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Thread: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

  1. #1

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    Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    As I contact print, I'd like to keep my hands free so that I can easily burn and dodge. Does anyone have experience using a foot switch to activate their enlarger and/or an overhead light used for contact printing?

    > Can you recommend a type of foot switch and a brand name?

    > Can you recommend a supplier?

    Many thanks!

    Robert

  2. #2
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    No - actually I hate the dam things... I thought it would be a great idea but for me I move around the easel and finding the stupid thing was a real PIA. I do a lot of split filter printing
    and lots of additional burns which make me surround the image so to speak... so Robert from this printers perspective a big no.

  3. #3

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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    I would find it difficult to print without a foot switch. I have no idea of a source as mine is probably 30+ years old.

  4. #4

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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    No - actually I hate the dam things... I thought it would be a great idea but for me I move around the easel and finding the stupid thing was a real PIA. I do a lot of split filter printing
    and lots of additional burns which make me surround the image so to speak... so Robert from this printers perspective a big no.
    Did you not like it, Bob, because all the moving around the easel made it frustrating to locate the switch with your foot?

  5. #5

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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    The best is always what we learned first.

    I learned to print from Fred Picker, who always used a foot switch. Since I have a Zone VI drydown timer, the foot switch attaches easily. I can't imagine doing with out it. Similarly, I have one on my Zone VI Compensating Developing Timer.

    Don't leave home without one.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  6. #6
    Vanannan
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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    I have footswitches connected to RH designs Stopclocks on all my enlargers a strip of luminous tape makes them easy to locate.

  7. #7

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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    When I printed in a lab, I always had my timer set to five seconds, and used a footswitch on a Time-o-lite timer. It makes burning real fast, because you can have both your hands in position, then start the timer, and five second increments allowed me to reset my hands regularly for different places. MY exposures were in five second increments, too. If you keep the time consistent, that allows you to learn a "look" when the appearance on the baseboard is going to give the right exposure. If you keep changing the way things look, you will never learn exposure by eye. doing it that way, it makes judging negs on the baseboard exactly the same skill as judging prints in the light.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  8. #8
    David Brown bigdog's Avatar
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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kalman View Post
    > Can you recommend a type of foot switch and a brand name?

    > Can you recommend a supplier?
    If you're using an enlarger and running through a timer, then most foot switches are proprietary to the timers. If no timer, then a simple electric switch will work for an overhead light or even an enlarger directly.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/power-m...tch-96618.html

    There are better quality devices than Harbor Freight (try a woodworking tool supplier), but $14 will let you see if it works for you.

  9. #9
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    Yes exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kalman View Post
    Did you not like it, Bob, because all the moving around the easel made it frustrating to locate the switch with your foot?

  10. #10

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    Re: Do You Use a Foot Switch?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    When I printed in a lab, I always had my timer set to five seconds, and used a footswitch on a Time-o-lite timer. It makes burning real fast, because you can have both your hands in position, then start the timer, and five second increments allowed me to reset my hands regularly for different places. MY exposures were in five second increments, too. If you keep the time consistent, that allows you to learn a "look" when the appearance on the baseboard is going to give the right exposure. If you keep changing the way things look, you will never learn exposure by eye. doing it that way, it makes judging negs on the baseboard exactly the same skill as judging prints in the light.
    That's really helpful, Michael. Thanks!

    Sorry to be following up with a dumb question, but, since I don't yet have the foot switch to test out, here goes:

    I have a Time-o-lite timer, as well. There are two electrical sockets on the unit, one labeled "enlarger" and the other, "safelight." I assume the foot switch will be plugged into the "safelight" socket. Correct?

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