View Full Version : Nightvision goggles for developing film?

13-Oct-2014, 17:50
I know I've read somewhere (I believe Ken Lee) that it's possible to develop film while wearing nightvision goggles to help see what you're doing. Normally I wouldn't need an aid to develop film in trays but now that I'm developing my film at home it's become a lot more difficult to maneuver since my bathroom is close to 4x4 feet with no real countertops to rest trays on. My bathroom is so small that if two people were standing side by side it's already crowded. My question is, has anyone used nightvision goggles to develop film? Can you comment on your experience using them? What kind of film did you develop? Pan or ortho?

I really don't want to spend money on night vision goggles but at this point it seems like the only possible solution to my problem. I hate having to juggle my trays now and accidently spilling chemicals on my floor. I always clean up but the smell bugs people and worries me because my dog always becomes curious.

Tim Meisburger
13-Oct-2014, 18:00
Get a daylight tank. Its cheaper.

Ken Lee
13-Oct-2014, 18:11


http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?101519-infrared-goggles (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?101519-infrared-goggles)



Bill Burk
13-Oct-2014, 19:42
I still use the ATN Viper. I enjoy it for developing film (by time and temperature but no futzing) and loading film holders. I also got a kid's toy viewer from Goodwill for $5.49 (it was included in a video game MW2), thought maybe guests could use it. Some people say the kid's viewer would work as well. I'm sure it would be "fine" but not as ergonomic as the ATN Viper.

13-Oct-2014, 20:05
After I experienced a traumatic hands injury so that I had little feeling which made loading a daylight tank impossible I used a binocular IR night scope. It worked after I inserted my horribly astigmatic lenses in it. The take-away is that some scopes are not intended for close work. Be sure that what you choose can focus upon your trays, or at least close enough.

Bob Mann
14-Oct-2014, 03:46
Still using a Viper, one of the better tools I own. Like many things you can get along without one, but once you try it there is no going back. Spend the money you won't regret it.

14-Oct-2014, 03:53
Does it take time to get used to developing with the ATN Viper? Does it slightly change your hand eye coordination or is it just like looking through a pair of glasses? These can be used with all types of film correct?

16-Oct-2014, 14:29
The IR goggles are good for all film except infrared, of course. The view is live, no delay, but the view is green and quality is not great. It was good for spotting coyote on my property.

16-Oct-2014, 16:56
Sorry I guess I meant is there any magnification when looking thru the IR goggles or is it like wearing glasses?

Bill Burk
17-Oct-2014, 10:37
1:1, and close focusing. The headgear is awkward to put on, but once past that part... It's not hard to get used to.

17-Oct-2014, 10:52
+1 For the ATN Viper. Diabetes has made the sense of touch in my hands so I can't load reels and holders by feel. I find it easier to use than safe lights for X-Ray too.

Eric Woodbury
18-Oct-2014, 16:42
Here's a change of direction. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm suspicious that one could develop film under deep-red LED light. Most film, although not all (examples such as T-grain films come to mind), have very little responsivity to light beyond 650 nm. Most of us can see to 700 nm, except for those with red-green colorblindness. You can now buy LEDs that peak at 680 nm (http://www.marktechopto.com/pdf/products/datasheet/MTE6800N2_UR_2012_05_17.pdf) that have virtually no light shorter than 650 nm. These LEDs won't appear very bright because human vision is falling off rapidly by 680 nm. Anyway, just a thought.

Test before you do.

18-Oct-2014, 16:45
I saw another forum member recommend these for xray film...so do you think if I try one of these (in theory) I should be able to develop under a safelight with film such as kodak 320txp?

Red LED - 630 nm


18-Oct-2014, 16:47
I use 680nm illuminators bounced off of the ceiling for my NV device. No trace of fogging, but I can't see by them either.

Bill Burk
18-Oct-2014, 18:08
I've tested the ATN Viper with Kodak 400TMAX (TMY-2) specifically, which I believe has less sensitivity to near infra-red than Kodak 320TXP.

I've used the viewer with Tri-X without noticing any fog, but I didn't test the film sensitometrically for the difference with and without.

I believe the device is reasonably safe for Tri-X, I just haven't proved how safe or for how long. One thing I did is cut the light down with a patch of developed silver film (as opposed to black E-6 slide film which is completely transparent to IR). I'd recommend that precaution, because it extends how long you can use the viewer without any fog.

I tried other IR light sources from Radio Shack, but once you go too far into Infrared light, they don't provide the illumination the ATN Viper needs. It is a 1st generation device, so it cannot see too deep into infrared.

Human eyes can't see under the light though, even though you can see the LED clearly, you cant see by its light (p.s. I don't think it's good to look at it - that is bright IR.)

Eric Woodbury
18-Oct-2014, 21:03
630 nm will probably fog film. 630 is the peak and there is spill over on both sides.

Bill, you are right. Don't look at IR sources. Or UV. Even with some of the bright, very blue LEDs I use sunglasses. Your eyes may not see them as bright, but can be damaged even more so, for this reason.

18-Oct-2014, 21:13
Wait a minute...I think I got lost here. So are you guys using the ATN Viper with bounced LED or IR in addition to what is already being projected by the ATN?

Sorry this is a new subject for me so I just want to make sure I understand you all correctly.

19-Oct-2014, 01:55
Regarding using deep red LEDs for development by sight: While we can see deep red bare-eyed, our capabilities there are restricted to very coarse silhouettes - I always found it very difficult to develop half tone films by sight when working in print shop labs brightly lit by arrays of red FL tubes. And that is a trivial subject in intense light, the illumination safe for photographic film is further down the spectrum, and you would have to evaluate tonality and not merely contrast.

19-Oct-2014, 06:02
I ponied up for a binocular viewer (NOBG1) from Night Owl Optics years ago and wouldn't think of being without it. I use a separate IR illuminator I got off eBay, as using the built-in one chews up batteries. I keep it about four feet away from the sink.

Tip: always keep a spare battery around. And another tip: be sure-fingered when turning the goggles off, or you'll be hitting that spare battery too soon. The image goes dark very slowly on power-down, so you want to be confident that you positively hit that button.

The goggles can be focused quite close up, but have a small depth of field. Focusing them at arm's length working distance means I have to bend over to read the under-sink timer; you get used to that.

Using the goggles for developing by inspection takes more practice than I want to do. They are indispensable, however, for klutz's like me who are constantly dropping things on the floor while loading film holders, etc.