Safe Android timer for tray development ?
I'd like to start tray development for my 4x5 negatives, but the question of the timer prevents me of doing so at the moment.
So, is there an Android timer that would be safe for this usage ?
I installed "Darkroom timer" http://www.android-software.fr/darkroom-timer, which seems nice, but am not sure about the effects on the negative.
Your experiences are welcome !
Laurent "Je suis Charlie"
Thoe who don't read have no advantage over those who can't.
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When using these i put my smart phone in the pocket. Problem solved.
I'm afraid I'd have to give that a big, fat, ugly NO.
Originally Posted by Laurent
Reason being: Any smartphone will be using a backlight which has spectral emission in the range of sensitivity of modern films. Even orthochromatic film may be fogged. The backlight leaks badly, even with a black screen.
When it comes right down to it, what you will need is an audio cue. Since you're going to be working in total darkness, the only thing you'll be able to use is something which yells at you. There exist darkroom timers that can do this. It is also quite possible to build one yourself.
At a more primitive level, a wall clock with an audible tick will work. I use this for print processing.
I use this on my Galaxy Tab when processing film in a daylight tank. Quite convenient, though it's missing features I would like. The timer I used as a kid was my father's Vivitar Process Commander, which allowed me to set drain time, agitation interval, agitation time, and all sorts of other stuff. It was also quite usable for print exposure management. Man, do I ever miss that thing. Maybe one of these days I'll build something similar.
Originally Posted by Laurent
Good luck in your endeavors!
What about a simple voice recording that paces your development session?
Make one up with the lights on until you have everything you need in the final recording. You can not only mark the agitation cycles and solution transfer times, but can also add any extra process reminders that might be handy. Then just turn out the lights, play it back, and follow your own instructions.
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
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Oh, yeah, it was pretty implicit in my message that the timers should give out sound.
Play a song on your iPod. Wear your headphones and be sure to put the iPod, itself in a pocket on the inside of your clothes.
Many iPods (and other players) have little remote controls right on the headphone cord that lets you select a song or playlist.
"Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zeppelin is 4:50 long.
"Misty Mountain Top" is 4:40.
Just string together a bunch of songs in a playlist, one for each step of your process.
If you want to develop for a shorter time, pick a shorter song like "Going to California" which is only 3:30 long. If you wanted to develop for a long time, maybe "Stairway to Heaven."
Pick your favorite songs and, not only will it help you pass the time in the darkroom, the rhythm will help you keep your agitation regimen consistent, too.
Get a cheap stopwatch timer. The fear of having the display go bright, and even a "low glow" for 4 minutes is too many extra photons in the room... few darkrooms are as dark as Kodak meant them to be.
I tried two phone timers once and quickly dug out the Gra-Lab again.
You can enjoy your music on your own terms and not use it as a timing device.
One of the disastrous situation is.... right in the middle of the development phase, SOMEONE CALLS! Those LCDs are pretty darn bright. I make it a point to leave my mobile phone outside my darkroom.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I've been tray developing for years. Here are my preferred methods:
In my U.S. darkroom I have a Zone VI Compensating Developing Timer. It has a very dim red LED readout. I place the timer on a shelf and baffle with some black board so the film processing trays cannot see the display. The timer counts up and has a footswitch. The advantage of the compensating timer is that it adjusts automatically for temperature variation (it has a temp probe). If you keep your temperature under good control (or use ambient temp and a compensation chart), any timer with this sort of display will work fine; the footswitch is handy though.
In my darkroom in Vienna (actually my interior bathroom converted for film processing when needed) I use a combination of cheap kitchen timer and a metronome. The metronome is set to 60 bps (one beep every second) and I could just use it alone if I wanted to keep track of counting the seconds during the entire processing time (I have done this and do for stop and the first part of the fix). However, setting the kitchen timer to the developing time (minus drain time) allows me to just use the metronome to time my agitation. I start the timer, immerse the sheets, agitate with the metronome and, when the timer sounds, get sheet one on the bottom of the stack, lift and drain the negs and transfer them to the stop.
In the stop I count 60 seconds on the metronome after shuffling through the stack once. I then transfer to the fix and count seconds till I'm halfway through the fixing time. I then switch on the white light so I can see the clock and continue fixing using that.
I kind of like the idea of using different pieces of music for timing the process. Heck if I could find a bunch of pieces that had 60 or 120 bps tempos and matched my N, N+ and N- times I might adopt that method; then I could use the tempo to guide my agitation much as I use the metronome now. And, anticipating the end of the piece would help with getting everything ready to get out of the tray on time.
I do need something that either shows or sounds seconds though, so I can keep track of my agitation.
I've had bad experiences with my cell phone in the darkroom, so I keep it in a dark pocket on my black leather darkroom apron now...