View Full Version : Densitometer - useful?
In local classifieds, ther is a densitometer (X-RITE 301) for a good price. I'l like to ask if you've got one and how much do you find it useful.
I'm considering getting one myself too.
How useful is that, depends on your needs. First, you'll have an option to do your own sensitometry, i.e. find real film speeds you get in your process, not just relying on averaged data from manufacturer recommendations or Internet sources.
You can find out difference in contrast between your vintage and modern lenses, and adjust development to get uniform look from both.
If you reuse stock developer, it might be useful for controlling exhaustion and calculating appropriate compensation ratios.
If you scan, you can find out just how much highlight density your scanner can get through, and how little shadow detail it can recognize, fine-tuning your process for that.
So it's about fine-tuning essentially. You can go pretty far with recommendations and visual inspection of results, but I feel am at the point where a bit of extra precision wouldn't hurt.
If you really want to know film speed and control development to the fullest, then a densitometer is an excellent tool. Having said that, you certainly don't need one to process your own film and prints.
Long ago, I worked in a professional lab where all the processes were controlled via test-strips which were then checked with an X-rite densitometer (I'm afraid I can't remember the model as I was never allowed to use the thing) prior to corrections being made to the different chemistries. Using such a testing regime you can be very consistent in the results you get, if your workflow is itself consistent. Looking the other way, you can use the densitometer to test and improve the reliability of your workflow, and to decide on specific and repeatable modifications to suit different subjects, films or developers.
As I recall, we had the occasional problem getting a spare light-source for the machine. I would check that it comes with the calibration samples and that the light-source is both working and currently available - probably you can best check that with local lab-equipment suppliers. If the price is right then the tool can be very useful.
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.