Enlarger and lens recomendations for MF

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Blacknoise, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    Hi guys,

    I've been happily using my Durst M301 with a Minolta 50mm lens. All's working well, but I'd really like to be able to print my medium format negs (mostly 6x6, but 6x9 would be useful too), what enlarger and lens combinations would you recomend? I would like to be able to print 35mm and MF on the same enlarger, so I can save some space, and sell the old one. I was thinking of keeping the Minolta too, as it seems to be a pretty good lens, its the CE 50mm f2.8, do you think upgrading this would offer much in the way of improvement?

    Thanks

    Rob
     
  2. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    As you are located in the you would not go far wrong with an Opemus Magnifax. Very robust and with a superbly made negative carrier. These are not pretty enlargers by any means. There are two heads available namely the meocolour and meograde. The names are self expalanatory. The meogarde head is particularly nice. For lenses I am very satisfied with my Rodenstock Rodagon 80mm and I have owned an EL Nikkor 105mm f5.6 IIRC. Both are 6 element lenses and great performers. RK Photographic are still Opemus stockists.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Not all medium format enlargers go all the way to 6x9. I'd keep the CE 50mm.
     
  4. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I have an LPL 7700MX which will do up to 6x9 if you remove the blades from the universal neg mask.
    At present I can print 35mm - 6x9; 50mm Rodenstock f2.8 and a 105mm Schneider
     
  5. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Going up to 6x9 eliminates a lot of MF Enlargers as most only do 6x6 or 6x7

    The most common 6x9 enlargers in the UK are :-

    Meopta Magnifax (Version 4 was the last one made)

    Kaiser V900? – still made and are available new from R K Photographic or Silverprint

    Durst 80?


    If you are interested Second Hand Darkrooms have a Magnifax 4 for £249 - http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/info.php?p=3&cat=63261

    As for Enlarging Lenses, any good quality 100+mm lens (Rodagon, Componon, Componon S, El Nikkor) will do fine.

    The Minolta 50mm lens is a nice little unit, keep it for your 35mm Negs.

    Good luck and happy hunting :smile:

    Martin
     
  6. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys :smile:

    I was looking for something second hand and fairly cheap, the 6x9 functionalty isnt vital, so I think going with a 6x6 one will be better if its less limiting. I can always scan the 6x9 stuff. Come to think of it, i think I only have maybe one or 2 cameras that shoot 6x9, none of which get anywhere near as much use as the Bronica or Rolleiflex.
     
  7. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I really love my Besler 23C. It is built rock solid, easy and fun to use, and works EXTREMELY well for me! I HIGHLY reccomend them.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    As I understand it, Beseler enlargers are quite rare in the UK. Otherwise I too would recommend a Beseler 23 series enlarger.

    If I were you, I'd look for a 4x5 enlarger if you expect to continue shooting 6x9.

    Matt
     
  9. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    A 6x6 or 6x7 Enlarger will be less expensive.

    Plus if you are going to limit yourself to 6x6 or 6x7 you could go for a 75+mm standard enlarging lens or even a 60+mm WA (wide angle)

    Cheap is relative - Enlargers and Lenses sell for sensible money - so a bargain might also be a dog.

    Meopta Opemus Enlargers will do 6x6 and are probably the most cost effective.

    B&W only units retail for less than Colour, so if you are a B&W only guy then this is a way of reducing your expenditure.

    Multigrade Enlargers strangely often retail for more than full colour units :confused:

    If your searching flee-bay and are prepared to collect from across the country then you increase the chances of picking up a true bargain (Enlargers are heavy - so some people don’t want the hassle of packing them up properly and collect only items limit their Market appeal so always sell for less)

    Ffordes are worth a look – good descriptions and sensible prices - https://secure.ffordes.com/index.htm

    Martin
     
  10. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    Thanks for all the advice :smile:

    I'll have a look on ffordes in a bit. Also, I saw an 80mm/f5.6 Rodenstock Rodagon locally. There asking £20 for it. Is this worth it? and is it a decent lens?

    Thanks

    Rob
     
  11. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Rodagons’ are generally excellent.

    However, I'm not familiar with a Rodagon 80mm/f5.6 - mine is a 80mm/f4

    Rodenstock Serial Numbers v Age - http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/agevs.htm

    At £20 unless it’s been dropped or is full of fungus, it would be a good starting point - you could always upgrade at a later date if you find it wanting.

    Martin
     
  12. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    I got myself the lens, it came with the case and its in practically new conditon, so should be good, at least for now. Just the enlarger to get now!
     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Nice once :D

    Martin
     
  14. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I'd like to say that going for a 4x5 enlarger is the smart move, and in some ways it is. All 4x5 enlargers are built with commercial use in mind, making them sturdy, solid, and durable. Any will handle any film format up to 4x5 inches with no problem. If you can find one locally, it can potentially be a good deal since shipping costs don't enter the equation. But there are other considerations to account for in the big enlargers. Accessories (lens boards, negative carriers) are generally harder to find and more expensive. The machines themselves are a lot bigger and heavier than their medium format siblings, and so might not fit the space available.
     
  15. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    That is a very good idea fschifano, but unfortunately, I have neither the space, nor the funds to get a 4x5 model. I would really like to get into large format, but I think I'll stick to scanning/contact prints until I have more space and money. I think sticking to 6x6 for now is the best bet. I hardly ever shoot anything other than 6x6, with the occasional roll of 6x4.5. I seldom shoot 6x9, so I think if this vastly increases the price, I'll leave it for now. What is recommended for a fairly inexpensive enlarger that will cover 6x6?

    Thanks for all your advice!

    Rob
     
  16. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    MEOPTA OPERMUS 6 will do 6x6 and are good value for money

    Second Hand Darkrooms have a range of 6x6 Enlargers but if you are prepared to wait (and possily travel to collect) then flee-bay can be cheaper

    Second Hand Darkrooms Web Site is worth checking anyway just to find out what Enlargers you might or might not be interested in

    Martin
     
  17. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    I had a look on second hand darkrooms and was thinking of the Opermus 6 before you posted, the price looks good, so I'll probably pick one up with my next paycheck.
     
  18. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    The Minolta enlarging lenses are considered real "sleepers." I doubt you would see much better, if you have a good sample.

    For up to 6x9, the Beseler 23 C is a classic.
     
  19. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The Rodenstocks are very good lenses. As the others have said also, hang on to the Minolta. They are very highly rated.

    And the Meopta enlargers represent a tremendous "bang for the buck," as we say here in Virginia.
     
  20. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    the meopta sounds good then :smile:

    I always got good results with the Minolta, was just wondering if anything else was better. I only paid £25 ($40) for it, the shop had Nikons for about twice that, but I didn't have much money and just wanted something cheap to use until I could afford something better. The enlargements made with the lens at f8 are prefectly sharp, i think they might even be sharper when I shell out for a grain focuser!
     
  21. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I have never understood why the Minolta Enlarging Lenses weren't more popular

    They were as good as any

    It just shows how "brand" aware we all are

    Good luck with Meopta hunting :smile:

    Martin
     
  22. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    When I first started photography in the mid 70's people used to rave about Minolta enlarging lenses.
     
  23. Blacknoise

    Blacknoise Member

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    I've just ordered a Meopta (Opermus 6 colour head) from secondhand darkrooms. I'll let you know how it works out :smile:

    Thanks for the advice everyone! :smile:

    Rob