After I read Gene Nocons book ”Photographic printing” I have start using the f-stop method when doing test strips. It make it so much easier to come to a good time for printing. When shooting it’s natural to think in terms of f-stops but when I learned printing it was 2+2+2 sec and so on. You can by all means come to a good result with that metod as well but when I started with f-stops in the darkroom as well as outside everything fell in place and felt natural.
I don’t have a f-stop timer so on my wall I have a cheat sheet with times from 5 sec up to 269,2 sec. Normally my prints are in the range of 10-20 sec but with bigger prints or slower paper as Fomatone the longer times comes in handy.
When I do my test strips I do 5+5+10+20+40 and so on as long as needed. It’s easy to judge between for example 10 and 20 when I think in terms of stops and then pick a time in between from the sheet. I can’t think of a better way to start the print process now when I have used it for a couple of years and it was not hard to to leave a 40 year habit for this. In my notes I take notes in f-stops for dodging and burning that will help if I make another size of that print.
There are special timer for f-stop printing but they are really expensive. But I came across a Kickstarterproject I backed on a timer with the f-stop function that will be fun to test out when it’s ready. It’s called Maya and seems to be a really advanced timer with a lot of possibility, not only for printing but all sorts of things in the darkroom process. It have taken a long time to get it ready but I think it’s close to delivery now, I hope:) Until then, cheat sheet is a nice and free way.