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john_s

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what is the difference between the "old school" cold light source diffusion head and the modern diffusion light source with those dichroic filters for adjusting the contrast of thelight source. Currently I'm happy using the condenser head and VC filters. Nothing wrong with touching up dust spots with a good brush on a final print. Reluctant to try the aristo cold light head for my D2V because my understanding is that they were meant for graded, not variable contrast filters. So I'm just at a quandary because when people mention diffusion light sources its generally the modern ones. Can anyone with knowledge suggest how to go about trying out my cold light source without setting myself up for disappointment? Tall order I know but I'm a patient man.

The older Aristo (and Zone VI) cold lightheads produced a bluish light which suited graded papers. Some people found that using VC filters with this head gave unsatisfactory results, but some people seemed to manage. Aristo more recently made a replacement tube with a wider spectrum which suited VC filters. Aristo was taken over but the new company still produced the new tubes on order. Search Photrio for Ken Nadvornick and Aristo. I don't know if the new company is still offering the tubes. It's rather old technology and companies move fast.

The new company also made replacement tubes for the Aristo VCL4500 two-tube VC head. I have one and I did get some replacement tubes from them (at significant expense!)
 
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M-88

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"Properly developed" is still an elusive quality to me
I can assure you, if I were able to come up with a better term than that, I would have said it. A properly developed negative would be a negative with good density (not too thin and not too dense), which prints and scans well, without much adjustment needed. Although one can do wonders in the darkroom, salvaging usable images from both - thin, or dense negatives, with enough time and paper to play with various techniques.


I'm sorry for bringing the external source, I bet there's a better article available here, on Photrio.

An awful lot of things come with experience. I'd say shoot and develop one roll of film according to manufacturer's specifications. That would be the starting point, the rest is a matter of personal taste. You know, even the word "normal" is very relative and ambiguous nowadays.
 

tomatojoe

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what is the difference between the "old school" cold light source diffusion head and the modern diffusion light source with those dichroic filters for adjusting the contrast of thelight source. Currently I'm happy using the condenser head and VC filters. Nothing wrong with touching up dust spots with a good brush on a final print. Reluctant to try the aristo cold light head for my D2V because my understanding is that they were meant for graded, not variable contrast filters. So I'm just at a quandary because when people mention diffusion light sources its generally the modern ones. Can anyone with knowledge suggest how to go about trying out my cold light source without setting myself up for disappointment? Tall order I know but I'm a patient man.
Heath Moore
search internet using word omegalite or similar vintage fluorescent tube light your will find people have same question. other solution is do not use rose colored filter but develop all your film to be tailor-made for your light so it prints without the need of contrast filter on modern paper. aristo is volt arc now
 

MattKing

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A properly developed negative would be a negative with good density (not too thin and not too dense), which prints and scans well, without much adjustment needed. Although one can do wonders in the darkroom, salvaging usable images from both - thin, or dense negatives, with enough time and paper to play with various techniques.

http://www.aregeebee.net/negs/eneg.htm
I'm sorry for bringing the external source, I bet there's a better article available here, on Photrio.

Actually, we appreciate links to any useful resource, and that seems like a good one.

The other somewhat similar resource that I've often referred people to is this one on assessing negatives: https://www.ephotozine.com/article/assessing-negatives-4682
Traditionally of course people learned these things by looking at actual negatives, in person, with other more experienced photographers. That and making negatives themselves and printing from them themselves, also with the helpful in person input from other more experienced photographers. As wonderful as the internet is, it isn't the best for these sorts of issues.
 
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M-88

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Actually, we appreciate links to any useful resource, and that seems like a good one.
Thank you for the encouragement Matt, it means a lot!

Traditionally of course people learned these things by looking at actual negatives, in person, with other more experienced photographers.
Sadly in my country, actual darkroom is hard to come by and while reading various resources on the internet can be useful, it's actually places like Photrio, where I can get real feedback from real people.
 

Bill Burk

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what is the difference between the "old school" cold light source diffusion head and the modern diffusion light source with those dichroic filters for adjusting the contrast of thelight source. Currently I'm happy using the condenser head and VC filters. Nothing wrong with touching up dust spots with a good brush on a final print. Reluctant to try the aristo cold light head for my D2V because my understanding is that they were meant for graded, not variable contrast filters. So I'm just at a quandary because when people mention diffusion light sources its generally the modern ones. Can anyone with knowledge suggest how to go about trying out my cold light source without setting myself up for disappointment? Tall order I know but I'm a patient man.

Aristo grids are great if you can get the corresponding Zone VI cold light stabilizer. Without a stabilizer you will get unsatisfactory variations in exposure that will make you think you don’t know how to print.

There are different colors I don’t know which is better, but you need green and blue light for multigrade papers to work. So don’t be afraid of the teal color, it has the spectrum that works.
 

MattKing

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Thank you for the encouragement Matt, it means a lot!
You are welcome.
The real problem with the internet resources is similar to the problem with book or magazine resources: real negatives look at least subtly different than the published facsimiles. As a result, it is somewhat difficult to learn what to look for.
 

Bill Burk

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The trick that cinched it for me was after a holiday in San Luis Obispo where I shot 4x5 and processed everything the best I could, I had two negatives, one of Hearst Castle indoor swimming pool, where the negative was minimally exposed (handheld limitation) and developed as long as I could (my wife called me out of the darkroom because we were late for going out and I had to fix it immediately even though I wanted to give it more time).

The other negative was taken in full sun where my son was holding a white pillow and his stuffed animals.

These two negatives printed well with dodge and burn on grade 2 and 3.

I resolved ever more to aim for all my negatives to be “between” them. It’s been that easy ever since.

Get yourself a couple of benchmarks like these and your confidence will soar.
 

MattKing

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At our last Darkroom Group meeting, I did a demonstration of split grade printing using another member's (somewhat challenging) negative.
This reminded me of an earlier lesson: strangely enough, printing other people's negatives is a great way to learn how to improve the way you expose and develop film and print negatives. 😄
 

Heath Moore

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Still not sure what temperature this light may be. I have to do some research. Already spent a couple of hours trying to remember where I left it. But seems like it's best suited for 4x5 where I can control contrast of each negative. Unfortunately that enlarging lens has hazed so badly I hesitate to do any testing until it's replaced.
I guess I should figure out if this light actually works as intended first. Not looking forward to mounting it on the D2V.
PSX_20220923_103224.jpg
 

john_s

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Aristo grids are great if you can get the corresponding Zone VI cold light stabilizer. Without a stabilizer you will get unsatisfactory variations in exposure that will make you think you don’t know how to print.

There are different colors I don’t know which is better, but you need green and blue light for multigrade papers to work. So don’t be afraid of the teal color, it has the spectrum that works.

Zone VI brought out a Compensating Timer to deal with the low output when using the Stabilizer. I posted over the years about this. If anyone is interested I can repost.

Interestingly, if the later wide spectrum tubes are like the tubes made for the VCL4500, they will be much less variable with temperature and maybe could be used successfully without Stabilizer or Compensating Timer.
 

Bill Burk

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@Heath Moore Your Aristo grid probably drops right into the ring. Unscrew the lamphouse from the condenser section and leave it like it has its head chopped.

There is a compensating metronome as well (so three vintage devices exist to help deal with light intensity fluctuation). You may need a sensor, might be easy to cobble together.
 

john_s

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@Heath Moore Your Aristo grid probably drops right into the ring. Unscrew the lamphouse from the condenser section and leave it like it has its head chopped.

There is a compensating metronome as well (so three vintage devices exist to help deal with light intensity fluctuation). You may need a sensor, might be easy to cobble together.

If you want a sensor, there's a post from me years ago with the part number for the sensor supplied by RH Designs . It's common and cheap at electronic suppliers.
 
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