Safelight problem?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by DSPhotography, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    I recently acquired a Kodak safe light (with the 5.5" OC Amber filter) from eBay for about $25 shipped. Great deal considering that's less than the filter alone. When I got the lamp, plugged it, flipped the switch and it worked fine. the light was barely visible, but I assumed it was because I was in a well lit room at the time.

    Skip ahead a couple weeks. My girlfriend and I are cleaning out the room that will be turned into the darkroom and I think "hey, let me see how the safe light looks in complete darkness" so I go grab it and plug it in, flip off the rrom lights, turn on the safe light and.. barely ANY light. So I pop off the ring and filter and see there's a 7 1/2 watt bulb (white, not clear) in there. "There's my problem" I think. So tonight I'm at Wal-Mart and I pick up a pack of 15 watt clear bulbs. Get home, switch out the 7 1/2 for the 15, turn off the room lights, flip on the safe light and.. well there IS more light than before, but still hardly any. I hold it up against the wall (bracket against the wall, light pointing down) and I have to have my hand almost right under it to see it, nd even then, I can barely see it.

    Aare safelights (specifically that model) supposed to be THAT dim or did I get a dud? Could I put a higher watt bulb in it (it says 15watt max, so I doubt it)? Do I need a special kind of bulb?

    I just need some help on this because everything I've read says to have your safelight 2-3 feet away from the area you're working in, but the light doesn't even seem to reach that far. It's especially frustrating since I'd using just the one light mounted above the enlarger on the wall so I could point it up and bounce the light off the ceiling for enlarging, then angle towards he opposite wall for when I develop the prints.
    ?
    edit: The room is about 8' x 10'.. so is that even big enough or should I look into something like this? Or even one like this?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  2. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    So I did a little research on the Kodak light and according to the Kodak site, up to a 25watt bulb can be used for "indirect" light. It also said frosted bulb.. which is odd because I figured a clear one would give more light.. maybe that's my problem. For the 15watt, it said not to use it closer than 4 feet, but again, I don't even know if it illuminates that far. I'll try some other bulbs and post back with results.. but don't let that stop any of you guys and gals from posting some suggestions =)
     
  3. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    your brain has to adjust to the light, how long did you stay in the room with the lights and the safe light on?
    then test for how safe it is, place a piece of enlarging paper on an easel and place a coin on the paper and let it sit there for 5 minutes and develop. if the light is not safe you will see a white circle surrounded by some shade of gray or maybe even black.
    you could also do a standard step wedge, but instead of secs, use 1 minute increments which will let you know if longer times will be an issues.
     
  4. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Use the lowest wattage bulb you can. After your eyes adjust to the
    darkness you shouldn't need more than a 15w bulb. Less is better.

    Common faults in newbie darkrooms are light leaks, reflections/leaks
    from enlargers and too-bright safelights. All will harm prints.

    You don't need to see much in a darkroom. Just where your paper
    and trays are. Not much else.

    After print fixing you can turn on the normal room light for inspection,
    etc.

    Also be sure the paper you buy is OK with an amber safelight. Some
    of the paper available now is for red safelights only.
     
  5. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Ann.. I actually didn't spend much time in the room at all. My eyes hadn't even had time to adjust... I didn't even think about that at the time. I will stick with the 15w for now since it's actually what the Kodak site recommended.

    Compur, I plan on using Ilford multigrade paper, which I already know requires an amber filter. It's crazy though.. it wasn't until I started wanting to build a darkroom that I realised there were a bunch of different colored safelights.. I just always thought they were all red lol

    Thanks for your help guys. I need to go in the room with the lights off for a few minutes so my eyes can adjust and THEN turn the safelight on.. I'll post back once I've tried that out.. it'll have to be tonight though since I haven't blocked the windows off yet (still cleaning the junk out)
     
  6. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    Pick up a Thomas safelight, it makes darkroom work a joy!
     
  7. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ahmen
     
  8. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    So there's a Thomas safelight like the one I linked to on eBay for $27 + $25 shipping. You guys suggesting I buy that and sell my Kodak?
     
  9. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    It looks nothing like the one you linked to. Search for Thomas Safelight on eBay. Make sure the bulb is in good working order, that is the most expensive part on these. They run around $75-100 for a good used one.

    With a Thomas you can see everything you are doing, its almost like working with all the lights on!
     
  10. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    The one I'm looking at does look just like the one I linked to.
    ebay

    Only real difference is that the one I linked from B&H is for color (which was an accident, I only intend on printing B&W)
     
  11. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    Yup, thats it, I must have clicked on the wrong link!
     

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