General FAQ

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General questions about our products

I can't decide between a StopClock Professional and an Analyser Pro. Can you help?
Our answer to this one is another question - 'what sort of printer are you?' For people who are interested in getting high quality prints with a minimum of effort and material wastage we recommend the Analyser Pro. Those who like to wring the last drop out of the negative by making several exposures, perhaps at different grades, on the same print will prefer the StopClock Professional. Fine Art printers typically fall into this category. For a detailed comparison between products see our Compare page

What are the relative merits of the Analyser Pro vs the Heiland SplitGrade System?
The difference is best likened to that between an automatic-exposure camera and a hand-held spotmeter. The SplitGrade system is highly automated and as such can deliver good quality prints from most negatives, but it can be caught out by for example a picture of a fried egg on a white plate - much like the auto-exposure camera it will deliver 90% of the time but you need to be aware of its limitations. It does of course have full manual override for such circumstances. The Analyser Pro is, like a spotmeter, more accurate and can place mid tones with precision, but requires more care in use and in initial setting up. The 'learning curve' is perhaps steeper than that of the SplitGrade. In short - if your negatives mostly have a full range of tones then the SplitGrade will deliver, but if not then an Analyser Pro might be the better choice. Typically, portrait photographers would be better off with an Analyser Pro because flesh tones can be precisely placed on the grey scale. For a detailed comparison see our Compare page.

What's involved in calibration of the Analyser Pro / ZoneMaster?
Basically, you need to make test strips at the white end to establish any exposure compensation, then make test strips at the black end to adjust the contrast. The products incorporate a test strip mode which generates the necessary time sequences automatically. The new Calibration Kit makes the process much easier than previously.

Is the timer section of the Analyser Pro the same as the StopClock Professional?
No. It is essentially identical to the now discontinued StopClock LE. It has one channel and does not have the programmable exposure sequences. It also does not have the Dry-Down feature but this is not necessary as the exposure is determined based on the final dry print tones indicated on the grey scale.

What features of the StopClock Professional are missing from the Analyser Pro's timer?
Basically, the second channel, the programmable exposure sequences and the dry-down compensation.

What timing benefits would I get from the StopClock Professional over the Analyser Pro?
Flexibility, programmability, precision. The StopClock Professional offers programmed sequences of exposures so that once you've decided on the exposures needed for a print they can all be entered into the timer's memory. You can then concentrate on the image. In particular, multiple copies of complex prints are very easy to make as the timer retains the entire sequence in its memory. Split grade printing is easier owing to the second timing channel and dedicated split grade mode. And the higher resolution of 1/24 stop can actually be seen on the print, particularly at higher contrast grades.

Are your timers suitable for cold cathode (cold light) heads?
Yes. All our enlarger timer products use heavy-duty relays with 10A contact rating, and surge ratings in excess of 80A. In addition, the StopClock Vario can compensate for the light level fluctuations typical of such heads.

Is the ZoneMaster's metering system the same as the Analyser Pro's?
Yes, they're identical.

My enlarger has an Ilford Multigrade head. Can I use an Analyser or StopClock Professional with it?
You cannot use the standard version of these products - the Ilford head does not have provision for an external timer. You can choose an Analyser 500 or StopClock 500, either of which will replace the Ilford control pad. If you want to keep the Ilford control pad you can use a ZoneMaster II and transfer the grade and time readings to it.

My Durst/Kaiser/Other enlarger's lamp seems to take half a second or so to come on. Will this cause inaccuracies?
This delay is inherent in some stabilised transformers and normally makes it very difficult to match a final print to a test strip. All our timers can compensate for this so that for example two 5 second exposures will produce the same density as a single 10 second exposure.

What are the differences between the StopClock Professional and the Vario version?
The Vario loses the ability to connect to a ZoneMaster but will compensate for enlarger light output variations. They are otherwise identical.

Why can't a StopClock Vario connect to a ZoneMaster II?
The Vario reads the lamp output and adjusts the exposure time to compensate for variations, so for example if the lamp output falls the exposure time is increased. The ZoneMaster, like any exposure meter, also reads the lamp output and if it falls, the meter will suggest a longer exposure time (all other things being equal). Consequently, the combination of the ZoneMaster and Vario will over-compensate for lamp variations. The ZoneMaster relies on a constant lamp output in order to determine the density variations in the negative correctly and thereby calculate the tonal range. The Vario does not have a connector for a ZoneMaster as a result. You can use a ZoneMaster with a Vario-controlled cold light, but make sure the light is well warmed up before attempting to do so and ensure a minimum of time elapses between taking the measurements and making the exposure.

I have a cold light head and a halogen head. Can the Vario be used on the halogen head without the light sensor?
Yes. It will automatically switch to normal timing mode if the sensor is disconnected.

How do I connect my enlarger to the timer?
We supply the necessary connectors which conform to the emerging industry standard CEE22 format. You may have seen these plugs on electric kettles, personal computers etc. You can see them in this picture. The timer is a mains switch, so you must retain any transformer that might be included with your enlarger. Whatever you normally plug into the mains, you plug into the timer's 'Enlarger' socket. Customers in North America and other areas that use the USA-style 3-pin power socket can use an adaptor (please note we have no connection with this company nor have we tested their product.) These adaptors are sold as “PC Monitor Power Adaptors” and may be available elsewhere in computer stores - they are used to connect the monitor’s power plug to the computer’s AC output socket.

I have a DeVere enlarger with a Transtab power supply. How do I connect this to the timer?
We can supply a lead assembly which connects to the 8-way power connector on the Transtab unit. You need to ensure that the "Focus" switch on the Transtab unit is set to "off" for correct timer operation.

I have a sodium-type safelight (e.g. Thomas Duplex or Kaiser Duka 50). Can I use this with the Analyser / ZoneMaster?
No - these safelights cannot be switched off and then on again quickly; the lamp does not re-strike properly. If you have a safelight of this type you will need either to switch it off permanently (and use a conventional safelight) or arrange some type of mechanical shutter to shut off its light during measurements. All exposure meters will be affected by safe lighting, even those which claim immunity, so for best results the safelight must be switched off during measurements. The Analyser can do this automatically for you if you wire a conventional tungsten or LED safelight to it. Sodium-type safelights have no real advantages over conventional ones for monochrome work.

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