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  1. #11
    MattKing's Avatar
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    A timer, plus a foot switch, certainly leads to better experiences with test prints and dodging and burning.

    For print development, a clock with a sweep second hand works fine for me.

    For film development, I like my new (to me) Gralab 300 timer, but the timer on the microwave works pretty well too (I develop film in the kitchen).

    Matt

  2. #12
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Yeah, for processing I have that old red Kodak timer that is in every older Kodak book ever published. Works fine for me. I have a new (to me) Gralab timer that I use for printing.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  3. #13
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Do you need a timer to start printing with – No, definitely not

    If you have good eye sight and can watch the second hand on your wrist watch by safelight and keep the minimum print time above 10s then you will be fine.

    Mechanical timers (those with rotary dials) seem to have so much slop in the mechanism - you are as well off with your wrist watch

    Electronic Timers are great & even better with a foot switch (then you can use both arms to dodge & burn)

    Most of us end up with a Timer or Timers - of varying levels of sophistication - but if you are just starting out you don't need one - but they are right up there in the "nice to have" darkroom luxuries.

    Martin

  4. #14
    DBP
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    For printing I now have a pair of old Gra-labs - the second of which cost me less than $20 IIRC. But when I was a teen I used the elephant system (see "Gregory's Girl") with decent results. For developing film I have a talking kitchen timer which was around $20 new. It helps me remember to agitate, which is important because I usually read or watch TV while developing film.

  5. #15

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    I have timers but only because I get them for nothing or build one myself out of my junk parts. If I have to buy a timer I would buy an metronome instead.

  6. #16
    jmcd's Avatar
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    I have two timers for the enlarger, but I no longer use them. I have a clock near my ear, and I count the seconds. I start with my print covered, uncover at the count of 4, and cover when done. I aim for base exposure between 12 and 24 seconds. It is much more relaxing for me to work this way, and dodging and burning is easier. I got the idea from Michael Smith, but I think he use a metronome. I use a footswitch to turn the bulb on and off, which keeps my hands free.
    Last edited by jmcd; 02-02-2009 at 07:50 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added last clause

  7. #17

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    Metronome works great for me. I use a card to block the light, keeping the enlarger bulb on all the time. When I want to put the card down, I slip in the red filter. Simple.

  8. #18

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    I could never find any proprietary product that I really liked so a few years ago I bought a battery electric clock with about a five inch diameter face for a couple of quid from a cheapy shop. I made a new wide sweep hand out of white card so that it's very visible and stuck it over the clock's original (invisible by safelight) red sweep hand. For longer exposures I watch the sweep hand and for shorter ones I use the audible ticking. I also fitted the clock with a switch so that I can easily kill it when its loud ticking would otherwise annoy me!

    Steve

  9. #19

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    I can't even begin to imagine how much trouble it must be to use a timer. I use a metronome and can quite happily do a sixteen sec exposure with a four second dodge to that face, a couple of seconds off that side and a couple off that corner, waving my hands around whilst counting, then it's a card in and, with the metronome still clicking, a couple of extra seconds for that side and a couple for that bright spot and I'm done. How do I even do that with a timer? Eight separate exposures? Button pressing, programming? Or do they click or beep as well, in which case are you not really doing anything different? I'm quite happy to agree that I never really try for exposures under about eight seconds, just in case the variation makes a difference, but it never does, just get in the groove and it's fine.

    Oh, and I did, when I started, try using a stop watch. A disaster once I started burning and dodging, no way you can look at what you are doing and look at the watch as well.

    Hywel

  10. #20
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    I am a violin maker so I have a metronome. Of course I am just starting out so I was trying to get a feel if I absolutely need a timer in the beginning or if I could start out some other way and decide if I would like a timer or not. I also have a large face clock in my shop that I can easily hear the second hand as it ticks off the seconds. Dodging and burning will not be part of first few prints. I will just be trying to get a good clear print.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
    Flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradibarrius
    website: http://www.dudleyviolins.com
    Barry
    Monroe, GA

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