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Thread: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

  1. #1
    Marco Annaratone's Avatar
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    Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Hi all,

    I am tempted to pull the trigger and buy a Heiland densitometer, probably the TRD 4. In spite of receiving excellent reviews, what makes me still reluctant to invest that much money is that I would use it 90% of the time on my 14x17 negatives. The arm extends only about 13cm (5.2in). If I do that math it turns out that the central part of the negative - about 3.6in x 6.6in - will not be reachable. If I am correct it is slightly more than 10% of the total area. But it is the one in the center. Would you consider that a deal-breaker?

    The alternative is to put together a contraption with my spotmeter following the BTZS guidelines. Accuracy becomes so-so, but I can measure anywhere I want on the negative. Here in Europe the market for used densitometers is what it is (especially for reflection/transmission ones), and I am not going to take the chance with an *bay purchase: life is too short :-)

    Cheers!
    Marco

  2. #2

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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Maybe Heiland could provide you with a longer arm...or at least make you an arm extender? Considering Heiland's involvement in the amazing 20x24 enlarger posted here recently, this might be a good bet!

    ps...if you should make this query of Heiland - please post us with his response. Thanks!

  3. #3

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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Marco, at one time Heiland offered a configuration whereby the head could be detached from its base (or so I read somewhere). I don't see this configuration mentioned on their current website, however. if you query Heiland you might ask about this.

  4. #4
    Marco Annaratone's Avatar
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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    I am afraid that a one-off version of the densitometer may result in a price way beyond my $$$ possibilities (and the Heiland as it is is already way up there for me ...). Anyway, if I decide to contact them I will let you know if something interesting comes up.

    Cheers!
    Marco

  5. #5
    Marco Annaratone's Avatar
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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Annaratone View Post
    I am afraid that a one-off version of the densitometer may result in a price way beyond my $$$ possibilities (and the Heiland as it is is already way up there for me ...). Anyway, if I decide to contact them I will let you know if something interesting comes up.

    Cheers!
    I decided to contact them a couple of weeks ago. I asked them (in German) if it were possible to have a longer arm or a detachable sensor.

    They have not replied.
    Marco

  6. #6

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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Annaratone View Post
    Hi all,

    I am tempted to pull the trigger and buy a Heiland densitometer, probably the TRD 4. In spite of receiving excellent reviews, what makes me still reluctant to invest that much money is that I would use it 90% of the time on my 14x17 negatives. The arm extends only about 13cm (5.2in). If I do that math it turns out that the central part of the negative - about 3.6in x 6.6in - will not be reachable. If I am correct it is slightly more than 10% of the total area. But it is the one in the center. Would you consider that a deal-breaker?

    The alternative is to put together a contraption with my spotmeter following the BTZS guidelines. Accuracy becomes so-so, but I can measure anywhere I want on the negative. Here in Europe the market for used densitometers is what it is (especially for reflection/transmission ones), and I am not going to take the chance with an *bay purchase: life is too short :-)

    Cheers!
    Before I got my current densitometers, I built the one in BTZS and found it very accurate,but unable concentrate on very small areas. Also,it will not reach to the center of your 14x17 negatives.

  7. #7
    Marco Annaratone's Avatar
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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    I am going to go that way too. I just bought a used Minolta spotmeter to dedicate to the BTZS solution. Yes, fine grain accuracy will be so-so, but I think I can live with that. I did not understand the comment re: I cannot get to the entire 14x17 anyway: the “BTZS densitometer” is movable, I can put it anywhere I want. Am I missing something?
    Marco

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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Since around 1980 I have been using a MACBETH TD-540 transmission densitometer. The "arm" extends out 11 inches which has let me read anywhere on a 16x20 negative. I've seen this model and other similar MACBETH models go on eBay for $100-200.00. You can almost always tell of how much use the machine has seen over its life by its cosmetic condition. Have been using mine constantly for 50 years without it ever failing me, and it has been moved dozens of times over its life. Once I "won" a MACBETH reflection densitometer which looked to be in excellent +++ condition, and the seller guaranteed that it was working fine. Turned out that it was not working fine... the seller paid for the return postage. All I lost was the initial shipping cost, and that was OK to me, under $30.00 if my memory serves me right.

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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Annaratone View Post
    I am going to go that way too. I just bought a used Minolta spotmeter to dedicate to the BTZS solution. Yes, fine grain accuracy will be so-so, but I think I can live with that. I did not understand the comment re: I cannot get to the entire 14x17 anyway: the “BTZS densitometer” is movable, I can put it anywhere I want. Am I missing something?
    Mine was the original plan. perhaps they altered it later.

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Heiland densitometer for ULF negatives

    I'd just put a little circle on the light table somewhere and just spot meter the area of interest (with the spot meter) over that. For absolute density, you are going to zero the reading to the film base for each reading anyway, so any variation in your light table intensity will be accommodated.
    The on-the-fly calculation is each 1/3 stop is 0.10 log D. (Thanks SG!) Otherwise you can make some conversion table, or if it is a digital meter, use the scene brightness range if absolute density does not matter in your workflow. There must be a hundred ways to do it, depending on what you need from the negative.

    Personally I use the printing paper to interrogate the density of pictoral negative, rather than any electronic device. I use my densitometer mostly to interrogate processing control strips made with a sensitometer.

    What I do is to expose a piece of printing paper under the negative so it covers one of the densest and lightest negative areas. I process that paper strip and evaluate contrast that way.
    It is trial-and-error, rather than matching a table of negative brightness range values with a table of paper density values. But, once printing contrast is established, I'm ready to start exposing full sheets to work up the print without any surprises.
    Last edited by ic-racer; 19-Dec-2019 at 13:05.

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