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  1. #51

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    Ralph, David Brown (the OP) mentioned someone using 20 cent red light bulbs that were not made for darkroom use and who subsequently found out they were not safe. So I would understand "proper safelight" in that context to be one that was engineered and intended to be a safe light for a darkroom.

    In my opinion, that would include both commercially made darkroom safelights, and home made safelights (such as LED lights) that are carefully researched, built, tested, and proven to be safe.

    However, I believe the OP was referring to commercially made purpose-built darkroom safelights, which are cheap and plentiful and easy to obtain, at least in much of the world. There is rarely a shortage of usable safelights on eBay, for example. The point being, why spend a lot of money to build a darkroom, then try to use something unsuitable for a safelight that wasn't designed for such use or proven to be safe?

  2. #52
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipA View Post
    ... I would understand "proper safelight" ... to be one that was engineered and intended to be a safe light for a darkroom.

    In my opinion, that would include both commercially made darkroom safelights, and home made safelights (such as LED lights) that are carefully researched, built, tested, and proven to be safe.

    However, I believe the OP was referring to commercially made purpose-built darkroom safelights, which are cheap and plentiful and easy to obtain, at least in much of the world. There is rarely a shortage of usable safelights on eBay, for example.
    Since this thread has had a good bit of serious response to my somewhat tongue-in-cheek (or at least, cheeky) OP, I'll elaborate and clarify:

    Skip is correct, I was essentially referring to "engineered and intended to be a safe light for a darkroom". I also acknowledged in the OP that LEDs that had been tested would work. All I said as a qualifier, however, was that I had perceived that a number of folks had probably spent as much money and way more time obtaining a workable LED solution than might have been warranted IN MY OPINION. I could be wrong!

    I think LEDs are the lighting of the future, both in conventional lighting and safelights. I only wish the market would bring LED lighting more mainstream and affordable and let's get rid of the transitional technology of CFLs. But again, another thread. Let's not go off on that tangent, please!

    There are a lot of folks who like to experiment, as well as those who simply like to build their own equipment. I am not without the tinkering gene myself, and anyone who has visited my darkroom can attest to that. However, I only build my own when I think I can do it better, or because there is no readily available product to do what I want; not primarily to save money. My time is worth something - even to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkipA View Post
    The point being, why spend a lot of money to build a darkroom, then try to use something unsuitable for a safelight that wasn't designed for such use or proven to be safe?
    Yes, that was the point! I see this all the time - these false economies of photography. Photography is not unlike many, if not most, other hobbies, it costs some money. There are ways to save, of course, but some of them - again, in my opinion - are not wise. Safelights, obviously. Old, outdated film and paper, with an unknown history, because it's 50 cents cheaper. That sort of thing. How many threads have we seen about "what can I get at Home Depot to use for prints trays"? Because print trays are so exotic and rare (and thus, expensive) apparently.

    As my sig line said in the old days: Photography is not for the faint of wallet.

    Cheers, y'all.

  3. #53
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Real world observations always trump theory.
    Absolutely true.

    That's why the references I gave were real-world tests run in laboratories under controlled conditions, by
    skilled and trained technicians using calibrated equipment.

    Not their eyeballs in a basement.

    - Leigh
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato

  4. #54
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh B View Post
    Absolutely true.

    That's why the references I gave were real-world tests run in laboratories under controlled conditions, by
    skilled and trained technicians using calibrated equipment.

    Not their eyeballs in a basement.

    - Leigh
    Yes, but did you try it for yourself? What did you observe?

    Ken
    "There is very limited audience for the arty stuff, and it is largely comprised of other arty types, most of whom have no money to spend because no one is buying their stuff either. More people bring their emotions to an image than bring their intellect. The former are the folks who have checkbooks because they are engineers, accountants, and bankers—and generally they are engineers, accountants and bankers because they are not artists."

    — Amanda Tomlin, Looking Glass Magazine, 2014

  5. #55
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Yes, but did you try it for yourself? What did you observe?
    Yes. I've used a Thomas Duplex in my darkroom for over 20 years with no adverse effects.

    I mentioned that back in post #14 of this thread.

    That's why I questioned your results.

    - Leigh
    Last edited by Leigh B; 09-08-2012 at 01:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato

  6. #56
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipA View Post
    Ralph, David Brown (the OP) mentioned someone using 20 cent red light bulbs that were not made for darkroom use and who subsequently found out they were not safe. So I would understand "proper safelight" in that context to be one that was engineered and intended to be a safe light for a darkroom.

    In my opinion, that would include both commercially made darkroom safelights, and home made safelights (such as LED lights) that are carefully researched, built, tested, and proven to be safe.

    However, I believe the OP was referring to commercially made purpose-built darkroom safelights, which are cheap and plentiful and easy to obtain, at least in much of the world. There is rarely a shortage of usable safelights on eBay, for example. The point being, why spend a lot of money to build a darkroom, then try to use something unsuitable for a safelight that wasn't designed for such use or proven to be safe?
    I agree that it's pretty silly or downright strange to build an entire darkroom, cur corners on the safelights, and then not even do a proper test of them, which is neither difficult nor time consuming.

    Whatever safelight you use should be tested. You can do more elaborate tests but all you really need to do is pre-flash a sheet of paper to a light gray, say zone VI or VII in zone terms, with no negative in the enlarger (in total darkness) then set an opaque object on it and turn on the safelight. Leave it on for the maximum time you want to test for, say a minute or two longer than you expect to actually expose the paper to it in use, then turn the safelight off again and develop in darkness. If the outline isn't visible, you're good to go.

    Just placing an opaque object on a sheet of paper that hasn't been flashed won't work. The paper has a threshold exposure (the toe, actually) that has to be overcome after which it is much more sensitive to additional exposure. A really bad safelight that will result in fogged highlights will pass such a "test" without the preflash.

  7. #57
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Any safelight or safelight bulb that does not fog the paper. Some papers need a red light and others need an amber light. I have a very dark green light that I am told will work with color paper, but I have not had an opportunity to test it or use it. As others noted above, investing time, labor and money to build a darkroom as inexpensively as possible does not justify buying red light bulbs at 20 cents each to save a very few more dollars.
    One minor quibble - I know of no paper that "needs" an amber safelight. Many are safe with them, but they will also be safe with red. All black and white papers (except something like Panalure, which is part of my next post) will be safe with red. Some/most will also be safe with amber. Many people, myself included, prefer amber because human vision is more sensitive to it so the light can be, subjectively, brighter and you can see better, plus it interferes less with color vision and contrast judgement and causes less eye strain. But you can happily settle on red if you like.

    I thought the conventional filter for color paper was a very dark amber, sort of like an OC only much darker. The filter for developing panchromatic films by inspection is a very dark green (and has to be used briefly and at a distance - some people swear by it but this never seemed worth it to me.)

  8. #58
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    Yes, that was the point! I see this all the time - these false economies of photography. Photography is not unlike many, if not most, other hobbies, it costs some money. There are ways to save, of course, but some of them - again, in my opinion - are not wise. Safelights, obviously. Old, outdated film and paper, with an unknown history, because it's 50 cents cheaper. That sort of thing. How many threads have we seen about "what can I get at Home Depot to use for prints trays"? Because print trays are so exotic and rare (and thus, expensive) apparently.

    As my sig line said in the old days: Photography is not for the faint of wallet.

    Cheers, y'all.
    That used to be true of outdated film or paper. Now it's often the case that we pay MORE for it, just because it's AVAILABLE. I have a nearly full box of 4x5 E100SW in my freezer, dated 2006 but frozen since new and I think it's good - I'll find out soon when I develop the first sheets. I have packs of both Panalure and Ektalure in my freezer, both necessarily outdated but I bought them at more than they cost new because they aren't available new. Ektalure I wanted to try because I've heard how good it is, the Panalure (the later Panalure II) I've used for printing color negs in black and white and know it works very well for me. Alas, no one makes such a paper any more.

    Print trays actually DO get expensive when you get into large sizes. I have regular trays but when I wanted to step up to 16x20 I did look for what I could use. Anything I found that would work was going to cost as much as store brand trays from Freestyle so I bought those. But they do become both more expensive and more rare as sizes go up.

    Photography is not extremely cheap, but nor is it all that expensive compared to the things people also spend money on. One thing about having a really expensive hobby (which photography is not) is that it makes all your others look cheap.

  9. #59
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh B View Post
    Yes. I've used a Thomas Duplex in my darkroom for over 20 years with no adverse effects.

    That's why I questioned your results.
    Understood.

    But one does not need "skilled and trained technicians using calibrated equipment" to detect red, green or blue light. Afforded sufficient intensity, your eyes are already calibrated to do that. And I trust your skill—and honesty—to make that simple observation.

    When you performed the observation did you see any red, green or blue components in the overall output spectrum?

    I'm genuinely curious about this...

    Ken
    "There is very limited audience for the arty stuff, and it is largely comprised of other arty types, most of whom have no money to spend because no one is buying their stuff either. More people bring their emotions to an image than bring their intellect. The former are the folks who have checkbooks because they are engineers, accountants, and bankers—and generally they are engineers, accountants and bankers because they are not artists."

    — Amanda Tomlin, Looking Glass Magazine, 2014

  10. #60
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Leigh??

    The reason I'm asking is that for the last several years every time the topic of safelights has come up—and it's does so repeatedly as new people decide to start darkrooms—I have been giving this same advice for sodium and LED safelights. I am also acutely aware that APUG is an often used and excellent searchable reference for real-world information and advice. I use it frequently myself for this very purpose. So it becomes very important that the information and advice we all give is as accurate as possible.

    If someone should challenge me on some point because they think I may be wrong, or because they think they have a better solution, then it becomes my responsbility to revisit my conclusions to verify that I am not in error (which I did last evening by rechecking my Duplex before replying to you), or verify that their way is indeed better. And if I am wrong I must then raise my hand and correct my error to save people any possible grief (or wasted money) down the road.

    So... if your answer is that you observed and saw no other colors, then something else in my system may be causing me to be the outlier and I must find out what that is and probably revisit my standard safelight advice. I do realize that my observations have taken place on only a single discharge tube.

    But if your answer is that you observed and can confirm my observations, then you, me and Professor Niece make three concurring results and therefore increase the chances that the effect is more general in nature, and that the standard advice need not be revisited and is still worth taking.

    It basically just boils down to integrity.

    Ken
    "There is very limited audience for the arty stuff, and it is largely comprised of other arty types, most of whom have no money to spend because no one is buying their stuff either. More people bring their emotions to an image than bring their intellect. The former are the folks who have checkbooks because they are engineers, accountants, and bankers—and generally they are engineers, accountants and bankers because they are not artists."

    — Amanda Tomlin, Looking Glass Magazine, 2014

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