Making Do in the Dark....Enlarger Improvising!?!

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by jolefler, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. jolefler

    jolefler Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Oh
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I haven't been successful in my quest for a used diffuser enlarger for 4x5 negs, so I'd like some opinions using what I have.

    I had a second Kodak 2D to which I've concocted a florescent light source, glass carrier & filter drawer. all that remains is mounting what I have as a lens....a 13.5cm Tessar in shutter. Should it be mounted reversed or normally? Suggested aperatures for best resolution/light output?

    Primary observations indicate low light output.....any ideas on when long exposures are TOO long, using Ilford MG fiber?

    Using a level to align carrier, lensboard & easel....better technique?
     
  2. Sparky

    Sparky Member

    Messages:
    2,099
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When reciprocity failure rears it's ugly head - and you start losing highlights - or getting weird highlight separation (or lack thereof). Has anyone ever gotten any reciprocity data on enlarging papers?? Would be interesting. I've personally had a hell of a time getting mural-size prints tonally equivalent to small prints.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When you say "Primary observations indicate low light output" is this by eye or some test? Meter or paper?

    Your eyes can be fooled pretty easily. I'd try making a print at say F/8 or F/11. See how long it takes.
     
  4. jolefler

    jolefler Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Oh
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just by eye....need to finish up lens mounting, etc. before paper tests take place.
     
  5. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,452
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Tessar might require fairly small apertures for good sharpness in enlarging. Mount it normally on the camera standard. With patience one can get a more suitable enlarging lens on the internet for a bargain price.

    After aligning the enlarger with a level. fine tune the enlargement by placing a scrap piece of film (clear film works fine) that has been lightly sanded with fine sandpaper in the negative carrier and check if all zones of the projected image show sharp lines. This should be more sensitive than using the level, and will also indicate potential problems with using a Tessar lens at closer-than-normal focusing distances.

    Older large format enlargers often have 150 Watt or larger incandescent lamps. A small flourescent lamp might be too weak.
     
  6. jolefler

    jolefler Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Oh
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great idea, focusing on scratches....thanks! I'm sure I'll find something soon for glass. Just didn't want to buy one if there was one in the package I was looking for. The flourescent fixure is rated a 100 watt equivalent...still seems dim initially. Perhaps enough, but I just don't see f32/45 happening....then there's that whole depth of field bringing the gel filters behind the neg into sharp focus thing. Gotta get some 5.6 or 8 glass!
     
  7. greyhoundman

    greyhoundman Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've built a couple of enlargers from folding cameras. I ended up going with a 150 watt soft light flood. I have a little info in my December archive of my blog.

    www.greyhoundman.blogspot.com
     
  8. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,452
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Jolefler -- If you need glass, check the cheap picture frames at a dollar store. If the edges are sharp, a whet stone or sand paper fixes that. Stopping down to f/32 or smaller may cause noticable loss of sharpness due to diffraction. I avoid apertures smaller than f/16 with 4x5.
     
  9. jolefler

    jolefler Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Oh
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks, Folks!

    Great ideas that I'm all over, Jim!

    Cool blog there Greyhoundman! And a nice look in enlargers....I'm getting partial to cardboard & ductape photo modifications. I do have considerably more though, as it's a 5x7 camera base. :D

    If I can get some pictures done and up, I'll list some swap bait in the classifieds....somebody's got to have an extra 135-172 enlarging Wolly or better laying around.
     
  10. greyhoundman

    greyhoundman Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If you look at some of the other archives, I've a 4X5 enlarger I built from scratch.
    If you end up going with something other than your current light source, be careful of heat buildup. I ended up putting a piece of sandblasted glass above the neg area.
     
  11. Kilgallb

    Kilgallb Subscriber

    Messages:
    344
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    Calgary AB C
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If you are having a problem finding a 4x5 enlarger you might broaden your search to include mirofiche or microfilm readers.

    Lots of newspapers used to archived multiple pages on 4x5 film. The reader was in fact an omega DII enlarger. Look for newspapers and libraries selling of old microfilm or microfiche equipment.

    I have been using such a device for two years now. I bought lens cones, lenses and negative holders on ebay. I bought the baseboard hardware from an outfit in Winnipeg that specializes in Omega hardware.
     
  12. jolefler

    jolefler Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Oh
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks All....here's the latest.

    Jim, it took me a couple of days of playing before I decided to try an alternative to the Tessar. I was able to pick up a used Rogonar S 135mm and (holy smokes!!) those scratches are sharp from side-to-side and up-n-down!! I wound up doing a grid pattern in the emulsion of an already scratched neg. Wow....the difference is day and night in resolution & brightness (I thought f4.5 would be f4.5).

    The construction pain is over. I need to do a post-build cleaning of everything then don't count on reading me here...I'll be burning up paper!!

    The talk of inexpensive enlarger lenses is TRUE! The as-new Rogonar set me back $27 delivered. Well worth it judging from the horrible results I got from the Tessar in comparison! Thanks everyone!
     
  13. taffer

    taffer Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Btw I can give a big thumbs up for greyhoundman's designs, his 6x9+ homemade enlarger has proved to be a full success and a great way to cut my teeth on wet printing :smile: