I hate my enlarger(s)

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Wolfeye, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I have to admit it. I hate both of my enlargers. Omega C700 and Beseler Printmaker 35 with Medium Format kit. Both enlargers have significant light falloff around the edges when printing 11x14. The Omega, with the 50mm LPL lens on it, can't make a full 11x14 print even at maximum head height. I have to use my Rodenstock 50mm lens to get full 11x14.

    Any advice to either cure light falloff, or recommedations for what to buy to do 11x14 prints?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2010
  2. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I'm not familiar with either of these models, but have used over the years many enlargers by these two companies. I find it difficult to believe that either of them would make an enlarger with as much light fall-off as you describe, at any enlargement size. Is it possible that your condenser arrangement is not set up properly?
     
  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    What format are you using? If you're printing medium format with a 50mm lens, that could be the problem; most 50mm enlarger lenses are designed for 35mm negatives, and will produce falloff much as you describe when printing MF negatives.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Condensors. I agree. Or the wrong mixing box, if it has one.
     
  5. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I believe the condensers are set up properly. All I can say for sure is that I was printing last night and every print has seriously lighter corners and edges. The corners are pretty bad. The negative in question is a 35mm negative. If you look in my gallery for the "bubble chaser" image you'll see what I was trying to print. The negative isn't perfect but the scan came out ok. I'm just trying to get something similar to the scan, printed.

    Maddening!
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You fail to mention negative size you are trying to enlarge. If you are attempting 6x6 or larger with a 50mm lens, then sure, you are going to get significant light fall-off. If you are blowing up 35mm, then there are other problems. I have four C-700 Omegas, and use them for 35mm up to 6x7 with the appropriate lens, without any problems.I have no experience with the Beseler, but my gut feeling is(since you mention med format kit) you need a longer focal length lens. I use a 90mm for 6x6-6x7 format, tho an 80mm will work well for 645 and 6x6. Some high quality 80mm's will cover 6x7 without fall-off. The great point about the Omega C-700 is you never have to adjust the condensors to change format, only the lens.
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have a PM35 without MF kit and it doesn't produce dark corners. This model really was designed for 8x10 prints. If you are printing 11x17, you are really pushing its limit.

    One curious thing is, you can make certain print on one lens but not the other with the same focal length. Do you get dark corners on both? Are you using the correct light bulb? PM35 uses much smaller bulb than usual. They are both good enlargers with long history. What's common between the two? Lens?
     
  8. dmitchell40

    dmitchell40 Member

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    I've got the Omega C-760 enlarger and recently printed my first medium format print with it (6x6 format). For my first few prints I experienced significant light fall-off. It turned out to be due to the fact that I was using the 35mm mixing chamber. After swapping that out for the 6x7 mixing chamber my issue was resolved. I should note as well that I used the 90mm for printing 6x6.
     
  9. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I was using the Omega last night. I have two 50mm lenses. One Rodenstock, one LPL. If I put the LPL lens on, I can't get the projected image 11 inches tall. 10.8 or so. Enough to leave a white edge. If I switch to the Rodenstock I can now print the 11 inches tall.

    What's common? The idiot using them! :smile:
     
  10. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    enlargers can be easely adapted and modified to suit your needs, i had some strange meopta models going from a disaster to perfection by adding some black cardboard and some aluminium reflective tape, or just by aligning them.
     
  11. angrykitty

    angrykitty Member

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    I just got one of those omega c700 enlargers for super cheap, though it's still at my friends house and I havn't actually seen it yet. From what I read in reviews online, you can reverse the pillar or head or something and print on the floor for larger prints up to 16X20.

    a lot of people are using filters on it and also a few mentioned heat absorbing glass.

    heres one page of reviews, but I found pretty much the same thing repeated on other sites:

    http://www.photographyreview.com/cat/darkroom/enlargers/omega/PRD_84826_3129crx.aspx
     
  12. paulie

    paulie Member

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    i think i hate all enlargers, big bulky and annoying

    give me a big neg and a contact frame any day

    throw in some salt and s nitrate and your all set to go
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Part of the problem is the Beseler Printmaker 35. It was never intended for enlarging beyond 8x10. The permanently affixed lens is nothing to get excited over to begin with. The Omega is a better enlarger, and should give you better results, but again, it's no D-series. Given how cheap the big boy enlargers are now, unless you don't have the space for one, there's no excuse for not getting a Beseler 23C or 45M series, or an Omega D series enlarger.
     
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  15. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

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    True dat ... I got my Omega 5D-XL with Dichroic head for $50 off local CL. If you want to print large, you should get an enlarger with a solid base and column. That said, I don't see why you'd get such falloff from the c700 at 11x14.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Which aperture? Even the best 50mm lenses will have measurable fallof a big manification ratios at f8 (see Rodagon and Componon data on the appropriate websites). So a 'lesser' lens is going to likely be worse.
    Condenser 'recommendations' are just that. Feel free to mix and match the condensers to get an even image; especially when using the enlarger at the limits of magnification (both high and low).

    When dong high magnification, it is wise to check that the image circe is exactly centered on the negative, and that the light source is exactly centered also.
     
  17. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Another thought: Try opening the enlarger up (as much as its design permits) and clean everything. Use common sense on how you clean, of course -- use lens cleaner on condensers, for instance, not scouring powder! :wink:

    It's also conceivable, albeit unlikely, that you've got two bum lenses. If you can find somebody locally from whom you could borrow a lens, that might be worth trying. Alternatively, if you've got ~50mm M39 camera lenses, you could try one of them and see if it does any better.
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I have to wonder whether the correct bulb is in there. If it is a regular incandescent rather than an enlarger bulb, there will be a hot spot in the middle (or fall off at the edges depending on your viewpoint). If it is the right bulb, try setting the condensers at the medium format setting and see whether that helps. If it is still a problem, I'd suspect some mechanical shading below the condensers. Slightly off topic... I once installed a new bulb and I noticed a strange pattern on the print....the bulb was stamped with the type on the top. I removed the stamp with alcohol and fixed the problem
     
  19. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Well, I spent last night doing some measurements and verification. On the Omega, the center of the light reads 1 full stop higher than the corners. I can get a decent enough print with dodging.

    The real surprise was when I fired up the Beseler, which had been in retirement since I received the Omega for Christmas last year. The Beseler, using the medium format condensors, makes a perfectly even light rectangle with the 35mm holder in place. No deviation in light reading from corner to center.

    I verified again that the LPL lens can't make a full 11x14 print on the Omega. It does however, make a fine 11x14 on the Beseler.

    So I guess I'm going back to the Beseler. The real question is, how can I fix the Omega? I mean, it should work, with the LPL lens, and not have the light falloff.

    IIRC Correctly neither company has a web presence. I have no clue how to contact technical support.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    I suspect if you're having that big a falloff with the Omega that the condensers are not properly configured.
     
  21. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I wonder if you even have the correct condenser....?? I am assuming you bought both enlargers used from someone else. I don't know about C700 but with PM35 and many other enlargers I know, condenser lens aren't secured very well. It is not unthinkable to drop one and damage it, then put something else and sell it off....
     
  22. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    The C700 was purchased new. Silly, yes, but if we want enlarger companies to keep making them, we need to buy a new one once in a while :smile:

    The condensors are firmly in place and I don't see any way they can be misaligned.
     
  23. clayne

    clayne Member

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    As asked previously: what aperture are you printing at?
     
  24. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I have been printing at f8. When I ran my tests last night it didn't matter what aperture I used. Light falloff was 1 full stop at all apertures.
     
  25. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Can you contact the merchant that sold you the enlarger? Or, get yourself a used Beseler 23C and never look back.
     
  26. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Aye, the 23C may be where I'll be going next... spotted one for local pickup on eBay (in Southern Wisconsin), for $50, but we can't make the time work. Ex-school enlargers. The guy selling them works at the school during the week (when I can't come), and on weekends, "drives a tractor" far enough away from the school that he is unwilling to come in then.