Thank you all. I will see how it goes - I'm looking into getting a processor, the biggest concern is shipping to Alaska!
For what it's worth, I have decided for better or worse, this is my art form and I'm going to keep it that way. Tired of doing all my "darkroom work" on the computer in photoshop. So even if I have to do trays, I am willing to try.
I have finally sold all my autofocus cameras and lenses, and am back to using all manual cameras again. A change for sure, but hopefully makes me grow as a photographer. Someday I hope to try LF. :-)
Originally Posted by Lopaka
Colour analyzers are good for production where you need to get close fast and are dealing with someone else’s (unfamiliar to you) negs. Once you are used to doing your own I don't believe they offer that big of a boost. keep your eyes open for an RA4 roller processor (ebay, craigs list). They are all but free and will make your printing far easier. The smaller ones require fewer chems and can be setup with chems, drained and cleaned in a hour or two. The chemistry can last a couple weeks in storage so if you plan your printing sessions and your batches accordingly you shouldn't waste too much.
I notice in the drum v tray discussion, we've come back to the drawback of total darkness with trays. I see no reason why total darkness is necessary. There are a number of safelights which allow you to operate safely with a reasonable amount of light.
So if trays are an attractive method then it needn't be done in total darkness. Of course if trays area attractive because of least cost in terms of equipment then yes a safelight will add to cost just as a Nova Quad tank will if vertical trays are an attractive option.
So by all means give total darkness a try and if you are comfortable then fine It will be cheaper but it is not a requirement. So don't be put off RA4 printing if you aren't comfortable with total darkness. I'd hate anyone giving up, believing that it's total darkness or nothing.
I use the WR13 safelight at 4 feet with 15 W bulbs with tray development.
The lighting is indirect.
The colour safelight I have is very dark. How long does it take you guys to adjust to the light levels? How do you manage turning on the lights to check the print?
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I only recently started RA4 printing and I use my LED safelight with an amber LED - just enough to avoid bumping in to the furniture and can just about see the image coming up in the developer tray. According to the usual pre-fogged paper test, this gives me about three minutes safe time.
My main room light is on an IR remote so I can switch it on from anywhere in the room and there is a viewing light over the sink on a pull-cord.
I am surprised to find that my eyes respond quite quickly to the dark as long as I'm not in full room light for more than a minute or so between prints. My night-vision seems to be recovered faster after the first time in the dark even after having been in the light for some time. Of course, I could be imagining it - I've not heard of that effect before...
I normally use my DUKA 10( sodium lamp) at the recommended colour setting( it goes up to 25 which is really bright- better than the Ilford 902 - and is meant for B&W work). I can safely cut 8x10 paper into two 5 x8 and place into easel, expose, as well as using very ocasional dodge/burn,then place in drum without fogging.
The light intensity, if I was using a Nova Quad would certainly allow me to see it develop but I'd stick to the recommended timings rather than try development by inspection. As I understand colour dev, if it's not right at the recommended time then you should seek a solution by paper exposure rather than try to make it up by additional or less dev time.
At the recommended setting the light intensity is probably a little less but only a little less than my Ilford 902 B&W light but the eyes quicky adapt.
I suspect that I could increase the intensity and still be under the safelight limit as even with cutting paper and placing into papersafe, then withdrawing and exposing and placing in drum it is probably well short of the safe limit at a higher intensity. I must try it sometime.
I must admit to being sceptical about those who can "read a book" at safe colour safelight intensity but it's a long way from near stygian darkness and allows me to effectively do what I have to.
I used to have a Durst Tricolour lamp with an incandescebt lamp and a colour setting and quite frankly after about 15 mins there was just about enough light to avoid bumping into things and it might just have made drums useable but I'd have hated to have even attempted Nova Quad processing let alone normal trays.
So for anyone thinking that a DUKA is like the usual normal incandescent bulb with a very dark colour filter and therefore not worth the money: No it isn't. You are getting a much better light than that.
I have managed all my darkroom work without any safelight. I had my lights on most of the time in my darkroom, except for maybe 30 seconds when I was ready to load a sheet of paper and made my exposure. Before that the paper would be safe in my paper safe. After exposing the paper it would be in my drum. So that 30 seconds were really not that bad without safelight.
I eventually purchased a tabletop processor for a few hundred bucks and It made the color printing much more enjoyable. The entire process was done with the light on throughtout, except a few seconds in the beginning to load the exposed paper. MJ
Perhaps this might be of interest to you, Jed. There is yet another way of processing prints, in slots. I use homemade slots of polystyrene (Hobbyglass, plexiglass would also do), each slot has internal dimensions of about
320x220x14mm so that it accomodates one liter of solution. There are three slots (developer, stop bath, blix) immersed vertically in a larger tank with water.
There are some pros and, of course, also cons:
- The temperature in the tank can be easily controlled.
- Very small area of solution is in contact with air, so that oxidizing is minimal.
- It takes up only a small space.
- For every size of paper used a holder must be used to be able to immerse the paper to the slot and take it out again. The holder is made also from the polystyrene.
- Due to the paper being held on the holder, more solution is taken from one slot to another than when transferring paper only, but not too much. The amount of developer decreases by about 20% over its lifetime (about 50 prints 18x24cm).
Hi Papo, thanks for the idea. I had actually thought of trying to build my own vertical processor rig at one point. Sounds like a pretty nice solution, really. I am currently in talks with one of the guys selling a processor on here, trying to see if it's possible to get it up to Alaska or not.
If not, then I can see where that might be an interesting option...