Cold light and inconsistent exposures : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been looking into the Metrolux and Zone VI compensating timers and would love to hear from anybody who has experience with either one. Since changing to an Aristo cold light I've had a lot of problems with inconsistent print exposures. Even with the heater constantly running some type of compensating timer or voltage stabilizer seems necessary. The Metrolux does seem to have more features than the Zone VI, but I haven't been able to determine if it has any manual control over the light intensity, which I need. The Zone VI ,though, seems easy to use and well received. Price of either is about the same with sensor and footswitch.

Instead of controlling the exposure time, is there anything out there that would adjust the intensity of the light instead? Or are there any more economical alternatives to stabilizing the light output? The price tag for the compensating timers is pretty steep and up until now I've been plenty satisfied with my metronome for timing exposures.

-- Andy (, April 08, 2002


Andy, See if you can find one of the older Zone VI output stabilizers used (eBay, etc.). It controls the light output, not the length of the time intervals and has a light intensity adjustment. I use mine with a metronome for a timer. Regards,

-- Doremus Scudder (, April 09, 2002.

An inexpensive option is to find a used Zone VI Compensating Metronome timer. I believe these were called Tik-Tock. They connect to the cold light sensor and vary the beep timing as light output varies. You will still need to install a sensor and it will not vary the light output. If you like using a metronome now you might like one. One bad feature is that the beeps turn on when the light goes on. So it beeps during focusing and setup. You use a footswitch to turn on the light and one normally came with the timer. Used should be under $100.

-- Chuck Pere (, April 09, 2002.

I have the Zone VI model, and it's good. I wish I had two channels that's available on the Metrolux, each with the ability to separately adjust the growth factor. But, you can't have everything.

The only occassional problem that I've had with the Zone VI is that one can inadvertently touch and change the brightness control, and thereby change the exposure unknowingly. As a plus, I like the dial adjustment of time on the Zone VI, versus the push-button control.

I purchased an extra sensor and added it to my D2V condensor head for the incandescent light source. It seems to work fine. There's an internal housing for the lightsource, and I needed to cut a hole in this housing to clear a path between the sensor and the lightsource.

I have two Zone VI light sources. I'm not sure about how well the Metrolux will work with Zone VI sensors.

-- neil poulsen (, April 09, 2002.

I would like to endorse the Zone Vi compensating metronome option. I have one of my own and it is wonderfull. IŽd never used a mwetronome before, but it simplified my printing process.

Highly recomended

-- Enrique Vila (, April 09, 2002.

Andy, I experienced the same problem and finally broke down and purchaced the Zone VI compensating timer, as I had the Zone VI head. I don't regret it, it totally solved the problem and I can see already that it will pay for itself in saved paper. In an other darkroom I have used a voltage stabilizer and that also worked, but perhaps not quite as simply. I believe that was a Zone VI model as well. The cold light on its own just can not be trusted. I agree with the other posters to check out e-bay.

-- Erik Gould (, April 09, 2002.

I have the Metrolux II. I bought it mainly because it cost a bit less than the Zone VI. I use it with the Zone VI head: it has the proper cable available for the Zone VI sensor. I do not know of a way dimming the output of the cold light, just the display on the unit itself. The unit has a couple of other features besides the extra channel. I has a built in shutter speed tester and an accessory probe that can be used to determine negative densities on the baseboard. It has worked very well for me.

-- Jerry Flynn (, April 09, 2002.

Thanks a lot to all who responded. You've answered my questions and then some! I really appreciate your input.

For the benefit of future cold light buyers, I want to add that I also talked today with a gentleman from Aristo who was very helpful in detailing the normal operating 'parameters' of the unit. He seemed genuinely concerned, not only that the light was functioning properly but that I wasn't about to spend a large chunk of change on accessories unless it was necessary. It seems they are definitely a company that will stand behind their products.

Thanks again for your suggestions, they have been very helpful!

-- Andy (, April 10, 2002.

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