New to Darkroom and Equipment - Enlargers

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by HalifaxJ, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    Greetings,

    I'm new to Darkroom work but want to learn. I love photography, and had some very limited experience with a darkroom in Art School 12 years ago. I shoot 35mm at the moment (Nikon FM2n and FE2) and eventually will get a medium format.

    I was fortunate to find locally a gentleman who was selling his equipment. I got everything I need and more - two enlargers, easels, trays, development tanks, random equipment, darkroom books, timer, red light, thermometer, etc.

    The two enlargers in question are;

    1. Omega B-600 with a 50mm F3.5
    2. Rollei Nikor System 6X7 with a 50mm F4

    I would like to keep only one. If anyone has any recommendations, I would greatly appreciate it. I will focus on B&W. At the moment I'm developing negatives myself.

    Which one is a "better" enlarger? Also, when things break down, which one has more replacement parts? The B-600 seems to be a "newer" model.

    Thanks,

    Julien
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Hi Julien, and welcome to APUG.

    Where approximately are you? Much of the advice about "better" enlargers depends a lot on your location.

    Does either enlarger have a colour head? If it does, that is good, because it makes for ease of use when you wish to use variable contrast B & W materials.

    Does either enlarger have a separate power supply with it? If so, that is good, because if one is required they can be a challenge to find used.
     
  3. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    MattKing,

    I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia - east coast of Canada. They both only have the one power supply. From my research, the Omega still has replacement parts as they still make enlargers. The Nikor is somewhat of a "classic", but quite older. Not sure about the heads. I got them both for really cheap. 100$ for all the equipment needed for developing and printing in excellent condition.

    J

    EDIT; just saw that you're from Canada...sorry about the Geography lesson!
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Julien:

    As I understand it, your enlarger probably is the same as an LPL/Saunders 670, in which case it isn't difficult to get things like new negative carriers. See, for example, this listing (and read through the offerings):

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Film-Negative-Carriers/pn/2/ci/554/N/4294542899+4291304538

    In addition, if it is a re-badged LPL/Saunders 670, it will have a colour head and will take up to 6 x7 negatives, which is also good.

    Your enlarger is probably an ancestor of this current version:

    http://www.adorama.com/SD670DXL.html

    The B600 is similar to the current C700, in some ways, but IIRC it is limited to a maximum size of 6x6.

    If both are in working condition, I would choose the Rollei.
     
  5. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    How often do lamps need replacing? Seems like Omega stillmakes new ones?

    J
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Lamps should be generic replacements. Usually MR-16 size tungsten halogen lamps with built-in reflector. Get the 3 letter code from the owner's manual or from the existing bulb. Get a few replacements.

    Do you have both enlargers? I'd use them both then decide which to keep. Put the best lens on the one you will keep.
     
  7. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    I have both, yes. Got them used for 50$. The Rollei looks older, but in great condition. I don't know anything about enlarger lens yet, so I suppose testing them both would be a good way to learn.


    I also have two easels (crop things) - perfect condition, all metal and felt under the "arms"
    1. 8X10
    2. 14X10(?)

    Do enlargers generally take a standard bulb type and lens or does each brand have it's own?

    J
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2010
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Dichroic heads take standard "projector" bulbs usually. The condenser heads usually require a special "enlarger" bulb without any printing on the end of the bulb.

    Omega and Rollei/Nikor both made condenser and dichroic heads, I'm not sure which you have without a picture.
     
  9. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Ok that Rollei/Nikor has a dichroic color head and should take a bulb available from any of the internet bulb vendors. If the Omega has a condenser head then I'd say the Rollei/Nikor is the one to keep for 2 reasons: 1) Diffuse light minimizes dust on negatives and 2) the color head is perfect for multigrade B&W printing.

    That 50mm/f4 lens is a 4 element lens. It should be fine starting out but some day you could replace it if you want to do big enlargements.

    I think that enlarger uses this bulb (EFP) https://www.interlight.biz/light-bulb/EFP/X&ID=FROOGLE-US

    They also made a condenser verion of that Nikor enlarger. I'd say you got the better one (but there are a lot of condenser fans out there) so I'll say you got more expensive one :smile:
     
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  11. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    That's great! I'll take a look when I get home - how do I know if I should be getting a new bulb?

    Also, what would be a good lens for larger prints? I'd like to do at least 8X10 - if not larger.

    So keep the Rollei then? I mean, I got both for almost nothing...

    J
     
  12. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    If the bulb works, it is fine. I always have a spare just because they always fail at the worst time. Personally, I'd recommend getting a better lens sooner than later. An f2.8 50mm lens of any major manufacturer (Rodenstock, Schneider, Nikon, Fuji, Leitz) is a good bet. They are so cheap used now, that you might as well get it now.
     
  13. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you plan to do MF at some point, you could get a Schneider componon-s 80mm to do both MF and 35mm. Aside from being quality optics, it has a lever to open/close the aperture so you don't have to remember your aperture setting when refocusing wide open. It also has a backlit aperture display.
    For 35mm only, I've only used the 50mm nikkor which is of course nice.
     
  14. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    Nikor 50mm F4 or F2.8? I have the F4.

    Also, is there a general "rule of thumb" for which lens to use (focal length) for what size prints? I know nothing of chosing the lens for printing or the aperture.

    J
     
  15. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I think my nikkor is the 2.8.

    Every lens manufacturer made their enlarger lenses for certain film sizes. I know schneider is still in existance and has a webpage showing the maximum film size for each of their lenses. I'm sure other people have made such charts as well. In general 50ish mm is for 35mm film. 75-105ishmm is for medium format, 120-180mm is for 4x5", etc... Longer lenses than necessary mean more enlarger height for a given enlargement as they project a narrower beam. a 100mm lens will be twice as far from the paper as a 50mm lens to make an 8x10.
     
  16. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    Is there any cooling required when using the Rollei type enlarger?

    J
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    HalifaxJ,

    Welcome to APUG.

    Steve
     
  18. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Keep them both. But the Rollei is definitely the more capable enlarger.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The Nikkor (two "k" in the lens name vs. one "k" in the enlarger name) 50mm f4 is a 4 element lens and the Nikkor 50mm f2.8 is a six-element lens. In general the six-element lenses out perform the 4 element lenses. The 4 element lenses were the 'economy' line.

    I have two of the 50 f2.8 Nikkors, an older all metal one and a newer one with a plastic ring and illuminated numbers. Both were less than $50.

    Rule of thumb: use the enlarger lens with a focal length close to the diagonal of the film format when enlarging and use an enlarger lens with a focal length close to the diagonal of the print when making reductions.

    150w and up dichroic heads usually require a fan. Smaller wattage dichroic heads can get by with a big heat sink. I'm not sure about your Nikor/Rollei.
     
  20. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    The 50/4.0 El Nikkor is capable of performance equal to the 50/2.8. Of course it is possible to get a bad 4.0 and a great 2.8 and conclude the 4.0 is a dog; or to get them the other way round and conclude the 2.8 is an over-rated *&@&&!. My experience is they are both excellent lenses, and unless you need the extra stop of speed - useful for large enlargements and Ilfochromes - the 4.0 will do just fine. There are better things to spend money on. I seem to be the only one with this opinion. OTOH, I do use both lenses.

    In general, the optimum aperture is 2 or 3 stops closed down from full open. I would use the El-Nikkor at f8.0. Open it a stop if you need more light because print times are going over a minute, close it a stop if print times are less than 10 seconds.

    On the enlarger front, I would keep the Nikor. Keep the Omega if you like, but I think you will get better results with the Nikor.

    TTBOMK the Nikor enlargers (also branded as Rollei, Minolta (?) and Honywell and made by LPL in Japan) do not have, or need, fans.

    I would get rid of the accordion bottles, they are a bad idea.
     
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  21. HalifaxJ

    HalifaxJ Member

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    Thanks for all the help!

    I'm keeping the Rollei. Not sure about the fan situation, but the enlarger seems to be in working order. The Nikor 50mm is in great condition, metal version.

    I won't have a dark room for a while, but currently learning B&W film development.

    What is the red filter on the enlarger for?

    J
     
  22. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    You can position a sheet of B&W paper under the enlarger without exposing it that way. Personally, I only do this with small test strips, to be sure I get them where I want them. With full prints, I position my easel using regular light from the enlarger and a dummy sheet of paper (the back of an old print that didn't come out right).
     
  23. mklw1954

    mklw1954 Member

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    I just picked up a Rollei EC 6x7 (color head) enlarger which is the same enlarger as the Nikor being discussed. My question is do I need a transformer/power supply, which is common for color head enlargers?

    It has a regular 3-prong plug, i.e., not a special plug to a transformer. On the back it says "Input 120 VAC, 50-60 Hz, Output 82 VDC 85 watts" (for the Omega Cat. No. 471-400 Quartz Haolgen lamp). Does this mean the voltage is reduced and converted to DC by the enlarger as-is? Looking inside the head, I would have to take a good part of it apart to see if there is a diode circuit that does this (there's not much room for a transformer and the head doesn't feel heavy enought to contain one).
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You can most likely see two transformers in this Craigslist listing for two Nikor colour enlargers: http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/van/pho/2926323229.html

    The colour head on my Beseler 67 enlarger also has a three prong plug, but definitely needs a transformer.
     
  25. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    I have an Omega C760 w color head. It has a separate voltage stabilizer (which is a small unit) that has 110vac input 85vdc output. The stabilizer plugs into the timer and the head plugs into the voltage stabilizer. So it sounds like your Rollei has the stabilizer built into the head.


    ooops, did not realize the thread was so old
     
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