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  1. #1
    Ian David's Avatar
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    Keeping time in the dark...

    Quick query...
    When you are processing film in absolute darkness (eg sheet film in trays), what is your preferred method/device for keeping track of the time?
    (I have recently been considering trying to get hold of a Gralab 300, but wonder if the luminous numbers are a bit bright for film processing.)
    Thanks for your thoughts
    Ian

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I use some cheap($1)digital countdown timers. I set one for developing, one for stop, and a third for fixing. These are super dim, but I still keep them up on a shelf away from my work, and still convient to reach. Some folks use metronomes, and count the beat-I tried it, but lost count(I got no rythem).

    Rick

  3. #3
    DeBone 75's Avatar
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    I use an old microwave with the element and light stripped out. It has a green led that does not seem to fog the film. It sets about 6' from the trays. At first a kept a dark red filter over it but found I really don't need it. I guess the area may be big enough for it to have no effect.
    Leslie D. Wall
    AKA DeBone75

  4. #4
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    I have never developed film in trays but I suppose you that their is some timer out their or ditial watch that would beep ever minute or thirty seconds or so.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  5. #5
    vdoak's Avatar
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    I use an MP3 player with a few tunes overdubed with the time every minuet and at 15, 30, and 45 seconds. Free Bird gets a lot of play in the darkroom.

  6. #6

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    Usually, LED displays on timers, or the luminous dials on GraLabs will not fog film. If you have problems, usually rigging a shade to keep the direct light from the timer display off the developing film while still allowing you to see the display works fine. I used a GraLab for years with no problems.

    In my darkroom in the states I use a Zone VI Compensating Developing Timer (no longer available) with a red LED display that can be dimmed for film developing.

    In Europe, I use a combination of cheapo oven timer (without lit display) and metronome. I set the timer with my total developing time minus 15 seconds and start it at the beginning of development. The metronome, which is always ticking seconds in the background, becomes my timer for agitation (so many times through the stack every 60 seconds which translates to so-and-so many seconds per flip...). The timer goes off with four beeps every second, allowing me to count the remaining 15 seconds, get the stack in the right order and transfer it to the stop. For the stop and fix, I just count seconds from the metronome. I often use a loudly-ticking quartz wall clock instead of the metronome. The clock is a bit quieter...

    BTW, I like Victor's idea of playing "minuets" on his MP3 player... Developing by hand in trays is kind of like an old-fashioned, formal dance in some ways (Just kidding Victor :-))

    Hope this helps

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com

  7. #7
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdoak
    I use an MP3 player with a few tunes overdubed with the time every minuet and at 15, 30, and 45 seconds. Free Bird gets a lot of play in the darkroom.
    Wow. You take beer showers, don't you? Ingenious!
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  8. #8

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    I use a Gralab 300 when developing sheet film in trays. With the small amount of room I have, the timer is usually less than two feet away from my trays and I have never experienced any fogging of the film (Fomapan 100). I'm not sure if different films will react/fog easier than others but that might be something to look into as well.

    Tim

  9. #9
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    No, I count to myself when processing paper. For me it's a little harder to squeeze in time between trays for other than moving paper. I just grew up with the same grandfather clock for eighteen plus years so my ear has been trained. Tested myself once. Off by 12 seconds over a space of ten minutes.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  10. #10

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    My darkroom is pretty small too, my Gralab 300 is between 2 and 3 feet from my trays, hasn't been a problem.
    I process with hangers in open tanks more often than trays, and I cover the face of the timer sometimes when I'm loading the hangers, but it's more from paranoia than an actual danger.

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