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Thread: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

  1. #1

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    Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    I have been reading the Kodak Basic Photographic Sensitometry Workbook H-740 and I think I am ready to start testing my film and developer combinations for creating a characteristic curve, determining D-min/D-max, Contrast Index, and exposure latitude.

    I already have a solid process already in place with my densitometer where I can accurately determine the EI rating for any film and developer combo as well as the associated development times for N, N+, N-, etc. While it is possible to calculate effective film speed from the characteristic curve data, that is not in scope for me because of my existing process is very reliable.

    My goal with the sensitometer in conjunction with the densitometer is to really compare same films in different developers and various films in the same developer to ultimately select the right films and developers that help me reach my personal creative vision.

    While the exposure part can be done with an enlarger and electronic timer, a sensitometer just makes that part of the process fast, painless, and easy with 35mm roll film. I also think it is more consistent than using an enlarger too.

    I would like to get a used sensitometer for testing B&W 35mm roll films.

    Can someone with experience here in the group look at the available options on eBay and let me know what make and model sensitometer will work for testing black and white roll films?

    I just want to make sure sensitometer that I get will allow me to create the characteristic curves as outlined in the Kodak workbook.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Larry
    Last edited by LFLarry; 6-Sep-2020 at 09:41. Reason: Making the post a little more clear to understand.

  2. #2

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    I’d get an X-Rite 301. Get the single button as it’s newer. If you look and take your time you should be able to get one for under $200. Make them an offer and Good luck

  3. #3

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    I've been very happy with my Gretag D200-II and, IIRC, I paid something like $150 for it. And, it came with various size apertures, calibration strip, and dust cover all in the original hardshell case. I didn't have one for most of my photographic life, but it sure makes testing easier, more efficient, and IMO more accurate.

  4. #4

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    If you want a new device, with a warranty and service, this is one of the best options: https://www.catlabs.info/product/heiland-densitometer

  5. #5

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    Hi Luis, I had a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.

  6. #6

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    365

    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Hi Alan, I have a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    I've been very happy with my Gretag D200-II and, IIRC, I paid something like $150 for it. And, it came with various size apertures, calibration strip, and dust cover all in the original hardshell case. I didn't have one for most of my photographic life, but it sure makes testing easier, more efficient, and IMO more accurate.

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    365

    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Hi, I feel embarrassed... I have a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite and Heiland densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by koh303 View Post
    If you want a new device, with a warranty and service, this is one of the best options: https://www.catlabs.info/product/heiland-densitometer

  8. #8
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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Quote Originally Posted by LFLarry View Post
    Hi Alan, I have a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.
    Larry, the error was mine, not yours. I've reset the thread title accordingly, and I apologize for the embarrassment. I've also deleted your added apology from the initial post because you weren't responsible for the error.

    FWIW, I can't recall reading about any still photographer using a sensitometer to expose film for these tests - it's always been a step tablet and/or carefully timed direct exposures to light. The methods Phil Davis describes in the various editions of "Beyond the Zone System" are par for the course. The only references I can find to sensitometers relate to use for X-ray and cine film process control in a commercial setting. I'm happy to be corrected if someone can point to documentation. Regardless, if you can lay your hands on one inexpensively enough, and can figure out how to check its calibration...

  9. #9

    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    In the back of "The Art of Pyro" by Gordon Hutchings, are discussion and plans to build a "Zone Board".

    Back in the day, I followed his lead, and constructed it as described. It did the job for me at the time, and I have just moved it to a permanent spot in my studio.

    To read the zones and plot them, I used a vintage (Art Deco Bakelite) Kodak Visual Densitometer, which is surprising accurate and easy to use. I think I paid $40 for it long ago in a used camera store.

    This stuff just works and is affordable
    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

  10. #10
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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    And a follow-up: I've now read page 5 of that Kodak workbook and I see where this is coming from. Everyone I know who has done this procedure for themselves has made the required exposures simply by contact printing a step tablet under an enlarger.

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