View Full Version : Anyone use the Heiland TRD 2?

Oren Grad
25-Feb-2006, 19:32
Any users of the Heiland TRD 2 densitometer around here? I'd much appreciate any thoughts on whether it's a reasonable investment compared to the alternatives, and on specific pros and cons, from those who've used one for a while. I found favorable comments by Jorge and by Phil Davis over at the BTZS site but would appreciate any additional feedback.

This is specifically about the Heiland versus alternative densitometers. I understand well what a densitometer is good for and why one might want one, and I'm not intending to rehash past debates about whether a densitometer is worth it at all, or about BTZS vs Picker vs Adams, or about technical vs intuitive approaches to photographic materials.


Michael Kadillak
25-Feb-2006, 22:50
I do not think that the question is wheither a Heiland is a fabulous densitometer (unquestionably it is) or wheither a densitometer can be a valuable instrument for the photographer (it clearly is). The critical point is how much you should spend for the sensitometric information that you are interested in.

Considering the fact that this instrument is used significantly upon its acquisition and then sits ignored for years in your darkroom, you can acquire these for a song or even borrow one and get the film test data that you need. The issue of needing high levels of accuracy to the right of the decimal point is rather inconsequential because you are taking photographs in the real world and you will be tweeking things on the fly to optimize things on the print. Test data is only a reference point. As long as the device is consistent across the measurement scale you will be fine. I have seen $50-$100 McBeth or Eseco units match results from much more expensive units. As a result, I can honestly say that IMHO $900 for a densitimeter is considerable overkill and that is in no way a knock on the Heliand.

Save your money for film, equipment, paper or chemicals.


Armin Seeholzer
26-Feb-2006, 02:50
Hi Oren

I've not used one but if I ever would buy one it would be a Heiland. Its state of the art I know it from friends!
Hope you can sleep better now.

Andrew O'Neill
26-Feb-2006, 10:57
I use the Heiland TRD-2. I have used it for years now. I consider it a very valuable tool. It does not sit on my shelf collecting dust. Not only does it tell me what a film looks like, and to precisely pin-point devleopment times, it helps me nail exposure and development of unsharp masks. Making masks by the seat of my pants is such an aweful waste of 8x10 film.
The TRD-2 is very simple to use. Transmission or reflection measurements at the flick of a switch.
One more thing to add, densitometres get you to where you want to go much faster. This saves you time and again $$ in the long run...money saved that you can spend on film. You see, a densitometre has many uses.

Oren Grad
26-Feb-2006, 20:10
Thanks for all the input.

Michael, my main interest at this point is not for film, but rather to get a handle on paper curves a bit more efficiently. I've used a densitometer before. It's not absolutely required - I can get much of what I want just through visual inspection of step tablet prints, or, with more work, pictorial prints - but it would be a convenience and would enable more powerful analyses for the times when I want those. The decision may depend in the end on how good a deal I can find on one.

Andrew - thanks, it's good to hear that the Heiland is holding up well for you in steady use.

John, I just got back from a very unrestful road trip for work, I won't have any trouble getting to sleep... ;-)