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Old 5th October 2021, 10:31 PM
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MartyNL MartyNL is offline
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Default Localised vs general darkroom safelights

I’ve always had localised safelights in my darkroom and although I’ve been happy enough there’s no escaping the fact that it creates pockets of shadows even with multiple lights. This has always made me curious about trying a general safelight set-up with a lamp hanging from the ceiling.

My darkroom is around 8m2 and I’ve just got around to putting in an Ilford DL20 with 902 multigrade filters. Needless to say, it’s another one of those things that I should have done years ago. The difference really is like day and night. It took a little bit of tweaking after some tests but now the whole space is bathed in bright, soft illumination and it makes it a real pleasure to ‘work’ in.

So, if anyone else has this possibility and is thinking about doing the same, then I can highly recommend it.
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Old 6th October 2021, 08:58 AM
JOReynolds JOReynolds is offline
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My makeshift darkroom in UK is a tiny shower room and has a cabinet with a lit mirror/door and a shaver socket. I bought a red golfball LED bulb, which sits in a holder on top of the cabinet and plugs into the shaver socket. It cost €2.50, plus the holder. The result is magic - it passes the 10-minute fogging test and provides excellent diffuse illumination.
I have seen advertised self-adhesive strips of red LEDs, to be powered from 12V=, which should provide good illumination but a 2.5m reel costs around £50 plus £8 for the PSU. If you could persuade the electrical wholesaler to sell by the foot, a 200mm length would be great. Perhaps leftovers for his Christmas decor?
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Old 6th October 2021, 12:38 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOReynolds View Post
I have seen advertised self-adhesive strips of red LEDs, to be powered from 12V=, which should provide good illumination but a 2.5m reel costs around £50 plus £8 for the PSU. If you could persuade the electrical wholesaler to sell by the foot, a 200mm length would be great.
Just quickly checking ebay UK, with the words 'red led strip', numerous sellers came up selling by the 10cm, some with remotes and some not, but all VERY cheap at just a few pounds, compared to what you stated, but take note I know NOTHING about electrical items and powering them, but they make it sound easy!:

From China:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_f...c&LH_PrefLoc=1

The next two from the UK, but there are loads more and check out all the pics for first below, which shows them able to be powered by batteries:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/402264400...sAAOSwLIVeHTS~


https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/392703603...EAAOSw0w5eVve-

Terry S
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Old 6th October 2021, 07:42 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Safelight

I use a DUKA 50 colour safelight at the end of the workbench reflecting off the ceiling and the distance is about 2m.- It isn't on full power for colour but turned down to about 15-20% output but with B&W it is on full power and gives shadow-less lighting right along the working area and I have never had a problem with fogging either RA4 or B&W.
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Old 6th October 2021, 08:47 PM
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I use two strips of red LEDs stuck (self-adhesive) to a 2m strip of aluminium angle - handy to hang from the ceiling and provides some (probably unnecessary) heat-sinking. You can buy them complete with power supplies (but I would give the ones with a remote control a miss - too fiddly and cheap and nasty). Plugging the power supply into a remote operated socket lets me switch them off from the enlarger when it is helpful to be in complete darkness. I keep meaning to swap one of the strips out for Orange to make the light slightly less monochromatic...
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Old 7th October 2021, 06:36 AM
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By chance my darkroom has about seven or eight square metre floor space like Marty's.
Walls and ceiling are all painted matt white, with white worktops and white tile round the sink. I installed two Paterson safe-lights at ceiling level and frankly was astounded at how bright it was. It prompted me to test for paper fogging and it's safe.
In part I think the partially coombed ceiling acts like a reflector to bounce some light back onto the work surfaces. When composing and focussing I tend to switch off the safe-light over the dry bench as it's easier to to see the image on the base-board.
I find the brightness of the safe-lighting to be a godsend. I'm now 60 (how did that happen??) and wear vari-focals. In dim light my vision is nowhere near as good as it was, so the overall brightness of my safe-lighting makes printing sessions less tiring.
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Old 7th October 2021, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skellum View Post
In part I think the partially coombed ceiling acts like a reflector to bounce some light back onto the work surfaces...
...so the overall brightness of my safe-lighting makes printing sessions less tiring.
Yes, that's exactly it. The DL20 has 2 glass filters. The bottom one is 8x10" and gives more direct lighting while the top filter is 10x12". And because it is suspended from the ceiling by chains, light is generously bounced back in all directions. The MG filters are much more of an amber/browny colour which will be a disappointment for any visitors expecting the classic darkroom safelight look!
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Old 7th October 2021, 10:17 AM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is online now
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I use a Heiland LED Darkroom safelight - https://www.firstcall-photographic.c...om-light/p6719

It is brilliant - both to use and in its illumination levels.

I have mine turned down a fair way and switch it through the enlarger timer - otherwise I cannot see the image from the enlarger to dodge and burn.

I leaned many years ago from fumbling around in student darkrooms that dim darkrooms are tiring to use and a bright level of safelight was the key to pleasant darkroom working conditions.

Of course it doesn't help that my night time vision is somewhat diminished compared to when I was younger.

Martin
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Old 7th October 2021, 10:44 AM
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That looks great, Martin. I think, I severely underestimated, the contribution and convenience that good quality darkroom safelighting can make to my printing sessions. I've certainly invested enough in just about every other aspect of my darkroom over the years. I just don't know why it's taken me so long to appreciate the impact of a common and relatively speaking inexpensive piece of kit, like the humble darkroom safelight?
We live and learn!
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