Question: how dark is dark enough?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by David Nebenzahl, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. 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.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 12, 2010
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  2. David Nebenzahl

    Alvaro Guest

    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.


    JDA escribió:
    Alvaro, Jan 12, 2010
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  3. 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.
    Jean-David Beyer, Jan 12, 2010
  4. David Nebenzahl

    JDA Guest

    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.

    JDA, Jan 12, 2010
  5. 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.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 17, 2010
  6. Jean-David Beyer, Jan 17, 2010
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