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  1. #1

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    The cheapest and most effective safe light.

    Many people find themselves disappointed to find that the have subtle fogging caused by too bright a safe light or defective filters etc.

    When one prints with a safe light and views the developing print one is blessed with the magic of seeing the print develop. I am sure that most everyone that does B&W printing can remember how special it was to see a print come up in the developer. It happened to me over 40 years ago.

    it may seem strange that, given the foregoing that I use the following practice. I use no safe light whatsoever. I process my prints entirely in the dark for the full amount of time at the chosen temperture. What are the benefits from doing this? No safe light fog. No pulling of a print that is developing too fast. A firm basis on which to judge any exposure or contrast changes by having a controlled process and viewing a fully developed print.
    I view the wet print under illumination that is equal to the conditions to which I expect it will be displayed and viewed. This is very easily accomplished by having a light over your print holding tray that is connected to a lamp dimmer...about a $10.00 expense. The lamp is set after taking a reading of the anticipated display area with a light meter and adjusting the lamp to match.

  2. #2
    Sean's Avatar
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    comments from previous article system:

    By Clueless - 12:52 PM, 01-29-2005 Rating: None
    While your writing style is always fun, and informative -if not iconoclastic, just how old are those eyes that can get whacked by such a blaze of light and then evaluate for the intended display light level/quality? A few times of "that" and I'd have to sit down and take a Midol.
    By Claire Senft - 02:53 PM, 08-19-2005 Rating: None
    64 and counting.

  3. #3
    bsdunek's Avatar
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    Interesting! I would rather test my safe-lit area to make sure I don't get fog, and use the safe light. If I tried it in the dark, I would probably get the print in the wrong tray half the time, and maybe on the floor some of the time. :rolleyes:
    Bruce

    Moma don't take my Kodachrome away!
    Oops, Kodak just did!


    BruceCSdunekPhotography.zenfolio.com

  4. #4

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    Hmmm - well I have not forgone the safe light, but I have forgone watching the image come up. I process all my prints face down in the trays to prevent fogging. I then take them out into another room with a white light to examine them - this is actually a necessary step as my darkroom is 4' by 5.5' and heats up quickly if I don't open the door on a regular basis.

  5. #5
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    The first mistake I've found in the design of my new darkroom is my failure to consider the need to be able to turn on the overhead lights from the sink. Fortunately it's only about 3 steps to the switch.

  6. #6
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I got around the light switch problem by fitting an IR operated switch - now I can switch the main lights on/off from anywhere in the room. A similar system I saw uses a unit that plugs in to the light bulb socket.

  7. #7
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob F. View Post
    I got around the light switch problem by fitting an IR operated switch - now I can switch the main lights on/off from anywhere in the room. A similar system I saw uses a unit that plugs in to the light bulb socket.
    That's brilliant.

  8. #8

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    Back in the days of orthochromatic films the cheapest safelight was a small candle. You didn't even need electricity. Ah, simpler times.

  9. #9
    Petzi's Avatar
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    You can always use a roller transporter machine to minimize exposure to the safe light.
    If you're not taking your camera...there's no reason to travel. --APUG member bgilwee

  10. #10

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    I saw how much "safelights" cost, and realizing that they're not even pure red, realized they're a proper swindle. I used to do microelectronics and LED lighting as a hobby (still do, sort of). You can purchase red LEDs in bulk from China via ebay; you pay a little extra and you get a deeper, truer red. Anyway, for like $20 you can get 100+, and for like $10 you can get 25 or so . . .

    You slip a watch battery in between the leads of the LED (be sure to mind polarity), and then use a small magnet to keep the battery in place. The magnet will also allow you to stick the new "safelight" anywhere in your darkroom where there's a metal surface. I personally put my lights on the chrome in my bathtub, as my bathroom is my darkroom. I bought some surplus LEDs awhile ago, which are rated at exactly 660nm. I can literally hold orthochromatic film or paper against the light and not have any fogging. I know it's harder to get "true red" like that, inexpensively, but the slightly oranger reds in the 640nm range are also very safe.

    If you get tired of buying new watch batteries, like I did, you can buy a small breadboard at any electronics store (like Fry's), and a two-battery adapter set to power it (either AA or AAA, they're both the same voltage, AA just lasts longer).

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