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  1. #1

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    f/stop printing versus real-time.

    The use of f/stop timers gets mentioned a lot on various photo forums and having read "Photographic Printing" by Gene Nocon, it seems to be a very logical way to produce enlargements.
    I have an enlarger timer that allows me to control the exposure time in 0.1 second increments, but I have never actually used a dedicated f/stop timer and I am very tempted to buy one.
    There is a chart in the book for using a regular timer for f/stop printing, but surely an f/stop timer is a better option? Does anyone regularly use an f/stop timer and do you feel that your time and effort in the darkroom has improved compared with using traditional timers?

  2. #2
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    I don't use an f/stop timer; what I do is count beats from a metronome and time my exposure in beats using 1/4 stop increments. I set the metronome at 72 beats/second so its slightly faster than a second for each beat.

    It all accomplishes the same thing as using a dedicated timer. Using the metronome lets me concentrate on dodging/burning without having to take my eyes off the print to read the timer.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  3. #3
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    The Nocon timer is an incredible instrument. It will do things automatically which those even slightly mathematically challenged will find difficult.
    That said, the use of a metronome is also a wonderful way to print.
    If you use a metronome together with the f-stop printing times in Gene's book you should find your printing improving.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  4. #4
    BradS's Avatar
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    What does an f-stop timer do that an ordinary timers doesn't? I guess I shoould read the book but, can somebody give a brief overview?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    What does an f-stop timer do that an ordinary timers doesn't?
    One of the reasons I started this thread Brad. I do find the concept of f/stop timing interesting and I wanted to read the views and opinions of other darkroom users whether they find the use of a dedicated f/stop timer to be worthwhile compared to using a regular enlarger timer.

  6. #6
    BradS's Avatar
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    I guess my question is even more basic...I have no idea what an f-stop timer is...and, being monday, my imagination isn't conjuring anything up.

    What is an f-stop timer?

    How is one used?


    [EDIT:] Hmmm, ok. I just checked out the Darkroom Automation website...I see what it is. I guess I can multiply and divide by two reasonably well, so, probably don't need one.
    Last edited by BradS; 04-06-2009 at 01:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    I guess my question is even more basic...I have no idea what an f-stop timer is...and, being monday, my imagination isn't conjuring anything up.

    What is an f-stop timer?
    How is one used?
    Hopefully, this will help. http://www.rhdesigns.co.uk/darkroom/..._printing.html

  8. #8
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    I guess my question is even more basic...I have no idea what an f-stop timer is...and, being monday, my imagination isn't conjuring anything up.
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/fst-faq.htm
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/support/mfsquicks.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    I guess, I can multiply and divide by two reasonably well, so, probably don't need one.
    If you only do straight prints, and only worry about getting the exposure right to no better than plus/minus one stop, you are right in feeling you don't need one.

    But, it isn't a matter of needing one, nobody needs one, just as nobody needs to take photographs. The question is 'do you want one?'; will it make your life in the darkroom more pleasant and productive?

    I don't think that is a question that can be answered by someone who hasn't used one.
    Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 04-06-2009 at 02:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  9. #9
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    What does an f-stop timer do that an ordinary timers doesn't? I guess I shoould read the book but, can somebody give a brief overview?
    I too was very sceptical as to the benefits.

    How did counting in parts of stops help you print when with a bit of mental dexterity you can achieve the same results

    After all a timer f-stop or linear just controls how much light falls on you photographic paper

    However, after universal endorsement of the StopClock Pro at a UK APUG get together, I was sufficiently swayed to get one.

    I remained sceptical if it was money well spent right up to the moment I started using it.

    The test strip mode, the programmable subsequent steps, the two alternative timer channels and the dry down capabilities all seemed to answer needs I didn't even know I had.

    I am not sure I am really getting the best out of it yet - but that’s more to do with my capabilities than those of the machine.

    The thing I noticed was how much easier printing was, I was able to concentrate on the print in front of me.

    I didn't have to think much about the exposure and how to adjust it.

    It’s amazing how quickly you get your eye in on what a 1/6th or a 1/12th of a stop looks like


    If I had to start again tomorrow, it wouldn't be the first thing I would buy for the darkroom but it would be right up at in the top three items on the list

    I am now so glad I bought one

    I could not contemplate going back to a linear timer

    Keith, it I doubt it will be the best photographic investment you have ever made but it is a great piece of kit and I consider it to be good value for money.

    Martin

  10. #10
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan
    If you only do straight prints, and only worry about getting the exposure right to no better than plus/minus one stop, you are right in feeling you don't need one.

    But, it isn't a matter of needing one, nobody needs one, just like nobody needs to take photographs. The question is 'do you want one?'; will it make your life in the darkroom more pleasant and productive?

    I don't think that is a question that can be answered by someone who hasn't used one.
    well...yes, Of course, I want one!
    Looks like a fantastic idea and a very useful technological innovation.


    but then.... I can also do...

    t = t0 * 2 ^ ( n / 3) -----------------------------(e.g. for 1/3 stop increments)

    and...

    n = 3 * { log(t/t0) / log(2) }

    when I need to too...
    Last edited by BradS; 04-06-2009 at 02:05 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: add quote

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