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Photo Equipment & Accessories > Lab Timers > Mig-2 darkroom timer
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Mig-2 darkroom timer

The Mig-2 is a button-operated darkroom timer. At 90 x 140 x 40 mm it's a small device. From the construction this looks like a device from the late 70s and early 80s. The production year is not marked; there is a price mark (18 roubles) on the bottom, and an electrical outlet at the back for connecting the enlarger.

Apart from the excellent industrial design, it's somewhat remarkable for its quirky exposure time selection mechanism. Apart from the two large buttons marked "Start" (пуск, in red) and "Continuous" (постоянно), there is a set of five buttons marked 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16. These form a binary interface based on powers of two. Durations of powers of two seconds can be selected directly; intermediate times are selected by pressing several buttons at once which then are are added up. For 3 seconds you'd select 1 + 2, for 7 seconds you'd select 1 + 2 + 4, and for 21 seconds you'd press 1 + 4 + 16.

It follows that the 5 buttons on the Mig-2 give us 5 f-stops worth of exposure time range, or 1 to 31 seconds. If you need more than this, just open the aperture on your enlarging lens one stop. On this Mig-2, the exposure times all run with reasonable accuracy. The electronics are analog, though, and depending on the state of the capacitors exposure times might become inaccurate over the decades.

Using the Mig-2, you end up juggling powers of 2 in your head all the time. In the darkroom this is actually rather intuitive, since a lot of darkroom work is based on powers of 2 anyway. Suppose you are exposing at f/5.6 and you find that you need 12 seconds of exposure (8+4). Now you decide that you'd better expose at f/8 to have more time to play around. For one stop you need twice the exposure time, hence 12 seconds (16 + 8). If you look at the scale, this change becomes a very simple operation: from 1-2-4-8-16 you get 1-2-4-8-16 - in other words, just take all the pushed-down buttons and shift them one position to the right.

The name, of course, has nothing to do with the Mikoyan-Gurevich aviation construction bureau. In other words: in spite of the name this is not a fighter plane. The word "миг" simply means "moment", "instant".

(Click to enlarge)

Created by rxmd on 2/15/2009 5:25:07 AM   |   Last Edited by rxmd on 2/15/2009 5:30:07 AM   Revision History  
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