Thomas sodium vapor safelight : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I recently came into a thomas super safelight with soduim vapor lamp. Question is does it need a filter for B&W printing as it came with filters I assume were for color. Calumet and Ilford were both unable to answer my question. Specifically I'll be using Ilford multigrade FB paper. Ansel Adams' "the print" states that the spectrum of light given off by a soduim vapor light is safe for B&W materials(no blue)but have heard conflicting reports. Can anyone out there settle this?

-- Ronald J LaMarsh (, March 06, 2000


You've got a great piece of gear in the Duplex. Although I used one for years I can't answer your filter questions except to say that I remember working for countless hours in the amber glow of the light with all sorts of paper. The vanes on top bounce light off the ceiling like high noon in the darkroom compared to other safelights. Leave a piece of paper half under a box for ten minutes or so, develop it and you'll soon see what filter and/or vane position will work. Once you've set it, forget it and enjoy.

-- Steve Singleton (, March 06, 2000.

Ditto the previous. This is absolutely the finest safelight ever produced (until it comes time to replace the tube). Most people overlook some of the more arcane accessories such as the Thomas Safelight. I have used the Chromega critical focus aid for years and absolutely love it--have no idea what it costs these days, but it allows me to focus to the edge of a print in any direction, and I produce prints to 12 feet by 20 feet.

-- fred (, March 06, 2000.

Yes, there are different filters for B&W vs. Color. BYW, they also make x-ray filters. I have one, set up for B&W and love it. Ditto the positive remarks previously. The B&W filters work for both FB and VC. There aren't separate filters for the two.

I also bought a used unit. I bought new filters so I would start out with correct ones. They deteriorate over time, and you probably don't know how long those have been used. They are about $35 for a set.

You'll love the unit, I'm sure. Mine is so bright I leave it closed, and it still lights my darkroom adequately.

-- Alec (, March 06, 2000.

A dissenting opinion: I got a Thomas and returned it because it couldn't be used with an enlarger timer that switched it off for focusing and during exposure. The instructions state that repeated on-off cycles are to be avoided. I really wanted to keep it, so I called the manufacturer to check on how serious they are about this instruction. Very serious, as it turns out. (It's been a while but I think that the issue may have been bulb life and the bulbs aren't cheap.) I know that I could have used the vanes by pulling their adjustment chains to darken the room, but this seemed a hassle. I wound up with a safelight sleeve that fits over a flourescent tube, from Delta 1. It's not as bright as the Thomas but it beats anything else I know of. njb

-- Nacio Brown (, March 07, 2000.

I found the answer in the calumet catalog online. By checking the info provided about replacement filters. B&W have yellow edge tape, Color filters have black edge tape and ortho filters have Red edge tape. Replacements are available from calumet.

-- Ronald J LaMarsh (, March 07, 2000.

If you use Bergger paper you will need to tone it down a bit as this paper will fog with this safelight. Most won't, but test them anyhow so you know for sure with your working methods.

-- Dan Smith (, March 08, 2000.

A great safelight, But be careful. In smaller darkrooms it can be way too powerful and fog your paper. Check your paper before you do any serious printing. Jeff

-- Jeff (, March 08, 2000.

I replace the filters with ROSCO #22 Deep Amber and #25 Orange Red every year and seemed to be okay.

-- Alan Leung (, March 08, 2000.

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