Enlarging Timers, What do you use?
I've used both a Gralab and a Time-o-lite. Both are mechanical and I greatly prefer the Time-o-lite. I prefer it to the point that I own three. Two professionals and one master. The master is the newest, but I use the oldest professional as it has the footswitch outlet (which is invaluable).
I never liked the Gralab. I felt it was much more suited for film development or timing alternative processes. Also, the lower end time-o-lites (the plastic ones) felt cheap and were a bit more difficult to adjust. They still worked fine in the end.
I've never really felt like my timer has limited me. Do you really need 1/10th a second? I'm sure it must be nice for.. flashing or duplicating negatives but I still get by.. I see these nice epoi timers on ebay and wonder if maybe I should get with the times (no pun intended).
On a side-note, I remember reading that Clyde Butcher himself uses a professional time-o-light and prefers mechanical to electronic. Also cell phones and other electronic gizmos are not permitted on his darkroom tours apparently. And he doesn't use those black plastic bags for paper! He just keeps the sheets in the box, loose!! Blasphemy! I wish I could recall the article, I believe it was on largeformatphotography.info..
What timers do you like and why?
I've only used 2 timers, the first is an electronic one I built, which worked quite nicely. I gave it a foot switch and .5 sec resolution.
The timer I'm using now is a mechanical Hauck TU20.
I don't know which I prefer, both have useful features - the Hauck is simpler to set, but I did like the foot switch on my homemade unit.
Lens caps and cable releases can become invisible at will. :D
I have used a GraLab 300, 451, and 900 as well as a Jobo Colorline 5000, Time-O-Lite, Jobo Multitronic, and RH Designs StopClock Pro.
Far and away, the RH Designs is the winner for B&W enlarging. The f-stop timing, dry-down compensation, split contrast mode, two channels, memory for burning sequences, etc. are invaluable. I could not go back to a regular, linear timer. It would drive me nuts at this point and take me much longer to produce a good print. I think you will find a lot of people who are passionate about those timers because they really allow for creativity and skills to develop more quickly. I rapidly became a much better printer after I learned how to use that timer. I could get along with a different enlarger or light source, other types of darkroom equipment but my timer would be one of the last things I would give up. Although less essential, their flasher is nice too.
Originally, a metronome, a switch for the enlarger lamp and a piece of card to start/stop exposures and now the built-in timer of my AC1200 enlarger. Quite a jump between the two, but if the AC1200 control unit failed I'd go back to the metronome (built-in to my guitar tuner) rather than use a normal in-line timer (or possibly splash out on a RH Designs timer).
I have used at least a dozen different timers over the years. The best for me is a metronome. I figure if it was good enough for Ansel it is good enough for me.
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I use a Beseler 67 enlarger with a colour head. I regularly have problems with my exposure times being awkwardly short. Even with extra neutral density added in, I'm often dealing with exposure times less than 10 seconds.
To achieve any fine adjustments, especially when split contrast printing, a digital timer offering 0.1 second adjustments is very handy.
I have used mechanical and digital timers, Time o Lights to Gralab 450. I have been using the StopClock Pro for a few years now. Would never consider going back.
Last edited by galyons; 08-01-2008 at 11:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: fat fingered
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I use a Graylab 300 for general purpose stuff. I have a Zone VI developer compensating timer for film and sometimes paper, and I have the Zone VI compensating enlarging timer for my enlarger.
Fortunately, I ordered an extra Zone VI sensor that I can use with any enlarger before they discontinued the timer. I'd like to have another, but of course, they're no longer available.
RH Designs Stop Clock Pro - a recent convert but absolutely hooked
Would never go back
Expensive - but worth every penny
Didn't realise how much hesstle a conventional timer was until I was rather reluctantly persuaded to buy the RH timer
After the first hour in the darkroom with it I knew it was money well spent
Printing is sooo much easier with it - spend more time thinking about the tones of the print and almost no time thinking about the timing
Marvelous peice of kit
RH's Stop Clock Pro here, too. One of the greatest inventions in the world!!!!