Under the lens

Well, the Ilford under lens filter kit arrived this week, you may recall I mentioned it in an earlier blog post. I quickly put it to use and can report it works exactly as I’d hoped and solves the problem I was having. I have some concerns about it being being below the lens rather than above but I’m trusting that Ilford know what they are doing and that image quality won’t be adversely impacted.

I’m trusting that image quality won’t be adversely impacted.

My new workflow entails me placing both filters I need for the print on the base board in numerical order, ascending left to right. When it comes time to change filters it’s a breeze. No more squinting at the dials on the enlarger head. Excellent.


There’s always a but isn’t there. It’s brought another issue into sharp focus. The timer. Mine is a dial version and of course I can set the initial times with the main light on. However, changing timings for the second exposure means getting my nose close to the dial but even then I’m still often a second out in setting the new time. That bothers me because in all of my film processing and darkroom printing I endeavour to be consistent; to make each process repeatable I have a consistent workflow and make notes of what I’m doing as I progress. Admittedly, in the darkroom I often forget to make these notes being wrapped up in creating but my short term memory is good enough to enable me to repeat things during the same session.

A new timer is out of the reach of my pocket at this time so I sat down in the darkroom one evening last week to ponder the problem. The answer was literally staring me in the face. I have two enlargers and two timers. The bigger (5×4) enlarger has a timer with a digital read out which is a joy to use. However, the plugs and sockets are different to those of my main (6×6 and 35mm) enlarger. Now, fear not, I’m not about to discourse on plug physiology, suffice to say with a few minutes on t’internet I’d discovered a world of plugs I never knew existed and most importantly for this tale, a tale of plug adapters.

Even after a year the sight of a totally deserted high street doesn’t cease to catch me unawares. Horizon S3 Pro – Kentmere Pan 4– – Perceptol (stock) 7/3/2021

My wallet is the princely sum of £7.99 lighter but I’ve just been upstairs and can report that the digital timer, plus it’s adapter, is now sat proudly, plugged into my main enlarger and having tested it works I’m all set for a session in the dark this afternoon and evening.

By the by, the images here are a couple of random film photographs from the last few months – I didn’t think anyone would want a picture of a plug adapter, however relevant to the tale!

2 thoughts on “Under the lens”

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