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  #1  
Old 8th January 2022, 03:30 PM
Wind on Allen Wind on Allen is offline
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Default Enlarger help , educate me please

Hi people , can anyone help explain the differences with black and white enlargers , I have seen several different types and am now confused
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Old 8th January 2022, 04:57 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Black and white enlargers

The first thing is where do you want to start? What size negative are you wanting to use? How big a print do you intend to make? I am assuming you are thinking about printing.

Smaller ones will make decent prints up to 10x8 inches then the next range can go from postcard size up to 20"x16" and bigger in some cases.

The information that exists about enlargers would equal Tolstoy's War and Peace in size if all were to be written down. Perhaps if you were to (pardon the pun) enlarge upon what you wish to do with your pictures my help. Again I am assuming you are a beginner so ask away and you will get answers by the skip load.

What is your budget? Have you ever used one? There is also a large range of ancillary equipment that you would need, have you thought about that? Fortunately in this day and age due to the advent of digital, the price of quite good equipment is not really all that expensive

depending on where you live of course, a forum member may be willing to take you under his/her wing and guide you through the basic process, show you the pitfalls and what is the best way of doing things, allowing you to develop your own particular style.
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Old 8th January 2022, 06:04 PM
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MartyNL MartyNL is online now
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There are 2 main types of enlarger; condenser and diffuser.

Condenser types usually take an opal lamp and focus the light sharply through glass condensers. Multigrade filters are normally positioned above the negative stage but an attachment exists for below the lens.

Diffuser enlargers, commonly use a halogen lamp and the light passes through a mixing box, diffusely. There are 2 sorts of heads, either a colour head or a more seldom multigrade head. The equivalent multigrade filter settings can be dialled in.
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Old 8th January 2022, 06:47 PM
Wind on Allen Wind on Allen is offline
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Hi John
Thanks for your reply

The first thing is where do you want to start? What size negative are you wanting to use? ( I have 35mm 6x6 6x7 cameras )How big a print do you intend to make? ( probably up to 16x20 after I have found my feet ) I am assuming you are thinking about printing.( yes )

Smaller ones will make decent prints up to 10x8 inches then the next range can go from postcard size up to 20"x16" and bigger in some cases.

The information that exists about enlargers would equal Tolstoy's War and Peace in size if all were to be written down. Perhaps if you were to (pardon the pun) enlarge upon what you wish to do with your pictures my help. Again I am assuming you are a beginner so ask away and you will get answers by the skip load.

What is your budget? ( good , up to £1K )Have you ever used one? ( Yes but it must be 40 years ago )There is also a large range of ancillary equipment that you would need, have you thought about that? ( I have some bits )Fortunately in this day and age due to the advent of digital, the price of quite good equipment is not really all that expensive

depending on where you live ( Boston Lincs ) of course, a forum member may be willing to take you under his/her wing and guide you through the basic process, show you the pitfalls and what is the best way of doing things, allowing you to develop your own particular style.
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Old 8th January 2022, 06:49 PM
Wind on Allen Wind on Allen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartyNL View Post
There are 2 main types of enlarger; condenser and diffuser.

Condenser types usually take an opal lamp and focus the light sharply through glass condensers. Multigrade filters are normally positioned above the negative stage but an attachment exists for below the lens.

Diffuser enlargers, commonly use a halogen lamp and the light passes through a mixing box, diffusely. There are 2 sorts of heads, either a colour head or a more seldom multigrade head. The equivalent multigrade filter settings can be dialled in.
Hi, I only want to print black and white at the moment , I understand colour is a nightmare
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Old 8th January 2022, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind on Allen View Post
Hi, I only want to print black and white at the moment , I understand colour is a nightmare
The filters in the colour heads are used to re-create the multigrade filter grades for black and white print making. Few colour heads are used these days to make colour prints, as strange as it may sound!
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Old 8th January 2022, 08:06 PM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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Smaller doesn't mean you can't make large prints. I used to do 20x16" prints with my tiny Gnome Universum 35mm enlarger, it could also be used as a projector.

Unless you want to pay a lot for an enlarger with a Multigrade head get one with a colour head, the best are De Vere 203's by along way, but a Durst isn't far behind. You need to make sure the enlarger covers 6x7, most MF enlargers are only 6x6.

Ian
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Old 8th January 2022, 08:08 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Darkroom equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind on Allen View Post
Hi, I only want to print black and white at the moment , I understand colour is a nightmare
Actually it isn't. I print more colour than B&W but you do need some way of accurately controlling the developer temperature. There is also a specialise safelight that can be used. They are not made anymore but seem to be easy to find. They work on the principal that colour paper is 'blind' to the light given off the sodium vapour bulb. I have one and I think I have the last remaining replacement bulb in captivity....Anywhere!

As a good start for enlargers that will allow you to print up to 20 x16 have a look at Second Hand Darkroom Supplies(just google the name) they have assorted enlargers to suit all tastes. The better one are Kaiser for which spares are still made. Then LPL, I use an LPL7700 which will print up to 20x16 especially with the 6x7, but it will do so with 35mm up to 16x20 as well. They also have Durst models which I don't know a great deal about but they are well built and in the same class as the other 2

If I were you I would ignore the B&W ones with a multigrade head just in case you do decide to have a go at colour. Apart from anything else they tend to be more expensive as well!

The filtration with the inbuilt filters can be used for multigrade paper and do not fade with use as seperate Multigrade filters do. The new Ilford MG5 is a revelation over MG4 paper and was long overdue. Enlarger bulbs are around a tenner each and will last a good while, although it may be advisable to change them after about 3 yrs use.

SDH also have dishes, safelights, enlarger lenses, timers, thermometers, infact more or less anything you are likely to need. Including chemicals film and paper. Some things are in short supply because they are not readily available new. for B&W work there seems to be a very short supply of dish heaters.
He has so much kit in stock, if you are after something special and it is not on his website give him a call, you could be lucky!

For colour I use a NOVA processor which will keep developer temperature within .5 of a degree again they are available s/h and the company that produces them have stated that they will reinstate production with a new model early this spring.

Simon the owner of the company SDH is very approachable and if there is any problem with what you buy I have never had him refuse an exchange or refund.

There are a number of other companies that give good service for materials and chemicals. AG Photographic, Morco photographic (not far from you in Blyth Notts.) Then there is Firstcall Photographic who are in Somerset has a tremendous range of film, paper, chemicals. Plus bits and bobs not usually available elsewhere. Some of the materials are shall I say.... not 'mainstream'. Someone will buy them, but not me Their overall prices are not the cheapest but they can be relied upon.

Last edited by John King; 8th January 2022 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 9th January 2022, 01:15 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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http://www.jollinger.com/photo/enlargers/index.html

A good site with lots of information.
I posted it here a while ago.

Cheers.
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Old 9th January 2022, 04:35 PM
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In your position I'd be looking for an enlarger which can manage up to 6x7, with a colour head.

You'll read that condenser enlargers produce an image with more contrast and sharpness, but can show up grain and dust on your negatives. My own experience regarding contrast is that a colour head does produce a softer image, but this can be addressed by developing your negatives to suit. As for apparent sharpness, that is too subtle for me to notice. I also suspect glass versus glassless negative carriers are the biggest factor in dust marks appearing in your prints.

Graded papers have now almost vanished, and I suspect most of us are on VC papers. The built in dichroic filters on a colour head resist fading better than the Ilford kits. Ilford themselves recommend replacing these periodically, but again I suspect many of us use them long past the point where the regularly used filters have begun to fade.
If you plan to print multiple formats on the same enlarger you will need a couple of enlarging lenses, and possibly different mixing boxes for the head. I have a Durst 605 which has a simple lever to switch between 35mm and 6x6. Using the wrong mixing box can lead to uneven illumination on the print, or excessively long print times. Whatever you buy, try and find one with all the bits you need. Remember, some of these are very old, and spares or accessories can be like hens teeth.

I work with 2 enlargers. One for negatives up to 6x6, and the other for 5x4 (and 6x7, which I no longer shoot). The smaller Durst will only go to 12x16 from a 35mm negative. The big LPL 7451 easily prints to 20x16 but needs much more height for the column. I had to set my bench height low enough to allow maximum extension, so I work seated on a wheeled stool. Remember, the top of the head will reach well above the top of the column. If you haven't already built your darkroom it gives you more freedom of choice in picking a machine.
Yes, there are tricks to printing bigger than column height allows. Turning the head and printing sideways, or reversing the column and printing on the floor. Well and good if you have room to do it, real hassle if you have a small space and (for example) coomed ceilings. If at all possible buy something which allows your biggest print size on the baseboard.

Budget? Prices are on the way up. The forums are full of stories about folk rescuing unwanted 10x8 enlargers and boxes of top flight lenses from skips as the digital Tsunami swept in. Not anymore. You can hunt ebay for bargains, but enlargers are bulky and sensitive to abuse. Many sellers won't ship them and offer collection only. If you have the budget it is very well worth dealing with people like Second-Hand Darkroom, who are infinitely more knowledgeable than some private sellers disposing of darkroom kit they've inherited. A quick look at ebay also suggests that some of these sellers are now looking for prices just as high as buying from SDS.

Dedicated black and white multigrade head? Great idea, but you could wait a very long time to find one. A colour head also means you just could print colour if the mood took you. I swore I never would, but I'm currently toying with giving colour a try just so can I can have the experience in case it becomes unaffordable or unavailable in future.

Lastly, whatever you buy get a dozen bulbs for it.
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