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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Photographic Paper - Safelight colours...Just bought some Ilford wet processing photo paper. Then I realised it said in small print on the side "Safelight ...
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Old 16-09-2007, 17:47   #1 (permalink)
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Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

Just bought some Ilford wet processing photo paper. Then I realised it said in small print on the side "Safelight Light Brown". Does this mean I wont be able to use it under the standard red safelight, like the ones we have in the school darkrooms?
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Old 16-09-2007, 17:53   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

What type and/or grade.

I used Ilford multigrade IV for years under a Patterson red light with no fogging issues.

I suggest you try one sheet under red light and the one in total darkness and see if there is a difference.
Please let me know how you get on as I was, coincidentally enough, thinking of running a roll of film through my dads Olympus om 4ti.
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Old 16-09-2007, 17:55   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

I think the only way to be sure is to try it. Cut a strip, cover half of it and leave it under the red light for a while, then process and see if the two halves are different.

EDIT/ Soupy's quicker on the draw.
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Old 16-09-2007, 20:19   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soupdragon View Post
What type and/or grade.

I used Ilford multigrade IV for years under a Patterson red light with no fogging issues.

I suggest you try one sheet under red light and the one in total darkness and see if there is a difference.
Please let me know how you get on as I was, coincidentally enough, thinking of running a roll of film through my dads Olympus om 4ti.
Thanks yes I'll try it, it is multigrade IV, so should be ok, if you had no problems, but we'll see
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Old 17-09-2007, 00:39   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

Just to expand on this issue. Safelights are not safe they are just safe if used in the right way. The safety depends on the paper used, the intensity of the safelight, and the 'colour' of the light. Normal papers i.e. not VC, are blue sensitive and thus a red safelight is fine (orange too) as long as the safelight is far enough away and doesn't act on the paper for too long. VC papers are usually OK too with red or orange but tests are essential to be sure.

The best safelight test is: place a sample of the paper under the enlarger and expose for a time that produces a slight grey tone (this overcomes the papers 'inertia' point, remember that the paper is normally exposed in the enlarger sothis simulates that light activity), place this exposed sample where your processing dishes are (since this is where the paper is likely to be used for the longest time) and place a coin on it. Leave it for the maximum time the paper is likely to be exposed to the safelight e.g 3 mins in dev, 1 min in stop, 30 secs in fix, total 4.5 mins plus minute for time handling and enlarger exposure. Say 5-6 mins for safety. Leave the sample for 5-6 mins in the safelight, then process (more time in safelight). If the shape of the coin is detectable light is not safe for the amount of time. Solution: move light further away (reducing intensity), change bulb for lower wattage, cover bulb with neutral density filter sheet. Re-test the paper system remembering to give slight exposure under enlarger first.

You will find that a safelight may be safe for a certain time but not for more (logical I know), what you need to know is, is it safe for the 'normal' amount of time the paper will be exposed to the safelight after expoisure under the enlarger.

Generally, it is my experience that the light from a safelight is usually too bright and needs to be reduced significantly to be really safe.

If the safelight is not doing the job the result is fogging of the print highlights resulting in a lack of sparkle in the print.

Another related issue is light reflected back from a white print easel, especially with thinner papers and long exposure times. This also should be tested.

Regards

Les
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Old 17-09-2007, 09:15   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

Les's advice on testing is first class. Don't make any excuses, just do it!

The only truly safe light I've come across is the Durst Labolux, which is expensive but superb. Mine cost 130 (reduced from 250) and is usable with both colour and monochrome papers.
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Old 17-09-2007, 16:51   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Photographic Paper - Safelight colours

About 10 years since I used chemicals and a darkroom but I did use multigrade. I do know that the latest Ilford Warmtone is not sensitive to Red so can be used with many safelights. I think the advice that has already been given is right that you need to carry out a test. Try a test strip with and without the safelight as suggested but it may be worth trying 3 strips. One not exposed the the safelight, one exposed for a time which is typically double the max exposure time that you are likely to use but I would do another at about 16 times the max exposure time just to see if there are any effects visible. In any case make sure that the safelight is not too close.
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