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Thread: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

  1. #1

    Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    Hello there,
    I got interested in developing by inspection so i acquired a 10x8 in Ilford 908 safelight for the purpose.
    I fitted into my safelight chassis and...
    I cannot see a thing! even after sitting for ten minutes in my darkroom, I can see that the light is on but cannot see anything else, I cannot see my own hand let alone be able to assess a neg in the development process.
    I read that "after a few minutes you would be surprised how bright it is" but this is not the case for me at all.
    So I wondered if I was sold was the correct item.
    the packaging is all original, even the wraping paper appears original. It says GB no 908 on the box. However...
    on the actual glass there is a stamp with 7475 on it. Nothing else.
    On the back of the box, there is also a stamp with "D7475"
    So i wonder if this is a special type of 908 or maybe not a 908 at all.
    All my other Ilford 10x8 safelight filters have their name written in white "paint" so I got to thinking if this particular filter is not the real mcCoy.
    Because one thing is clear i cannot see a thing with it installed and I could never judge a neg with it.
    Any help?
    thanks in advance
    alex

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    It occurs to me that if the light being on is visible, then the "safelight" isn't safe, could this be contributing perhaps?

  3. #3

    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    Well every safelight lets through some light, of the designated wavelenght, otherwise it would not be a "light". What i meant was that there is a tiny tiny bit of light coming through the filter but not enough to actually see anything. All you can see, sitting there in darkness, is that vary faint safelight, but nothing else.

  4. #4

    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    Even if you hold a neg next to it you can hardly see the features on the neg. And of course when developing by inspection you are not supposed to bring the neg close to the 908 safelight. this dimness is what got me thinking that this particular 908 is not a normal 908. As i said it has the number 7475 stamped on it.

  5. #5

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    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    It has been my experience over the past 70+ years that the older a person is when they first attempt developing by inspection with the appropriate green safelight, the more difficult it is to learn to see the negative. Such development was the approved method when I began in the 30's. Red light for ortho films,and green for panchromatic. I still use it most of the time.
    It is a matter of light gathering ability of the eye,as well as learning what to look for. Some people are never able to see efficiently enough.

  6. #6
    Photographer
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    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    This article might be useful:

    http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/devinsp.html
    Keith Pitman

  7. #7

    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Pitman View Post
    Yes i know that article well.
    Guys this is not a case of not getting used to the safelight, not being able to examine a neg with it. I say again, I cannot see my own hand with this safelight, it simply is not usable.
    And I have just found a picture of a 908 safelight filter (5x7 size) which looks different from mine: it has Ilford GB 908 painted on in white on the edge (just like all the other Ilford safelights I have) and it has green tape round the edge.

    Mine has 7475 stamped (looks like a rubber stamp mark) on it and beige tape on the edges.

    Does anyone know about this 7475 code for Ilford safelights? I can find no info on it at all.

  8. #8
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    Several things things need to be considered when comparing DBI in the Weston era, or even Michael and Paula's suggested method. During the Weston era, and also with MAS and Paula used Super double XX. Super Double XX and most all films during the Weston era were "Thick Emulsion" films, These films show much more differentiation in tonal relationships than current modern Day "Thin Emulsion films when viewing under a Dark Green safelight. Further, ABC Pyro, PMK, Rollo Pyro, Wimberely's Pyro all use "Pyrogallol Acid" as the reducing agent. Those Pyros create a "Green Stain", hence the Green safelight to view the partially developed film is best. I use PyroCat HD Pyro film developer, it's Pyro reducing agent is PyroCatechol and produces a pronounced Amber stain. Using a deep Green safelight (if memory serves it's an OC Green filter) it was near impossible to determine any type of density when using PyroCat HD. Switching to an Amber safelight greatly increased my ability to determine any sort of density differences. Green safelight for PMK, ABC, Rollo Pyro and an Amber safelight for PyroCat HD (Sandy King formula) and Diaxactol (Barry Thorton's formula)

    2 cents


    Real photographs are born wet !

    www.PowerOfProcessTips.com

  9. #9

    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    I understand your point but as I said the issue here is not being unable to see efficiently enough to judge a neg, but rather not being able to see anything. At all. I cannot see the 3 ft by 6ft stainless steel tray in my purpose built darkroom. Nor the trays inside nor of course the neg inside the trays.
    Does that clarify things? Surely that has nothing whatsoever to do with light gathering ability of the eyes (which are fine by the way)
    it must be that this 908 is not a 908
    Do you know any safelights with 7475 stamped on the side in dark ink (stamped on the edge tape)

  10. #10

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    Re: Ilford Safelight 908 for development by inspection - did I get a bad one?

    Back in the late 1970s began to developed film by inspection. I used a Green globe AMATO (made in Germany) brand safelight with 15w bulb in it about 4 feet away from the film. My secret was to be in a totally dark room for at least 10 minutes before i started to develop the film (to let the eyes adjust to the darkness). Also view the film using the Rods in your Retina and not the Cones which are in the center of your vision. Rods are more sensitive to light. Practiced developing by inspection with 3 sheets of film. One underexposed by 2 stops, one exposed normally, and one 2 stops overexposed. Took me many, many trial runs to be able to develop by inspection. Developed by inspection for a few years but then stopped shooting LF film.

    Fast forward to around 2010, and began once again to shoot LF and ULF film. Unfortunately one of the effects of aging is that we loose our to night vision sensitivity. Tried using a night vision IR scope with little success. Probably would have worked in time, but I wasn't worth the effort. Now process most of my films in Diafine (processing times no longer relevant with this developer) and then scan the negatives and make calibrated digital negatives to print Platinum/Palladium prints from.

    My 2 cents to this thread....

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