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Thread: Viewing light

  1. #1

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    Viewing light

    What are your thoughts on lightbulbs to view b&w prints when in the darkroom. I remember this from my college days but I have forgotten the details. Can you give me your thoughts on this. I had a 60w regular bulb, that went out so I replaced it with a fluorescent bulb rated for 60w with a color temperture of 3500k. Since these type of bulbs are available at different temperatures, what do you recommend or should I use a tungsten bulb.

    Chris

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    Bright enough to see details, but no brighter. Your eyes adapt slowly to changes in brightness. Using too bright a light makes the print hard to judge and contributes to the so-called "drydown" effect, which is largely a matter of judging the print while wet. For black and white, the kind of light doesn't matter too much, but something similar to what will be used for display viewing is probably best. I use a 15W, high CRI fluorescent lamp, and it is really too bright. A 4W white LED lamp might be better.

  3. #3
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend a fluorescent light, because of their tendency to continue to "glow" after being turned off. An incandescent or LED source would be better.

    IIRC, in RalphLambrecht's book "Way Beyond Monochrome" he indicates how bright to make the light (at the print surface). I'll try to find the reference in the first edition, but if you pm Ralph, I bet he would post the answer in this thread (and maybe indicate where to find it in his book too).
    Last edited by MattKing; 08-22-2010 at 10:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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    I use one of those Otto light thing where the spectra closely emulates Sun light. i usually keep it about a meter away so it is at correct brightness when it hits the print.

    It works for me because I use the same setting for color as well as B&W. As far as I know, the spectra response of human eyes aren't even across the visible light spectrum. Something that's shifted too far one way or the other will probably contribute to misjudging of your print.

    By the way, I don't judge my final print in my darkroom.... I found out, it contributes to wasted prints. Wash it, dry it (hair dryer if I'm in hurry), bring it out to my desk, and then make judgment if I need further tweaking.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5

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    Around 100 cd,sq meter.

    Print for the final viewing light, not some arbitrary standard unless you don`t know end usage.

    Dry the fiber prints with a hair dryer so as to eliminate drydown suprise. RC papers have much less drydown darkening.

    If you tone for color or print color, you need to get a 5000 deg K viewing light.

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    MattKing's Avatar
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    I couldn't find the answer in Ralph's book, but I did find it in one of his posts:


    "My print evaluation board is illuminated to 170 lux. That's roughly EV6 at ASA100 with an incident meter or taking a reading off a gray card. Normal print display lighting is 1,400 lux or EV9."

    Here is the link to his post:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum41/6...tml#post913684

    If I'm going to credit Ralph for Way Beyond Monochrome, it is only fair I credit his co-author as well, Chris Woodhouse.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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    Reinhold's Avatar
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    Chris,

    Smooth, even, glare-free and shadow-free light is just as important for judging prints as light intensity and color.
    Hanging a small lamp in a reflector on a cord over a tray is probably the poorest arrangement I have ever tried.
    It's better to bounce the light off of a white ceiling to diffuse the light.
    Regular two or four foot "daylight" flourescent lamps give almost shadowless, even light.
    If they are too bright, slide a few toilet paper tubes over them 'till the light suits you.
    I can't vouch for their color precision, but for black & white work, they serve quite well.

    Don't get into a snit over the afterglow, this was discussed some time ago:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/5...orescents.html

    Have fun.

    Reinhold

    www.classicBWphoto.com

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    Thank you all for your informed responses, you have given me enough to research further if needed.
    In the meantime, the common thread appears to be print for the viewing light and that makes sense to me. I happen to have an empty room and with the 'right' lighting it will do fine.

    Having not processed in almost 10 years, I find myself going to different parts of the house the next day with a handful of prints to view my efforts. As for viewing how my prints develop under the red light I seem to be close to how I want them to look...not bad eh?

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    You do not state what type of viewing you will be doing. If your intent is to determine the image tone of a exhibition print then you must use a light source with the same spectral output as where the print will be displayed. In other words, if your print is to be displayed in a gallery then you need to know what type of lighting they use.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    You do not state what type of viewing you will be doing. If your intent is to determine the image tone of a exhibition print then you must use a light source with the same spectral output as where the print will be displayed.
    In my first post it was regarding viewing while in the darkroom then progressed into viewing the final print. Having said that, my prints will be for viewing in my home. In regard to viewing while printing in my darkroom my basement kitchen is right next to it and is lit with small GU10 fitting 50w halogen lighting which I also have throughout the house. It's a nice even light and position is adjustable so I will set up a track of these when ready to adorn my walls. The next thing too look into is the differences between equivalent output of LED to Halogen and color temperature (I also shoot digital color).

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