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  1. #1
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    What Light Source Should I Get?

    I'm having a hard time choosing a light source. There's so much manufacturer marketing hype and overly 'helpful' retailers pushing their brands out there...I need help from real-life photographers!

    I print on Ilford Multigrade IV FB paper with a Beseler 45MXT enlarger. I'm looking for a diffusion head that will connect to the RH Designs StopClock Pro and Analyser Pro that I also plan to get. (I'm leaning away from cold lights and the StopClock Vario). If things work out, I should be ready to purchase the whole lot in about four months.

    Please dispense your wisdom in the available space below

    Murray
    Last edited by MurrayMinchin; 12-14-2006 at 11:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Why not go for a second-hand Ilford Multigrade head, they do appear for sale fairly regularly.

    Ian

  3. #3
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Murray,

    Could we look at how you got to this conclussion? Why are you "leaning away from cold lights and the StopClock Vario?" I have no axe to grind. I agree with the Stop Clock either version, and have a diffussion head on a Saunders LPL 4550XLG/VCCE and a cold light on a 138S converted to 8x10. Maybe if we better understand your thinking we can offer thoughts that make sense to you.

    John Powers

  4. #4
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Hi Ian - the Multigrade 500 is one I've been 'googling'. Do you have one? What makes you recommend it?

    Hi John - I wanted to use an RH Designs Analyser exposure meter which as far as I know doesn't work as well with cold light heads, because one or both of the tubes may change between when the readings were done and the exposure...a problem that would be compounded (I think) with long, complex burning and/or sharp and unsharp masking sequences. Another reason is that the StopClock Vario would work great for splitgrade printing (which I don't do) as it reads only the volume of light, not the colour of it as well. Doesn't this mean that if using both tubes at the same time, if one tube heats up and produces more light at a different rate than the other tube, the timer would compensate for a shortened exposure, but not the increase or loss of contrast?

    I want a light source where I can work on a print one day, come back to it another day and start exactly where I left off, or be able to make slam-dunk perfect re-prints days later. I've standardized a method of testing emergence time in the developer, so the only variable left is the predictability of the light source. (Well yeah, there's paper contrast between emulsion batches too, but I buy 16x20 in boxes of 50 and cut it down to whatever size I need).

    Bonus points will be given if the recommended light source can pass the 'focus on a negative, take it out, ramp up the contrast, make a light gray print' test...and its smooooth from edge to edge and corner to corner.

    Murray
    Last edited by MurrayMinchin; 12-15-2006 at 09:04 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Butt coverage.
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  5. #5
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Consider a dichroic head. I am using an Analyzer Pro connected to the Beseler Dichro head for the 45M** series enlargers. These often show up used on feePay and go pretty cheap. If you didn't pre-order the Analyzer with sockets for the US style plugs, you'll have to do some minor surgery on the plug so it will take the Analyzer-style plugs. It's a five-minute job.

  6. #6
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin View Post
    I'm looking for a diffusion head that will connect to the RH Designs StopClock Pro and Analyser Pro that I also plan to get.
    That's two timers. If you want the features that differentiate the Analyser Pro from the StopClock Pro, get the StopClock Pr and a Zonemaster II meter. It provides the Analyser features that the Stopclock lacks and plugs right into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin View Post
    (I'm leaning away from cold lights and the StopClock Vario).
    There are pros and cons but let me address what I see as your concerns...

    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin View Post
    I wanted to use an RH Designs Analyser exposure meter which as far as I know doesn't work as well with cold light heads, because one or both of the tubes may change between when the readings were done and the exposure...a problem that would be compounded (I think) with long, complex burning and/or sharp and unsharp masking sequences. Another reason is that the StopClock Vario would work great for splitgrade printing (which I don't do) as it reads only the volume of light, not the colour of it as well. Doesn't this mean that if using both tubes at the same time, if one tube heats up and produces more light at a different rate than the other tube, the timer would compensate for a shortened exposure, but not the increase or loss of contrast?

    I want a light source where I can work on a print one day, come back to it another day and start exactly where I left off, or be able to make slam-dunk perfect re-prints days later. I've standardized a method of testing emergence time in the developer, so the only variable left is the predictability of the light source. (Well yeah, there's paper contrast between emulsion batches too, but I buy 16x20 in boxes of 50 and cut it down to whatever size I need).

    Bonus points will be given if the recommended light source can pass the 'focus on a negative, take it out, ramp up the contrast, make a light gray print' test...and its smooooth from edge to edge and corner to corner.

    Murray
    I have no experience with dual-tube, VC coldlight head. I have a ZoneVI/Aristo with an older lamp that I have to color correct until I acquire a V54 lamp. I do split grade with two filters, not by blending light from two tubes. The head utilizes a stabilizer. If I print with my stabilizer at say "F" today, "F" tomorrow will match the output. A stabilized light source does not require the Vario and will work fine with the Stopclock Pro, according to Richard.

    I'm planning on using my ZoneVI head and stabilizer with a V54 lamp, soft and hard filters, a Stopclock Pro and a Zonemaster II. I believe I will have none of the problems that are of concern to you.

  7. #7
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin View Post
    Hi John - I wanted to use an RH Designs Analyser exposure meter which as far as I know doesn't work as well with cold light heads, because one or both of the tubes may change between when the readings were done and the exposure...a problem that would be compounded (I think) with long, complex burning and/or sharp and unsharp masking sequences.

    Another reason is that the StopClock Vario would work great for splitgrade printing (which I don't do) but it reads only the volume of light, not the colour of it as well. Doesn't this mean if using both tubes at the same time, that if one tube heats up and produces more light at a different rate than the other tube, the timer would compensate for the shortened exposure, but not the increase or loss of contrast?

    I want a light source where I can work on a print one day, come back to it another day and start exactly where I left off, or be able to make slam-dunk perfect re-prints days later. I've standardized a method of testing emergence time in the developer, so the only variable left is the predictability of the light source.

    Bonus points will be given if the recommended light source can pass the 'focus on a negative, take it out, ramp up the contrast, make a light gray print' test...and its smooooth from edge to edge and corner to corner.

    Murray
    Murry,

    You may have answered your own question in the first two paragraphs by giving reasons that lead to the diffusion. Either is good, but which is better for you?

    If I understand my cold light head correctly there is only one white light. The color is added depending on which filter of the Ilford set I put in for contrast. I am using Kentmere VC FB paper.

    In my case I think your last paragraph was solved in the 8x10 enlarger when Michael Mutmansky installed a 12x12 light rather than a 10x10. I asked your question when I bought his enlarger head. He felt the larger head had taken care of the question since I would only be using the inner portion of the light. He also included a center filter he created in Photoshop in case there was a problem.

    I have never felt the center filter was needed, but it was nice to have in the event it was needed. I base that decision on the idea that I don't need to burn in the edges of a print on a negative that has fairly even light from edge to edge. I have used other enlargers where burning in was needed so I understand the problem.

    Hope this helps confirm your decision.

    John Powers

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Hi Murray, I've used various Multigrade heads over the years, but have always used Durst and De Vere standard colour heads in my own darkrooms, as I occasionally make colour prints.

    The build quality of the Ilford heads is excellent, but as few professionals are now shooting much film there's plenty sat idle. I could probably get one (5x4) in the UK for free but unfortunately shipping to Cnada is high, and I'm not back in the UK until the spring.

    Ian

    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin View Post
    Hi Ian - the Multigrade 500 is one I've been 'googling'. Do you have one? What makes you recommend it?

    Murray

  9. #9
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the help

    You're right jstraw, I should have said ZoneMaster II meter.

    The Beseler 45s Dichroic head does sound good so far. One place quoted me a price of $1,600 for a 'refurbished' Beseler Computerized colour head...but I think I'll avoid that one.

    I used to print with a cold light and a Zone VI Tik-Tok compensating enlarging metronome on graded paper and was more than satisfied with the consistant exposures. When I went to VC papers, I aquired a Zone VI VC cold light. It's a lemon. That experience makes me shy about VC cold lights now. I also want to avoid using a one tube cold light and VC filters.

    I've got over 20 years of negatives to whip into work prints, then fine prints. The timer and meter will be a real help in that...now I just need to find a light source compatible with my enlarger.

    Thanks again!

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  10. #10
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin View Post
    I've got over 20 years of negatives to whip into work prints, then fine prints. The timer and meter will be a real help in that...now I just need to find a light source compatible with my enlarger [Beseler 45].
    Don't overlook the obvious: the standard condenser head and VC filters. About as sexy as your S.O. giving you grey flannel PJ's for Christmas but it does get the job done with _zero_ muss and fuss.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

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