View Full Version : Test: Optiled bulbs as a safelight

Matthew Cordery
13-Aug-2005, 00:19
Finally! After much trepidation, I managed to finally get to use my make-shift darkroom this evening. It's not so much a dedicated room as it is an area in the back of my garage that I've curtained off with light-proof curtain material. Anyway, yay! no more rental darkrooms at hideous dollars per hour.

Onward, part of this setup is my safelight (duh). I chose to give the Optiled festival lights a try because of both their low heat output, brightness, long-life, and spectral qualities. Looking at the spectral response of Forte Polygrade FB, I chose the amber light since it appeared that it's sharp spectral response fell off the sensitivity curve of the paper. The only other real option was the red light and I didn't want to be working in a cave. I installed the bulb in a cheap desk lamp and attached it to my enlarger timer. The lamp is actually sitting right next to my enlarger, pointing away from it and on the opposite wall. For the sake of brevity, I exposed the paper for 8 minutes in 1 minute increments and saw absolutely no hint of density after development (which I did in the dark to ensure no additional exposure by the safelight). If you want to check them out,, the company is at www.optiled.biz. I actually bought my bulb off of ebay last year.

Henry Ambrose
13-Aug-2005, 07:33
They are great. I've been using two of them for over a year, one red and another red/orange.
It is a pleasure to have a really bright and really safe darkroom.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
13-Aug-2005, 08:47
I have also been using their Orange LED (thanks to Henry's suggestion elsewhere in this Forum). Prices may well appear a bit expensive, but if you consider that Optiled "festival" lights put out 2.5w, the economy isn't as bad as it seems. It is of course very easy to buy red LEDs and rig them up yourself. I have a red light made from LEDs bought for 60 each with a few resistors and an old 12v converter. For the DIYers, there is a nice wizard here: http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

Donald Qualls
13-Aug-2005, 19:54
Another possible use for the Optiled and similar high power LED lamps is inside the enlarger -- there have been some experiments, using green and blue LEDs (to allow separate timing/diming for contrast control) with some red added for focusing brightness. Cutting to the chase, it apparently works very well for difussion lighting and contrast control, keeps the darkroom much cooler than a tungsten lamp, and doesn't vary output as much as a cold light (or, put another way, doesn't require a multi-hundred-dollar integrating timer to get consistent exposures).

John Kasaian
14-Aug-2005, 09:42
My vote goes for GE Guide lights, 2 for a buck at Walgreens.