Enlarger adjustment troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Nikanon, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    Hello APUG,

    I am in need of some advice once again. I am the lab tech for a darkroom in Philadelphia called Lightroom. We have three Omega pro-lab 4x5 enlargers. All three seem to be in terrible alignment based on some test prints I did on each. One of them I used a Beseler level adjustment to bring the negative stand into alignment with the base on which the easel sits. The image was still terrible out of focus in one corner while three others were pretty good. One of the other enlargers is still way out of focus on three edges after the negative stand alignment. How else can I troubleshoot this problem? Are the lenses the next likely culprit? They are all secure on their lensboard, and the bellows seem nice and tight. Not sure what else I should look for..

    Thanks for any responses
     
  2. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    The lens board, the negative stage and the baseboard should be level on all both axis. Start from the baseboard then work your way up when you're leveling them.
     
  3. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    My baseboard is my point of reference since I cant adjust that. I am not sure how I can adjust the lens board, and the negative stage is the only thing that Im able to loosen the screw on three sides and adjust. How can I adjust my lensboard?
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Shim the bottom of the enlarger column.
     
  5. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    Tom, what exactly do you mean? Stick something under the enlarger column to wedge it up? The focus issues are more complex than one edge being out, it seems multiple edges are out in different degrees.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    OP....

    Your lens stage and the film stage isn't parallel to each other. I tried the exact method you are talking about, using Besler's alignment jib to align my Omega D2. It is possible but not terribly accurate or quick.

    Baseboard being off by a few mm makes no difference in sharpness but film/lens stage makes awfully big difference even if it's off by a fraction of mm. Difficulty in doing all this is, as you said, the baseboard will have to be the common reference point. As you push UP the besler tool to the lens stage, and as you try to move the film stage, their relationship to the baseboard changes.

    This is a business, correct? If so, can you hire someone who has the proper tools and have done this number of times? Or do you really want to do this on your own?

    My solution was to invest in a laser alignment tool. It fixes none of the above mentioned problems but as I can see the changes in real-time, it makes the process much easier.
     
  7. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Presuming the enlarger column is secured to the baseboard by 3 thumbscrews, loosen the appropriate ones and fold up some paper or something to stick under there to cock the enlarger column angle a wee bit.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Your description of "Omega pro-lab 4x5 enlargers" makes me think that you are identifying the enlargers by the head that is on them.

    What you need is the model number of the enlarger chassis (D2, D5, DII, D6 or ??), and then the instruction manual for that model.

    The instruction manual will have instructions on aligning the enlarger.

    Harry Taylor is a good suggestion - here is a link to his website: http://www.classic-enlargers.com/. Most likely you will be able to obtain both a manual and advice from him.

    Another good source is KHB Photographix (referred to by Harry as "the Canadians"). Their website is here: http://www.khbphotografix.com/. They too are a great resource for both a manual and advice.

    Both sources may be able to recommend someone to do the alignment for you.
     
  9. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    Are your lenses mounted on the rotating 3 lens turrets or single lens mounts.
    If the turrets you will be surprised how much the can be out of alignment, just wiggle them up and down to see how much slack the have.


    I don't think Harry is answering posts at this time but you can try.
     
  10. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear NiCanon,

    The entire head (and therefore the lens stage) can be tilted forward and back by rotating the axles for the guide rollers. The holes in the ends of the axles are drilled off center and there is a hole in each axle perpendicular to the main axis that you can put a small hex key or screwdriver in to rotate it. Be sure to loosen the screws a bit first. The lens stage can be angled left and right by loosening screws at the bottom of the focusing mechanism and sliding it left of right (what it looks like depends on your model). You already know how to adjust the negative stage.

    Search around on the units and I think you will find the adjustments quite easily.

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  11. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    You will find a laser system is much easier to use than levels. It also only takes a send to verify that things are still in alignment with the laser, so you will test it more often.

    I made my laser aligner out a piece of mirror (from the hardware store glass section, no frame) and an air pistol laser scope because it had a flat side and was adjustable. The trick is to make sure the laser beam is perpendicular to the base; this is easily done with a mirror on the negative stage. If you rotate the laser and the reflected spot stays put then you are aligned. If the spot rotates around the laser you need to adjust. Once that's done you just need to adjust the lens stage so the spot reflects back on the beam. Do this again with the negative stage and you are done. On the Omegas I've used you also need to make sure the negative stage is still flat, so make sure the mirror doesn't rock at all.

    The scope I used is not longer available, but a laser bore sighter should also work well, as long as it's adjustable (most are). http://www.amazon.com/UTAC-7-62-Las...1373457520&sr=8-17&keywords=laser+boresighter
     
  12. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I have a Beseler 45MXT

    I have a Beseler 45MXT and the lens stage swings left to right. for the other axis, shims are used to change the front/back axis.

    Here's an off the shelf too to align enlargers. It's not cheap though.

    http://www.zig-align.com/zig-align/Enlarger.html