Compact Enlargers

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by MattKrull, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    I've been shooting film for a year and a half, developing in my basement but never enlarging (just scanning). I am currently taking a darkroom class (using a Beseler 23c). So far I've only done contract prints and Monday I start making actual enlargements - so I'm really inexperienced. I am loving the hands on aspect of it and the incredible sharpness of a small enlargement (looking at 4x6 working prints) vs scanned and sub-dye printed image.

    The thread on tiny darkrooms (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/126998-request-advice-small-bathroom-darkroom-1.html) has given me hope of having my own dark room. The only place in the house I can setup a darkroom (for reasons of marital bliss) is the basement bathrooom. It has a toilet, tiny sink, and 28" shower all in the space of a phone booth. Until reading the above thread, I had only even known enlargers like the Beseler 23c; big and heavy beasts.

    Since learning about the existance of the Durst M600 and other compact and easy to disassemble enlargers I have hope. The idea of having my developing trays stacked vertically on shelves in the shower, instead of taking up valuable horiztonal space is great.

    I can get an Meopta Axomat II locally for $40 (not sure on what exactly is included with it), but the reading I've done suggests it can only do 35mm. Can anyone suggest a good compact enlarger that can do both 35mm and 6x4.5 (or larger), so I can keep an eye out for it?

    It seems like these small enlargers use glass in the negative carrier. I've read that some people have newton ring issues. Are there any small enlargers that don't have glass, or alternatively, could an insert or carrier be lazer cut to make it glass-less? Is having glass even enough of an issue to wory about?
     
  2. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Good for you. I think the situation is normally reversed, most small enlargers do not have glass carriers because it is not as necessary with smaller film formats (135) as with larger. You can make your own neg. carrier out of virtually anything, mat board being frequently used.
     
  3. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    We have a small Durst F60 and can do 35mm or 6x6. For medium format it needs to use the 6x6 accessory condenser.

    Jon
     
  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  5. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    +1 on that. I have a Durst F30 (35mm only model of that) that I could easily pack into a small box. It's incredibly easy to use, even more so than my fantastic LPL 6700DXL. If the bigge rbrother is anythign like it, it'll be incredibly easy to use and very portable. I wouldn't cheap out on something older, Russian, beat up, etc. I started on an old Omega and had all kinds of issues, with the Durst and LPL things are incredibly smooth and easy.

    I wouldn't hesitate to take the Durst with me on vacation or a long road trip, It makes beautiful 8x10s, and is tiny. I've seen M60s for under $100. I got my F30 for $25.
     
  6. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    That is utterly awesome, and other than the inability to do larger than 35mm, would be absolutely ideal (it also gives me an idea of making my hardcase/base for whatever I end up with).

    The filters seem to attach below the lens. I'm guessing getting replacement filters would be difficult? Can it use the ilford sheet style filters (one of the photos in the link has some sort of opening showing that looks like a beseler's filter holder)?

    The Durst F60 also looks really promising.
     
  7. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    Just checked-- for a tad over $100 on the famous auction site, you can get an M600 in nice shape shipped.

    If I wasn't so pleased with the LPL, I'd jump on it myself as a replacement for my F30.
     
  8. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    You can use below-the-lens filters. I have Kodak Polycontrast filters with a holder. It functions like a christmas tree stand pinching onto the lens. They work great! Ilford also makes filters set up like this, but they're a bit pricey. In a pinch, you can hand hold regular cut filters below the lens, but this doesn't really work if you have dodging and burning to do.

    I, too, have thought about making something similar for my F30 or similar. Basically, mounting the column to a reinforced briefcase with enough room in it for the column, set of 8x10 trays, developing tank, a couple graduates, and a small repackaged bottle of Rodinal, as well as small bottles of Ilford MG, Stop, and Kodafix concentrates. I have some designs mocked up, but haven't had the time lately. If I can find a scanner, I can email scans of my sketches and measurements.
     
  9. momus

    momus Subscriber

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    I have an Omega B-600 if you're interested. Nice and small, yet it will do 35mm and 6x6. It's complete w/ filter drawer, bulb (extra bulb too), 35mm neg carrier, etc. PM me if you're interested. Works great, and it will be inexpensive. It's easy to take in and out of my bathroom. The B-22 I just bought is gonna stay in there I'm afraid because it is pretty big!

    When buying enlargers, try and get a complete one, or the lens boards, neg carriers, etc will eat you alive.
     
  10. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Because enlargers are SO EXPENSIVE to ship, you are best off finding one local to you where you can go a pick it up.
    I just shipped a Durst F30 to my nephew. And it cost me $30, cheapest way US mail.
    The enlarger only cost me $25.
    As for specific models; I like the Durst setup, IF the seller still has the original box. My M600 packs well into its relatively small box for storage when not in use. I have a C series Omega and the box is 2x the size of my M600s box. Much more clumsy and difficult to handle.
    Since you want to also do 6x4.5, for the Durst, you need to start at the F60 (6x6 format) or M600.
    As for glass/glassless, it depends on what the prior owner did. I have my M600 set up for glassless 35mm. But for 6x6 it would have to be glass, as I did not buy the glassless negative masks for 6x6. I do not know if a 6x4.5 mask is available for the older enlargers. Parts for the older Durst will be difficult to find, and when you do, expect them to be relatively expensive. Durst was not a popular enlarger in the US.

    And I second what momus said about the cost of parts.
    I have a Durst L1000, and finding missing parts was difficult and the cost of the parts more tripped the cost of the enlarger.
    So what was originally a good deal, in the end was NOT a good deal.

    As for you darkroom. You will have to be creative.
    I use the half-bath in my house to print with my M600.
    I put the enlarger on the toilet, and turn 180 degrees to process on the counter, using an old Honeywell rocking print tray. The rocking print tray lets me process using only ONE tray, so I don't need much counter space. Then I take the finished print to the kitchen to wash.
    If you can find a tray stacker, give that a try. The Honeywell rocking print trays are difficult to find on eBay, because they were not a popular item when they were sold back in the 70s.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    If one likes those soviet out-of-the-suitcase enlargers (Kodak too once offered something of that kind), the Durst Magico sure is an interisting design. (I never ever saw one for real.)
     
  12. onepuff

    onepuff Member

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    The Meopta Opemus 6 is reasonably compact and comes down easily. It's pretty solidly built and will do up to 6 x 6. They are pretty common here in the UK but I don't know about Canada.
     
  13. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Member

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  15. ParkerSmithPhoto

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    Give some thought to developing your prints in a print drum on a rotary base. That would be perfect for such a small space.
     
  16. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Matt,
    I agree that am M600 will be your best betbut ,it doesn't do 4x5only some MF. still great quality for a reasonable price in a relatively small package.To me it looks tiny,coming from an L1200,which I adored but had to give up due to a move. Some of your other issues are highly polarized among darkroom workers.So, you must trust someone's subjective opinion oor find out for yourself. I prefer glas negative carriers because,, they are more likely to guaranty negative flatness.Newton rings can be prevented withanti-Newton glass on the top and dust is merely a cleanliness issue,also controllable with good practice and technique.

    all the best:smile:
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  18. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    Ralph, as much as I'd like to be able to print 4x5s, I simply don't see that happening with the space constraints. Similarly, my goal is to make 11x14 enlargments if possible, although I'll survive if 8x10s are the biggest I can do.

    Matt, the is the exact type of kit I'm hoping to find locally.
     
  19. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    I second the idea of rotary processing-- a set of 11x14s takes up a MASSIVE amount of space, even stacked, in comparison to a drum for processing.... Be aware that you shouldn't do anything bigger than 8x10 in a drum if you use FB.
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The Jobo Duolab is the ideal solution when compact size, rotational processing and RA-4 are concerned.
    May be an outcome for b&w paper processing too.
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I've made my Omega D-II 4x5" enlarger work in a tiny space. The small baseboard is a big factor. I had it on a rolling typewriter table that slipped into a narrow space over the commode. The baseboard was larger than the table, but I put a second set of rubber feet on the bottom, lower than the original ones, to match the footprint of the table. I may be going back to that arrangement in the next darkroom, though the space is larger.

    Scroll down to post #56 for a photo--

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/10966-darkroom-portraits-6.html#post93456
     
  22. cl3mens

    cl3mens Member

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    I got an old enlarger that takes up to 6x9 for free, it's actually made in Sweden! The thing mounts on the case using it as a baseboard. And as you can see you've got plenty of room for paper. This case is hand made and damn heavy, but it's a neat setup.

    [​IMG]

    The idea of a table with wheels is not bad either, since you can make it fit over the toilet. Either way, I think that you need to forget about the included baseboards and make one yourself. Then 4x5 would be viable as well.

    I've got an Durst M301 with the color head, it's so damn small! It's capable of making 11x14, if you don't use the masking frame. It's small enough to fit in a standard bookshelf and you can lift it with one hand without a problem. I intend to keep it even if I get a 4x5 enlarger (I'll probably go with a custom made baseboard/table then) just because it's so damn small and easy to work with. The M600 isn't much larger, but it seems that you can't get a color head for it. The 605 on the other hand... A tad bigger, but with a small baseboard it should work.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Another option for working small with 4x5" is a Graflarger back on a 4x5" press camera. It has its own problems--mainly the ramp time of the bulb, which can be solved by leaving it on once it warms up and using a black card or a shutter to time exposures, or by using a compensating timer like a Metrolux--but if you put it on a small copy stand, it doesn't take as much space as most 4x5" enlargers. You can also mount any conventional enlarging lens you like on a lensboard for the camera, and the negative carriers are simple enough that you can make your own out of mat board for whatever formats you use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2014
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    No one has mentioned Omega b-22, older but does 6X6 or C-760 that will handle 6X7.
    Both are light weight & use just a couple of screws to remove from the base board.

    KHBphotographix is in ONtario and carries some used equipment.
     
  25. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    I can recommend Durst M600, which can do 135 and 6x6. If you are looking 35mm only you can go with Leitz Valoy. Its very simple and does a great job.
     
  26. miha

    miha Subscriber

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    You also got a bunch of yummy papers! See if there is a pack of Gevaert Gevaluxe paper hidden somewhere in the box? :wink: