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Thread: Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2005
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    174

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    Is there anyone using the Zone VI twin tube cold light head with the two dials that read A,B,C... and the main brightness setting dial? I have just started to use one of these and am looking for either some first hand advice on what settings to use for different grades, or a copy of the manual - if that was covered by Zone VI. I plan on running the standard tests with a step wedge, but would appreciate some ideas on starting points, or successful settings.

  2. #2

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    Check with Calumet and/or Aristo. I'm sure they have manuals. Also Steve Anchell's "The Variable Contrast Printing Manual" has some information.

  3. #3
    lazy retired bum
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Lake Oswego, Oregon
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    265

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    I have this head, though am not currently using it. I started using my old dichroic color head because it is faster and offered me more contrast control. I did certainly produce many lovely prints with the Zone VI though.

    A while back a courteous person on a forum sent me some settings for contrast control. I'll be happy to send you the spreadsheet offline if you email me.

  4. #4

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    I donít have current setting as to what to set the blue or the green to. This is due to the fact that Iíve been split printing with the head for years. Best way to come up with setting is to get a box of paper and experiment. Start with both setting at the center position and add or subtract the two different colors. Use one negative and keep good notes. I have a starting point and go from there so I never know what the final contrast grade is. Who cares what really is important, does the final print look right to you.

  5. #5
    Photographer
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    Feb 2001
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    Pine Junction, CO
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    501

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    Here's some starting points from my testing. Use with a grain of salt and at your own risk.

    Zone VI Brilliant VC II Paper
    Grade Soft Setting Hard Setting
    00 Max Off
    0 Max Min
    1 Max D
    1 1/2
    2 E E
    3- E C
    3+ C E
    4 D Max
    5- B Max

    (This was in a table and very neat, but it lost its boxes in the cut and paste. Hope your can track to the appropriate columns.)
    Keith Pitman

    keithpitman.com

  6. #6
    Photographer
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    Feb 2001
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    Pine Junction, CO
    Posts
    501

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    Oops! That didn't work at all. Send me your email address, and I'll send it to you.

    keith@keithpitman.com
    Keith Pitman

    keithpitman.com

  7. #7

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    I use the head by split filtering; I keep both hard and soft at maximum intensity and vary the amount of each color by time. It is much more rational to reduce the magenta (for example) 1 stop by cutting the time in half than it is to reduce the intensity via the rheostats, which don't appear to me to be linear.

  8. #8
    Moderator
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    Dec 1999
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    2,605

    Zone VI - VC Cold Light - Older Style - Settings?

    It sounds like you have the Type 1 VC head. Do you have a compensating timer with this head? The best way to use this head is with a compensating timer connected to the sensor plug on top of the enlarger had and to expose each lamp (green and blue) separately.

    Even with the compensating timer, if you have both lights on at the same time, you will get inconsistency in contrast. This is because with one sensor, while the overall lighting intensity will be controlled, the idiosynchrasies of cold light diffusion will result in varying mixes of green and blue light. The only way to control both the green and blue light at the same time is to have a separate sensor for each. This is what Calumet did in the subsequent Type 2 head.

    Calumet discontinued the Zone VI Compensating Enlarging time, so the only compensating timer available is the one from Metrolux. I don't know if this timer works with the sensor included in the Zone VI Type 1 VC head. Check with Calumet.

    Our respective Type 1 enlarger heads may be different. But, if I set my Hard (blue light) dial to the minimum "Min", I could vary between roughly a 2 and 3 paper grade by adjusting the Soft (green light) dial between D.5 and C. This also depends on the paper, etc. On my enlarger head, this would result in very quick enlarging times, even for medium format. So, I set my Hard dial to about minus 1.5 letter values (below "Min") and vary my Soft dial between C and A.5. But, that's when I exposed both lights at the same time. I don't do that anymore.

    In exposing the lights consecutively versus simultaneously, to get the best contrast consistency, I would do the following. I would place the Hard dial at minus 1.5 letter grades and place the Soft dial at C. Then I would pick an exposure time, like 16 seconds, and for about a Grade 2, I would expose Soft and Hard consecutively at 8 seconds each. If I wanted about the same overall exposure, but a little greater contrast, I would expose Soft at 7 seconds and then Hard at 9 seconds, still maintaining the overall exposure at 16 seconds, but changing the blend of hard and soft light towards a little higher contrast. If I wanted to maintain the same contrast, but add a little exposure, I might consecutively expose Hard and Soft at 9 seconds, thereby yielding an overall exposure of 18, versus 16, seconds. This is kind of complicated. But I don't care for split printing as such, and prefer to independently vary overall length of exposure and contrast, which is traditional in VC printing.

    This enlarger head puts out a lot of light, I think probably because the beefy power supplies are housed in the heavy, huge box that goes with the head. I suspect Calumet reduced the output of the power supplies in the Type 2 so that they could conveniently be housed in the actual head. You'll have no problem printing 35mm negatives with the Type 1 head.

    Experiment with your enlarger. You'll quickly get a feel of different contrasts. Don't think in terms of actual paper grades. Just start with a couple of settings and adjust until you obtain the contrast and exposure that you want. The more Hard (blue) light in relation to Soft (green) light, the greater the contrast.

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