View Full Version : IR Night Vision Goggles and Photo Paper

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 05:56
Can InfraRed Night Vision Goggles be used while developing typical enlarging paper or contact-printing paper ?

I want to do some testing, and already have an IR viewing device, but don't want to buy a safe-light if I don't need to.

Thanks !

8-Nov-2005, 06:34
There is this old saying
Fred Picker

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 06:56
You are certainly right Richard.

But with all respect and good wishes to Fred and you, perhaps I would add "... and see if anyone on the forum has already tried it" :-)

Larry Gebhardt
8-Nov-2005, 06:57
They work fine on film, so I am sure they will work on paper.

Scott Killian
8-Nov-2005, 07:15
I tried IR goggles to develop film by inspection and it works great. As a result, it certainly won't fog paper if that's what you mean, but I'm not sure how it's an advantage over just using a safelight. Be sure to get a light source that doesn't emit any light in the visible spectrum - not all IR gear is designed for that purpose. I forget the terminology now, but some good threads on the subject at APUG and www.michaelandpaula.com under the Azo forum. For developing film, I made a lightbox using IR lightsources that don't emit any visible light and developed my film in a glass bottomed tray. It was like daylight.

Kevin Crisp
8-Nov-2005, 07:28
The variety of these things on the market is a bit overwhelming. If you've found something which fits well and works and is reasonably priced, could you indicate where you got it? I assume first generation technology is good enough unless it gave Igor eye cancer. Thanks.

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 08:03
Thanks - I already have an IR viewing device.

I will give it a try when I get home from the "salt mines".

Michael Kadillak
8-Nov-2005, 08:04
Having used an IR monocle extensively in the darkroom there are several reasons that I feel that while this task will work, this proposed application for printing papers is less than optimal.

First, I find that there is a point of optimal usage with my monocle that is in the range of about 15-30 minutes at a time at maximum illumination before my ability to focus critically at arms length starts to diminish. This could be associated with just me personally or the fact that I am only using a monocle and may not be as much of an issue if I were using an IR binocular.

Secondly, you must remember to protect the sensitive light gathering components of the IR device. I was told by the distributor of these devices that exposing them to daylight or intense light without the protective caps can harm them. Just one more thing to concern yourself with remembering in the darkroom.

Lastly, at the nearly give away price for various conventional safe lights in the used market including the 10x12 Kodak bulb lights or even the Thomas Safe Light, I use my IR device for film development for short durations in completely dark conditions and illuminate my darkroom in amber light from safe lights and can comfortably spend long periods of time there without the irritation of the headset and the strain on my eyes. As my Uncle used to say - Keep it simple and use the right tools.


Frank Petronio
8-Nov-2005, 08:14
They're useful in pro labs with automated machines...

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 08:15
Michael 's original posting on the Azo Forum is wonderful and comprehensive. It can be found here (http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/AzoForum/one.asp?ID=6011&PgNo=&GID=6011&CID=2" target="_blank).

I purchased a monocular as suggested in that thread by Jeremy Moore. I have been using it for loading film and development by inspection, for around 6 months, with great delight, during extended periods of time - with no deleterious effects.

I intend to make some simple contact prints on RC silver paper, for comparison against hand-coated Pt/Pd on fine-art paper.

I don't currently own a safelight. If I end up going back to Silver paper, I will get one and use it instead of the IR device.

John Kasaian
8-Nov-2005, 08:20
You don't want to buy a safe light? GE Guide lamps (night lights) 2 fer a buck at walgreens work peachy and will last longer than most of us will.


Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 08:53
Thanks John - I had no idea. Last time I bought a safelight was in the early 70's.

Hey, how about that Henry Ford... I hear he's paying his men a dollar a day ! All I want to know is... what are they going to spend it all on ?

John Kasaian
8-Nov-2005, 09:03
Ken, they're packaged two on a card and emit an OC light---though it dosen't say so on the card---- kind of art deco looking little plug ins. They ARE'N'T the nightlights with the little bulbs (which are more expensive anyway)

A real bargain!

John Berry ( Roadkill )
8-Nov-2005, 10:10
I also use night vision goggles for developing film. Unless I was doing color at home I can't imagine using NVG over a safelight. Shallow depth of field, narrow angle of view. I look at it kinda like this , I could cut down a tree with a hatchet but a chainsaw is the proper tool.

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 10:29
John - By "OC", co you mean orange-colored, or something else ?

Ian Witlen
8-Nov-2005, 10:30
Why not just buy a $9 safe light bulb that works with any light bulb socket. I'd imagine it is much less exspensive than an IR monocular.

David Van Gosen
8-Nov-2005, 10:46
John K. - Any chance you'd have a part # for those GE lamps? I've checked their site, but come up empty-handed.

Thanks, David

Don Wilkes
8-Nov-2005, 10:49
John: Could you be more specific about these "guide lamps"? I have been all through both the GE and Walgreens websites, and can find no reference to such a beast. If you could point to a URL with the product, that would be terrific -- I'm in Canada, and there is no such thing as Walgreens (which I take it is some sort of big drugstore chain), so I need to know exactly what to look for in another store, if I am to have any hope of finding them.

Are they an electoluminescent disk or something similar? The ones I've seen are certainly not two for a buck!

Cheers, and thanks for the tip.

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 10:58
I found out that 0C is a filter designation, like 6B , whatever.

Jeremy Moore
8-Nov-2005, 13:11
Hey, it's nice to be mentioned :-)

While I was waiting for my red LED lights to show up so that I could make my safelight I used the NVG while printing in the darkroom on some fiber paper without any deleterious effects.

Henry Ambrose
8-Nov-2005, 13:53

I think if you used a good safelight you would never want to use IR goggles for printing. I wrote this in a past thread about my safelights which screw into a standard US household socket and cost about $30.00:

"LEDs make great safelights as they can be manufactured to emit only certain wavelengths of light so filters aren't needed. The red OptiLED is listed as 627 nm with a spectral half-width of 20nm. Which translates to very red and very far away from anything that would expose photo paper which is sensitive down in the blue and green range at 450 to 500 nm.

You can find them here: www.optiled.biz/products/products.html (http://www.optiled.biz/products/products.html) "

Ken Lee
8-Nov-2005, 17:50
What kind of "base" is the ordinary light bulb socket for the US ?

The item you mention is listed under "Festoon" lighting, and there are several choices of base/color combinations.

David Van Gosen
8-Nov-2005, 18:49

The Festival bulb with the threaded (medium) base is normal in the USA for household use; the others are commercial. I got mine from eBay for $25 plus shipping. Let me know if you need the part # from it.

Still wouldn't mind having the details of a fifty cent safelight, though. Maybe John's using the nightlights with the tiny neon bulbs?

Henry Ambrose
8-Nov-2005, 21:08

When you view the .pdf, the lamp base you want is the one on the left of the page - threaded - the other is a bayonet with pins sticking out the sides.

Either the red/orange or red will work, I have both. In testing I found no fogging from either one out to seven minutes with several different VC papers. The red/orange will/might give a bit more normal look to your surroundings. With the red everything in my darkroom is very much black & white - I have no sensation of color in the room at all. These lamps are very bright and you might think at first they're way too bright and will fog your paper, but that's not the case. You will find working in a very well lit darkroom to be a great experience. Sounds silly though - "well lit darkroom".

I bought a cheap up-light accent fixure from Home Depot. I aim the light into the upper corner of my darkroom and let it bounce off the white ceiling and walls opposite my sink. I have a small Kodak bullet with a 7W lamp and OC filter over the sink for a little fill on that side of the room.

The other thing I suggest in darkroom lighting is a 40-60 watt lamp in a reflector fixture for viewing prints. I bounce mine off the ceiling as well. The idea is to get a white light level that helps you translate/simulate the wet print view into the subsequent dry print appearance. Not too bright and not too dim, experiment a little.

John Kasaian
8-Nov-2005, 23:45
David, don, Ken,

Hello everyone. I fished one of my little GE Guide lamps out of the box where I keep my darkroom stuff in between printing sessions (hey, my darkroom is also my 7 year old's "Barbie" bathroom)and theres no model number on the lamp itself, but a UL in a cirlce, one other mark with a " SA" in a big "C" and " 1/4 watt 125v" These have worked very well for me. It would be a shame if they stopped making them. I'll be going by a Walgreen's later tonight and I'll stop in to see if they have any on a card and get the model # if available. I've bought my last set within the past four or five years----they don't burn out----either my kids appropriate them as night lights or I loose the tiny little things.


John Kasaian
9-Nov-2005, 03:26
I talked to the manager at the local walgreens and was told that GE stopped making them, however there are cards propbably still around at retailers who don't turn stock over as fast as the big chains. You might try an independent drug grocery or hardware store. :-(

Ken Lee
9-Nov-2005, 06:11
By the way, the IR monocular worked just fine.

Finally figured out how to make a Pt/Pd contact print with the dMax of a Silver print. Of course what I made is a Silver print. (With apologies to Carl and Oren). And don't flame me, but I'm not so sure that the Pt/Pd version shows any more separation among midtones, high-values, or low-values either.

In thet vein,. can anyone recommend a nice paper/developer combination that will give a slight warm color, similar to Pt/Pd on Silver paper ? I'm happy to mix my own developer. The color I like is not too different from selenium-toned images, just a little wamer. Is there such a thing as Palladium toning ?

David Van Gosen
9-Nov-2005, 14:49

Thanks for the update. The "1/4 watt" tells me it's a neon bulb. Even if GE doesn't make them, I bet a few will still turn up. I might try the dollar store, small local hardware store, etc.