Your light box
I have a Porta Trace 10 x 12" Light Box - Stainless Steel Frame and One 5000K Lamp, I've wanted a larger one, what do you use for a light box and what size is it?
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
Around 10 years ago I bought an A4 solid-state light box with a 5500°K illumination beneath a frosted plastic top. It has stood the test of time with no trouble at all.
It is a "VisualPlus" light box. Provides beautiful even light while studying trannies. Memory has it that it almost bankrupted me during my starting-out years in serious photography; it certainly cost more than $250. I'll never offload it; it was one of the very best purchases I made.
Canon EOS1N ('Brutus', 1993—), TS-E 24mm f3.5L, 20mm f2.8, 17-40 f4L, 70-200 f2.8L
Pentax 67 ('Pentaximus', 2010—) + SMCP 45mm f4, 55mm f4 & 165mm f4LS;
Zero Image 6x9 multi-format pinhole (2008—); Sekonic L758D;
Olympus XA, Nikon Coolpix P7700
"If you're not having fun, then you're not doing it right!"
I usa a Porta Trace 18 x 24 with 4 5000K lamps. Quite bright, no problems. Also not inexpensive.
"I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.
Big GraphicLite 5000k viewer, 21x49". Bought it from the studio I used to work for when it went under. About $600 new 10 years ago, I'm sure it's more by now. Nice, even illumination from three fluorescent tubes, long enough to roll out uncut 120 film.
I had two: a 8x10 and a 18x36, both home-made. I recently acquired a commercial one (about 16x20 - I'd have to measure), so the big one went to my wife's graphic arts studio. Since I only use them for B&W and occasionally sorting slides, color temp was never a factor.
Facts are facts. However, advice is usually just a suggestion.
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I have the same size lightbox, but with dual bulbs. I would gladly buy another like it, though I might get the wood framed box instead, just because it might look nicer.
Gordon Moat Photography
I recently made myself a lightbox for viewing negs. I had to pay 14pounds sterling for a light unit and the rest was free. Maybe colour temperature is important for you but I wish I had made one 40 years ago, it would have saved many stiff necks!
A friend of mine managed to pick up an unwanted xray viewer. Think he got it for $50 - it's rather large but does the job perfectly!
I have a Just 8x10. Bought off ebay in 2005, forget what I paid but it was much less than new price. Very nice colour correct light box.
I too have the PortaTrace 18x24 model. In fact, it's brand new from B&H. It's the 4-tube stainless steel version. I was a bit less than satisfied with the fit and finish at first. And the light distribution had noticeable - to me, anyway - hot lines along the tube lengths.
But I'm a tinkerer always looking to improve things a bit. So I purchased a couple of 4-foot aluminum U-channel pieces and just today miter-cut them down and assembled them so as to raise the height of the plexiglass over the tubes by only 7/8 of an inch. This small adjustment made a huge difference in the eveness of illumination from below. It also served to noticeably lower the brightness level, which I found excessive.
Tomorrow I'll cut some custom white reflector pieces and insert them at an angle over the now bare left and right inner sidewalls of the box. This should help alleviate the somewhat darker left and right edges. The upper and lower edges, along with the bottom, are already pure white.
That ought to do it, I hope. 18x24 is big enough to display four 8x10 negatives at once. And with the above improvements, I should be able to reliably compare overall negtive densities for all four at a single glance. And my Kodachrome slides - the reason I purchased it in the first place - already look just wonderful.
Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 11-02-2008 at 12:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.