General Question

arnbev959's avatar

Can any old red lightbulb be used as a Safelight?

Asked by arnbev959 (10906points) October 15th, 2008

I want to modify a roll of 35mm film to fit into a 1953 Brownie Holiday that is designed for 127 film. To do this I’m going to have to unroll the film from the cartridge and roll it up so it will fit in the camera. I could do this in a totally dark room by feel, but it would be easier with a little light.

Is a safelight a special kind of red light, or will a red lightbulb from the dollar store work?

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11 Answers

fireside's avatar

No, do it in the dark.

The red lights are usually used when you are exposing paper, not film.
Most 35mm film is going to be too sensitive.

lefteh's avatar

As fireside said, this will have to be done in total darkness. The film is way too sensitive for any sort of light, be it red, purple, or navy blue.

marinelife's avatar

In case you do want to know for developing later, the answer is essentially no, any old red light bulb won’t do. There is a good detailed explanation here.

ezraglenn's avatar

those above would be correct—35mm film is sensitive to all wavelengths in the visible light spectrum (though some special types are affected by other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, like infared light), and thus must not be exposed to any light other than that controlled by an aperture and shutter. Safelights are for black and white photosensitive paper and are not just any red lightbulb (in fact, the light is often yellow or orange), but rather a special type of light manufactured for darkroom use.

bpeoples's avatar

NB—Efke 25 and 50 is actually orthopanchromatic (meaning that it has lower sensitivity to red light), but you can still fog it with a safelight.

HOWEVER—you can get Efke 100 in 127 format, so you don’t have to do the crazy reloading thing—

Best of luck!

jballou's avatar

I would love to see photos taken on that Efke 25 stuff, if it’s less sensitive to red light, that must make for an interesting palette.

fireside's avatar

Yeah, with black and white, it would probably be a lot like adding a red filter. You would probably end up with some nice high contrast images.

bpeoples's avatar

@jballou—All of the blackandwhites here——are Efke25

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Don’t expose film to any kind of light without putting it through development first; red safe lights are only for black and white photo paper (color paper must be exposed and developed in complete darkness as well). The only reason you should expose film to light is if you know how to properly solarize film.

Response moderated
echotech10's avatar

Your only option is to do that in total darkness. Even a safelight, will fog the film. Safelights only work with black-and-white paper. And you would have to get a safelight bulb specifically marketed for use as a safelight. Other red lightbulbs are just way too bright…film must be dealt with in total darkness, until the completion of the fixer bath! unless, of course, you are using a light tight bulk loader or developing tank.

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