View Full Version : Compensating enlarging timers ? Who knows?
I am setting up a new darkroom to accomadate 8x10 negative printing. I have an 8 x10 aristo cold light head and no timer. I am considering buying a compensating timer such as the MetroLux ll or the Zone 6. I will be doing multiple prints ( 16x20 and larger) of 25. I want repeatable results, not cold light drift. I ha ve been printing 4x5 with a cold head for many years with no problem but then ag ain I was not doing this amount of prints from same neg. Does anyone have the M etroLux ll ?? This is what I am leaning towards. (please no metronone replies) Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks RW
My experience with a cold light head is that without a stabilizer or compensating timer they drift all over the place in intensity. When I was using a coldliht head (4x5) I used a Zone VI stabilizer that worked very well. A few years ago I started using Variable Contrast papers and decided to go with a dichroic head, a mounted a light probe in the mixing chamber and added a Zone VI compensting enlarging timer. Now I have a Constant Exposure light source at any filter setting (if your are using medium gray as your reference point). I like the Zone VI because it is easy to operate because it uses knobs that turn to the setting you want, the Metrolux is a little more complicated although I am sure that it can be mastered with a little practice. I am sure that there a many top notch photographers out there that don't use either of these timers but I would suggest buying one if easily repeatable results is your goal.
One less expensive answer is a light block between the lens and paper. Let the head warm up to working temperature and don't turn it off again. Set the negative, focus and composition and then put the light block inbetween the lens and easel. Remove it or swing it out of the way(a built in movable block on many older enlargers does this one) and expose the paper. Then move the block back into the light path. No on and off, no drift to speak of once the light is at its working temperature. But, no real options if you have to use exposures such as 4.8 seconds. This system works much better for times a bit longer.
Greetings. Iam new to this forum and I am impressed with who is out there. We large format shooters are an endanrered speices. Keep up the good work ! Your replies have confirmed what I thought was available in compensating timers ie: Merolux ll, and Zone 6. I have a flyer from Metrolux, the were accessable, informitive and nice. Yes for years I have used the warm up method of printing with a cold light. When I used to print 2 1/4 negs without a glass carrier; I would set up to print; then cover the lens and hit the timer. As soon as the timer ran out > I would uncover the lens and then expose the paper. This did two things: first it would pre-heat the negative ( I would also focus on a pre-heated negative- even cold lights have some heat) and 2 this would help reduce any drift from the cold light itself. This works however it is time consuming when doing multiple prints. This is a time vs. expense issue. I will continue to search for a used Metrolux ll timer. Wish me luck !!
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