RH Designs ZoneMaster (I & II)- Opinions?
rbarker mentioned in another thread in here how well his Zonemaster II enlarging meter worked.
I'm interested in hearing more opinions on this. I ran out of ideas for what I want for Christmas, and this may be a contender if I hear enough good things about it.
I'd like to hear pros and cons.
Also, I'd like to know if it's easy to setup. Until my darkroom is built, I will be using the ones at my local community college. I'd like to bring that with me to get more work done, but only if it's not a PITA to set up every time.
edited to add: I just looked at the RH Designs site and I don't understand what this means:
Model ZoneMaster II
exc. VAT= £146.84 inc. VAT = £175.00
Last edited by Melisa Taylor; 12-14-2004 at 09:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
con is that they cost a lot of money
pro they are worth every penny
from what I hear good tech support
i finally figured out the price with shipping to the US after converting the Pound to the Dollar. It looks like it's approximately $300 for the Zonemaster II.
Not bad. Of course, it's doubtful it will get here by Christmas. But it's not like I can use it till about the 2nd week of January anyways.
I don't have one but I would like one. I've heard nothing but good things about it or any of the RH Designs products. I've emailed them a couple of questions in the past and they are prompt, honest and not always saying what I wanted to hear.
I have a Stop Clock Vario for my Zone VI 8x10 cold light, and an analyser pro one for my Besseler III. I've had mine for years. I used my Analyser pro to get me back into the swing of printing. If one can follow the directions (it took me a while to figure it out [which doesnt say much for me]) it is extremely accurate. I believe it has the same function as the ZoneMaster II except mine runs the enlarging light.
Both have worked flawlessly.
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Can't help re' the analyser as I don't have one, but you can download a manual for the analyser from their website which should tell you how easy, or not, it is to setup.
300 USD is about 155 GBP at today's exchange rate. A few other things to consider: allowing for postage and any customs duty that may be due and the postal carrier's customs brokerage fee, I would guestimate that you are looking at more like $350 - $400 in total depending on what the duty is, if any.
Pity they do not have a US distributor.
Still, at least you don't have to pay the dreaded 17.5% VAT!
I use an Analyser Pro - the meter for which is roughly the same as the zonemaster. I have stopped using the meter part of it now and just use it as a timer unless I have a particularly tricky negative. it is an excellent tool and when I first started using it and had it calibrated properly, my printing improved no end.
That said, if you are going to be taking it into a public/ college darkroom where you may not be using the same enlarger two times in a row, it may be a problem as different enlargers will need different calibration settings and it would not be practical to set this up. I would suggest it would be better to wait until your darkroom is set up.
That said, I now think I would have been better off buying a stopclock timer rather than the analyser ... maybe that would be worth considering as you would continue to find this useful long after your printing skills go beyond the need for a meter.
just a thought
Leon, I see what you are saying. I will have to think about this. I think as long as I can use the same enlarger (1 out of 2) in the Advanced darkroom I might be ok with calibration settings. Those days that i don't get to use the same enlarger, I just won't set it up, i guess. Still, i need to think about this.
I am using an Omega enlarger with an Aristo Cold Light head. This set up and others like it, (zone vi, etc...) will not work in a scenario where the Analyzer is directly connected to the controller for the cold light head. This is because the cold light head does not have a continuous even output of light. So whatever amount of light is measured by the analyzer, it could never be matched by a controller that was only controlling time of running.
My explanation sucks, there is a better one on the RH websight. The point is that I got an Analyzer Pro, and a vario Stop Clock to connect as a timer for the cold light head. If I understood him correctly, it sounds like Leon has the RH unit that combines the analyzer and timer in one unit. Obviously he must be using some form of incadesant enlarger. This is an important point.
If you use a cold light enlarger you will need to use a "vario" type of timer. These actually have a separate sensor which is attatched directly to the light and there is no way you will be doing that on borrowed equip or any portable or temporary basis. It involves drilling a hole in the casing for the light.
However you are asking about the Analyzer not the timer. The thing is, if a cold light is involved, you can not use the analyzer without a "Vario" timer.
In this situation one needs to evaluate carefully, do you really need both the Analyzer and the Stop Clock timer. If you get the Analyzer, you will have to get the timer or the Analyzer will be useless. But is you get just the vario timer, it will always be useful.
On that last point I agree with Leon. The Analyzer is very useful and accurate but time consuming, and once you have done half a dozen prints with one set of materials, it just becomes a waste of time. But the Timer is probably the greatest bit of kit I have ever had and would not trade it for anything.
Timothy - i think we're getting a little confused with terminology. The RH designs Analyser Pro is an Fstop timer with an integral meter. What I imagine you have is a Zonemaster (meter) and the Stopclock Vario (timer) - does that make sense?
either way, you are right - I dont use a cold light source. But you make an excellent point there Timothy ... not only would the calibrations be out from one enlarger to the next, the whole zonemaster unit would be completely redundant with a cold light head - of which there could possibly be one in the public darkroom melisa uses ... it's all so complicated! Possibly another good reason to wait 'till you have your own darkroom melissa.
If you are looking for a xmas gift ... why not try the RHDesigns paperflasher for now?? I go one of these recently and it is excellent for getting detail from highlight areas of negatives I never thought detail would exist. And you could quite easliy take this to the college darkroom with you.
I dont work for RH designs, honest!