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Thread: Darkroom timer

  1. #1
    johnny9fingers's Avatar
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    Darkroom timer

    Hello, My Meopta Opemus 6X6 enlarger is on it's way, and the other bits and pieces are falling into place. What timer would you recommend for a novice on a strict budget, probably in the $50.00 range. I'm not going to try anything fancy til I get the process down so I don't need a programable advanced type,(that will come later), just a simple analog timer to get me started on my path to the dark side. I will place a WTB ad when I get some info from you fine folks. Thank you,
    John

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    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Metronome.

    Seriously. Before my current enlarger with it's built-in timer, I always used a metronome and the enlarger's on/off switch. Trouble with timers is that you have to keep setting and resetting them. A metronome set for 60 b.p.m. is simply quicker - you can count through multiple burning and dodging times without having to keep half an eye on the timer.

    I used a card to start/stop the exposure - the one I'm going to dodge with usually. Card under the lens -> switch on enlarger -> count down 3 seconds 3,2,1 -> pull card out the way -> expose while counting seconds, doing any burning & dodging as we go -> at end time, put card back under lens to block the light -> switch off enlarger.

    If you do get a timer, get one that is easy to read and set in the dark - preferably with a red LED display.

    Cheers, Bob.

  3. #3
    Paul VanAudenhove's Avatar
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    John,

    The workhorse of all timers is the GraLab 300. Still available new, or you could probably pick one up on the auction site for under $25. Just don't do what I did: bid on several thinking I would win just one. I ended up with three...

    Paul

  4. #4

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    When I was a teenager printing in my parent's basement, my timer of choice was a Hauck. Simple to use. Still have it, doesn't cutoff the safelight though. Have a CP TouchTimer that I got at an annual photo auction but currently using an IC timer. Hate Gralabs for printing because you have to keep resetting the time and the flow from focussing/printing etc is not smooth. As a process timer it's king.

    When I get a footswitch I'm probably going to move back to a metronome system which I used when I was a summer intern at a paper in Ontario. Helps you concentrate and makes dodging and burning more precise and repeatable. Also something very calming about listening to the tic toc tic toc while bathed in the glow of the safelight.

  5. #5
    DBP
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    You could always fall back on the tried and true elephant system. See "Gregory's Girl" (1981).

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    I'm with Bob and canuhead. A quartz clock that ticks once a second is good. I've also used wind-up clocks.

  7. #7
    Gay Larson's Avatar
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    whatever timer you get, a footswitch was the best investment. Left me hands free.
    Prints available in the APUG GAllery
    www.gaylarsonphotography.com

  8. #8
    juan's Avatar
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    With an enlarger, or when using photographic paper, I use the metronome, and I've done it for nearly 40-years. For me, it makes exposure and dodging and burning much easier - you just count the seconds and use your hands to manipulate cards. No footswitch needed - just start the ticking when you start your session and stop it when you end.

    Of course, at the time of our divorce, what's-her-name-#1 swore the infernal ticking is what drove her to drugs and alcohol.
    juan

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    A metronome is certainly fine, and you can also use it for timing long camera exposures.

    A Gralab or Omega Pro-Lab timer with a big glow-in-the-dark dial, though, is handy for other things in the darkroom, and it will turn off the safelight while the enlarger is on, which makes it a bit easier to focus, though it's not absolutely necessary. They're cheap and plentiful on the used market.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10

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    I use a combination of a regular clock and a kitchen timer for the sink process including washing. They work fine.

    But for the enlarger I have a LPL digital timer, and I cannot print without it.

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