Ilford EM10 - first impressions

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I've received today an EM10 enlargement meter I've purchased at Ebay.
Here are the first impressions:

It works! :smile:

I did not use it as per Ilford instructions - nor did I purchase it intending to.
I used it as per:
http://fox.vis.pl/filmy/ilford/em10graph.pdf

One measures the higlights (equivalent to expose to the shadows) and get an approximate value of paper grade/filter from the graph.

The main difference was, that in my case, exposure was not as suggested in the graph - 9s at a reading of 90 in the dial, but
3s (?).


I feel that with more tests, it will be a very helpful tool.

Jorge O
 

Ole

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Jorge Oliveira said:
It works! :smile:

Jorge, mine works too!

I have found that it is sensitive to the safelight when measuring highlights, until I started turning off the light I could never measure anything higher than 80. I have my own calibration graph for Ilford Multigrade, and it seems to give me good results. I suspect the meters may differ quite a bit, but they don't seem to be drifting.
 
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Hello, Ole

Silly me...
Since I was doing a test, I used gaded paper that's cheaper over here - and more sensitive to light.
Will redo the test with with VC later this week.

My enlarging timer/light dimmer combo will turn off the safelight during focusing, so safelight is not a problem.
Next step will be generating my own curve, as you've done.

But the most interesting part is that, beyond any doubt, it's a poor man's densitometer at un unbeatable price.

Don't you think the green light is too bright (in darkness)?

Jorge O
 

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Jorge Oliveira said:
Don't you think the green light is too bright (in darkness)?

Can't say it has ever bothered me...

I've tested every paper I have - some is 20 years old - and found most papers differ by at most a stop as measured with the EM10. I've got some more stuff to test now - there was a pack of Bergger Contact in the mail today - along with a few grammes of Amidol and 100g of Glycin! Back to the darkroom!
 
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Ole

Sheer curiosity - which is the calibration number of your unit (mine is 26)?

Jorge O
 

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Jorge, the number is 25. I have no idea what it means, though...
 
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This number is calibrated in the factory for Ilford's recommended light level (whatever it is).
I've seen somewhere else 30.
If our very limited sample is representative (25 to 30), it means there is little production spread - 27.5 +/- 2.5 (less than 10%) and the EM10 are quite similar one to the other.

Just electronic engineer curiosity. (-:

Thanks,

Jorge O
 

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Hi there, I've been following your thread with some interest. I just checked my EM10 and the calibration number is 28. I've never used it as you suggest but I am going to try it out, thanks.

Brian
 

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Jorge O - Is there an article that further explains that chart you referenced?

BTW my calibration # is 25.
 

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Bob,

Using that chart is rather simple: You measure your highlight, stopping down (or up) as needed to bring the reading into range with the numbers on the "9s", "12s" etc boxes.

You then measure the shadows - the bright bits on the negative. Putting this number on the graph gives you the paper grade that's appropriate for a straight print.
 

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I understand the instructions on the chart (took a few minutes) but I am not really sure how the two readings can relate directly to an indicated paper grade. Am I right in assuming that this givea a suggested grade and your experience with these readings will eventually result in a more personalized graph?

Understand you are dealing with a man who has up to this point been a seat-of-the-pants sort of darkroom worker. I have never used a densitometer and don't totally understand Phil Davis so that may be the problem.
 
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The numbers given by the graph are a good starting point.
The way I see, paper is the most expensive consumable of B&W photo (and probably color, too), so, any means of avoiding paper waste will pay itself very quickly.

First, I did make test strips so with the EM10 dial at 90 (it could be 80 or 100, 90 was the center) and reading the darkest area of interest in the negative (not a burned highlight, something zone users could call zone 8 or 9) I had the corresponding exposure time (in my case, using fixed grade paper it was 3 seconds).

This calibration shall be done for all types of papers you use, determine each one's corresponding exposure time and using filters if VC (for instance, using Ilford filters grades 4 to 5 requires double exposure time), write it all down so you will not forget.

This in my limited experience was very repetitive - you adjust the lens aperture so the green led lits and expose for this calibrated time and highlights in the paper are very similar from one neg to the other (note: this reading may be slow, so wait some seconds before final light adjustment and turn off safelight).

Then using the EM10 to measure an light area of the neg - shadow with detail, like zone 2 in the print - you estimate the paper grade necessary from the graph.

This last part was not very precise, I still do not know if due to the graph not beeing precise or simply due to a matter of my personal taste.
But for sure the graph suggests grade 3 to this neg, 2 to this other one, etc.

For my eyes, the suggestions were less contrasty than I like - the jury is still out since it wasn't a simple matter of say adding 1 grade to all readings.
Well maybe it's simply that the photographer is expected to do its part...

I hope the above text makes sense.

Jorge O
 

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The point is htat by measuring shadows against a standardized highlihgt exposure, you establish a denity range for the negative. The graph then suggests a paper grade that will allow that density range to be printed on the paper in one exposure.

With a little bit of mental gymnastics, it can even be adapted for split grade printing! Paper and pencil would probably be safer, but they tend to get lost in the dark...

So I do all these measurements, then mentally add a bit with that filter, burn in a bit here, dodge a bit there...

And I'm supposed to be a scientist?
 
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Undoubtedly.

And Nobel prize level

:D
 

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Thanks guys. After thinking about the chart over night and with what you just wrote it makes perfect sense. I can see using it to help evaluate the neg and maybe "save a tree". It just gives a little more objective measurement than my usual "hmmm this neg looks a little flat, maybe I should use a 4 filter".

No one would ever accuse me of being scientific in the darkroom but with the way they hand out Nobels I might get one anyway.

Bob
 
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Just a quick, silly note:

The factory calibration number for the EM-10 corresponds to 0,5 lumens.

Helpful, eh?
(-:
 
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A more serious one:

I did a silly thing by developing TMX in Diafine.
Too long a history to post again.
The lousiest, contraty negs I ever had.

The EM-10 suggested paper grade 1 or less.
Righ on spot.

Jorge O
 

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Jorge Oliveira said:
I've received today an EM10 enlargement meter I've purchased at Ebay.
Here are the first impressions:

It works! :smile:

I did not use it as per Ilford instructions - nor did I purchase it intending to.
I used it as per:
http://fox.vis.pl/filmy/ilford/em10graph.pdf

One measures the higlights (equivalent to expose to the shadows) and get an approximate value of paper grade/filter from the graph.

The main difference was, that in my case, exposure was not as suggested in the graph - 9s at a reading of 90 in the dial, but
3s (?).


I feel that with more tests, it will be a very helpful tool.

Jorge O

I recently purchased an EM10 (eBay £1) and tried the method used in the hyperlink above but with poor results.

My method was as follows
1. measure a highlight with grade 2 filter in place and calibrate aperture to read 90 on dial.
2. measure a shadow and read the guage.
3. determine grade from graph using 1 and 2 above

The main problem was using the 9s predicted exposure was way of the mark. I required times of 20 secs minimum. Was I doing this wrong (should the filter be on? Or is the calibration out?) Any comments or other ways of using this baby

The safelight was off during measurements

Phill
 
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Bergger

Ole-sorry to barge in on the thread but could you PLEASE post some results on the Bergger contact paper?. It's not really available here so would like to know
Thanks Peter
 

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philldresser said:
I recently purchased an EM10 (eBay £1) and tried the method used in the hyperlink above but with poor results.

My method was as follows
1. measure a highlight with grade 2 filter in place and calibrate aperture to read 90 on dial.
2. measure a shadow and read the guage.
3. determine grade from graph using 1 and 2 above

The main problem was using the 9s predicted exposure was way of the mark. I required times of 20 secs minimum. Was I doing this wrong (should the filter be on? Or is the calibration out?) Any comments or other ways of using this baby

The safelight was off during measurements

Phill
If the contrast was right after correcting the time the technique worked, you just need to calibrate to the paper speed. These methods really are just guideposts, once you get started with it take note of any deviations and corrections needed so you can apply them anytime you use that particular paper/developer/enlarger combo.
 

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peters said:
Ole-sorry to barge in on the thread but could you PLEASE post some results on the Bergger contact paper?. It's not really available here so would like to know
Thanks Peter

The PC my scanner's attached to is down, and I'm leaving home in 30 minutes. I won't be back before Sunday, and then I leave again for work. So no scans...

It's a silver-rich very slow paper, but unlike AZO it's fast enough that it's possible to use it for enlarging. Expect exposure times of 1 minute if 10 seconds is "normal". It takes toning EXTREMELY well. I was suspecting my blue toner was getting tired, dropped in a BAC test strip: It went deep blue immediately... Like in 1 second, no 10-minute toning there!
 

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Trying to get back on topic:

I use the same negative for all calibration - it's been sent as a postcard: The one from Lofoten. It's got an extremely long range, which is great for that use.

Plonk neg in, adjust so that highlights (almost, but not quite paper white) reads 85 on the EM-10. Measure shadows, almost but not quite black: Read contrast grade off home-made chart.

Dial in filtration , then adjust aperture and ND dial (yes, my enlarger has one) to read 85 in highlights again. Put paper in, expose 10 seconds (with Ilford MC IV RC) or else as appropriate for that paper.

And that's it...
 

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glbeas said:
If the contrast was right after correcting the time the technique worked, you just need to calibrate to the paper speed. These methods really are just guideposts, once you get started with it take note of any deviations and corrections needed so you can apply them anytime you use that particular paper/developer/enlarger combo.

Gary

The contrast indicated was a very good guide in contrast determination (although the density range was smaller than I anticipated as my negs were flatter than I thought) but my main question was around the print exposure calibration. I will indeed need to conduct some tests to determine my print exposure.

Ole

Do you measure the initial range (density) with or without filters in place?

Phill
 

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I did test my EM10, using a grayscale negative and closing 1 stop each time for each step.
I have to dig those graphs and results

But this makes sense, I basically do the same, measure shadow/highlight, decide how many f-stops between those (paper grade) and exposure
Even though sometimes I base exposure on skin tones or some middle grays....
 

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philldresser said:
Do you measure the initial range (density) with or without filters in place?

With my Opemus 6 I discovered to my considerable surprise that it doesn't matter at all! So I do it without filters, except the ND filter to fine-tune the illumination since my lens (Anaret S) has click-stops.

The same range/contrast sheet works on the Durst 138S too, but I don't have a colour head on that. So I read the range, then do some convoluted mental arithmetic to convert it to seconds with blue and green colour-separation filters. Then I do a test, say "sod it all", and use graded papers.
 
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