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  1. #1
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Is a timer necessary?

    I was walking around my local camera supply shop last night, looking at enlargers. I've been meaning to setup a darkroom recently and so I was pricing things. I found a timer, but it was $200

    It's been a while since I've done prints (almost 15 years) and I was wondering, is a timer necessary? Can't you just turn the light on and off? What are average exposure times for a daylight scene?

    Sorry again, but like I said it's been almost 15 years and I don't really remember anything except putting the prints in the trays of water.
    Those who know, shoot film

  2. #2

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    Up until last christmas, I didn't have a timer. I used a pocket watch and turned the light on and off by hand. It works fine if you have exposures longer than a second or two.

  3. #3
    vdoak's Avatar
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    I use a metronome to keep track of time, turn on the enlarger light with a switch and use a gray card for a "shutter" (the same one i use for burning and dodging). The metronome is accurate but is a cheap electronic one. I try to set up exposures that are in the 12 to 15 second range. This is so I have time for burning and dodging.

  4. #4
    Micky's Avatar
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    sure it can be done, and I've been doing it.....but a timer is a great thing to have, and I wouldn't like to go back to timing by hand.

  5. #5
    Denis P.'s Avatar
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    Strictly speaking, a timer isn't REALLY necessary - meaning that you can expose paper under the enlarger without it. But, it sure makes life in the darkroom a lot easier.

    My advice: check the local ebay or similar "for sale" secondhand ads, and I'm sure you'll find something quite a lot cheaper - meaning something in the $10-$20 range, which is quite reasonable.

  6. #6

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    I did it when I first started by just counting. It worked pretty decently - consistency was alright. However, a timer makes things SO much easier and enjoyable. I would get a digital one.

  7. #7

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    I don't know supply and demand for darkroom gear in Japan, but $200 is A LOT for a timer, even a new one, unless it has a lot of bells and whistles. Here in US, I'd expect to pay $10 to $50 for a used one, depending on type (mechanical or electronic), features and condition. The price difference between used darkroom equipment and new darkroom equipment is huge. If nothing available locally, check the ads here in APUG; I'm sure you can get one a lot cheaper even after factoring shipping to Japan.

  8. #8
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    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.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  9. #9
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    As others have said, a timer is great convenience, but not vital. I learned with one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three......... I now have a programmable electronic timer I built years ago from a Heathkit. I still count to myself, as the exposure is being made.

    One thing: make up some kind of simple foot switch so you do not touch the enlarger cord. A friend made one for me using a rubber door stop, a push switch, lamp cord, and end plugs. Works great.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    While I echo John's comments I now prefer a timer, I've had one for years, a Phillips bought in the early 70's it has a meter that can be calibrated and it'll even tell you what grade paper to use (via a chart).

    However when printing long runs commercially (70's/80's) we never used a timer, on occasions we'd do runs of 100/200 or more prints off each of a number of negatives for Press Releases etc and we'd use the red filter below the lens instead of a timer flicking it in & out of the light path. We had remarkably consistent results but we were used to working this way.

    I still count while burning & dodging.

    Ian

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