Aligning the Negative carrier, Lens and Easel question

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Todd Barlow, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Todd Barlow

    Todd Barlow Subscriber

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    I am interested in what you do.....

    When trying to get the negative carrier, lens stage and easel to be in parallel alignment do you place your level on the lens bezel or the lens board?

    Thanks

    Todd
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The lens bezel is the safe place. I have a Beseler 4x5 and the lens alignment is accomplished by set screws that position the lens/board with respect to the lens stage.
     
  3. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    Either will work.
     
  4. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The main purpose of making the negative carrier, lens plane, and easel parallel is to insure sharp focus in all corners of the image. Thus, the most direct method of determining effective parallelism is to check for corner sharpness. Other testing methods are to some extent indirect and subject to possible errors. A clear piece of film lightly sanded with coarse and fine sandpaper makes an effective negative for checking sharpness. As long as the enlarger alignment provides sharp image corners, nothing has to be level.
     
  5. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    While Jim is correct, I find it much easier to align the enlarger to make everything parallel and then just do a spot check to make sure the corners are all in focus. Way to many options on what to adjust just looking at the baseboard for me.

    Also, for your check of sharpness, make sure you use a glass carrier. Film flex will really throw you off otherwise.

    Also, I use a laser and mirror instead of a level to check alignment. I place the mirror on the lens bezel. Much easier to use this way, and very easy to spot check before a printing session.
     
  6. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Second what jim has said.

    Lens optics are not necessarily even with the mount, believe it. Make the neg stage parallel to the base, then do the lens, but the final check is to check corners with grain magnifier. The Omega or Peak LONG Mirror model will see right into the corners.

    I have name brand lenses that I have on separate boards because that is how they need to be shimmed to work best. I can not unscrew one and screw in a new one.

    Changing neg carriers throws things off also as does changing print size if the column is not well braced.
     
  7. Sundowner

    Sundowner Subscriber

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    I keep a piece of glass at hand to clamp in place of the negative carrier, and I start leveling from there. I go from there to the lens board/bezel (I modified my boards to be level-able) and then down to the baseboard. Then I check my easel. Having two separate enlargers, I swap easels and what-not between them at times, so I made sure that both of my baseboards were level...that way I can level up an easel once, and it works for every setup.

    I also had to do a bit of milling and machining on the vertical pitch adjustments on both of my 23C's...but everything's in perfect alignment, now. I also expose at small apertures and use glass carriers, so sharpness is never a problem for me. I also don't make very big prints, though.

    I recheck, periodically, as well. No adjustments yet, though.

    Edit: +2 on checking with a grain focuser.
     
  8. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    Sundowner,

    Do you ever get Newton's rings(?) from the glass, or is it a special glass that is used? Is it effective vs. glassless carriers?

    thx,

    s-a
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I have a tri-beam laser level I put on the baseboard. A small mirror on the lens facing down (or in place of the negative carrier with lens removed) will reflect the laser beam back to it's source if it's aligned properly. Laser makes it easy to see the results of your adjustments as you're tapping/tightening things back into position.
     
  10. Sundowner

    Sundowner Subscriber

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    Ah, I wasn't clear...

    I don't even turn the enlarger on when I'm checking with the glass. It just clamps in place of the negative carrier so that I'll have a dead-level surface that projects out far enough for me to get a measurement between it, the baseboard, and the lens stage. I use a large machinist's square to check for a basic level, and I usually throw a digital level on top of the glass as well. That will get me well within tolerance.

    My grain focuser check is simple: I have a folder of film-speed test negatives, and I just pick one with noticeable grain (Tri-X in Diafine is good) and throw it in a carrier after I have my basic level. I open the lens midway - open enough to see, basically - and then focus at the center of the projected "image." Then I check out at the extreme edges...theoretically, everything should be pretty sharp. It's worked so far...so either I'm doing it wrong, or exactly right. :cool: