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  #1  
Old 24th October 2008, 06:24 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Default Enlargers

In another thread Percepts raises questions that partly encompass enlarger types. So, I thought I would open a discussion specifically on that point.

I have only ever used a colour head diffusion enlarger, so the following comments must be tempered by this statement.

I have never seen any reliable evidence that any other type of enlarger illumination will produce visibly better prints. Can anyone demonstrate otherwise?
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  #2  
Old 24th October 2008, 07:00 AM
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Define "Visibly Better" and that will be the crux of the case for or aginst any type of enlarger.

If you read the Durst literature for a varipoint head for an L1200, then you will see that a point source head with optically coated condensors is the way to go for obtaining the finest detail in a print. But that doesn't mean it is automically a "Visibly Better" print. For example, a head shot of an elderly woman photographed with the sharpest macro lens and then printed with a point source enlarger head so that it shows every wrinkle, crevice, skin pore and zit would not be very flattering. So how do you judge what is a "Visibly Better" print.
On the other hand, if you were printing the result from and electron microscope so that you could see the structure of a crystal, then a soft working diffusion head wouldn't work as well as a point source head.
There is a distinction to be made between technically better and aesthetically better and that depends upon purpose, personal and artistic taste and also anticipated subject taste.

A normal condensor enlarger is somewhere between the two.

The durst literature is here: http://www.darkroom.ru/info/brochure...consumer_e.pdf
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Last edited by Argentum; 24th October 2008 at 07:25 AM.
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  #3  
Old 24th October 2008, 08:08 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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For the purpose of this discussion I would like to put Scientific at one end of a long scale and Artistic at the other, and keep the discussion more towards the artistic end for I believe that’s where most of our interests lie.

I have read the Durst literature in the past and assumed that their specialist light sources were aimed at the scientific community.

My interest is with the hobbyist, and professional commercial photographer who may still print properly.

So for the average portrait, flower study, or landscape will I see a difference in a normal print at normal viewing distances?
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Old 24th October 2008, 08:14 AM
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Provided the prints are made to the same contrast then no, you won't. IMHO
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  #5  
Old 2nd November 2008, 05:58 PM
Ag-Bromide Ag-Bromide is offline
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My first enlarger was a Meopta condenser enlarger followed by an LPL colour enlarger, I sold both of those for my current Durst enlarger which is fitted with a VC module. I no longer make colour prints and would never go back to using a colour module.
I see no difference in sharpness between them.
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Old 14th January 2009, 03:27 PM
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hi dave
I have used condenser and diffusion enlargers and I like the condenser system the most it seems to give me more contrast,when I want it. my main enlarger is a lpl 7700 pro with triple condenser head fitted, I also have the colour head with transformer .
I use graded paper most of the time which seems to work better with a condenser set up.
its our hobby and we do what pleases us the most, so what ever rocks your boat(or dev tray) as they say. after 40 odd years messing about in the darkroom this way of doing things suits me .
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Old 14th January 2009, 05:06 PM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big paul View Post
hi dave
I have used condenser and diffusion enlargers and I like the condenser system the most it seems to give me more contrast,when I want it. my main enlarger is a lpl 7700 pro with triple condenser head fitted, I also have the colour head with transformer .
I use graded paper most of the time which seems to work better with a condenser set up.
its our hobby and we do what pleases us the most, so what ever rocks your boat(or dev tray) as they say. after 40 odd years messing about in the darkroom this way of doing things suits me .
I quite agree Paul, wouldn't it be a boring world if we all did things the same way.
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Old 14th January 2009, 06:00 PM
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Following on from the above comments I am leaning towards a s/hand Leitz Focomat V35 AF enlarger and lens offered through Nova for £385.00 http://www.novadarkroom.com/product/...at_V35_AF.html which would seem to fulfill all my needs. I was interesting to note the early experiences of members in an adjacent thread. I am proposing to use a very dry cellar in our 19th century Yorkshire stone house but I will need to go up two flights of stairs to the bathroom to wash my prints. Not ideal but it will give me good exercise. My other choice of location could be our daughters bedroom, she has now moved out by the way, which means only a short walk along the landing but I would need to rig up some sort of blackout
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Old 14th January 2009, 07:26 PM
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Having used various makes of condensor and colour head enlargers over the years for my mono work, all of which I found very good in their time, I now only use a De Vere with an Ilford 500H MC head. The De Vere is as joy to use with the bench handle sizing and focus controls, no filters to turn or place in and the negs stay in focus. However, I wouldn't say it creates better prints but as it is designed for pro use and is so easy to use it does free up my creative side to concentrate on making prints. A thing not to be overlooked with enlargers is the lens of course - that is probably the most important part of an enlarger. Many years ago I graduated from a good budget lens to my first Nikon and I just could not believe the difference it made. Maybe we could also have a discussion on enlarging lenses?

Neil.
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Old 15th January 2009, 01:29 AM
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I've always used condensers, started with an old Durst F60 and one Meopta Magnifax 4a. Somehow I prefer the sharp, crispy and punchy look of the prints produced by condenser units, rather the softer, maybe more balanced ones, I've made with colour heads. Downsides? You bet, scratched or dusty negatives, a true nightmare.

Which one is better? Both are great.

3 days ago, I let the 2 oldies retire after some very honourable service, lately, the F60 was used to flash paper and the Magnifax was unused. My present darkroom is too small for 2 enlargers, so I invested the incredible sum of 140 euros on an almost new Durst M805 unit. One all around unit in, 2 oldies out, problem solved. As for optics, I'm using 3 EL-Nikkors, one 50mm f/2.8, one 80mm f/5.6 and one 105mm f/5.6, all of them N series.


Cheers



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Last edited by André.E.C.; 15th January 2009 at 02:17 AM.
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