Needing to enlarge up to 24x24

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by healingvirtue, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. healingvirtue

    healingvirtue Member

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    I'm totally new to darkroom printing, and would like to print at about 24x24. Can anyone tell me what kind of enlarger and other equipment I would need please?? Thank you!
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Well, an 8x10 enlarger and a room to put it in (based on your profile) ...

    However, you have really not given us enough information. What format? 8x10? Types of film and paper do you wish to use? Where are you? (makes a difference)

    Even so, this is not really something that can be answered adequately in a a forum response (In my opinion) Start by reading some of the basics:

    Darkroom design for beginners
    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...bs/ak3/ak3.pdf

    Making Your First Black and White Print
    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/...1321242292.pdf

    Ask some more specific questions and we'll try to help. :smile:
     
  3. healingvirtue

    healingvirtue Member

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    Hi, thank you. I'm from central FL and wanting to make prints from 120mm 6x6 format.
     
  4. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Member

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    Most of the large format enlargers will do 24x24 on the baseboard, and most of the medium format enlargers have reversable heads that allow you to place weights on the baseboard and then project to a lower table or the floor.

    24" prints are a real challenge for someone with considerable experience in the darkroom. For someone brand new to the dark arts, it may be overwhelming. Just getting trays that large will be expensive, not to mention paper. You'll quickly learn just how much paper goes straight from the fixer and into the trash!

    The fact is, very little of anyone's work is worth a 24" print, at least on the first go around. It's much more practical to make 11x14 prints, live with them for a while, see what sticks with you and becomes part of a larger body of work, and then make big prints.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If you are new to darkroom, I'd advise against going THAT big. Please realize, you will be dealing with a WET PAPER that cannot absolutely be bent, creased, bumped, poked, or otherwise do anything that will mar the surface. It starts to be challenging at around 11x14, get harder at 16x20, and absolutely a nightmare at the size you want. Fiber paper is nearly impossible without extensive experience. RC may be possible.

    Where are you in central Florida? I'm near Orlando. If you want to experience doing 16x20 RC, you can come over and you can try it yourself, if you like.

    As to enlarger, most commonly available ones will require you to "flip" the unit and project it on the floor at that size. You'll also need some GIANT trays which aren't cheap. You are literally talking about taking it outside and hosing it down to wash!
     
  6. Pfiltz

    Pfiltz Member

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    I get nervous with 8x10's.... But I've only been doing it for 3 months....:smile:
     
  7. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Hey, its OK to plan for the long term. Twenty-five years ago, I was where you are right now and I did some research. I thought that I might eventually like to print 16x20. I bought an enlarger that would print that big on the base board. A big easel is very expensive. Large trays are expensive. Frames can be expensive. Paper is expensive. Good luck.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I haven't printed anything larger than 11x14 for many years. I used to send out to a custom printer anything over 16x20 as it was more cost effective for me. The space required for a DR to handle those massive prints just isn't gonna happen for me any time soon.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Its expensive, easier to do with extra large trays. I have 4 to accommodate that size. I only used them a couple of times. Normally, the largest I print would be 16x20. Good Luck.
     
  10. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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  11. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear healingvirtue,

    First, work your way up. If you don't even have an enlarger, you have a long way to go. Making a print that doesn't totaly suck isn't that hard, but making a print that you'ed be willing to hang is. It's a lot cheaper to improve your skills on sheets of 8x10. You might even look for a club in your area where you can speed up the learning process.

    Second, find an Omega 4x5 enlarger with an XL designation. Easy to find, relatively cheap. Plenty of head height.

    Finally, use the single tray method for sheets over 11x14. I use 5 quart plastic pails from the home center to hold the various chemicals (easy to pour back and forth from the tray) and an old Kodak tray siphon so I never have to remove the print until the wash is finished (I have two trays so I can get at least a small start on the next iteration).

    Enjoy the ride,

    Neal Wydra
     
  12. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I agree with the consensus to start smaller.

    120* (6x6) is a lot different than 8x10. :wink:

    Neal is on the right track about an Omega "XL" enlarger. The XL just means that there is a longer chassis and therefore you can (eventually) make larger prints with less trouble. The advantage of a 4x5 enlarger, such as a D5XL, is that you can go to larger formats in the future, and they are usually built better than medium format machines. For 6x6, however, don't overlook am Omega B22XL (XL!!) if you come across one. If you have to pay more than $50, you've done it wrong. A Beseler 45 is not useless, either. When you find and buy an enlarger, make sure you get things like the right negative carrier, and lens boards.

    I don't think anybody mentioned lenses. I recommend an 80mm for 6x6. EL Nikkor, Rodagon, or Componon.

    Good luck.


    *Not to be pedantic, but it's simply "120", not "120mm".
     
  13. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I print 20x24 in my 66"x71" darkroom with no issues at all. In fact the smallest I print is 11x14 due to what my market is. I use a Beseler 45MX with the baseboard converted to a magnetic easel which has pretty much replaced all my Saunders 4-blade easels. I use speed easels and the sheet metal covered baseboard with clear plexiglass strips cut to custom sizes with rare earth magnets taped on them. Most of the reason for this is how bad fiber based paper curls in my neck of the woods. I do up to 16x20 in trays that are stacked in a compact pull out shelf system and do fiber 20x24 in a Jobo 3063 drum on a motor base. I use a 80mm Apo-N Rodagon for my 6x6 and have three anti-newton glass carriers for all my formats including and oversized one for 4x5 that allows full frame.
    The head is a Beseler 45S color head with a custom variable speed fan. All my other electronics are RH Designs including the Stop Clock Pro, Paper Flasher-II, Zonemaster-II and Process Master-II.
    For a safelight system I use a Nova 5-star LED with 4 heads that is on a rheostat. Every time I change paper size, I check alignment with a laser alignment tool, it takes seconds to check and less than a minute to adjust.

    I really don't think it is as hard as some here have made it out to be, it took me less than a month and two 10 packs of RC 20x24 paper to figure out that I could easily do gallery quality prints on fiber at this size. I am on assignment right now but once I am done, I will elaborate with more details if need be...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2013
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  15. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I've still got my beseler 67, which has the reversible baseboard. I build a plywood box, about 8" square x 10" high, and mounted the same thread t-nuts to it as the enlarger base; and the box is t-nutted onto my work table. I can go very big with that setup, or do 8x10's. It's all fastened together with knurled (threaded) knobs, and it's easy to level with shims (I've got a chopped up credit card under one corner).

    My challenge after that was what to put under my paper - found a formica tabletop at Ikea, about 26" x 40" with white laminate - 11 bucks.

    I've looked at the plastic trays they sell to put under dog training cages - they go up to about 40", but are less than 2" deep - seems potentially messy. But I did get three 24x28 trays from eBay for $80 - they're usually 80-ish each.
     
  16. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I've seen that link and appreciate his thinking. It's led me to evolving that a bit though - I've bought the parts but haven't assembled it yet.

    Why not integrate such a large tray into a table, and add a drain to the bottom of the tray? Pouring out a 30x40x6 tray (or whatever it was) sounds like a mess to me - especially doing it for every print. A bathroom sink drain kit (the kind that uses a rubber plug vs. a drain lever) with an extra rubber washer, mounted in the tank, with catch buckets under it seems much more convenient. You can easily extend the tailpiece (they essentially get 'extended' by your trap in their proper use) or even angle the drain to wherever it's needed. You could get all fancy and add a PVC ball valve, but the rubber stopper seems fine to me.
     
  17. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    As was mentioned, since you have not done darkroom work before, start out small. This way the cost of you learning how to enlarge is reduced. The bigger paper is EXPENSIVE, so you do not want to waste it learning how to print. When you can reliably print 8x10, then you can move up, one paper size at a time, because you also have to learn how to handle the bigger paper.

    As David said, if you have the space, I would get a 4x5 enlarger. If you are space constrained or have to pack up or move the enlarger due to not having a permanent setup, then a MF enlarger 6x6 or 6x7 size. According to my D5 manual, a standard D5 chassis with an 80mm lens will make 10.2x enlargement, an XL chassis will make a 14.2x enlargement. So if you have the vertical height available, an XL chassis is a better long term choice...as long as you have the vertical height so it fits. My D5 manual says max height of D5XL is 64 inches. That is 5 feet 4 inches tall !!! To focus, you will need a small step ladder to get up that high.

    You also need to plan how you will process the LARGE print.

    For larger than 11x14, or even starting at 11x14, I would go with single tray or drum, to avoid handling a BIG sheet of wet paper.
    Honeywell and Heath/Mitchell had rocking trays up to 16x20 that you can use for single tray processing. I used the Honeywell 11x14 rocking tray and it worked well. You have to search the used market for these rocking trays.
    For LARGE size, same as PKM-25, I would use a drum. The trick is finding one that big. My biggest drum is 16x20.

    Finally how will you wash the print? BIG washers are EXPENSIVE, a 20x24 will probably cost well over $500...used. The only low cost alternative that I know of is the Kodak washing tray syphon.
     
  18. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I think it goes without saying that you should get your system down with smaller paper. 8x10 is ok but often I find the working distance and exposure times too short to do any meaningful dodging, burning and or split grade burns and dodges. If I have to do an 8x10 from 120 film which is rare, I will use my 150 Apo-N to get more time and space to work.

    As far as washing goes, I use a Eco-Wash 16x20 with half of the dividers taken out and just gently fold the already wet paper and put them in the wider slots, no more than 5 sheets in a run. I think 20x24 from 120 film is a fantastic size to strive for as in my experience, 120 film does not even start to really open up until 11x14 and 16x20 from 4x5. I bet that with some smart pre-planning and gradual expectations, one could be doing nice 24" prints in less than 6 months.

    But you have to set your self up correctly in terms of the needed tools which is the right enlarger, lens, carriers and processing / washing gear.

    Big prints are a blast to do and make you feel like you are really putting that negative to work, I love it!
     
  19. healingvirtue

    healingvirtue Member

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    Thank you all very much, much was helpful, some more discouraging than anything. Yes, I will definitely start smaller. And almost definitely will never shoot large format. I just got done hooting 8x10.

    I have a couple questions. I'm looking at two enlargers, one is a be seller 23c and the other a 23c XL. I think perhaps 20x20 can do for me. The diff. between the two is $250. Question is should I get the 23c and project horizontally, or is that just another hassle and worth it to pay the $250 extra? $250 is a lot to me now.

    I was thinking about a very simple singe tray dev. Make a hole it he tray which pours out into a bucket which can be plugged and unplugged. I'm not very crafty (understatement), but I think I can rig something by God's grace.

    Also, I don't want to buy an easel bc of the price. So, I'm looking for a less expensive option. Maybe a used easel. May another alternative option.

    And can't the print be washed in a tray using the single tray method I described?

    Thank you very much in advance!
     
  20. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Plenty of smaller easels available from the usual sources - If you were closer, I could chuck a two blade one your way.. Bigger easels that would handle 16-20" paper, even second hand, are often expensive. An alternative is to use drawing (draughting) board or table cloth clips to secure the paper to a large board. Or if you can find a suitable sheet of steel, some magnetic strips could be used.

    I face the same issues - Got a couple of 40" rolls to use, but no big trays or easel.
     
  21. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    I have a Beseler 23c II XL and the largest size that I can print on this is 16x20 assuming that I use a 100mm standard enlarging lens for my 6x7 negatives. The enlarger will tilt 90 degrees to do wall projections for a larger blow-up. A couple of years ago, I got a Beseler 45 MX II enlarger for $17. If you are patient, there are bargains out there. I would suggest that you spend the money on the best quality enlarging lens that you can afford.
     
  22. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    I would WAIT, the price difference for the XL chassis is too much.
    With that $250 difference I could probably buy an Omega D2-XL.

    But as I mentioned, do you have the vertical clearance to install and use an XL chassis enlarger? If you do not have the vertical clearance, it is a moot point. I do not know how high the Bessler 23C-XL will be, but I would presume it would be similar to the Omega, a bit higher than 5 feet. If you can fit an XL chassis, I would go with an XL chassis. As for wall projection, you need to look at your darkroom. CAN you arrange the enlarger to easily wall project. The head of the 23C will pivot back, so as you face the enlarger, the lens will point towards you, so you will project onto the wall behind you. Other enlargers pivot so the head points to the left or right side.

    You can easily drill a hole in a tray. The problem will be to keep the hole from cracking into a BIG hole. For that you will have to figure out how to install a flange onto the tray. I have not tried it, so I don't know how to do it.

    You can find lower priced 2 blade easels, it is the 4 blade easels that are expensive.
    Alternative is to just tape the paper onto the baseboard.

    Yes, you can use a series of rinses, each rinse taking off more fixer, but it will take TIME to do. I would use the Kodak tray syphon instead.
    If you use RC (resin coated) paper, the wash time will be decreased a LOT, compared to fiber paper.
     
  23. healingvirtue

    healingvirtue Member

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    Thanks! It looks like I will have to wall project sine the 23c XL will only do 16x20. So, i think i can get a 23c regular with table and times for uner $200. I don't have time to wait for a cheaper one, so I think this will do. I have a lot of space for a darkroom since we have a two car garage and only one car. I plan to enclose an area with curtains, like a tent without a top, and board up the garage, and only develop/print at night.

    Another note, the work I am planning is often very surrealistic, blurred, hola-ish, and sometimes defocusing the whole image. Perfect developement is by far not my concern. But I do want to use FB paper because that is the quality standard.

    And thank you very much for the warning about the tray hole. I don't know what to do about it. Like someone else noted, emptying a tray so large would not be easy... But I have the room, so using three trays is fine, it's the price that is the issue. If I can find cheaper trays used or a tray alternative like someone mentioned (I'll have to check that again), then that might be the way to go. I do like the single tray method though because it seems easier as well as cheaper.

    And I am very glad to hear about the easels, but I will almost definitely be projecting onto the wall as far as I see it now.... However, I won't have an actual wall to use, since I will be in an enclosed "tent" area. I will need a standing wall of some sort. I was thinking I could find an old shelving unit, or maybe some kind of cheap tripod easel?
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Just take the 23CXL off the baseboard and mount it to a heavy bracket attached to a wall.

    Then use a couple of different tables of different heights underneath.

    Make sure the bracket extends far enough from the wall.
     
  25. healingvirtue

    healingvirtue Member

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    Thank you. I would much rather go with the 23c regular since it is more than $250 cheaper, plus comes with table and timer, so it's an even greater value and i don't think finding something for a standing wall just to hold the print will not be a big issue.

    What do you think?
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The wall bracket will work just as well with the 23C.

    And a standing wall will be harder to align than a horizontal surface.

    And handling large paper is a fair bit easier on a horizontal surface.