A friend of mine also uses a metronome in his darkroom work and I can't understand why. While his work is excellent I'm sure that that an electronic timer would allow him so much more freedom when printing. I just cannot imagine myself doing without my timer which is also an F stop timer.
Originally Posted by vdoak
I'm sure many of those mechanical Time-o-light timers get thrown out every day in the US. Maybe someone will send you one for the price of postage to Japan . I gave mine away about 10 years ago (all my current enlargers have integrated digital timers).
It's not just Japan -- here in Canada used basic Gralab timers go for $150-$200 in camera stores used sections. I got mine, like new, off ebay for $25. And of course, just afterwards, I was given another one when I bought my enlarger. IloveTLRs -- if you are interested in this timer, please send me a pm -- I'm willing to pass it on to you for the cost of shipping.
This is a part of why APUG is such an exellent place, good on you.
Now TLR lover, take him up on this offer, and a small portion of that $200.00 can go to APUG as a suscriber
I'd answer the question by saying that a timer is necessary, just not absolutely necessary.
I think it depends on your enlarger, and the size of enlargements you make.
If most of your prints are made using exposure times of 30 seconds plus, you can get good results without one.
If you are regularly printing for 4, 6 or 8 seconds, or if you start making more complex prints, with lots of careful burns and dodges, a timer is a lot more important.
I've used a timer for 30+ years, but I have also worked in newspaper darkrooms without one, and can do a mean "one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three ...."
I use a timer, ticks of a clock and internal mississippi clock equally
usually all regardless of whether using the timer
final printing I use the timer but the setting of the timer up to then is probably half based on test strips and same internal clock/memory I've built over time that I wouldn't have IMO if were to have never counted seconds/beats
i believe counting internalizes the time better than relying on a machine would
I know MY time ..because I've synched to a machine for a "baseline" to draw from
I'd be much less accurate if I were to tell you when each tick is taking place by clock movement memory alone
The structure provides the accuracy
By this I mean over the span of a minute I may be off somewhat sometime/s
-usually sense that I am-
and so because of the internal rhythm can speed up or slow down to correct for the perceived difference
which I always seem to do by the end of the timing
A clock/timer is perfect so why bother keeping track yourself
up to you
I'd rather have it than not even if no help in the darkroom
I timed myself
on the last I made up for the slowness and got 1.03
30 seconds no counting just rhythm
anyway why apug? send some saved money to haiti! Or even...........................................
Lets just give all our disposable income to nee
".lots of careful burns and dodges, a timer is a lot more important"
just to show variety of ways
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Aaargh! OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
Originally Posted by Anscojohn
Me too (what if the battery is flat in the timer, or the mains power drops out?)
My advice: start with a top of the line timer, otherwise suffer the compulsive counting syndrome implanted in the brain from the use of devises like metronomes.
You don't need a timer for casual work, but high-quality work is difficult to do consistently without a timer. 1/12 f/stop difference can easily be seen in highlights and midtones, but it's hard to time with anything but a good timer. Also, many tests to understand materials and calibrate darkroom processes depend on a timer. I picked up the metronome idea and it works fine for timing dodging and burning, but the sound can drive you nuts after a while if used for all timing processes. Get a good timer, you won't regret it. Consider f/stop timing while you're at this point, but be aware that most timers won't support it.
i use a metronome too, but i think i might buy a timer when payday comes...
Currently shooting: KMZ Horizont and Minox B
Now, hold on there. All timers worth buying support it.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
Another great thing is a timer with a foot switch. Useful for dodging and burning. I ended up with the RH Designs StopClock Pro, but the Darkroom Automation one looks great too. Both f-stop timers.