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View Poll Results: Would you buy a timer/shutter tester?

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  • No way, a stopwatch is all I need

    4 20.00%
  • Yes, I must have one at any price

    1 5.00%
  • Yes, if under $200

    2 10.00%
  • Yes, if under $100

    4 20.00%
  • Yes, if under $50

    5 25.00%
  • Yes, if under $25

    2 10.00%
  • Yes, if under $10

    2 10.00%
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Thread: Timer Tester

  1. #1

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    Timer Tester

    Going over the timers I aquired, it looks like one may be off a bit. Finding an accurate AND trustworthy souce of time is easier said than done. It got me thinking about a solution.

    A small box that plugs into the enlarger outlet on the timer and starts counting, with 0.01 second resolution up to 99.99 seconds, when the circuit is energized. Obviously it would stop counting when the circuit is turned off.

    This could also be used to check shutter calibration as well. A way to change the time scale to one with 0.0001 seconds resolution and different adaptor and it should work for that.

    Does anyone think that this would be commecially viable? If so, would you buy one? How much would you pay? What would be an acceptable margin of error?
    Last edited by schwefel; 04-07-2008 at 10:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I'd buy a shutter tester, but I don't feel I need to test my enlarging timer. I'm not sure why the tester would necessarily be more accurate than my Metrolux (even if I were using it as a regular timer, rather than as a compensating timer), and I could easily enough check my Omega Pro Lab timer against something else.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  3. #3

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    I have a shutter tester (Thomas Tomosy - forget the brand name). It works well. While a stop watch is probably all I need for the darkroom, I have a number of much more accurate and precise timers. I just don't need anything better. I would be surprised if anyone does. I am usually wrong. On that you can depend. By the way, if Mr. Callow is reading this, I believe Mr. Tomosy lives (or lived) quite near you.

    Cheers,
    Clarence

  4. #4
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRhymer View Post
    I have a shutter tester (Thomas Tomosy - forget the brand name). It works well. While a stop watch is probably all I need for the darkroom, I have a number of much more accurate and precise timers. I just don't need anything better. I would be surprised if anyone does. I am usually wrong. On that you can depend. By the way, if Mr. Callow is reading this, I believe Mr. Tomosy lives (or lived) quite near you.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
    Where abouts? Detroit, Ferndale, Birmingham or is he out here in Vancouver?

    *

  5. #5

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    Vancouver, he is still in the phone book. I have never met him, but I looked into taking one of his courses - he had recently retired (that was about 5+ years ago). I bought the tester from him a few years ago. The manual for the (now discontinued) tester is still on-line at:

    http://cameratester.homestead.com/index.html

    It works very well.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
    Last edited by CRhymer; 04-08-2008 at 04:18 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added info

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRhymer View Post
    I have a shutter tester (Thomas Tomosy - forget the brand name). It works well. While a stop watch is probably all I need for the darkroom, I have a number of much more accurate and precise timers. I just don't need anything better. I would be surprised if anyone does. I am usually wrong. On that you can depend. By the way, if Mr. Callow is reading this, I believe Mr. Tomosy lives (or lived) quite near you.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
    I certainly understand where you are coming from, but I am looking at it from a bit of a different angle.

    (I am going to use easy numbers here.)
    Purely as an example, let's assume that a given time is over by 10%. If a exposure is set for 10 seconds, in reality it will 11 seconds. In my notes I take down that a print comes out how I want it at 10 seconds, at f11 with a column height of 8 in. Hours have been spent determining this, as have countless test strips. If I need to make another print, I have already done all the leg work

    A few years later, I have a need to remake the print. By this time, I have bought a new time for whatever reason. This timer, however, is under by 10%. I go to make the print, setting the timer for 10 seconds. When I develop the print, it comes out way too light. Now, I have to repeat the process of determining what the proper exposure is and the wonderful process of trial an error.

    Maybe it is just the engineer in me, but I want to have all of the variables know so that I can compensate properly. I know there will always be things that you cannot compensate for (bulb output over life, etc). By knowing the operating error of the timer, I can make two different timer with different amounts of error resonably identical.

    I enjoy the process of finding out what combination of factors makes the best print, but I am lazy and do not want to have to repeat it. Same goes for the Word doc I was working on and the computer crashed, loosing all of my work. Yeh, I will have to recreate it, but it will not be the same, I will not put the same effort into it, it will be different.

    Just my $0.02 worth, your miliage may vary.


    Jason

  7. #7
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    I have a shutter tester (Calumet) and that's about as precise as I'm going to get. When it gets to timing the timer I walk away.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by schwefel View Post
    I certainly understand where you are coming from, but I am looking at it from a bit of a different angle.

    (I am going to use easy numbers here.)
    Purely as an example, let's assume that a given time is over by 10%. If a exposure is set for 10 seconds, in reality it will 11 seconds. In my notes I take down that a print comes out how I want it at 10 seconds, at f11 with a column height of 8 in. Hours have been spent determining this, as have countless test strips.....

    Maybe it is just the engineer in me, but I want to have all of the variables know so that I can compensate properly. I know there will always be things that you cannot compensate for (bulb output over life, etc). By knowing the operating error of the timer, I can make two different timer with different amounts of error resonably identical.....

    Jason
    Jason,

    I too, have a background in engineering and acknowledge the fact that we engineers tend to exaggerate problems we need to solve. It's how we impress others - it's a very competitive profession.

    The truth is: making another (future) test strip is far easier than you make it sound. We're talking about a few minutes for a single test, not hours, and I belive timers all work with reasonable accuracy for darkroom work, especially the compensating type.

    I'm not trying to be a wise ass, I'm only being realistic for those who are new at this.

    Regards,

    Paul
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by panastasia View Post
    Jason,

    I too, have a background in engineering and acknowledge the fact that we engineers tend to exaggerate problems we need to solve. It's how we impress others - it's a very competitive profession.

    The truth is: making another (future) test strip is far easier than you make it sound. We're talking about a few minutes for a single test, not hours, and I belive timers all work with reasonable accuracy for darkroom work, especially the compensating type.

    I'm not trying to be a wise ass, I'm only being realistic for those who are new at this.

    Regards,

    Paul

    Paul,

    I know exactly where you are coming from. I will say though, once I get something perfect, I want it to stay that way. I know doing the test strips are easy.

    As an aside, such a device would also test the repeatability of a timer. A timer that is 10% out of whack is easy to compenste for. One that varies between -10% and +10% is whole different animal.

    That is why I posted on here. I think it is a good idea to me. It is not a good idea, however, if it is not commecially viable. At least not to anyone but myself.

    Jason

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by schwefel View Post
    Paul,

    One that varies between -10% and +10% is whole different animal.


    Jason
    10% error is outrageous for a precision timing device. Do you mean 1.0% error? My timer reads in 1/10th sec. increments, and the time interval will change as the light intensity changes (compensating). 10% error would put a company out of business very quickly.
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

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