Minolta Model 3 enlarger with Color head

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Who has experience with the Minolta Model 3 35mm/6x7 enlargers? I'm curious to what I need to look out for in terms of things that may not be good, and what might be great.
    I had to purchase new light bulbs for it, but the rest of the machine seems all right, except that the yellow filters are a little difficult to dial in.
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    This was pretty interesting reading:
    http://www.jollinger.com/photo/enlargers/minolta.html

    It appears switching from 35mm to 120 is finicky, but I only have the light box for 120 anyway, so no worries there. I'm looking to use the enlarger for medium format anyway.
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Theres a little metal mesh disc on the diffuser that can come unglued you have to watch out for. Otherwise they are pretty sturdy enlargers.
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks! I'll try to locate it, so that I know what to look out for.
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Thomas,
    I have been using a Minolta Mod III since 1974 when I got one new for my birthday. I currently have it set up in my darkroom for teaching my kids about enlarging.

    I bought a second one just to get the power supply, so I have a spare lamp house and dichroic filter mechanism that I don't use. I may have a spare mixing box also.

    Issues:
    1) The filters once got stuck so they no longer moved in and out. The dichroic assembly is a little tricky to disassemble but I got them freed up. Make sure all 3 filters swing in and out as they should.
    2) My original power supply failed in 1977. Minolta service converted it to unregulated half-wave rectified 13V in 1977 with a couple diodes. It still works like that OK but I got a later model (different schematic) power supply a few years ago and the light is brighter at the appropriate 18V. I think the way to tell if you have the later model power supply is by looking at the bulb. If the bulb lights, you have the later (better) power supply. If the light is always off you have the early supply :smile:
    3) The column tips forward a little after years of use. Two washers under the front of the column flange fixed it.
    4) I really think you need the glass carrier to make good 16x20 enlargements from 35mm. That is a rare piece but I easily made one with two spare pieces of 4x5" negative carrier glass and some tape.
    5) The foam rubber that presses down on the negative carrier itself when you lower the head turned to the gooey mess and needed to be replaced (McMaster Carr).
    There is also foam rubber along the sides of the mixing boxes. This provided a light trap for the ventilation channel. These can be replaced with black electricians tape or any other type of flocking as nothing touches in that area.
    6) I worry about the springs so I leave the head near the top (so the springs are coiled up, rather than extended) for storage. I have never had any problem with the springs. The manuals says you can lubricate them with petroleum jelly.
    7) The manual does not cover this but the head is adjustable for alignment on the column. The top 4 of the wheels are mounted in eccentric rotating bushings. These bushings are held in place with very small grub screws and one of mine stripped right away back in '75. They provide a fine-tuning adjustment. I still needed to place the two washers under the front of the column for a 'coarse adjustment'
    8) The lenspanel is fully adjustable for alignment.
    9) Lensboards are very rare (I only have one) so now days it is easier to just buy lenses to fit the lens panel you have rather than trying to make or find a board with something other than Leica thread. Lenses can easily be changed by unscrewing.
    10) A nice enlarger for people that like machined and extruded anodized aluminum rather than plastic. Even the case for the power supply is black anodized aluminum. I always thought it was designed and engineered very very well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Glass carrier:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Still in use after all these years:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I checked and I do have an extra 35mm box with your name on it :smile:

    I'd say changing the mixing boxes is easier than any other enlarger that I own. Just two thumb screws on top. Back in the day the pro darkroom guys where I bought mine just left the thumb screws off as they really are only needed for transport.
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Steve (do I remember your name correctly?), thanks a gazillion for all that info! Worth a metric ton to me as finding a manual is just about impossible.
    Let's see until I get the new bulbs before we do anything with the 35mm mixing box, but your gesture is extraordinarily kind! Thanks!
     
  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Here is the manual.

    http://125px.com/docs/manuals/darkroom/misc/minolta_enlarger.pdf

    I checked what I have in terms of parts and I have the entire head and frame that moves up and down when you open the negative stage. This has the lamp, a dichroic mod III unit and 35mm box. I got it all from a fellow APUG member just so I could get the power supply.

    I have disassembled and cleaned the dichroic mechanism and works perfect. The slikscreen letters are not in good shape but otherwise is in good shape.

    The lamp house has a broken plastic piece on the back but otherwise looks OK (I did not go over this unit).

    The 35mm box is in good shape, I have already removed the goop from the sides.

    This is all yours for shipping if you have any interest.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I don't know how to say no to that. Thanks! I will PM you an address tomorrow and we can work out shipping details.
     
  12. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    There was one other issue I found when I gave the enlarger to my brother. I let him have a wide angle lens, 40mm I think and we had to invert the lens board to get the lens close enough to work right.
     
  13. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes, I can see that might be the case with a non-Minolta lens. When I look at my Minolta Rokkor 30mm (made for this enlarger) I can see that they made the actual lens elements stick way back above the lensboard and thus the 'flange focal length' is about the same as the 50mm so it does not need a recessed board.

    ce302.jpg
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Will it still work with a standard 50mm lens? I have the original 80mm Minolta lens for medium format, and was thinking of using either a Nikkor 50mm or a Schneider Componon-S 50mm, but I also have the 40mm Focotar for my V35 Leitz. I doubt I'll be able to find the 30mm.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The 30mm is only for 16mm and Minox.

    With the head all the way up a 50mm Nikkor projects the standard (somewhat cropping) 35mm carrier outline just to the edges of the baseboard. You should not need the 40mm unless you want to crop your 16x20s. Looking at the design of the 40mm Focotar (rear elements stick out a little) it might work.

    I have tested the 50mm 2.8 Componon-S, 45mm f4 Apo-Componon, and both old and new design Nikkor 50mm 2.8 and they all focus fine with the head all the way up. There is enough focus room still that they will all work with floor projection (head reversed) also.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2012
  17. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    There is now a Voss 25mm lens (with recessed elements) that focuses fine on this enlarger in your box :smile:

    I have the Holy-Grail Rokkor 30mm and a Rodenstock 25mm so I really have no use for the Voss. It was given to me and I will pass it along.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I've now played with this enlarger a little bit, and have encountered a couple of really irritating aspects of it.

    I like to make my square prints such that I have a one inch border on the side, and the actual image area slightly top weighted.
    Say that I print a 9x9" print on 11x14" paper, I have one inch of unexposed white paper on either side, two inches on top, and three inches on the bottom. I just think it looks nice this way. Now, if I want to make this kind of print where 6x6 negative images are parallel to the length of the film, I can't rotate the easel I'm using to accomplish how I want it to look. It bumps into the foot of the column. It only works with negatives that are like Hasselblad, where the image area horizon is perpendicular to the length of the film. Now THAT is stupid. I also can't take a 35mm horizontal negative and crop it square for the same reason, and 645 negatives don't work at all, because the image area is always perpendicular to the film length.

    It's a bit of a stupid design to make it this way I have to confess, and it's disappointing that an otherwise wonderful enlarger have these shortcomings. Unlike my Leitz V35, where I have so much room under the enlarger head that I can easily rotate a 16x20 easel any way I want, with lots of room to spare, at any magnification. Even my clunky Omega ProLab is a million times better thought out in this respect.

    But, I will continue to use the Minolta. My main 6x6 camera is the Hasselblad, and the enlargements are just beautiful. The Minolta lens is wicked sharp, and I love how well the light source and the dichroic filters work. I could even do color with it some day. So it will still be a useful setup for me.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thomas:

    It looks to me like it would be quite easy to mount the column on to a shelf mounted to the wall, which would permit you to slide your easel farther forward.
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your suggestion!

    I do plan on trying to work out an alternative way of mounting the enlarger. I'm not quite sure which direction I'd like to take with it, but since I need to build a new enlarger bench to accommodate all three enlargers, I have to do a good job with it and get it right the first time.

    If I mounted it to a wall shelf, I'd have to be careful to make sure that the enlarger mount doesn't interfere with opening the easel as I insert the paper, particularly if I have the short end of the easel closest to the column (which I often do as I crop negatives).

    - Thomas
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thomas:

    You are welcome!

    If you are going to wall mount it, don't forget to consider the options that using longer lenses (for lower magnifications and more head hight) give you.
     
  22. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I have the same enlarger and have the color meter gizmo for it...so if anyone here can use it free for the shipping!
    Best, Peter
     
  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Do you mean the exposure analyzer, Peter?
     
  24. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Thomas, you can never have too much equipment. The color analyzer for the enlarger would be a neat addition if you ever used it for color. It has a special lensboard for integrated measurements and also a baseboard probe for spot readings. I used my MOD III for color in the 1970s and I think the meter cost as much as the whole enlarger back then. Something I only dreamt about, now they are giving them away for free....
    [​IMG]
     
  25. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Page 2
    [​IMG]
     
  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Page 3
    [​IMG]