The Darktimer – Darkroom photography app
Recently Paulo Brukmann contacted me with something that he had come up with in his spare time, an app for use in the darkroom. I think this is a very useful idea, so I thought it would be nice to share it with you. Mixing modern technology with classic techniques. Here are Paulo’s words about the app.
At the beginning of black and white photo printing, the paper’s contrast were only soft or hard contrast, with evolution the printing paper has now multi coatings in the surface that reacts differently with a certain light colors: multi-contrast or multi-grade paper. It helps the photographer to achieve the desired contrast in the print with color filters. Combining two filters exposures (split grade) will calibrate the photo for a better dynamic range.
It’s very annoying and time consuming setting up the manual timers for split grade printing in the darkroom. Each exposure the timer needs to be reset and setup and take notes.
Darktimer is designed to give an alternative fast way of darkroom splitgrade printing with an enlarger. The built in metronome produces sounds to help photographer controlling your exposure.
How Does it Work?
Before any print it’s good practice to make a test strip to calibrate the exposure and find the correct contrast filters to use.
The test strip button fires a loop timer to help the photographer making test strips before final print, it will sound a different beep every loop. The + and – will increase decrease the timer obviously.
After finding the correct exposure times, it’s time to print. For better results it’s recommended to do SplitGrade printing which combine printing with 2 contrast filters.
The timer filters Filter A and Filter B (in seconds) now can be set with the values of test strip. If extra zone burning in the printing job is needed, Burn A and Burn B can be set for each filter.
When Start button is pressed DarkTimer will sound 3 beeps before counting down, then the enlarger must be turned on until 0 is displayed. It will sound a pair of beep the end, then turn enlarger lamp off.
Switch the filter and click Filter B button, repeat the exposure process used in Filter A. Same process is used if needed to Burn A and Burn B buttons.
Save the printing job clicking on the (+) button at the top, set the parameters used on the enlarger such, filters grades,lens aperture, focal length, enlarger height, notes, roll id, info and notes.
Recall the printing jobs by clicking in the book button, it will display a Jobs list.
After selecting the job, DarkTimer will display a nice schematic with the values used in the print.
To load the Timer with the schematic press red play button at the top of schematic, Easy.
You can get the App here darktimer.dev76.org
Or through the appstore
Thanks for sharing this with us Paulo, it is cool to see people doing things like this on their own time. Perhaps it is time that JCH made an app…haha.
Seems like a really cool app. I plan on printing my own photos in the dark room when I can get hold of an enlarger.
I’m interested to learn more about the effects of colour filters during printing, do you think you could write a blog post about that? Or at least, point me in the right direction?
I’ll have to keep a look out for an Android release of this app. It looks like it would be quite handy to have.
Sounds perfect, but how does the iphone control the enlarger? It seems possible to use a switch that controls the enlarger’s power, but I can’t think of something you wouldn’t have to make just for that purpose.
Great app but how do I contact Paulo to discuss an update for enlarger control integration? There doesn’t seem to be any feedback method for the app.