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Thread: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Sussex in England

    Talking Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    Thanks to all of those who contributed to my last post on this point.

    I thought it be helpful to post this up for those who wasn't sure whether it was safe light or exposure times I was referring to on the previous post.

    I've had another look through the Forte data sheet which comes with the box:
    3/ Safelight

    "Compatible with Kodak OC or equivalent safelights (amber).
    Working distance to direct safelight illuination should be no closer than
    1.5 m with aW. lamp. Maximum safelight exposure time is 2 minutes."

    It also states the safelight exposure as 2 minutes on their web site:

    During the enlargement and the developing orange or yellowish green filter can be used (e.g. Kodak OC, Ilford 902).
    Working distance to direct safelight illumination should be no closer than 1,5m with a 15 W lamp.
    Maximum safelight exposure time is 2 minutes."[/B][/SIZE]

    I know from using Forte warmtone papers in the past they soemtimes tend to resist higher grades and are inconsistant with their batch numbers.

    So I mostly ended up using ILford's warmtone FB for a series of work that had editons to be printed. And have had exposures of.. ahem 10 or so minutes on skys on prints sizes of 20x24 on 1 or 2 of my images.. But thats another episode..

    So why am I looking to use Forte again after all my hard earned previous experiences, well sometimes there just some bulls that you need to take by the horns

    No matter how feisty or challenging-Its like the girl in the bar she cheated on her boyfriend with half the male customers. Then one day she in there all by herself and bursts out to you I've been dumped.. Rather than LOL you end up on a date with her.

    To your own surprise and your buds what should have been 1 date.. like been there done that... you become an item..for as long as the love is there..

    Or alternatively you can lay your head to rest at night after your prayers you look up and say.

    You know what I'm gonna put an order of Ilford in tomorrow!

    Sweet dreams all..

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    St. Louis, Missouri

    Re: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    Seams to me there are a lot of things at work here. First, they are quoting an optimum condition and it is probably conservative. Second, the paper doesn’t explode when the 2 minutes are up. Third, the variables are many; distance from safe light to paper (light falls off inversely with the square of the distance), how old is the bulb (candle power changes with age), how old is the filter (they don’t last forever) and, of course, how old is the paper.

    My darkroom is about 8 feet x 14 feet and I have 4 safe lights of the 15w OC filter type. Depending on the task at hand, the paper is anywhere from 5 feet to 9 feet from any given light. I test my lights about once a year and seldom discover any change but my darkroom is only used about 40 to 50 times a year I would guess. My test is usually done by placing a small piece of paper on the easel, and making an exposure that is barely above paper white. Then I place it right under one of the lights (5 feet away), place a quarter in the center and expose to the safe light for 10 minutes and develop normally. If I can’t tell where the quarter was, I’m done. If I can tell, I retest for a shorter time and order new filters. I’ve only replaced filters once in 23 years.

    Everyone should do their own test. If you are using sheets I can’t imagine a two minute safelight exposure being a problem, especially if you turn the safe light off during exposure. I do a lot of large prints from a roll (42 inches x 98 feet) and it takes a few minutes to cut the sizes I need, so 10 minutes of accumulated safe light time it realistic for me.

    I use Ilford Multigrade Fiber Base. I started using it about as soon as it came out and if I ever read the data sheet it would have been back then. For all I know, it has the same two minute recommended safe light exposure.

    Bottom line: do what works.


  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Re: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    I remember that warning from years ago ... always used a red safelite in part because of it. i liked the seedy, red-light district vibe. it's also easy to make your own red safelites and filters--just use ruby lith from an art supply store. half an hour of close exposure and no fog.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Portland, OR

    Re: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    Forte Warmtone in my darkroom starts to fog at around 3 minutes in the developer with one of those OC "safe" lights. I have to process in near complete darkness to overcome the fogging problem. Still, I'm in love with that paper.

    Forte Polygrade(?) in the very same darkroom exhibits no fogging. I'm in love with this paper too. As John Sexton pointed out, some people are getting fine results with this paper as a Kodak PolyMax FineArt replacement.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Re: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    If two minutes is actually the maximum under all circumstances I'd find another paper. Between the time taken to remove the paper from the paper safe, get it adjusted in the easel, make the exposure, remove it from the easel, transfer it to the developer, develop, remove it from the developer, let excess developer drain off, and then get it in the stop bath, there's no way that I could consistently keep exposure to the safelight under two minutes.

    However, Forte talks about "direct" light. Why not just aim the safelight at a ceiling or wall so that you get only indirect light? When I used a darkroom I was something of a fanatic about eliminating safelight fog. I used a very low wattage bulb, I think 10 or 15 watts, in a Premier safelight that allowed the angle to be adjusted. I mounted the safelight high up on a wall and then aimed it at the ceiling. The light was a little dim but my eyes adjusted quickly. And in any event, I never wanted to read a newspaper in my darkroom so the claims by Thomas and other manufacturers that I could if I used their product never impressed me.

    Once you've worked in a color darkroom, where everything is done in total darkness, even a little light seems just fine.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #6
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada, eh!

    Re: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    Forte Polygrade V is my paper of choice. What a sweeeeeeeeet paper. Costs me an arm and a leg here in Canada, but what the hey, eh?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    North of Chicago

    Re: Forte Safe Light Exposure Warning!

    Forte Polygrade is my primary paper and I do exactly what Brian suggested. I have 3 safelights in my 9x15 foot darkroom, they all have 10 watt bulbs and are aimed at the ceiling. I routinely develop my prints for 3-4 minutes without fog. It's a great paper!

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