Color Computer

Beseler Color Computer Head

My job in the QA lab was pretty tedious, however, it was on the evening shift which gave me my days to pursue other interests. I was attempting to establish myself as a photographer and fine art printer. For the most part, I photographed using slide film, both Ektachrome and Kodachrome, my favorite. Creating prints from slides on Kodak materials was complicated and didn't match the results of Ilford's Cibachrome materials. Pricey but worth it.

The cost of materials had me seeking ways to reduce waste in the darkroom. Repeatability in color printing is difficult to achieve, enlarger lamps grow dimmer over time, and the color filters in your enlarger also fade with time. So, coming back months later to print it again, it may not match the first one. Fortunately, Beseler had a solution called the Color Computer Head. It used photo sensors in the light mixing chamber to measure the precise amounts of CMY light in a digital readout from 0-255 (8 bits). This meant it could correct for lamp and color filter drift.

This was my first computer, and it was an enlarger head that helped me get repeatable, accurate results. The Color Computer Head was mounted on my Durst 4x5 Enlarger. In a spare room at our house, I built a very nice, well equipped darkroom. My dad even came over to use it to do some dye transfer printing.

Towards the end of my time in QA, the photo studio across the hall from the QA lab, would ask me to help out with printing retirement photos, due to my printing experience. It would also lead to a better job.

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Beseler Color Computer