Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/06/18

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Subject: [Leica] X-rite densitometer for Leica darkroom ;-)
From: dpost at (Dan Post)
Date: Fri Jun 18 06:31:45 2004
References: <>

Reading with interest about your quest for a densitometer.
If you are wanting a transmission one to check film, you might try what I
I bought a Beseler Color Analyzer (Analyser down under, I bet!) on the web
site that should go unmentioned. I got it from Bob Shell, as a matter of
I use it to judge negatives in the enlarger for contrast and density.
I use the cyan channel as it has a red filter, and for our work, it is as
close to the Kodak status M red filter that a lot of densitometers use, but
I have used other channels as well, and gotten similar results.
One, I zero the meter- either to the center, or if I need a large range of
density measurement, on the far left hand end of the scale with no negative
in the enlarger. I measure the center of the light beam. This gives me '0'
I can then place a negative in the enlarger, and usually, I measure the area
between frames, or a blank frame of film- the deflection shows me base
I then look for a portion of the negative that is about .15-.2 above
base+fog and this is my minimum density, or shadow detail. I then look for
the most dense area that still shows detail- usually some sky if there -or a
white shirt fold- something like that, and measure the 'density'
I can subtract the low density from the high density, and get a density
range to determine the grade filter I use!
The nice thing is that the measurements take into consideration the nature
of the enlarger- if you have a condenser enlarger, and have higher apparent
contrast due to the Callier effect, the measurements indicate this, so there
are fewer surprises.
The Color Analyzer route is much cheaper as many of the X-rite densitometers
are several hundred bucks, and since you measure a 3mm spot on the film,
they are great for test strips, but for actual negatives, hard to use. Using
the enlarger method seems to work a lot better, at least for me.
You might give it a try. I also use the analyzer as an enlarging meter-
calibrate it for a particular paper and use it to determine either the
highlight, neutral tone, or shadow exposure- depending on the photo. I have
been experimenting with it for split printing as well, but it helps to have
a step wedge to do that, and that's another story for another day!
Best of light to you!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alastair Firkin" <>
To: "Leica Users Group" <>
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2004 6:50 AM
Subject: [Leica] X-rite densitometer for Leica darkroom ;-)

> Hi all, I have just had my first venture into e-XXX. After a week in
> the darkroom, learning from books and preparing to have a weekend study
> course, I did my usual "oh I NEED a densitometer", and there was one on
> the Australian version of e-XXX. With nervous excitement I tried to
> find out something about an X=rite 320X transmission and reflection
> densitometer. Probably an older version, as the company has nothing in
> its files on it. Any one know anything about this beast? I do hope it
> was not the worst one ever made :-)
> Alastair
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Replies: Reply from firkin at (Alastair Firkin) ([Leica] X-rite densitometer for Leica darkroom ;-))
In reply to: Message from firkin at (Alastair Firkin) ([Leica] X-rite densitometer for Leica darkroom ;-))