Alingment, lenses and other...

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by haris, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. haris

    haris Guest

    Hi, I am new on this forum, and have some questions about my enlarger. I have old Meopta Opemus5(6x6) enlarger. I have both b/w and colur herad for it. Enlarger do have condensors, but non changeable. So, it make 35mm enlargments like cropping off negative 6x6 size... I have Anaret 50mm f4.5 and Anaret 80mm f4.5 lenses. Now, I am not happy with 50mm lens. Yes it is cheap toy, with only four aperture blades. I am thinking to replace both lenses with respective Rodenstock Rodagon or Schneider Componon-S. My questions are: How to chect alingment of my enlarger(without test negative), recommendations for other enlarger(up to 6x7cm) and if anyone has good experience with Opemus5 enlarger any advice will be werry welcome.

    Thanks, Haris
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hey - I use one of those, too!

    I've never used condensors, only colour head with 6x6 mixing chamber. No problem at all.

    While the Anaret lenses have only 4 aperture blades, I wouldn't dismiss them as "cheap toys"! I have Anaret S lenses, 50mm and 80mm: I also have a 60mm Componon, but the Anaret S 50mm/f:4.5 is good enough that I use that instead of taking the 60 off the camera lensboard (it gets used as a macro lens... Anaret lenses can be very good indeed, edge sharpness is better than many other lenses at five times the price.
     
  3. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Start with a small level. Place it on the base board. Is it level? If not correct it. Both front to back and side to side. Then the negative stage. Check that. The lensboard stage.

    This won't get you to absolutely perfect alignment but it should get you close enough. Well unless you make extra large enlargements.
     
  4. haris

    haris Guest

    I exactly have problems with edge sharpness. Well, not exactly edge, but: if you look at print in portrait format, for examlpe from bottom to top, about 5/6th of print is sharp(bottom), and 1/6th(or close to that) on top, is unsharp(or vice versa [​IMG]. That is why I asked about how to performe alingment checking. So, Ole, you said in fact to take condensors out of enlarger when use colour head? I do use mostly colour head as I work with Ilfors Multigrade papers...

    Never think of that... Thank you very much.
     
  5. haris

    haris Guest

    Thanks robert. I dont have small levels, but two large ones (50cm and 90cm lenghts)... Oh, Ole, I have simple Anaret, not Anatret-s lenses. 50mm has 4 blades, and 80mm has 8 blades apertures...
     
  6. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Small ones would be better. Say less then 10cm.
     
  7. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    The best way to align an enlarger is one of those laser devices, but since you probably don't have access to one, there's a trick you can do with two mirrors. Never tried it myself but a web search should turn up an explanation. I think you get two mirrors, scratch a tiny bit of the backing off one and stick that in your neg carrier, lay the other bit on the baseboard and then make adjustments to the enlarger head until the beam of light passing thru the top mirror reflects back on itself. Something like that. The problem with using a level is how do you get it to show the neg holders relative levelness. Depending on the design of the enlarger, this might be possible, might not. Another think you can try is to get and old bit of clear film and draw a cross (and possibly some more lines) on it with a pen. Stick that in the enlarger and focus. Check that the lines are sharp all over, make adjustments until you're happy [​IMG]
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  9. haris

    haris Guest

    Thank you all. Ole, if you can belive me I never had manual for my Opemus5 [​IMG]
     
  10. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I tried all the methods suggested here, the scratched neg, using small levels and checking each stage but still had problems with slight unsharpness in part of the print. The only way that I could improve the sharpness was to stop down the enlarger which resulted in quite long exposures. Three years ago I did a printing workshop with Richard Newman for Calumet in the US and he introduced me to the Versalab Laser alignment tool which O promptly purchased and have never regretted it. I check the alignment every day that I'm working, it takes about two minutes and I know that the prints are goibng to be sharp from corner to corner. Save yourself a lot of frustration and wasted time and buy one, you'll never regret it.
     
  11. haris

    haris Guest

    Thanks Les. I have read your column in Practical Photoraphy, in times when read that magazine. I liked your nature b/w photographs(sand dune and if I can remember well of one canyon)

    I must stay with non laser option. Money reason. But, next thing is interesting. If alingment is that much important, what happens when I raise one side of paper easel(or rotate enlarger head) in order to correct converging verticals in architecture photos. In that case alingment is way too much destroyed...
     
  12. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (haris @ Apr 19 2003, 03:21 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>T If alingment is that much important, what happens when I raise one side of paper easel(or rotate enlarger head) in order to correct converging verticals in architecture photos. In that case alingment is way too much destroyed...</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    True. the "alignment" will be "incorrect". Smaller apertures may (read:tongue:robably) be necessary to produce ACCEPTABLE "sharpness". This is a trade-off: Is pespective control more important than absolute sharpness?.

    I've done "the brick trick" - tilting the easel by placing a brick under one corner or side of the easel - many times... most notably for a friend who returned from Africa with 11 rolls of 35mm, where she had photographed a *lot* of flat art - paintings and drawings - without paying attention to perspective. Everything was shot off-axis. There was onlly one way to go - bricks and small enlarging lens apertures.

    It worked - as well as could be expscted - and FAR better than she had hoped.
     
  13. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I got to ask how easily do your enlargers go out of alignment? You really don't want to know how I got my 4x5 into the basement-)))
     
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  15. haris

    haris Guest

    Robert, when you mentioned it, now you have to tell us whole story [​IMG]
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Could it possibly be something similar to how I got my Durst 138s up the steep, narrow stairs to the 1st floor? [​IMG]
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Member

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    When I got it home no one was around. Funny how nobody is ever around when some thing heavy needs to be moved-))) Well you know I wanted to try it out. The head was off so all I had to move was the rest of the thing. Maybe 140 lbs. I hauled it into the house. The big problem wasn't the weight but it was impossible to grab hold of the thing. Well I hauled it to the door. Too big to fit the door. Standing there grumbling I figured out that if I turned it on to it's side then I could put first one side in then turn it so the back got in. Once I had it inside I was smart enough to put it on some carpet and slide it across the floor.

    Got it to the basement door. Oops what do I do now? Slide it!. So I grabbed hold of the back and slid it down the first four steps to the landing. That went pretty well. Only four steps. Problem was it was now pointing the wrong way. Get it turned around. The rest of the way down is more like 12 steps. I stopped. Went for a walk. Figured some body would be around to help. You know nobody showed up. I was getting itchy to try it out. So I started to slide it down the rest of the way. Every so often I would rest it on the lower step. Finally got it to the bottom. Can't drag it across the basement floor so I had to man handle it over to the bench. No problem all I need to do now is lift it up to the top of the bench. Hey that's only 39" off the floor. I go for a second walk-)) Come back and knew if I didn't just do it I'd have to wait until the next morning. So I basically just heaved it up there. Best part the bench didn't even move.

    Got out the manual and turned to the section on alignments. Figured I would need to learn how to rebuild the thing. I couldn't find anything wrong with it. Maybe it was out of alignment when I started and all the abuse aligned it-))
     
  18. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Robert, Maybe you ought to wait until your blood pressure stabilizes before you decide the enlarger is aligned...It could be that your vision has been affected.
     
  19. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Blood pressure was okay. Breathing was heavy. Sweat in my eyes. Body was a little sore. I've checked it a few times using the alignment method out of the repair section. The seller was nice enough to include a photo copy of that. The thing is built solid. Which I guess explains why it almost out weighs me. I fully expected it to need some tweaking.
     
  20. dentan

    dentan Member

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    I used a piece of paper with 5 mm squares in the neg holder, put the enlarger head in its top position, measured the sides of the "neg" on the baseboard and adjusted the fixing of the enlarger pole until the opposite sides were equal.

    BTW, talking about old enlargers. I use a Meopta Axomat II [​IMG] with a Belar 4,5/50 (4 aperture blades). It is sharp enough for me (I seldom do larger than 24 x 30 cm).
     
  21. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (haris @ Apr 18 2003, 03:09 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Hi, I am new on this forum, and have some questions about my enlarger. I have old Meopta Opemus5(6x6) enlarger. I have both b/w and colur herad for it. Enlarger do have condensors, but non changeable. So, it make 35mm enlargments like cropping off negative 6x6 size... I have Anaret 50mm f4.5 and Anaret 80mm f4.5 lenses. Now, I am not happy with 50mm lens. Yes it is cheap toy, with only four aperture blades. I am thinking to replace both lenses with respective Rodenstock Rodagon or Schneider Componon-S. My questions are: How to chect alingment of my enlarger(without test negative), recommendations for other enlarger(up to 6x7cm) and if anyone has good experience with Opemus5 enlarger any advice will be werry welcome.

    Thanks, Haris</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    First, I am not familiar with this enlarger so I cannot be specific, but I have aligned several Omega and Beseler enlargers and I think the method which is cheapest and gives the best overall alignment is the double mirror method.

    Get two mirrors of plate glass if possible. Hardware stores usually sell these as tiles. I got mine as scrap from the local glazer. Make sure there is sufficient overhang to insure good contact with the enlarger parts. Remove an approximately circular portion from the "silvered" surface about 1/4 inch dia. It is a good idea to stick one of those hole reinforcement "doughnuts" (used on punched paper) around the opening on the mirror side.

    You may have to remove your light source for the following. Place the unmodified mirror on your base plate, or beter still, your easel. Place the other on the negative stage, mirror side down and centered as well as possible (no biggy). Peer down throught the hole and you will see a number of receeding reflections of the "doughnut". Make your appropriate adjustments untill all the images align and you see concentric "doughnuts" to infinity.

    If you have trouble eyeballing the setup, you might wish to use a third mirror to get an easier perspective on things.

    Truly, dr bob.
     
  22. inthedark

    inthedark Member

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    This may be a stupid answer and maybe at the enlargement percentages most of you are doing it doesn't make a difference, but with the extreme enlargements I do, I found that my focus would appear to be dead on, but the print would not be sharp. Well, I finally figured out that I was focussing on the print platform with complete disregard for the depth of the paper itself, causing me to be minimum of 2-4 mm out of focus. With film (my film are 7mm thick) it is much worse. Anyway if you think this might help, just apply a scrap piece of similar medium under you focussing tool when focussing, and see if it makes a difference.
     
  23. lee

    lee Member

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    HI Jill,
    Welcome aboard! It has been well documented that you need to account for the thickness of the paper when focusing on the printing easel. The depth of field is not very good on enlarging lens and even stopped down there is some error. So, since I use several different papers and I just keep a wasted piece (marked with the name of the paper) of each paper I use near the enlarger column. I just place the paper on the easel and mt focus tool on the paper and then I just focus my little heart out.

    lee\c
     
  24. inthedark

    inthedark Member

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    Hi Lee,

    Thank you and I will probably state the obvious more than once for a while as I had zero experience as either a photographer or a lab tech when I bought the shop. Soooo some of these things which are obvious to you all were last minute "I wonder if" s to me. I'll catch up though I'm quick.
     
  25. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (lee @ May 4 2003, 03:39 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>It has been well documented that you need to account for the thickness of the paper when focusing on the printing easel.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Lee,

    I cannot believe this and have not made any such observations. A simple DOF-calculation will show you, that there is plenty of DOF on your easel and EL-Lenses do usually have excellent field flatness. Sometimes when the focus knob on my EL-Head is too far away, I do focus by lowering or lifting the geared easel table on my Durst 139. I'm always surprised about how much I can move the table without losing focus while watching though a 10x grain focuser.
     
  26. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Darkroom ChromaCrafts @ May 4 2003, 08:39 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>This may be a stupid answer and maybe at the enlargement percentages most of you are doing it doesn't make a difference, but with the extreme enlargements I do, I found that my focus would appear to be dead on, but the print would not be sharp.&nbsp; Well, I finally figured out that I was focussing on the print platform with complete disregard for the depth of the paper itself, causing me to be minimum of 2-4 mm out of focus. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Jill,

    at an el-factor of 35x, DOF is on the paper side much much more than 4mm, even if we assume a circle of confusion below the resolution of our eyes. However, DOFocus, i.e. the tolerance of the negative, is always critical. I sometimes do 50x enlargements and never encountered a paper-side DOF problem, if the enlarger is well aligned. Lens performance might be another issue. Paper is UV sensitive and might see another picture as your eyes, if the lens has aberrations at these wavelengths.