Safelight is light used in a photographic darkroom and is designed to provide illumination without that part of the light spectrum to which the material in use is sensitive. A safelight usually consists of an ordinary lightbulb in a housing with a coloured filter, but it is possible to buy special bulbs and fluorescent tubes which are coated with a filter directly on the glass. Low-pressure sodium vapor lamps are also commonly used in larger darkrooms. [] They emit nearly monochromatic light at 589nm, to which photographic materials are insensitive; as a result they can be extremely bright while still "safe".

Initially, monochrome photographic film was sensitive to blue and green light and could be handled under a deep red light. This material was called Orthochromatic film meaning that it theoretically correctly reproduced any colour as a shade of grey. However since it was designed to be handled in red light it actually meant that any red objects were rendered as black. Manufacturers then developed Panchromatic film but since this was sensitive to red light it has to be handled in either total darkness or in some instances a dark brown or violet light can be used. In either case these safelights are so dim as to be almost useless.

Until the middle of the 20th century, monochrome photographic paper was sensitive to blue and green light and required a deep red safelight. Photographic paper has been sensitive to just blue light for a great many years now, enabling yellow safelights to be used which provide much more light for the photographer to work in. Despite this, darkroom scenes in movies invariably show the use of a red light Fact|date=July 2008. In 2004, Lee Lighting introduced a theatrical lighting colour called "Rust" that closely approximates the colour of modern safelights.

ee also

*Purkinje effect

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • safelight — [sāflīt΄] n. Photog. a special light or lamp for a darkroom that does not affect the film, printing paper, etc …   English World dictionary

  • safelight — noun Date: 1903 a darkroom lamp with a filter to screen out rays that are harmful to sensitive film or paper …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • safelight — /sayf luyt /, n. Photog. a darkroom light with a filter that transmits only those rays of the spectrum to which films, printing paper, etc., are not sensitive. [1900 05; SAFE + LIGHT1] * * * …   Universalium

  • safelight — noun the lamp in a darkroom …   Wiktionary

  • Safelight — Неактиничный свет, безопасное освещение (например, в фотолаборатории) …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • safelight — n. filtered light that does not damage photographic film or paper …   English contemporary dictionary

  • safelight — noun a light with a coloured filter that can be used in a darkroom without affecting photosensitive film or paper …   English new terms dictionary

  • safelight — safe•light [[t]ˈseɪfˌlaɪt[/t]] n. pht a darkroom light with a filter that transmits only those rays of the spectrum to which films, printing paper, etc., are not sensitive • Etymology: 1900–05 …   From formal English to slang

  • safelight — /ˈseɪflaɪt/ (say sayfluyt) noun a light used in a darkroom, fitted with filters which can be adjusted to prevent the passage of light of a frequency which could affect the emulsion and fog the film. {safe + light1} …   Australian English dictionary

  • safelight — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun 1. : a color filter under which a sensitive paper, plate, or film may be manipulated and developed without danger of fogging and which usually consists of colored gelatin protected by glass plates or laminated in plastic 2. : a… …   Useful english dictionary

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