I received the latest batch of postcards today and one of them appears to have significant fogging in the white borders prompting me to make this post.
On my travels doing workshops and working in many different darkrooms I regularly see prints with veiled highlights and almost always the problem is caused by safelight fogging. Either the light is too close to the enlarger and wet bench or the safelight filter is wrong or past it's sell by date. I test my safelights at least once every year and it's surprising how they can change. Another problem is that all papers do not respond in the same way to all filters making it necessary to have different safelights for different papers if fogging is to be avoided. Because I regularly test papers I gave three different types of safelight in my darkroom.
It's so easy when working in the same darkroom year in and year out to accept that all is well. You just become used to the tonality of the prints produced and see so few prints from other darkrooms to make a comparision.
I was thinking about getting the ZoneVI safelight. What do you think about this one? And does anyone have one of these?
"The revolutionary Zone VI Duo-Safe B&W Safelight addresses the special limitations of variable contrast papers while at the same time realizing that many printers still use graded papers, and appreciate brighter levels of darkroom illumination. With the Duo-Safe, the simple flick of a switch can optimize the safe, but very different levels (about 3-stops) of illumination required for graded papers or for variable contrast materials.
The Duo-Safe maintains this safe output throughout its incredibly long life of approximately 100,000 hours by using LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, specifically and precisely regulated to the safe spectral requirements of black-and-white paper. You’ll never have to replace burned-out bulbs or expensive fade-prone filters again.
To insure consistent output the circuit is actually voltage stabilized to overcome line fluctuations"
I received Frank S's "Clown" postcard, and I think he's toned it in tea or something. the reason I say this is the back is also discoloured. Alternatively, he waved it over the fixer tray and it's half-life is a week or so!
When I moved into my new house my new darkroom got a proper safelight rather then the tempory thing I used to use in the bathroom. It's a 10x8 enclosure with a red filter and 25W lamp which I pointed up at the ceiling. I've done a couple of safelight tests and I don't believe I get any fogging (for the times I've checked) by the level of lighting is so much brighter than my old setup. I pretty much only use VC RC papers (just getting back into FB) and have read that a Amber (OC) safelight is really recommended, is this so? I don't seem to have any problems with my red.
I have two, ((I get one each Chrismas from the family) (come visit my darkroom in 10 years!)) I really like them, no light bulbs to change and they do seem fog free. they have two settings one (normally bright) for graded papers, and one really dim for VC paper.
two drawbacks, the light in VC setting is really dim (and safe?) I use the two in a 10x12 foot darkroom and I'd really like a third for the enlarger area, so I can see better. secondly there is no light switch on the unit or even a line switch. you have to unplug them when done, a real pain in the butt.
despite above, I really like them compared to the 15 watt bulb alternative and would recommend them. someday i should do a fog test on the brighter setting, since I only use Bergger and AZO, both of which are pretty slow.
thanks for the info! All New Zealand electrical sockets have power switches on them, so that's cool I will not have to unplug it. That's bizarre they did not put a power switch on it...
I have the zone VI safe light and it is fine, but I much prefer the thomas safelight. Once you get used to the thomas safelight all the rest seem too dim.
For what is worth I used the ZVI safelight for at least 3 years and never had a problem with fogging. You can certainly trust the light to do what it claims to do.
Papers are different, even VC papers. An OC filter works great with Ilford and Seagull, but fogs Tetenal. The main reason for choosing OC over red seems to be effective brightness: You see more in amber than in red light.