Originally Posted by johnielvis
After 40+ years of using, designing, outfitting, adapting and modifying darkrooms:
I use and recommend "proper" equipment when it is available, appropriately priced and suited to the circumstances.
And I adapt other products, or help others do the same, when it makes more sense.
And I always weigh the value of the time involved before I decide what to do.
Do you suggest that I change my approach?
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
It is what it is, whether you choose to recognize it as such, or not...
Originally Posted by johnielvis
"They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."
— Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs
I've used a Thomas Duplex safelight for over 20 years, with excellent results. Darkroom is for black & white only.
It's unbelievably bright. I can read a bottle label anywhere in the room, even in my shadow.
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato
I have had the same thoughts. I have plenty of 'proper' incandescent safelights with Kodak filters in my darkroom, and they were very inexpensive. However, I saw this ad for a Kodak "Bullet" style safelight in the UK for almost 200 pounds. So, maybe not everyone lives in a location where high quality darkroom equipment is essentially free for the taking.
Originally Posted by David Brown
I don't like safelights that are too bright. The Thomas safelights fit into that category for me, although I know they are adjustable and they are great for large spaces. The best safelight I have ever used is now a regular overhead fixture wrapped in rubylith. It is totally safe, and just exactly the right brightness to read by, evaluate the projected image in the easel and even bright enough to evaluate the print in the developer.
I have used just about every safelight imaginable at this point. My old favorite was a large bulb I bought at Calumet years ago called a "Fireball". I used LEDs for a while as well as a regular "blood red" gel over a clamp fixture before that. Every time I have changed darkrooms over the years there were new challenges. A safelight to me only needs to be safe regardless of what it is. It just so happens that my current safelight only cost $12. I also have rubylith over a hole in the cover of the window in the darkroom. It is nice to be able to see outside or just to have some natural light in the daytime so I don't feel like a vampire! Try that with your fancy safelight!
Whatever works, use it.
By the way, I had a couple of those old Kodak silver bullet safelights. I tried to sell them a while back and no one wanted them so I turned one in to a lamp! Makes a great lamp....
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Originally Posted by johnielvis
I really don't agree with this.... Photography is my hobby. For it is a hobby, I try all kinds of weird things just because I can and it's fun. Sometimes having a proper equipment is the only way. A lot of times, not. If it takes twice the time necessary, so what - as long as I'm having fun or learning. It's a hobby. It's not an efficiency constrained money making venture.
For my job, my employer gets me the proper equipment (sometimes very expensive) that gets the job done most efficiently. I take care of the business and go to the next. It is not a time to try-this-or-that and waste time.
I dunno... I like experimenting. If someone wants to do that, I'd encourage it.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
The cheapest thing in a darkroom is the photographer?
Hey, great idea. They are well-built and have a classy 50's retro charm. But the only one I have is mounted over my darkroom sink in my sheet film developing area with a Kodak #3 dark green filter in it. I use it for DBI. It's actuated by a foot switch so I can illuminate it briefly towards the end of my development time to evaluate highlights. The foot switch is a necessity, since my nitrile gloved hands will be dripping developer.
Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James
I've actually got three safelights in my darkroom. I have the Kodak bullet with the #3 filter for DBI. It's positioned at the left end of my sink, above and to the left of where my sheet film developing trays sit. I've got a 5x7 Premier safelight with OC filter to the far right of my sink. It's very dim and very safe, and I use it when I don't need much light, such as when batch processing a lot of prints. And I have a Thomas Duplex Sodium Vapor safelight for use when I'm working with the enlarger or contact printing, and I need a bit more light to see what I'm doing.
I guess if I were setting up a new darkroom and didn't already have good equipment, I'd look at using LEDs as another option. But I don't really want to have to build my own if I can avoid it. Maybe Ken will start making and selling them.
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I can't speak for anyone else. I have an embarrassment of "proper" safelights. I'm using a Patterson OC, and I have four or five spare bulbs in a drawer. They're available at Home Depot anyway, just regular 7.5W bulbs that look like old Christmas tree lights except for being clear. I have a Jobo Maxilux LED. I'm using those. I also have a Duka 50 sodium vapor that I am not using because I want to save the tube life for printing color as I know from past use for such that, used carefully, it's safe for RA4. I also have a Kodak safelight I got from someone giving away a load of darkroom stuff. Not sure of the model but it uses relatively huge rectangular filters (8x10 or so?) which I also have.
But I ordered some LEDs. I figure they can probably be brighter and still be safe. I will test, as I always do, for safety, but I want the most light I can get consistent with being safe.
I also use an Orion (an amateur astronomy equipment supplier) red LED flashlight, marketed for and originally purchase for night vision use with star charts and astronomy equipment, for a darkroom flashlight. It works great. I wouldn't shine it at full brightness directly on paper, but that's not what it's for. It's great for looking for dropped items, reading print without turning the lights on etc.
I bought an Ilford safelight for about $20 :-)