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Thread: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

  1. #1
    Corran's Avatar
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    Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    Recently, I have read about a couple of safelight filters that are designed to be used at very low levels with color papers. Apparently this is a greenish filter that slots into a dip in sensitivity of color paper, and is only appropriate for limited exposure.

    From my research online it seems there is an old Wratten filter, #13, and a modern Ilford equivalent, the 908. I can find neither available at a moderate size (8x10) to fit a safelight I have available.

    I also got to wondering about an LED equivalent. Any thoughts on a small LED bulb to emulate this filter response? I know a lot of us have moved to LED bulbs for our darkroom needs.

    I am hoping to improve slightly my color printing experience. I'm able to move about pretty well in my DR in complete darkness, but a hint of light would be nice.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    The color safelights I've worked under were brown, not green. And yes, they were dim. Tomorrow I'll look in my "Kodak Filters" book to find you the correct info, unless someone else posts it first.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    What about the Jobo Maxilux 6420 safelight? Or the RH Designs Safelight Torch for shorter trips around the darkroom?
    "Be still and allow the mud to settle."

  4. #4
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    So, to add options here on this list, the Jobo Maxilux, apparently on the "#2" setting, is an option, and a Fujifilm filter No. 103A is something else I found.

    I also didn't find a Fuji filter for sale. There is one Jobo Maxilux on eBay for about $50. Still personally hoping for an actual filter / gel I can install into a safelight or an LED equivalent personally, but this is a good start. I could swear I read about an LED with very exact transmission frequency that matches the hole in sensitivity of RA-4 papers but I can't seem to find that reference.
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    ebay item #233363959366 is a 8x10 #13 Kodak filter. This seller also have a #10 filter that can be appropriate. I don't remember whitch one is darker. You have to be in the dark pretty long before you can see such low light filters.
    Also 8x10 safelight filters are rare, most is 10x12".
    My Lumen project http://ginetteclement.com

  6. #6
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    I don't know the spectral sensitivity of RA-4 papers. Green is used for monitoring BW film development in the latter part of development. Two reasons for this that I know. One, film gradually loses its sensitivity to light as it develops. Two, the human eye is very sensitive to green light compared to other colors, so it can be very dim. Take a green LED and give it the smallest amount of current. Probably less than a milliamp will work. Don't have it on all the time. When I was in a color darkroom too many years ago, it was very dark even with the safelight. You still need to remember where everything is.

  7. #7
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    Ginette, thanks for the link and info. I double-checked and in fact I am wrong, the safelight I have does use 10x12 as you indicated was more common. This unit was given to me some time ago but I never hung it up as I didn't have a need for it, but I finally hung it just for the aesthetics of an original Kodak safelight, over my central "island" in the DR.

    Anyway, the 10x12 Kodak #13 filters on eBay at the moment are over $50 which I think is a bit silly, but I'll watch for a cheaper one in that size. For now, I've been working through my b&w printing backlog while we are social distancing.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    I see them on eBay all the time for around $25, so keep your eyes open. The #10 will work, but it is extremely dark. 13 is much easier to work under.

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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    I use 4 Thomas sodium vapor safelights in a reasonably large darkroom. The DUC filters in the outer vanes. It takes about 10 minutes before your eyes really develop the "dark vision" (something to do with vitamin A analogues) , anyway I use the antique Kodak drum processors that require working in dark.

    I was amazed when I first started using these filters, after 10 minutes you can see well enough to read a headline on a newspaper (not literally )

    I can easily manipulate the paper in presoak, and place the paper on the processor. See graduates, pour liquids etc.

    The down side is, you turn on the room lights and you need to start the reacclimation process all over. I use a little Jobo minilux LED safe flashlight of sorts, has a dim amber LED, but I don't get it close to the paper.

    #13 filters are the new and improved version of the #10 neither put out adequate light to do much of anything.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ilford 908 Filter and LED Alternative for RA-4?

    The recommended Kodak safelight filters are so dim that they're almost useless except to tell you room orientation. They were made in both the rectangular and round beehive lamp style. Instead, I too use a little Jobo Minilux for loading my big paper roll cutter. I've tested it a few inches away from RA4 paper for a couple minutes with no fogging, but for real-world usage never get it that close anyway, and mainly work in total darkness. I don't know if anything equivalent is now made, but these turn up used once in awhile.

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