RH Designs Analyser Pro Questions

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Hello everyone,

a couple of months ago I purchased an Analyser Pro and must say that I am really impressed. I have however a few questions. So please bear with me because this post might get a bit lengthy.

First of all, I recently discovered that the bulb in my enlarger was dying because the silver mirror was basically falling off. So I purchased a new lamp of the same type at my local photography supply shop. Apparently things have changed over the years and this new lap is a xenon lamp and much brighter than my last one. Therefore I recalibrated my analyses again and noticed that when trying to calibrate the exposure times it was much too bright, even after closing the lens and moving the head to the very top. Since its an old color enlarger I did what was recommended in the manual and dialed in equal amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow to bring times close to 15s. Is that a proper way to do it?

Secondly there seem to be two versions of setting up the contrast range. The English manual suggests doing contact prints of the Stouffer wedge and the German one suggests putting the wedge into the negative frame and calculating the paper contrast in a different way. I tired both versions and got rather different values. Here's my list (English first, German second):

Grade - contact print - stouffer in negative carrier according to German manual
00 - 160 - 120
0 - 150 - 120
1 - 130 - 105
2 - 110 - 90
3 - 90 - 75
4 - 75 - 60
5 - 50 - 60

I am a little bit confused about that. I saved both versions as different papers but have not been able to make some proper tests yet. Which of the two seems more reasonable. F.y.i. it is Ilford MGIV RC satin.

Thirdly I am still rather unsure where to meter. Is it correct that the extreme readings should be done in off-black and off-white parts of the negative? And after that increase contrast so that both leds fall on the edges?

Maybe you could explain your method of using the Analyser Pro. I am thankful for all tipps and help.

All the best from Vienna, Christian
 

Svenedin

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Christian, welcome. A beautiful city Vienna that I have visited many times.

I cannot answer about the differences between the instructions in the English vs German manuals because I only used the English instructions and that has worked fine for me.

Does your enlarger have a neutral density filter? If it does I would use that if the light is still too bright after stopping down the lens aperture.

The extreme metering points that work for me are “shadow with detail” (meaning a shadow area that is not completely black where you can see detail in the projected negative) and the same for the highlight (meaning it is a highlight but there is detail). Sometimes you may find that you cannot print the highlight and the the shadow with one exposure. This may happen if for example the highlight is a cloud in the sky. In such a case you can have the highlight indicator flashing and will then have to do a second “burn” exposure for that highlight or if you do not wish to do a burn you have to accept that this detail will be lost. An alternative is to use a longer exposure which will print the highlight but you then have to “dodge” the shadows to prevent them going totally black. Which method to use depends on the particular photograph.

Stephen
 

ic-racer

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You have a lot of flare in your enlarging system or you did not mask the projected step wedge to prevent stray light from hitting the lens.
 

pentaxuser

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This comment might only serve to further confuse matters but I had thought that the Analyser Pro was already configured for Ilford paper when it is delivered. That is to say the Pro is already calibrated for Ilford paper in terms of giving the correct grade. The calibration is needed for other makes of paper.

Others who have a Pro Analyser can perhaps comment on this.

As far as ND is concerned I think there may be two options: 1. Use a smaller wattage bulb or 2. Use your system of equal additional amounts of Y, M and C so if grade 3 is say 40M and 25Y depending on what Ilford say is the correct filtration for whichever group your enlarger falls into then you add whatever amount of C is required to increase exposure with equal amounts of Y and M so if this was 30C to add the correct amount of ND then you end up with 70M 55Y and 30C

I am assuming that your enlarger does not have built-in ND filters

pentaxuser
 

Svenedin

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Yes the analyser pro is pre-configured for Ilford MGIV but for the best results it is necessary to calibrate the analyser for a particular enlarger. I have the analyser pro and have used it for several years with 3 different enlargers. There are significant differences in calibration between the different enlargers. However, RH designs do provide calibration figures for a few different set ups (try google). The pre-configured settings are likely to be a good enough starting point for a standard condensing enlarger using Ilford filters.
 

samcomet

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For what it is worth I bought a 2nd hand Stop Clock Pro to make my adjustments in exposures in fractions of stops and used a Darkroom Automation hand held light meter to read skin tones to get my exposures (I photograph people on the street). That generally got me into the ball park, but the calibration setup for the determination of contrast filters was way too convoluted to me so I just used my eye when viewing my first test print. This worked fine for a number of years. Most prints I had two or three iterations to get the results I wanted.

It had occurred to me that for vey little extra I could get the meter attachment for my Stop Clock and turn it into, effectively the Analyser. I have come to appreciate this far and above, as the Analyser has a visual grey scale for me to judge where my blacks, whites and skin tones all sit relative to each other and how incremental contrast and exposure adjustments can affect the overall grey scale LED readouts and hence the print's tonal qualities. I did try to do a calibration setup for this combo but again it was way too convoluted for me to do. I just used the default calibration for Ilford MG IV paper which I was using at the time - it worked just fine. I switched over to Foma MG and checked the densitometry curves that Foma supplied against the ones Ilford supplied and they seem about the same. Hence I still use the default Ilford calibration as supplied by the RH box. I still sometimes have to tweak my prints but now I usually get a good test print first time. Rarely do I have to make a second or third. These, I should point out, are test prints BEFORE I go into finessing with burning, dodging and bleaching etc., etc.

As far as your light source is concerned I can only reiterate what others have suggested vis-a-vis Neutral Density filters (as per Pentaxuser). I would also point out that a xenon lamp puts out light at the "blue" (5000 deg. K) end of the spectrum while incandescent lamps are way warmer towards the "red" (3200 deg. K) end of the spectrum. This may also affect your calibrations as far as contrast is concerned. Unfortunately discharge lamps like this cannot be dimmed with simple resistive load or contemporary domestic type dimmers. They tend to need some rather involved electronics to dim. If your enlarger's lamp house is a diffusion type, you could try to add another layer or two of diffusion filters to knock down the intensity too.

I must second the notion from Sveneden on where the "extreme metering points" are plus the idea that the Ilford defaults are probably a better place to start. These also work for me.

To sum up, for me, I wouldn't get too OCD about all of this but I have found a way of interpreting the greyscale LEDs by eye that gives me the results I desire.

Best of luck though!!
cheers!
Sam
 
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Hello everyone,

a couple of months ago I purchased an Analyser Pro and must say that I am really impressed. I have however a few questions. So please bear with me because this post might get a bit lengthy.

First of all, I recently discovered that the bulb in my enlarger was dying because the silver mirror was basically falling off. So I purchased a new lamp of the same type at my local photography supply shop. Apparently things have changed over the years and this new lap is a xenon lamp and much brighter than my last one. Therefore I recalibrated my analyses again and noticed that when trying to calibrate the exposure times it was much too bright, even after closing the lens and moving the head to the very top. Since its an old color enlarger I did what was recommended in the manual and dialed in equal amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow to bring times close to 15s. Is that a proper way to do it?

Secondly there seem to be two versions of setting up the contrast range. The English manual suggests doing contact prints of the Stouffer wedge and the German one suggests putting the wedge into the negative frame and calculating the paper contrast in a different way. I tired both versions and got rather different values. Here's my list (English first, German second):

Grade - contact print - stouffer in negative carrier according to German manual
00 - 160 - 120
0 - 150 - 120
1 - 130 - 105
2 - 110 - 90
3 - 90 - 75
4 - 75 - 60
5 - 50 - 60

I am a little bit confused about that. I saved both versions as different papers but have not been able to make some proper tests yet. Which of the two seems more reasonable. F.y.i. it is Ilford MGIV RC satin.

Thirdly I am still rather unsure where to meter. Is it correct that the extreme readings should be done in off-black and off-white parts of the negative? And after that increase contrast so that both leds fall on the edges?

Maybe you could explain your method of using the Analyser Pro. I am thankful for all tipps and help.

All the best from Vienna, Christian
I'd google for Chris Woodhouse and get in contact with him; he wrote the software for the Analyzer and can give you the best answer.
 

Huub

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If i am not mistaken there is a third way to calibrate for the contrast adjustments, making a test strip of the shadows without the use of a step wegde. I can't find it in the manual right now, but please check. The quick solution for your problem is to make a couple of prints, using both calibration sets. A soft negative, a normal negative and a contrasty negative will show you which set of numbers to use.

I always meter for the brightest point in het negative, then the darkest point in the negative and often also some key values in between, like skin tones in light and shadow or a field of grass or some other middle grey area. The first print i use to estimate which adjustments I have to make for a better print: adjusting contrast, dodging and burning, et cetera. Most of the time the second print is already good enough for my standards, seldomly I need a third or a fourth sheet.
 
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