Brightest Safelight I can use for vc paper in my big, scary-as-hell room.
So I have had my darkroom set up for over a month now, and all of a sudden I have noticed fogging with my 11x14 prints. I though it could by something with the paper tray, so I tried to fix what problem there may be, still fogging. I have a feeling its the crappy, $3 painted bulb style safelights in my darkroom, and the fogging "shadows" from print tongs would agree(I talked to them). That's reason 1 of why I want to change out my safelights.
Reason two is: It's friggin' dark in here. My darkroom is a pretty big room, in the basement, wooden ceiling(unfinished bottom of the floor above), cement block walls. It has a bunch of random crap in it, including the furnace and water tank/softener/etc.(both light safe) So basically it has a bunch of nooks and crannies, and its the same room that when I was younger I wouldn't dare to enter alone. And now I'm making photographic prints in it, alone, under dim red light, and with the feeling that when I develop this next photo its going to be the face of satan like that scene from that movie("the negative", i think?). Oh joy. Oh and I use VC paper.
So the problems with my safelights are conflicting, but I need the brightest safelight or safelights that I can set up that won't fog my paper, and I have about 7-8 feet of head room if I should mount the safelight(s) from the ceiling. I have heard of the Thomas super Duplex(two of which light my slightly smaller school darkroom with orange-possibly OC filters, but they have weird standards there), and 10x12" ones with the bulb inside an enclosure that are also hang-able. Also, are OC or 1A (or other) safelights better for my situation?
Sorry for my long as a train explanation,
That sounds like your problem. I had a couple similar bulbs in Japan and nothing but trouble. I now have an old sodium vapour hanging from the ceiling type safelight with OC filters. Once it has warmed up, the whole room is quite bright. I bought it used real cheap.
I have a feeling its the crappy, $3 painted bulb style safelights in my darkroom
I never liked working under a red safe light. I feel OC filtered light makes it easier to see...
I'll second the recommendation to get a Thomas Duplex safelight (they are, after all, designed for large darkrooms), but make sure you get it with the FBD filters (OC). The FCD filter is for color paper (and I think a 1A). It is yellow, and will more than likely fog VC paper.
1) a better safelight or two; and
2) some light coloured surfaces to bounce the light off.
A temporary ceiling would really help.
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On the question about safelights, my question is to lith printers. What's the brightest safelight you'd recommend for lith printing inspection?
Generally the highest levels of lighting are
Originally Posted by hmho
achieved using Graded paper. That is due to
the color of safe lighting permissible which is
yellow to orange. That is a range of color to
which the eye is quite sensitive. Once the
green portion of the spectrum begins to
be eliminated visibility drops off. VC
papers are green sensitive so that
color must be filtered out.
Not so with the blue only sensitive Graded
papers. I've gone as much as 20 minutes,
all that time with Graded paper under
rather bright light. No problem. Easy
to see the snatch point. Dan
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And as to brightness I would throw in on the multiple safelight idea. My downstairs half privy serves as darroom for enlarging an there are some tight corners that prevent any light travelling. I have nowhere to plug in another safelight but if I had that is the route I would choose.
I use a red 8 x 10 safelight suspended upside down 18 inches from my tile ceiling. It has a stronger bulb than recommended for that very reason. I also have a round red safelight hanging over the developer tray for inspection. It's very easy to see with the light spread so evenly, this will work with any color safelight. The overall level is not that extraordinary but having light bounced into the shadows makes it all seem much brighter. My preference for red dates back to my graphic arts process camera darkroom days I guess, that and the fact that any type paper except panchromatic can be used under it without fogging. If you have concerns about how good your filter is you can paint the reflecting surface the same bright color as your safelight filter and absorb even more of the offending wavelengths on the bounce.
FWIW my darkroom is 12x14 with 10 foot ceilings.
My favorite safelight is a red E27-R24 LED bulb from Superbright LEDs. This is much brighter than the amber conventional safelight it replaced, and I've had no problem with fogging. I've heard of people using amber LED bulbs as safelights without problems, but I've not tried these myself, and YMMV. FWIW, I've got two safelights -- one is the LED bulb I've mentioned and the other is a red-coated tungsten bulb. Sooner or later I plan to replace the tungsten bulb with another LED bulb, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Broadly speaking, VC papers are sensitive to a broader spectrum than are graded papers, so if you use VC papers, you're more likely to need a red (rather than an amber) safelight. This varies from one paper to another, though. By reputation, certain eastern European papers (Fotokemika, for instance) are more likely to require a strictly red safelight than are papers from western European manufacturers (such as Ilford). I've not done testing on this point, though.
Ultimately, the only solution to your problem is testing. What works for me, or for anybody else, might not work for you, since positions, distances, time in the light, and materials are all variables. So find something you think sounds good, buy it, and test it. If it produces fogging, move it further from your paper and/or add stronger filtration to it.