Great idea, Lee. Can't wait to give that a try!
Originally Posted by Lee L
There is nothing wrong with flashing using the enlarger that you are printing with Lee. It's just either less accurate or it's less convenient - unless you always print with the enlarger at the same height, lens and f-stop for every print. Change any of these and the max-flash time will alter and you have to retest for it every time you make a print with a new neg (or etc). You can re-establish this with an exposure meter once you have calibrated for the paper to start with, or you can make a new flash test strip. Either way it's an extra calculation. If you have a 2nd enlarger or an independent flash light source it never changes and you always know exactly what the max flash time for that box of paper is, regardless of what neg or what magnification you are using for the print in question. It's just a simpler hassle free routine giving you predictable, controllable results in one step.
Originally Posted by Lee L
Originally Posted by tim rudman
I do understand the aspects you're talking about. My point is that being a bit more inconvenient doesn't make it a "bad idea", which sounds as though it won't work or is in some way materially inferior.
I have used pre-flashing on hundreds of poorly exposed and/or overdeveloped negatives in a high volume custom printing setting, and gotten very good and surprisingly consistent results using a standard percentage of the required exposure time. Finer custom prints will obviously benefit from tighter tweaking, but the percentage of main exposure method is pretty sound, considering that it's an adjustment that takes into account the degree of enlargement, paper speed, and negative density.
I know it is perfectly possible to flash with a unique enlarger, but I have the same opinion than Tim Rudman. So, I ask again: Do you have an opinion about the paperflasher made by RH Designs?
... and thanks again,
You are quite right of course. If you have buttoned down a way that works for you, gives you full max flash without overspill into fog, each time based on experience - that's perfectly fine. If it works, it works. That's what counts.
On the other hand, I have often read people describing on line a method of giving a bit of exposure through some diffusing material in an arbitary fashion as being the way to pre-flash. It's not. It needs to be done in a precisely measured or calibrated fashion to get predictable, repeatable and fully effective results without fogging. It's not remotely difficult but like most things in printing, it needs to be controlled for optimum results. (I'm making the assumption that we all want optimum results of course )
Apart from Dave, no one has answered your question yet, so here is my 2p worth.
I would like to start by saying that I am a fan of RH Designs, I use their pro stop clock and I often demonstate it on B&W workshops and everyone immediately wants one! I don't use their paper flasher because I have 2 alternative set ups that I prefer.
I have tested it and I did find that for my use there were drawbacks - not major, but it didn't offer me an advantage to what I use. This was mostly due to siting of the unit. If flashing the paper in the easel the flash light source needs to be in the lens axis otherwise 'shadow' artefacts may occur. A light shadow may appear next to the edge of a masking frame or blade, or a reflection may be thrown onto the paper from an edge of a 2 blade frame. the 1st will give a light 'shadow' (unflashed), the 2nd a dark shadow. These are more apparent with some masking frames than others (I have quite a few, generally 4 bladers are better)
I also didn't find a really happy place for it. My ceiling was too high and anyway the unit had to be significantly off axis to avoid a shadow of the enlarger head. Applying it to the lens mounts with blue tac or similar tended to all too easily give alignment discrepancies from pressing it into place, which I am slightly paranoid about.
I run 2 different flashing systems, both from my stop clock, which are very reliable for different purposes, and give me everything I want, so I don't use it.
However, I also know that many people use the unit and love it - so hopefully some will now chip in and counter my views
Hope this helps.
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I have the RH flasher too. It works really well and is a fair bit smaller and cheaper than another enlarger...EC
I have my RH Designs flasher light source mounted on the swing filter with velcro, so it's always ready to use and as Tim suggests, is right under the lens axis to give shadowless lighting. It needed a couple of test trips to establish times for various heights and papers that give a good starting point.
I have the RH Designs flasher also. Although a little pricey, it works great. The built in timer has a test strip mode making it easy to determine the proper flash time. I mount the light source to the lens board stage with some blue tack adhesive. The problem with that is that I have to do a test strip each time. Ideally, I would mount the flasher in a permanent position so that the flash time would always be ~ the same. The light source is very "wide angle" so it need not be mounted on the ceiling for uniformity.
I would like to fashion a swing arm that folds the flasher against the wall when not in use, and then swings out under the lens to flash the paper when desired. The problem with that is if you make widely different print sizes like 8x10 and then 20x24. If you mount the flasher so that it can swing under the lens for the small print, then it might be too close to the paper to evenly illuminate the large print. But if you put it on the ceiling you might get shadows. I think you just have to do what makes the most sense for your work flow.
One of the magazines this last month had a article about the RH flasher and what the photographer did was attach Velcro to the enlarger next to the lens and to the bottom of the flasher and did tests from different height and then used that on regulating his flashing. then it could be removed without and problem.
Originally Posted by Henry Alive
Capturing an image is only one step of the long chain of events to create a beautiful Photograph, I think, maybe not, well I think so, or do I.
There is one technique that Les Mclean showed me on his workshop which I find useful and that is to use the RH flasher to burn in the very dense highlights using white light, a lot easier than trying to force light through the solid black neg. To do this it is easier if the flasher light is mounted on the enlarger by the lens. With the RH flasher in this set up the process is very easy to do, just got to make sure you can find the right spot an a blank piece of white paper.