Info on Ilford multigrade 500H and Agfa Varioscope 60

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by pmu, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. pmu

    pmu Member

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    Hi there,

    I was offered an Agfa Varioscope 60 enlarger with Ilford Multigrade 500H head. The head comes with a power unit and electronic 500H timer/controller. I read somewhere that there is a foot controller to the head, but this setup does not come with it.

    Basically I would like to know what is this 500H? I know it's multigrade head, but I can't find any practical info of it. How to use it? How is it good? Something not good with it? It seems to be a condenser head - do I have to change condensers for different lenses? Etc.. All info appreciated!

    Also, info on the Agfa Varioscope 60 would be helpful... It comes with three lenses and the film holder seems to be with glasses and looks like it fits 6x7.

    Is this setup worth anything?
     
  2. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    I'm pretty sure the Ilford setup is worth some money, I don't know that enlarger.


    Mike
     
  3. gphoto120

    gphoto120 Subscriber

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    The 500H was a wonderful product! Look at Ilford's website...they have a pdf download for the instruction manual. I just started using a 500H last summer,and it is so easy to use and print straight VC and split-grade. Replacement parts aren't that easy to find. I think the foot switch might be available from KHB Photographix (search google). Good luck!
     
  4. TBevens

    TBevens Member

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  5. Jim Edmond

    Jim Edmond Member

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    The 500H is actually a diffusion system, but I don't know anything about the Agfa enlarger. So, IDK what kind of lash-up they're using.
     
  6. rmann

    rmann Subscriber

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    I believe the Agfa is a Durst enlarger made for Agfa - posting a photo will help ID it. The Ilford head is very well made and RH designs makes current control/timer units for it. Well worth looking into - if offered means free or close to free, I would certainly suggest you take it. You probably don't need the foot switch - and if you do get the RH designs control unit, they do sell a foot switch for their unit.
     
  7. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    I don't think they are to common (ilford unit). I had looked for one a couple years ago and could only find pieces.

    Mike
     
  8. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    The Agfa is somewhat like the Leitz Focomat IIc (some would say a cheaper rip-off, which isn't all that bad), i.e. an autofocus 6x9cm enlarger. (The Focomat is originally a Kienzle construction.) What differs visually is that the Agfa have lensboards for the different lenses, where the Leitz have two lenses mounted on the enlarger. I've used both (and own a Leitz F.mat IIc) and while the Agfa is nice, I feel that the Leitz does stay in focus better than the Agfa. With the Agfa (which was part of a shared darkroom) the general practice was to check and correct the fine focus as the very final stage before hitting the timer button. That could have been something individual with that particular enlarger, but the machine didn't feel as "well made" as the Leitz. But don't let this put you off, it's still a very nice machine. Combined with an Ilford MG 500 it should be nice and fast to work with.
    As a final note, the Agfa differs a lot from any Durst I ever seen and the Dursts are plentyful here in Europe, so I've seen quite a few models. (Maybe Durst built that enlarger, but given the construction, it's much more possible that some other factory built it. I may be wrong here, but it doesn't feel that way.)

    //Björn
     
  9. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    RH Designs in UK make a dedicated analyser/controller/timer for the Ilford 500H, and you get a footswitch. It's not cheap, but I believe that the reduced amount of paper that I have used thanks to this unit will have paid for it by now. I do keep the Ilford 500C controller, though, it's quite good for split grade printing and backup (even if I suspect it may, due to age, die before the RH unit)

    Regards - Ross