Need enlargers! Ilford 500 or 600, AND lpl 4550 XLG

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by slight, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. slight

    slight Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I have been looking for months for the two enlargers mentioned above, so far, I had no luck picking them at the flea market price, which means under 500 USD

    I envy so much the guys who walked on the streets and just saw them on estate sales, so far it seems to me that's how everyone got them!

    But I got only offers from SDS and ebay sellers who wants my skin for them, I'm talking about 1500 USD with no carrier, no lens board, probably no controller. SDS wants 2100 GBP for ilford 600 + de vere 504. I got really very, very tired.

    Please anyone wants to help? I searched on ebay night and day looking for deals, while there are only bad deals.


    After the world ends in 2012, I will begin a new life as an active artist who prints and also teaches how to print. With the new year approaching my need for those two enlargers has become literally an emergency!

    Thanks everyone!

    Jing
     
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  2. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Not so many of them were made, so no fire sale or street dump. A good one is worth $500 you need to budget. Or get something else.
     
  3. slight

    slight Member

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    Yes of course I have the budget of 500-700 USD for each one in good condition. But I don't have 3000 USD for each one as the internet pro sellers asked!
     
  4. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    They asking $300 for a power supply....
     
  5. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I think the lack of response here says it all....

    I feel for you sir, this is a bigger problem for emerging serious printers than a lot on these forums realize.

    I think the window of opportunity for picking up truly pro level multigrade printing equipment was from about 2006-2009, it seems as though the equipment has disappeared and the prices of what the eBay scum have are through the roof.

    I gave up on the Ilford H series and and am now looking for what people tell me is in abundance and dirt cheap, Beseler color heads like the 45S or even the 45 computer controlled. I have been looking for a bit, searched Craigslist, put up ads here and Large Format Forum and come up totally empty handed thus far.....I still hold hope.

    I think that unless someone gets into putting together really great turn key pro level multi-grade enlarger kits in the near future, the current crop of what is left out there is going to dry up pretty fast and companies like Ilford will wonder what in the hell happened to that great upswing if not steady record of film and paper sales.

    As a person who wants to spend the rest of his life making a living off of creating exceptional fine art prints, I view this as a really big problem for the long term.
     
  6. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    This is not totally true.

    One of the main problem with photo equipment is the cost of shipping. Most people are not willing to pay $250 to get an enlarger shipped across the coast. So it is all local supply-demand.

    Also, because people see analog photo is dying and there were some very fantastic past deals, they are very optimistic about picking some pro photo equipment on the cheap side. Some of the them are clearly not realistic.

    I have a couple of Saunder LPL 4550 XLG complete with color heads. I posted here and tried to get $450 for it. There was only one response and he still has yet to contact me again. I'm not eager to post again and sell it cheap. I'm going to post it again when I get a chance, but I'm not going to sell it for lower than $500. In a couple of year, they may worth more than $700. They are in great shape.

    If you do not want to spend that much money, get an old Beseler. Or even some old Omega. But they are not the same quality.
     
  7. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Agree with RedSun re:buyers expecting bargain basement pricing. Just because trad printing is not what it used to be doesn't mean people will sell their gear for a song and dance. If I ever sell my Devere enlargers, you can be sure it'll be for a fair price for a hard to find used enlarger.

    Flip side are the people who expect to get several hundred or so for a basic enlarger and a few trays.

    Good luck in your search
     
  8. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    PKM, you do know that you can still buy a brand new shiny Omega (formerly LPL/Saunders) 4550 XLG VCCE, right?


    Kienzle still makes enlargers in Germany as well.


    In other words, why the doom and gloom? Are you frustrated because you can't find a cheap one? That would be understandable.

    I think the problem is many people hear the stories of how so and so bought an entire darkroom for peanuts and they expect they will find the same deal. From my viewpoint the fact that enlargers are selling for more money than they used to is a POSITIVE sign for the future of analog photography. The internet makes it so that there are few deals left. Anyone with a computer can google an enlarger and see that a 4550xlg for example sells new for over $3000. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out you can get more than $50 for a used one if you have it. The dime a dozen run of the mill enlargers are all over craigslist. Those are easy to find.



    A propos to cheap availability- I have a second entire head unit I bought just for the VCCE module since my enlarger had a color head. It is basically brand new in the box, all it needs is a column. It has the head, 4x5 diffuser, 4x5 neg carrier, power supply, lens board, dichroic color module.. Anyone interested? $200. I'll part it out soon if no on wants it as a package.
     
  9. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    The LPL 4500 VCCE's are great setups and do seem to be turn key right out of the gate, if I knew what I know now when I started, I would have gone that route right off. But for people like us who started out with either a 45MX or Omega D2, it seems to be nearly impossible to find a good used Ilford H head or other above neg stage, multi-contrast solution.

    Some of you may say sell the 45 and buy an LPL VCCE, easier said than done when you have spent years gathering lens boards, filed out glass carriers with AN glass, etc.

    I am not down on it, but the aggregation of complete systems seems to be one of those get hip deep in APUG soup before you get a solid direction. And I am willing to go pickup gear at this point by the way....

    But the guy above looking for a 500 or 600H head, he seems pretty much screwed.
     
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  10. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    I do not really know the reason that people prefer VCCE than the color head. If you have Omega gears, D5 would be still a good pick-up. They are more accessible than the Saunders, Durst, etc.
     
  11. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    PKM, there is a guy that I have seen post on LFF that makes an LED variable contrast head. I believe he just started making them. If you are really tied to that enlarger maybe it would be a good solution for you. Frankly in the long term your best bet would be to get a Saunders/Omega/LPL VCCE enlarger. If you aren't going to print color, they are just sooooo nice to use. The only other enlargers (for 4x5) I think I would consider would be the Durst 1200 or maybe a Kienzle, but they are really expensive. Durst's can still be had cheap(ish). Using filters below the lens is also a good plan and better than using a color head. VC filters are speed matched (at least Ilford's are) so until you get to grade 4 the exposure remains the same. I think 4 through 5 are one stop slower. It could be grade 3 though. My memory is foggy on that.

    To answer the question "why" use a VCCE head, the answer is in the name itself. "Variable Contrast, Constant Exposure." The head provides constant exposure values throughout the range of a paper. This is very handy while printing. A color head will land you all over the place exposure wise. When I used a color head I would always split print. One exposure through max magenta and one exposure through max yellow. That simplified things, but it was a little slow turning two knobs all the time, especially for small proof prints when one exposure would be much better and faster.

    Edit- PKM I forgot to add that your Omega film holders will fit straight into the Saunders, although I have an Omega glass holder that is too thick/screws stick out too far.
     
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  12. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    For the exposure, I can use a simple exposure meter and adjust the exposure time. I print color, so VCCE never come to my plan. But good to know. I've seen VCCE head from time to time.
     
  13. JMB

    JMB Member

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    Dear Jing,

    I am in Berlin, and I have been wanting to march on Paris for a while now. But it would be nothing like the last time. I would be armed only with a Focomat 35 mm, Durst 138, De Vere 5x7, and two De Vere 8x10 enlargers, and in any case, I am an American. What kind of space do you have? Any thoughts? --Joe
     
  14. slight

    slight Member

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    I use VCCE especially the Ilford 500 system because I usually lay very improvised different contrast grays on the image. I usually first print the image on grade 4, and then expose various parts in grade 4.5 and 5. Or some times to burn in the hight lights I simply expose it through high power lamps by grade 3-4. I use grade 5 so much that when I printed for my Berlin exhibition I printed 24 50x60 prints and burnt almost 10 lamps in four days. Each lamp won't survive more than 45 minutes when I burn in the print. No kidding. I improvise a lot when I do dodge and burn. The finished images look very full because they are based on grade 3 or grade 4, but there are various parts so violent and they are under grade 5. I fully understands how important VCCE is...
     

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  15. slight

    slight Member

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    Hello

    Sorry but now I live in Beijing, China...Yes a Durst 138 is very nice, but the postage to Beijing will be sky high...Thank you very much for your info though!
     
  16. slight

    slight Member

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    Hello Patrick, is the unit you are selling a complete 4550 VCCE head with the mentioned components and accessories? Pls pm me I'd like to have a look and am very interested to buy. Thank you very much.
     
  17. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I currently use all Beseler gear, how easy would it be to find two 39mm and two 50 mm lens boards, three glass carriers, one for 6x6 or 6x7 and two for 4x5, one to be made oversize so it does not crop out part of the frame, all anti newton and all for the LPL 4500 VCCE that is...and not over a matter of months, but days as this is a business, not a hobby folks...

    As for that cool LED head, it will not work with my RH Designs Stopclock Pro and might not work with my Beseler 45, it is designed for a Omega D series.

    Also, I can get up to 19x24 with my 150 Apo-N on the baseboard, how large can one go on the LPL 4500 and 4550 XLG and is it an enlarger that can be laser aligned?

    See the issues here? The 45MXT is a very good, proven, popular and plentiful enlarger that is also availible brand new and yet, there is NO MC head for it...

    By the way, the Stopclock Vario I use is a compensating type with the sensor for the Aristo cold light head. Am I correct to assume that I will also need the sensor in a Beseler color head like the 45S?
     
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  18. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    PKM- you can buy everything you need brand new. No need to go hunting around for it.

    I use a 4x5 glass carrier and masks I made myself for smaller sizes that simply lay over the carrier. I am not aware of a specific glass carrier for medium format. Omega made a glass carrier for their older enlargers that should fit, but I find it much simpler to just use the 4x5 one. The 4550 has mixing boxes for 4x5, medium format (don't know specifically what size it is) and 35mm, which has a small condenser in it. The prints I get from 35mm negs are incredibly sharp, more than likely due to the hybrid diffusion/condenser arrangement. They are sharper than what I used to get from a medium format Saunders VCCE that was purely diffusion. It is in effect a similar system to the Leitz enlargers- large light source, one condenser.

    The 4550 can be mounted on a wall, so you can make prints as large as you wish. Wall mounting is the most stable method if you are concerned about alignment. The 4550 comes aligned out of the box, head matched to the column, but you may need to tweak it a little. Mine was used when I bought it and was off by about 2mm on the Versalign target. I added a tiny shim to the column, I believe it was a piece of paper. Once it is aligned, it stays that way. I still check it occasionally, but haven't had to touch it in a couple of years now. How many enlargers can you say that about?

    I don't have a compensating timer because the 4550 uses a tungsten lamp. I don't think you really need a compensating timer for it. I use a Gralab 645 and my brain. It works well (the Gralab, the efficacy of my brain is debatable.)

    You can still buy the Durst brand new as well. They are rock solid and have more flexibility than the 4550. If I ever had an opportunity to buy one that had the point light source head I would do it just to print 35mm. http://www.durst-pro-usa.com/L1200.php
     
  19. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Hi Patrick, I understand the wall mounting, but in a 66" x 71" inch darkroom, the only option is the supplied baseboard, so what is the max size on that?

    Once my print sales volume increases enough, I can rent a bigger darkroom space, but in Aspen, that is still going to be thousands per month...

    Honestly, I think at this point it makes a whole lot more sense to wait until I find a good deal on a good used Beseler 45S head for a couple hundred bucks and use my compensating timer with it. Down time while playing enlarger roulette is lost income so since I am so close to having it work the way I need, I can not really be looking at swapping enlargers until I have more space to do so...
     
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  20. slight

    slight Member

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  21. slight

    slight Member

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    Hello PKM

    I had a very, very, very bad year. The Berlin exhibition didn't sell any print, neither did my representative in Paris.

    Hope this gets better next year.

    How did you do?

    Jing
     
  22. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    This is true. In fact I bought a new 4550 two years ago through KHB. They have all the accessories, and what they don't have they'll make/modify for reasonable prices. They've done a few "alterations" for me to my specs.

    They also sell Beseler stuff. In my experience they are very knowledgeable. They helped me with precise dimensions when I wanted to modify my carriers.

    Anyhow, might be worth a call.

    http://www.khbphotografix.com/
     
  23. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    It's my first year and I have only been selling since Summer really. While I am optimistic and encouraged by what I have seen, I am no where near ready to turn down new commercial clients, I figure it will take at least 3 more years to show a profit.

     
  24. eyespy18

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  25. PeterPSA

    PeterPSA Member

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    Are you still looking?

    Did you ever find the Saunders/LPL 4550XLG? I have one with VCCE that I have decided to sell. It's in like-new condition in the original boxing. Very lightly used. Not sure what I'm going to ask for it, yet, but we can probably work that out. I'm in Tucson, AZ, USA. That might shoot it into the ground, but thought I'd check anyway.