MF enlarger and lens questions(B/W)

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Quinten, May 4, 2005.

  1. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Hi lads, I am about to buy my first enlarger for MF. And it's a new earia, I've scanned my negs up till now or cut parts out of my MF negs and used them in a very old 35mm enlarger (without a timer) for practise.

    But I want to buy a MF one and 'print' my own pictures.
    What things should I concider and how much will a good used one generally cost me?
    Any specific pointers would be great.
    Also what about the lenses, if I buy only one for now what would be best. (I am on a tight budget)
    I also heard it's best to buy a colour enlarger for B&W as well (I will only do B&W)

    It's a lot of questions but I am eager to learn, I love the B&W film.

    cheers,
    Quinten

    BTW the 35mm enlarger happend to be around I am not even sure wheter I can change it lens, It's very very old but works. So I didn't learn to much from it other than that it worked.
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Quinten, since you're on the right side of the Atlantic look for an Opemus. Nice, cheap, sturdy, precise, and common.

    I have an Opemus 6 with colour head, which was good enough for professional work when I did that. With the original Anaret-S lenses.
     
  3. eagleowl

    eagleowl Member

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    hi Quinten

    I agree with Ole.
    I have a Meopta Opemus 6 which I bought second hand off a friend.
    It's cheap,simple,and it takes negs up to 6x6cm-and the baseboard is about 60cm square!
     
  4. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I am just thinking about cutting up negs to fit an enlarger and shivering. I rather like the crisper looking results of condenser, rather than colour, enlargers for B&W, but you can use either and I actualy have one of each for medium format (isn't MF strictly speaking Manual Focus?): a Durst M370 and a Meoptra Colour 3. You can get a lot cheaper than that though. You don't say which size of medium format you use, but even if you are on 6 x 6 or 6 x 4.5 it is nice to have something that will go up to at least 6 x 7 and better yet 6 x 9 just in case you go bigger in future. One thing a colour enlarger will give you, which may be of use, is the ability to use filtration when making B&W prints from col negs with panchromatic papers like Panalure (that's why I have one, I don't do col printing any more). It is an old chestnut but I would advise you to get a cheap 2nd hand enlarger (so long as it is rigid) and spend your budget on the best lens you can't afford. You can upgrade the enlarger later once you understand better what you are trying to do and so where a cheapie is holding you back, but a poor lens will hamstring you from day one.

    David.

    p.s. You will almost certainly be able to change the lens on your 35mm enlarger. Try unscrewing it. They run on the old Leica 39mm thread and you were originally supposed to use your Leica lens on both the camera and the enlarger (it still works). You will need a longer focal length lens for medium format though.
     
  5. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Thanks for your info. I've just looked for some Opemus 6 enlargers and they come really cheap without a lens when used. That's a relief.

    But actually I am still not shure why a colour enlarger would be better for B&W. Filtering a negative wich only containst greys won't matter right? Only make it lighter.

    cheers,
    Quinten
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If you're using VC [variable contrast] paper then it responds to green and blue light. By adjusting the light you expose the paper with you can change the contrast. A colour head lets you dial in that contrast by turning a knob or two. Rather then using sheet filters. Magenta on the colour head raises contrast by blocking more green light. Yellow lowers contrast by blocking more blue light.
     
  7. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    The lens size will depend on negitive size. For 6x4.5 and 6x6 a 75 or 80mm is most commonly used. If you have 6x7(like me) a 90 to 105mm lens will give better coverage. I'm finding the 75mm I have losses power in the corners.
    6x9 I'd go with a 105 to 135mm. I won't comment on what manufacters are best as many here can give better advice on that part.
    I have heard that colour enlargers make filter adjustments easier and more precise. I don't know about actually being better.(never used one so can't comment)
    Luckily for me I got an Omega enlarger that takes up to 4x5. I started with 35mm, switched to 6x6 then 6x7.