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Question: how dark is dark enough?

 
 
David Nebenzahl
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      01-12-2010, 06:14 AM
I'm about to revive my darkroom, which has been sitting gathering dust
now for a couple years. (That dust is gonna be a big problem, I know.)
So I'm wondering if the place I have in mind for it is dark enough.

It's the bottom half of my live/work space which has no windows, at the
opposite end of the room which opens into the upstairs. I sat down there
for a while tonight to see how dark it was; after a few minutes, I could
just barely make out faint lightness at the other end of the room, but
could see nothing definite.

So I'm wondering if there's a rule of thumb about how dark is dark
enough. You know, something like the "sunny 16" rule about what can be
seen with the naked eye.

Yeah, yeah, I know I could make some test exposures with paper, but you
know what? I just don't want to. I'm not planning on making any
gallery-quality prints, just want to print the last couple of rolls of
film that I shot. So if you have any rough guidelines, I'm all ears.

My impression is that it's plenty dark enough, so long as I work fairly
efficiently and don't leave paper exposed to ambient light for too long.


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Alvaro
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      01-12-2010, 10:15 AM
I agree with Javier, since your paper does not face to the white light
source, it could be suitable to ensure your paper is not going to be
exposed even when that white light is mixed with the safety darkroom
safety red/orange light. It's quite difficult to get a whole room in
dark because of windows and doors, this is not essential for paper as it
is for negative film.

Alvaro

JDA escribió:
> David Nebenzahl wrote:
>> I'm about to revive my darkroom, which has been sitting gathering dust
>> now for a couple years. (That dust is gonna be a big problem, I know.)
>> So I'm wondering if the place I have in mind for it is dark enough.
>>
>> It's the bottom half of my live/work space which has no windows, at
>> the opposite end of the room which opens into the upstairs. I sat down
>> there for a while tonight to see how dark it was; after a few minutes,
>> I could just barely make out faint lightness at the other end of the
>> room, but could see nothing definite.
>>
>> So I'm wondering if there's a rule of thumb about how dark is dark
>> enough. You know, something like the "sunny 16" rule about what can be
>> seen with the naked eye.
>>
>> Yeah, yeah, I know I could make some test exposures with paper, but
>> you know what? I just don't want to. I'm not planning on making any
>> gallery-quality prints, just want to print the last couple of rolls of
>> film that I shot. So if you have any rough guidelines, I'm all ears.
>>
>> My impression is that it's plenty dark enough, so long as I work
>> fairly efficiently and don't leave paper exposed to ambient light for
>> too long.
>>
>>

> I think it will be perfectly fine. In my (no so) darkroom I can see lots
> of light under the door, and as far as the paper does not "see" it (I
> don't know how express it, I just keep the sensible face of the paper
> upwards: the light comes in from the floor) I never have had a problem.
> Yes, I have made test exposures, no fogging.
>
> Javier

 
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Jean-David Beyer
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      01-12-2010, 03:31 PM
David Nebenzahl wrote:
> I'm about to revive my darkroom, which has been sitting gathering dust
> now for a couple years. (That dust is gonna be a big problem, I know.)
> So I'm wondering if the place I have in mind for it is dark enough.
>
> It's the bottom half of my live/work space which has no windows, at the
> opposite end of the room which opens into the upstairs. I sat down there
> for a while tonight to see how dark it was; after a few minutes, I could
> just barely make out faint lightness at the other end of the room, but
> could see nothing definite.
>
> So I'm wondering if there's a rule of thumb about how dark is dark
> enough. You know, something like the "sunny 16" rule about what can be
> seen with the naked eye.
>
> Yeah, yeah, I know I could make some test exposures with paper, but you
> know what? I just don't want to. I'm not planning on making any
> gallery-quality prints, just want to print the last couple of rolls of
> film that I shot. So if you have any rough guidelines, I'm all ears.
>
> My impression is that it's plenty dark enough, so long as I work fairly
> efficiently and don't leave paper exposed to ambient light for too long.
>
>

In my experience if it is a lot darker than the safelights, I am OK. If
what you mean and what I mean by "a lot darker" is about the same.

My darkroom leaks somewhat under the door. But my darkroom is L shaped
and the door is at the far end, away from the enlarger and sink. I
cannot see the leak until I have accommodated for 5 minutes or so. I
have tested exposures of paper (not the "quarter test" but the one Kodak
specify), and I get no fogging of paper even with the safelights on.

I have done less exacting tests with film. Basically, I do not get
fogging of 400 speed or slower films. I never use faster film than that,
so I do not know what happens with those.

I was once in the darkroom of an astronomical observatory. That was
DARK! It had no windows, an "air lock" type door setup. You could not
see anything, and 20 minutes later you could still not see anything. You
could leave film "exposed" in there I imagine.

Even the loading area for Kodachrome at their Fair Lawn plant had a dim
green safelight. It was not usually on, but they turned it on for
trainees. You could not see anything except the light, so you knew which
way you were facing, but that was about all.

You surely do not need anything like these last two examples.

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JDA
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      01-12-2010, 08:06 PM
David Nebenzahl wrote:
> I'm about to revive my darkroom, which has been sitting gathering dust
> now for a couple years. (That dust is gonna be a big problem, I know.)
> So I'm wondering if the place I have in mind for it is dark enough.
>
> It's the bottom half of my live/work space which has no windows, at the
> opposite end of the room which opens into the upstairs. I sat down there
> for a while tonight to see how dark it was; after a few minutes, I could
> just barely make out faint lightness at the other end of the room, but
> could see nothing definite.
>
> So I'm wondering if there's a rule of thumb about how dark is dark
> enough. You know, something like the "sunny 16" rule about what can be
> seen with the naked eye.
>
> Yeah, yeah, I know I could make some test exposures with paper, but you
> know what? I just don't want to. I'm not planning on making any
> gallery-quality prints, just want to print the last couple of rolls of
> film that I shot. So if you have any rough guidelines, I'm all ears.
>
> My impression is that it's plenty dark enough, so long as I work fairly
> efficiently and don't leave paper exposed to ambient light for too long.
>
>

I think it will be perfectly fine. In my (no so) darkroom I can see lots
of light under the door, and as far as the paper does not "see" it (I
don't know how express it, I just keep the sensible face of the paper
upwards: the light comes in from the floor) I never have had a problem.
Yes, I have made test exposures, no fogging.

Javier
 
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David Nebenzahl
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      01-17-2010, 09:26 PM
On 1/12/2010 7:31 AM Jean-David Beyer spake thus:

> My darkroom leaks somewhat under the door. But my darkroom is L shaped
> and the door is at the far end, away from the enlarger and sink. I
> cannot see the leak until I have accommodated for 5 minutes or so. I
> have tested exposures of paper (not the "quarter test" but the one Kodak
> specify), and I get no fogging of paper even with the safelights on.


So what exactly is the test that Kodak specifies? Googling finds no info
on this (but a lot of results about "quarter test"). And why is it
better than the quarter test?

I suppose I'll do a test when I finally fire up the darkroom again.


--
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.

- a Usenet "apology"
 
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Jean-David Beyer
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      01-17-2010, 11:59 PM
David Nebenzahl wrote:
> On 1/12/2010 7:31 AM Jean-David Beyer spake thus:
>
>> My darkroom leaks somewhat under the door. But my darkroom is L shaped
>> and the door is at the far end, away from the enlarger and sink. I
>> cannot see the leak until I have accommodated for 5 minutes or so. I
>> have tested exposures of paper (not the "quarter test" but the one Kodak
>> specify), and I get no fogging of paper even with the safelights on.

>
> So what exactly is the test that Kodak specifies? Googling finds no info
> on this (but a lot of results about "quarter test"). And why is it
> better than the quarter test?
>
> I suppose I'll do a test when I finally fire up the darkroom again.
>
>

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consu...Contents.shtml

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