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Thread: Enlargers.

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    Enlargers.

    I am interested in developing and printing my own film. I understand that after development, you use an enlareging machine which shines light through the film onto the film paper and thus gives you the print.
    I am wondering what the difference is between the more expensive enlargers i have seen second hand, and the lesser expensive ones? Is it the enlargement lens that is a big cost? It seems logical that if you have a poor quality enlargement lens you will always get poor quality results?
    What sort of enlarger would be reccomended for black and white 35mm film enlargement for a begginer looking for good value enlarger. I have seen the vintage ones on ebay, will these get the job done, or is it better to spend some more on a newer type of enlarger?

    thanks.

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    You can use any reasonable quality enlarger, the place where you MUST spend money is a good quality enlarging lens. For 35mm film that's a 50mm lens. Look at Nikon, Schneider, Rodenstock.
    The lens should cost as much as ALL the other gear combined. I used to teach darkroom techniques for a living & I reckon this is the golden rule.
    Cheers

    MajorPanic

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    if i pruchase a cheaper enlarger, will i then be able to switch the lens on there with a better quality one?

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    Almost all enlargers use the 39mm (Leica) thread so any lens can be used as long as it suits your film size and intended magnification.

    JJ

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    Most reasonable enlargers don't come with a lens & as mentioned by JJ the standard thread is 39mm. So you need to do some research on which lens will suit your needs, for 35mm this would be in the 50 - 65mm range. As with cameras, the faster the lens the more the cost but the easier to use in the dark.

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    When I was doing my own B&W prints I found a reasonable one at the local tip shop. It cost me $15 since both myself and the attendant only saw the price in reverse on a mirror lol.
    Unfortunately it didn't have the lens, so I bought a reasonable second hand one.
    You might get lucky, even at garage sales. The lens is definitely one of the most important things. The other thing to watch for is alignment. That is, the light source and lens are in excellent vertical alignment with the base. Most do have screws to allow realigning though.
    Good luck, it is fun printing your own photos

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    I have just picked up a couple of enlargers, and plan on printing my own film soon too.

    The way I look at it is you are probably best not worrying so much about the type of lens and it sharpness to start off with, rather you would be best served by getting the basics right first.

    I know I will have some disasters to start off with, but once I can get consistent results from what I have, then I will worry about if I need a better enlarger/lens or not.

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    The thing is that you do get what you pay for and fortunately these days you don't have to pay very much at all for a half decent enlarger simply because nobody wants them!

    Because you are starting out, and you might not want to take printing any further than an initial play, you are best off just buying something fairly cheap and seeing if you like the whole printing thing in the first place. Even a cheap lens will often give you good results when stopped down a bit but be careful not to buy a lens with fungus which seems to be common with enlarging lenses (due to the damp environments they tend to live in). If you do like it and want to take it further then you need to do some research and then buy some decent gear which could still potentially cost a few bucks.

    A case in point;

    Rodenstock APO-Rodagon N 50/2.8 (for 35mm)

    Rodenstock APO-Rodagon N 80/4 (for medium format ie 6x7 or smaller)

    This lens (the 80, I don't have the 50) costs a few bucks but I can honestly say it's worth every cent. Would you buy it to 'suck-and-see' if you like printing? HELL NO! But this is potentially the kind of lens you might look for if you really get serious about it. You can probably find them at reasonable prices on Evilbay. Another excellent 35mm enlarging lens is the El-Nikkor 63/2.8 but it's not in the same class as the Rodenstock APO's. Of course you'd want a decent, ie rigid and precise, enlarger to go with it. Maybe one that will shoot larger film of you want to then shoot medium format (which is very cheap these days).

    Anyhoo, to answer your question is there a difference between the cheap and expensive, yes there is. But does it matter to you now, probably not.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 20-08-2010 at 11:00am.

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    I have had a look, unfortunately i dont really know the value of any of these things well. Here are two different enlargers i have foud on the internet second and. Would they be suitable?


    -Durst Laborator 1000

    -LPL Enlarger 6066-SII

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    Quote Originally Posted by fabian628 View Post
    I have had a look, unfortunately i dont really know the value of any of these things well. Here are two different enlargers i have foud on the internet second and. Would they be suitable?


    -Durst Laborator 1000

    -LPL Enlarger 6066-SII
    Google is your friend.

    Only you will know what is suitable for you, will you shoot 5x4 film, medium format or just 35mm! Whatever you buy, make sure it is complete and works in every way. It's unlikely you will get any spare parts for this stuff these days.

    I suggest you try to buy something locally so that you can see it yourself first before committing to buy, as you would have to on Evilbay. Try the trading post or maybe your local photographic dealers, or maybe clubs, and have a look around first. Do some research on the interweb on models you might be considering.

    There's no problem buying something on Evilbay as long as you are guaranteed the item is complete and works 100% and preferably have an option to get your money back if it isn't.

    JJ

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    There are -lots- of both lovely and inexpensive enlarging lenses to be had on eBay, lottsa Rodenstocks, lottsa Russian ones, lottsa enlarging lenses in general even.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
    Google is your friend.

    Only you will know what is suitable for you, will you shoot 5x4 film, medium format or just 35mm! Whatever you buy, make sure it is complete and works in every way. It's unlikely you will get any spare parts for this stuff these days.

    I suggest you try to buy something locally so that you can see it yourself first before committing to buy, as you would have to on Evilbay. Try the trading post or maybe your local photographic dealers, or maybe clubs, and have a look around first. Do some research on the interweb on models you might be considering.

    There's no problem buying something on Evilbay as long as you are guaranteed the item is complete and works 100% and preferably have an option to get your money back if it isn't.

    JJ
    I will be shooting 35mm film. Yes i have seen evil bay hehehe, i do intend to go and pick it up and be shown that it works.
    Is there a difference between an enlarger that can do b&w and one that can do colour? I am intereted in b&w to start with.

    Thanks.

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    You can use an 80mm lens on your enlarger but you will be quite limited by the enlargers column height. The trade off is that you will be using the very sharpest part of the lens. All the hobby enlargers I've seen don't have sufficient column height to produce a 16" X 20" print using an 80mm lens.

    A B&W enlarger will only have an incandescent bulb & condensing lenses (to focus the light) but a colour enlarger can be used with variable contrast paper by just dialling in the appropriate filter combination to change the contrast of the print. Get a colour enlarger

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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorPanic View Post
    You can use an 80mm lens on your enlarger but you will be quite limited by the enlargers column height. The trade off is that you will be using the very sharpest part of the lens. All the hobby enlargers I've seen don't have sufficient column height to produce a 16" X 20" print using an 80mm lens.

    A B&W enlarger will only have an incandescent bulb & condensing lenses (to focus the light) but a colour enlarger can be used with variable contrast paper by just dialling in the appropriate filter combination to change the contrast of the print. Get a colour enlarger
    +1

    The LPL C6700 is very nice, and very cheap these days.

    JJ

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    Thanks again for the info.

    I purchased an LPL 66-sII.
    I want to develop and print black and white. What are the basic chemicals I need for this process, and where would you generally obtain these from?

    Thanks.

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    You'll need a developer, stop bath & fixer.
    Decide what paper your going to use & get the developer recommended by the manufacturer. Mix it at the recommended percentage. You can get into exotic developers later after some experience.

    The stop bath stops development after 10-20 seconds so allow for a slight continuation of development when you remove the print from the developer solution.

    The fixer solution stabilises the print so it can be viewed under normal lighting so don't be too quick to remove the print from the solution.

    You will need to wash the print thoroughly otherwise it will start to fade or do weird things.

    Here is a list of the equipment you'll need
    Enlarger
    Enlarger timer
    Lens
    Paper easel
    Focus finder
    Safe light (red)
    3 developing trays
    Print tongs
    Print washer
    Print squeegee
    Somewhere to dry the prints.

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