View Full Version : Darkroom Exposure Meter

John Cooley
7-May-2005, 12:14
Does anyone use a Durst Variolux Exposure Meter (distributed by Jobo) when making prints in the darkroom? Can you please state what it does, whether it is a valuable tool, and whether it completely does away with test strips? Thanks. John

7-May-2005, 15:30
I use a Zonemaster by RH Designs. It's a great little meter, and I doubt you'll find a better one, but all enlarging meters work in a similar manner. Generally, they will give you a density range, to help estimate the proper paper grade, and a rough exposure setting, to set your initial timing and f-stop for your initial test strip. I don't think any meter will do away with test strips.

Louie Powell
7-May-2005, 15:34
Many years ago I purchased a Durst Analyte enlarging meter. What I found was that it was a convenient tool for me to use while learning how to print, but once I developed some skills and a little confidence, I no longer needed it.

As a practical matter, an enlarging meter can help you get the first work print, and if you have very good negativs, a meter may also help you if you need to quickly make a number of prints where they don't individually have to be your best possible effort. But if you want a good display print, you are still going to have to make work prints, and work through the issues of burning, dodging, bleaching and flashing.

Will Strain
7-May-2005, 15:38
The lab I worked in briefly considered getting exposure meters for those of us doing custom enlargements... we determined that for us, a good densitomiter (which we already had) and was infinitely more useful.

Gene Crumpler
8-May-2005, 12:55
I have an old Analite meter. It is useful to determine where to set the mid point exposure for your first test strip. Not much else:>(

Scott Davis
9-May-2005, 13:13
I've found the value of an enlarging meter to be when a: printing a new, unknown negative (ie if you have tried a new developer, or are printing a negative for someone else who uses techniques unfamiliar to you) or b: changing enlargement sizes. I have used the little Ilford darkroom meter and once you have established a baseline for exposure, it lets you keep your exposure times constant, while varying the F-stop to maintain proper exposure. It is also useful for maintaining proper exposure when changing contrast filtration for the same reason. Success in use depends upon being able to find an area of sufficient size to meter off of that has a sufficiently proximate tonality to the area from which you baselined your exposure reading.