well, it even has a little sign with the date the last time the lamp was changed...it was in 96...so I guess it is due for a new one.
The lamps cost $80 each, so they are a bit expensive. More important is the calibration swatch; it is intended to be replaced somewhat regularly since they will fade over time apparently.
My logic is that if you can get the lamp to calibrate in both channels, I wouldn't worry about replacing it too much.
But you should have a spare, so that you aren't out of commission for several weeks while waiting for one to arrive.
I have noticed that the UV channel will drift upwards as the unit warms up. If you calibrate it while hot, after a few hours of operation, it'll zero out just fine. Then, when you turn it on the next time, the UV channel will read approx -.07 on null, and eventually, the null reading will climb up to the point that it reads 0.00 again.
The null point seems to calibrate in both channels, but I have not left in for an extended period of time.
I figure the densitometer is ok as the results are reproducible and seem to be accurate, at least on the visible channel which is the one I can check against my color densitometer.
As you say I will order the lamp just to have a spare on hand, thanks again Michael.
Yeah, same for the 369, they have to be aligned. Hopefully this one lamp will last me for quite a while, or until I can afford a new lamp.