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enlargers

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by chenegrita, Apr 19, 2001.

  1. chenegrita

    chenegrita New Member

    I am wanting to set up my first B&W lab at home. I am looking for a basic and good value but good qualitie B&W enlarger. Any suggestions? I have no idea which one is good or not! Thank you.
     
  2. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Are you wanting to buy new or used? What is your budget for the enlarger? What is your budget for an enlarging lens? What formats do you want to handle?

    David
     
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Do you want to use variable contrast (Multigrade)paper? How much space have you got?
    Personally, I would go for a Meopta Opemus 6 or 7 with a colour head - covers most formats and is fine for multigrade or colour as well as normal b&w.
    But most importantly, whatever enlarger you get, get the best lens possible. As with cameras, image quality is dependent on lens quality.

    Nick
     
  4. perkeo

    perkeo Well-Known Member

    WHERE ARE YOU ?

    Complete b&w enlarging set-ups are selling for peanuts in the UK. A basic Durst 'Graduate' (b&w) enlarger, Neonon 50/2.8 lens, easel,focus-finder, dishes,thermometer,timer, safelight, measuring jugs and film developing tank with unopened boxes of paper and chemicals was advertised in our local paper for just £50 last week, and there have been several previous offers of similar equipment.

    Durst, LPL, DeVere, Leitz Focomat (if you're lucky !)or Valoy are all well known and reliable enlargers as well as the Meopta which Nick recommends. If you're intending to use 'multgrade' paper, you'd be as well buying one with a 'colour head'. Lenses to look out for are the Schneider Componons/Componars, EL Nikkors, Minolta Rokkors, Rodagon and Durst Neonon - all excellent optics - 50mm, if your'e using 35mm film, with no less aperture than 2.8 for easier focusing.

    So, if you're in the UK, look in your local and 'freebie' papers and the weekly 'LOOT'.

    Good luck.
     
  5. TOMPKINS

    TOMPKINS Well-Known Member

    I do realise that this posting will be of little interest to chenagrita, but I've just got to pass on the news.

    Twenty years ago I bought a De Vere 203, the cost with a condensor head was about £600 without lenses. Without doubt the best medium format enlarger available for the professional, or an amateur who will not settle for less. Here twenty years on it's still their current model.

    Sitting on the floor of a camera shop in Leeds is a 203 looking for a new owner.It's got the remote baseboard controls, three,yes three heads including the diachroic colour, masks from 35mm to 6x9 and four Schneider lenses, a De Vere timer and voltage stabiliser is also included. The price, £499. I reckon to buy it new it would be over £3500. The film carriers alone would cost more then the asking price for whole thing.

    I have no interest in the sale, but if anybody is interested send me a mail and I will give you the telephone number. Why don't I buy it, Oh I was tempted but I had just ordered the Nikon Supercoolscan 4000. At least I would have known how to use it, the scanner, well that's another question.

    Brian



    TOM
     
  6. chenegrita

    chenegrita New Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    Thank you so much for all your advice! I realise I didn't give much detailed information about what I wanted or where I am: well, I am in London, and I am working mainly with 35mm and B£W, but I think your advice of buying an enlarger with colour head is useful, especially because I like using multivariable papers. I find this De Vere 203 opportunity great, although I must admit that it is a bit above my budget. I wish I could go for something like that, but for the moment I will have to find something not more expensive than £200, so probably used ones is a good idea. Thanks a lot to everyone!!
     
  7. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    I gave away about a dozen boxes of paper last month in all sizes up to 16x20". A couple of years ago I might have been interested in that De Vere but I don't have the space or time for a darkroom now and besides, digital is so much more convenient.

    However, to anybody starting out in photography, darkroom work is an experience not to be missed. Learning the basics in the darkroom also gives a better appreciation of some of the Photoshop tools later on (dodging and burning etc.).

    I spent many a happy hour in the darkroom. Maybe when I retire, I'll have the time to set up another one and I'll put a post here asking for the details of antique shops selling old photo gear like enlargers and dishes...

    David

    PS Brian - let us know how you get on with your 4000.
     
  8. TOMPKINS

    TOMPKINS Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    I wish you luck in your quest for an enlarger. The advice you have been given in the postings is sound. But an enlarger should be bought as a long term investment. Unlike cameras they are not subject to fashion. Therefore a twenty year old enlarger can be just as good as the latest,i.e. the De Vere. The only problem you might encounter with an older enlarger is one involving multi grade and colour heads. This excludes two of the wonderful enlargers mentioned by David, the Valoy and the Focomat. Yes colour heads are available, but so are hens teeth. The De Vere 35mm, The same comment applies. The best 35mm ever made was the Leitz V35, but unfortunately very expensive, although bargains are to be found.

    Yes, use the best lense, David has listed them. But with an enlarger every part of the equation is as important as the next. Rigidity,Geometric accuracy, Evenness of illumination, are the negative held flat? does the lamphouse spill light all over the place? and so on. With an enlarger everything must be right. It need not cost a fortune and chosen well it could be s friend for life. Durst, L.P.L, Omega, Berkeley, all make good enlargers, Just bolt their columns to the wall. Photographers spend fortunes on cameras and then skimp on enlargers,it's a mistake. It's like having a Ferarri and running it on two star.

    Happy hunting,

    Brian

    TOM
     
  9. phil

    phil Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    Couldn't agree more. My enlarger is a Gamer and is older than I am! Apart from wood dust on the optics at present I could't wish for more especially as it was a gift from a good friend! The only problem was it doesn't have a drawer for VC filters - this was solved by rescuing a cantilever arm from a skip and two pieces of cardboard stuck to gether. This may seem a bit of a fiddle but I use old graded paper for proofs (also from a skip!) so swing out the filter for this and swing it back in for VC paper!



    Phil <img src="/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif">
     
  10. Mick

    Mick Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    They don't just skimp on enlargers. A lot of people have top class camera kit and use low-end scanners. Seems a bit pointless.
     
  11. Burgy

    Burgy In the Stop Bath

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    To apppreciate the difference between a high quality SLR and a 35mm Compact by looking at a scanned neg, made on even the highest quality consumer scanner is near impossible. I currently use a nikon coolscan and which is adequate for my press photos if I am not shooting dig, but I still considerer anything other than convention prints unacceptable for clients who require physical copies of images.

    I have used a number of scanners including professional scanners costing many £000's and pro SLR's and Lenses and 35mm Compacts including a old Canon AF35ML and the results are impossible to tell apart. Far more important is that users get the best quality results from the equipment they have, by ensuring that exposures are accurate and the images to be scanned are clean.

    Paul@pressfotos.co.uk
    www.Pressfotos.co.uk
     
  12. Mick

    Mick Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    May I disagree with you there Paul from my experience.

    In relation to differences between different scanners, there is an enormous difference between the scans obtained from the same slide on different consumer scanners. This is particularly evident in the ability of different scanners to capture the darker tones in an image and is most evident on contrasty images. I used to have a Nikon Coolscan 2 which was as good as useless at capturing shadow detail at all. Lightening the shadows in Photoshop would just reveal lots of awful digital noise. My current scanner, a Minolta Scan Speed, does a much much better job although it gets nowhere near what I would get from a Cibachrome in terms of rendering the darker areas of slides. It all comes down to the dynamic range. The new Nikon 4000 has a quoted dynamic range of 4.2 which should be better again at getting into the shadows. The max resolution of the scanner is obviously also important and there will be a definite difference even at A4 between a scan made at 1800 and one made at 2800.

    In relation to the differences between different cameras/lenses, the differences may be less obvious in terms of sharpness but they are most definitely discernible. I changed kit not so long ago from my old OM system to Nikon. The more biting edge to edge sharpness of the Nikon 50 mm compared to the Zuiko 50 mm is apparent even at A4. I don't have an A3 printer but I would expect that the differences would be even more distinct at that size. There is also a definite difference between quality obtained from scans from Velvia and ProviaF, the films I tend to use. The Velvia is sharper and grain is less obvious.
     
  13. Mick

    Mick Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    I should add, lest my first post be misinterpreted as advocating some sort of equipment elitism, that I was thinking about the tendency of some serious enthusiasts to spend maybe £2000 or more on cameras and lenses and then skimping on a low-end scanner which in my opinion will not do justice to the lenses. It is possible now to get a very decent film scanner for £350-500 but I don't think that any of the really low end scanners can produce the goods. Similarly with enlargers, what is the point in spending a fortune on camera kit and buying a low-end enlarger with a lens which cannot match the camera lens, uneven illumination etc etc. I am not saying that beginners or those who can't afford more expensive kit shouldn't go for the more affordable stuff. I am just referring to the tendency to skimp at the reproduction stage by those who are paying for high quality in the camera kit.
     
  14. perkeo

    perkeo Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    Sound, common sense Mick. The end 'process' in so many cases is 'The Weakest Link'. G'bye !
     
  15. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: thanks for the advice!

    Entirely agree. I know folk that spend £100's on their equipment but use the cheapest processing they can find and then wonder why their prints look awful. Not so bad for outdoor shots but portrait work in a studio needs a skilled operator to get flesh tones correct and black backgrounds as black and white backgrounds as white. Also, therre seems to be a reluctance to pay extra for low contrast film that is more suitable for flesh tones.

    There is a notion that an expensive camera should yield good results without the realisation that the camera is just one part of a whole chain of events including the film, exposure, technique and processing. Neglecting any one of these stages can nullify the expense, time and effort put into the others.

    David
     
  16. nicxx

    nicxx Well-Known Member

    God, well I wish I could find one! Im desperate, I know it would be greAt to hAve A really good quAlity one but I just cant Afford it and At the moment I cant do *Anything* cos I cant Afford to hire the darkroom, so Anything is better than nothing until I get enough money to get something nicer. The cheApest I have come Across (second hand) hAs been 200 quid without lens/timer/anything! I keep looking everywhere - shops/pApers/websites and cAnt find a thing cheap enough Theres loAds if you wannA spend upwards of £400! If you ever notice one Again could you mAil me! nicxx@mailandnews.com

    Nicx
     
  17. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Hi Nicxx, have a look at http://www.meopta.co.uk/axomat.html. Their Axomat 5 enlarger costs £129.99 new and is the cheapest one I can find. It is 35mm only and does'nt include a lens but is well made. If that is still a bit steep then your best bet is secondhand. Do a search on Jessops Secondhand http://www.jessops.co.uk for secondhand enlargers. They don't put prices up on the site but can steer you to the nearest branch which has what you want and you can then phone them for a price. Good luck.
    BigWill
     
  18. nicxx

    nicxx Well-Known Member

    Mr Will, you a star. ThAnkyou Bigly.
     
  19. Canonball

    Canonball Well-Known Member

    And the good news Nicxx is, if you find what you want on Jessops site, you can ring 'em up and they'll transfer it to your nearest branch for free.
    Good Eh?<img src="/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif"><img src="/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif">

    Canonball
     
  20. nicxx

    nicxx Well-Known Member

    ooh theyre All At it tonight;-)Thankyou CAnon(Big)Ball. Are you all At the birthdAy pArty? I cAnt make it, I wish I wAs there:-( Save me some icing...
     

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