Good Timer suitable for Film development in trays?
Can anyone recommend a decent timer that will be nice and visible in total darkness, which is suitable for tray processing of sheet film?
I need something that won't fog film, but is easy to see in total darkness down to the second. The traditional timer I have for paper devlopment is no use in total darkness and is rather crude. Ideally I would get a timer able to manage 2 or more processes, but a single timer is fine.
All the clocks I see on ebay are regular dial/smiths type. Any ideas for something I can feasibly hunt down at a reasonable price?
Gralab Model 300. You don't have to have the timer right on top of the developer tray - as long as it is a few feet away, the faint green glow won't affect film.
I paid $5 for mine. Is that reasonable enough?
+1 for the Gralab 300. I had mine on a shelf about 2 feet above my trays. I also used to keep an old plastic liner bag from some 11x14 paper loosely over the top of my tray so that there wasn't direct line of sight from the timer to the tray. Never had any problems with fogging or keeping track of time. While I haven't tried it for tray developing as I'm not shooting LF anymore, if you have an iPhone, the Mass Dev Chart App seems like it would be worth checking out:
"A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
"...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!"
"The hard part isn’t the decisive moment or anything like that – it’s getting the film on the reel!"
- John Szarkowski
OK, I have just looked them up and it seems they are mains powered. I can find none in the UK, only the US, so assume they are 110V. This would presumably be a problem for use in the UK.
I wonder if there are UK equivalents. That timer looks ideal...
Tom, if I wanted to go to Europe I could easily buy a converter here in the US that would enable me to plug my 120V items into your 220V mains. - David Lyga
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The easiest and simplest way (well I found it to be so when I used to do large format) is to make a cassette tape (you can buy one for peanuts these days or use a dictaphone or, if you have a smart phone, use that).
You simply sit in the light with a timer and dictate the key development events with any key reminders - somewhat along the following lines:
Prepare to put film in to presoak 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
At 1 minute 45 dictate pour out presoak and prepare to pour in developer 15, 14, 13 ,12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Then dictate each minute as it elapses.
Then 15 seconds before end of developing time dictate pour out developer and prepare to pour in stop 15, 14, 13 ,12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Then after 45 seconds dictate pour out stop and prepare to pour in fixer 15, 14, 13 ,12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
etc, etc, etc
Always worked a treat for me and I also used similar for processing in a tank in daylight as I have a habit of my mind wandering!
How about a simple countdown battery powered timer. Most are illuminated but are small and can easily be shielded from the tray and they also have an audible signal when the time is up. I use a Gralab (+2) that has worked for 40 years but that may not be what is available to you.
I use 3 Gralab timers that don't glow in the dark. They're mounted on the wall right over my darkroom sink. The lefthand most one is set to the developing time, the center to the stop bath time, and the right to the fix time. I set them in the light, then do everything else in the dark. When the first one buzzes I transfer film to the next tray or deep tank, turn off that buzzer and start the next timer, etc. It seems to work.
I think your idea is perfect. At least this way when I zone out ('scuse the pun) and start talking to myself in the dark, I won't have to worry about forgetting to look at the clock. I could record it as an MP-3. It also avoids the need for more kit.
Thanks everyone for your help!
the best timer I have used is the zone VI...with the footpedal; they count up not down; do not use the probe anymore...it's not necessary....
why don't people who make darkroom products get it?