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  1. #11
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    WTB Cheap safelight

    Quote Originally Posted by John&Tessa View Post
    Hello P,
    go for yellow/amber. Irrespective of which you choose, you should carry out a test. A safelight is "safe" only for a certain time. It's a compromise - use dim lighting and bumble around knocking things over and losing stuff; OR use brighter light to see what you're doing, but maybe risk fogging your pix.

    It's simple to do, use the same technique as when making test strips. With your safelight(s) on, place a strip of grade 1 paper partially covered on your masking board for 1 minute, move the cover a bit and leave for another minute, and so on until you are bored with it all (but be sure to have one end of the test strip that has not been exposed for any more than the time it took to take it out of the paper box. Develop, fix and wash, dry, then study it for faint signs of grey scale steps.

    File this as a reference. Most safelights change as they age. Maybe do this every 6 months.

    Have fun. Enjoy.

    Just remembered.... white walls are the thing. If the safelight is safe, then the light reflecting off white walls is also safe. I once knew a photographer who painted his darkroom walls Black !
    A really bad safelight could pass that test. Emulsions have a threshold exposure below which they are not sensitive but once it is exceeded then tiny amounts of additional exposure that wouldn't have exceeded the threshold will cause further density. The symptoms will be fogged (not always obvious except by comparison to a print done in darkness) highlights while borders are still white. Preflash your test paper with no negative in the enlarger for a light gray overall (about zone VII to VIII in zone terms) then use that method.

  2. #12
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Cheapest and safest option is to get a $3 red LED tail light for a bicycle off the internet. You can also wire up a string of ultra-bright red LEDs to a wall-wart if you're feeling DIYish.

    Filtering a dim incandescent bulb with rubylith will work, but a better option is to use LEDs that don't emit the problematic wavelengths at all.

  3. #13
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Most of them do emit, at least some. But I agree that LEDs can usually be brighter than filtered incandescents and still be safe.

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