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  1. #1
    adamc's Avatar
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    Film development under any kind of light??

    This weekend, I went to the local "f/stop swap". I needed a few more items for sheet film tray develpment. I found everything I was looking for at a vendor's booth. He had one working Gralab timer with a white face that looked like it might glow-in-the-dark (which I didn't want - for what I thought were obvious reasons). It ended up not having a glow-in-the-dark face, and I bought it, but he said it wouldn't matter anyway...

    This led to a conversation about tray development. I have always thought you tray develop film in total darkness. He thought I was crazy for saying this and threw in a couple of old red safelights for free. I, on the contrary, thought he was crazy for saying that you can develop film under any kind of light, (safelight or glow-in-the-dark light) but he said he's been doing this for 30-some years.

    Does this guy know something I don't??

    PS - He said nothing about orthochromatic film.


    Thanks,
    Adam

  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Total darkness with panchromatic film. Although, if you keep the glowing face far enough away from the film trays, you probably don't have to worry about it. I used a metronome and counted seconds. Works great. No light.

    Or, you can develop by inspection. You use a dark green safelight (because it's the part of the color spectrum your eyes are the most sensitive to) and a 15W bulb at least 3-4 feet from the tray. You turn it on for a few seconds after about half the development cycle has passed, to judge how your highlights are doing.
    You can do this because the developer somewhat de-sensitizes the emulsion (I know this to be true for Pyrocat at least).

    But any kind of light is just bogus advice. Your note on ortho film is valid. Red safelight = OK with ortho.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #3
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Those red safelights will most-likely ruin your panchromatic film, unless they are very dark, very dim and used very briefly. Having said that, you can use 'dark green' safelight briefly to inspect the progress in development. Other than that, total darkness is recommended. I developed my sheet film in trays until I discovered the Jobo drums for this purpose.

    BTW, the Gra-lab glow-in-the-dark dials have never been a problem in my darkroom.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  4. #4

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    If you make sure the timer face is a few feet from the trays and where you handle the film, it will be fine.
    Ditto on the other comments regarding the safelights.
    I tried develop by inspection once, a long time ago. Haven't found any reason to repeat the experience, but it does have it's proponents.

  5. #5

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    You can't use a safelight, even to just illuminate the timer, with modern films. But I have used a Gralab timer for the sort of thing you are doing. Since the only really critical time is for the developer, it works out. Maybe a bit awkward, but it works. First preset the timer for the development time. Make sure the buzzer is on. Turn out the lights and prepare the film. Start the timer as you start development. Transfer everything to the stop bath at the buzzer and cycle through the film once. (At this point, the buzzer is driving you nuts.) Reset the timer by moving the minute hand. The minute hand is detented, so you can do it in the dark. (Ah! The buzzer stopped.) Give yourself a generous fixing time. Finish up with the film in the stop bath and transfer to the fixer. Cycle the film until you hear the buzzer again. Turn on the lights and turn off the timer. You can buy some glow in the dark paint that is safe so long as you don't get the film too close. You can use it to mark critical parts of the timer, like the minute hand and the start switch.

  6. #6
    adamc's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!
    I plan on getting some glow paint or stickers and illuminate the hands of the timer. I'm developing in the bathroom, so getting anything far enough away from the film is probably out of the question. I'm comfortable working in the dark and I haven't screwed up anything recently, so I don't think adding a light to the process will improve anything for me. At least I got some new (to me) safelights out of the deal!

    Adam

  7. #7
    AgX
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    -) use a de-senzitising bath. Films will be blue-sensitive only.

    -) use infrared lighting. Most films can cope with that.

  8. #8
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    -) use infrared lighting. Most films can cope with that.
    What is 'infrared lighting'?
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  9. #9
    AgX
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    Plain simple a infrared light source for darkroom lighting. But you have to wear a IR-vision device.

    Well, both of my hints are questionable on their practical use. But they gave answer to the initial question.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    Plain simple a infrared light source for darkroom lighting. But you have to wear a IR-vision device.

    Well, both of my hints are questionable on their practical use. But they gave answer to the initial question.
    Actually, night vision goggles have been used successfully for DBI.



 

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