Enlarger light leaks

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Krzys, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    I am new to the darkroom aspect of photography and after my first session of printing last night it is obvious that my Krokus 3 enlarger leaks a lot of light, painting the ceiling and walls like a disco ball from the circular vents at the top. This obviously fogs my prints horribly and I remedied this by covering the head with my dark bag for shot periods of time. I still however get leaks from the cracks in between the carriers and the enlarger. I hear that this is a common problem but information is somewhat vague. Should I get some kind of lightproof tape or foam and seal up all of the cracks? Will this cause it to overheat or is it safe?

    Excuse my lack of knowledge as I have not lurked here for any considerable amount of time. I'm happy to provide more details on the enlarger and room setup.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Krzys,

    Personally, I wouldn't be blocking the cooling vents. Instead, paint your ceiling and nearby wall area a flat black. If painting is an issue, build a temporary tent using black cloth. I solved a similar problem by hanging flocked roll mulch from the local garden center.

    Neal Wydra
     
  3. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Try putting a lens cap on the enlarger lens, then with the safelight off, turn the enlarger on. After putting black tape on all the obvious holes, put a mirror where the paper normally goes and tape over all the holes around the enlargers lens board. Once you think your done, sit in the dark with all the lights turned off for about five minutes, turn on the enlarger again with the lens covered, and plug up the last of the holes you didn't notice before.

    It's amazing how much light an enlarger pukes out!

    Murray
     
  4. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    I wouldn't blocking all cooling vents. Standard the Krokus is equipped with a 150W opal bulb so it can run hot.
    The model Krokus 3(=from Poland) is BTW known for excessive false light. So the best is to paint your ceiling and nearby wall area or use black cloth in that area.
     
  5. Paul VanAudenhove

    Paul VanAudenhove Member

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    Another solution is construct a teepee like affair with the base covering the baseboard and the top positioned at the lens. You can use an opaque cloth or plastic. It won't solve the light leaks, but it will prevent fogging the paper during exposure and won't block the cooling vents of the enlarger.
     
  6. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Are you leaving an opened package of paper around when the enlarger is switched on? Don't do that. One sheet at a time.
     
  7. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    Take more than one piece of paper out? Preposterous!
     
  8. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    To check the effect of light leaks make a test like a safelight test:
    1. expose the paper for a light grey tone with no negative in the enlarger;
    2. place a coin on the paper;
    3. cover the lens and turn on the enlarger for your longest exposure time;
    4. if you can't see the coin outline in the developed print then all is OK.

    The effect of stray light increases with exposure time due to dense negatives and very large prints. The larger the print the more important it is to keep stray enlarger light to an absolute minimum. Ansel Adams seems to have suffered this effect when he made mural prints - he was bedeviled with fogged highlights and/or a lack of solid black caused by underexposing in order to try and keep the highlights clear.
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Hey, I've seen people do stranger things. You never know.
     
  10. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Test as already suggested - it may look like a lot of light but in practice may not be an issue. Also as suggested, don't block the air vents...

    If it is a problem and you don't want to, or can't, paint the walls, use black cloth or black cartridge paper held on the wall with blu-tack etc.
     
  11. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    If it's available matte dark red paper will catch stray light and bounce back red light for easier seeing. This doesn't help any in a color darkroom.
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I have the Saunders LPL 4550XLG/VCCE enlarger which is also a known light leaker. In my opinion there are two kinds of light leaks with this enlarger. The same thinking may apply to yours. There are leaks that also have hot air coming out. These are cooling vents that also leak light. When first trying to address these I unwisely taped them off. In a very short time the light bulb burned out. A new bulb and a spare had to be ordered at some expense of time and money from 500 miles away. After that mistake I tried to direct the light away from the easel using fabricated baffles pointing the light toward the walls or ceiling which as has been mentioned were painted flat black. The other leaks could be taped over with gaffer tape. As you may know the advantage of gaffer tape is that it can later be removed without leaving residue. Hope these ideas help with your situation.

    John Powers
     
  13. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    One of the fundamental laws of photography is that all enlargers leak light. My Omega DII leaks like a sieve. My old Durst F60 was only marginally better.

    As others have suggested, start by painting the wall behind the enlarge with flat black paint. Also the ceiling over the enlarger. It may also be helpful to erect walls on either side of the enlarge (painted black) to contain the leaks.

    Also, fiddle with the enlarger to see if you can make some of the leaks go away simply by the way that things fit together. Don't block ventilation holes, but do make sure that the negative tray and filter drawer fit in snugly. It may help to make cardboard flaps that can be taped over fittings that leak while still allowing the fittings to serve their intended purpose.
     
  14. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    It is interesting to compare the light the enlarger leaks to the light that bounces off the paper and all around the darkroom when the enlarger is on. Put a scrap sheet of glossy paper in the easel, turn the enlarger on and step back and look at the (not so) dark room. Now cap or block the lens and the enlarger's leaks don't seem to amount to much any more.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2009
  15. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I use my D2 (DII? - I've never looked to see which one I have) with 35mm, 6mm square, and 4x5.
    In all cases, with Omega neg holders, I have stray light, either from between the neg holder plates, or between the holder and the bottom of my Aristo V54 head, or often both. It doesn't matter whether film extends out beyond the edges of the holder or not.
    To block the leak between holder and light head, I slide down an old black terry cloth head sweat band and snug it to the top of the neg holder, but I've never figured out a convenient way to block the crack where light comes from between the two holder plates. Anyone have a solution for this? Something that doesn't have to be applied every time the neg is changed?