Omega B-8 Enlarger - Opinions?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Jedidiah Smith, May 30, 2013.

  1. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Just looking for a decent but relatively inexpensive enlarger that can at least do MF if I decide to jump up to that size. Found an Omega B-8 enlarger in really good shape for a great deal close by - maybe 1/2 hour drive from my house.

    Anyone here use one of these or have used in the past? Any quirks or little things to look out for? Has all the condensors and neg carriers up to 6x9.
    Thanks for your time!
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Omegas from that era are well built, I have use B and D models for years, if it has the condensers and carriers and a set of good lens will work just fine. The alterantive is a Bessler 23c.
     
  3. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I've been happily using a B-8 for five or six years, mostly on 6x6. Part of my Goldilocks approach -- not too big, not too small, jus-s-s-st right!
    I have 50, 80 and 105 mm El Nikkor lenses for it, and over time got the other of the two supplementary condensers. The only thing I don't have the official parts for is the lens cones (mine came set up for 35 mm), so I made some that seem to work quite OK.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  5. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

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    The B-8 has been my favorite enlarger for the last 20 years. One reason may be because mine came with the Omega cold light head, sometimes called the flying saucer head, because it sort of looks like one. The only thing I don't like so much is the fact that to use multiple lens focal lengths, you have to have the the right size lens board cones to use them. They can usually be found on ebay or other sites. Once you have the right lens board for each lens it's really simple to change lenses as they just slide right in. These are really built sturdy, and work well on the base board or as I did, mounted on a raised platform and secured to the wall. I've also got the D-2 enlarger with the cold light head and the condenser head. These are not modern enlargers, but are well made and will last a long time. And any repair parts are usually available as there were so many made. Good luck, and have fun.
     
  6. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Thanks for the replies. How hard is it to do a 16x20 with this enlarger? I think that is likely the largest I would print in my own darkroom with respect to cost of trays, room for everything, etc. I looked at one site that said it can only make up to 14x20 enlargements. Isn't that sort of a strange size? I wonder if I could machine a spacer to go between the column and the baseboard. Would I need a 2" spacer to get that extra 2" for a 16x20, or is it not that simple? :wink:
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A wall mount would solve any concerns about maximum enlargement size.

    That being said, I expect that the answer to your question depends on whether the model is the "standard" or XL version.

    And 14 x 20 may be from 35mm negatives.
     
  8. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have not used a B in decades, but as I recall and like the Ds the B should shoot to the floor but turning the unit 180 degrees then rotating the enlarger head so it projects over the baselaod and enlarger stand. As already mentioned Omega made XL frames which will project to a 16X20 but you need to make sure you have the ceiling height for it. If you plan on printing 16X20 you may want to consider a Bessler 23c or find a B with the XL frame.
     
  9. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I am familiar with the B8 in the Omega lineup. I prefer a B8 vs B-22s if enlarging MF. However I recommend a 23C as you avoid cones and have a few minor advantages. A clean 23C with len should be well under $100.
     
  10. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    Sorry for the late reply–I just saw this topic. I've been using a B-8 for several years and really like it. Mine has a standard column. I can make 16 X 20s from 6X6 negatives using a 75 mm lens, with slightly larger borders on the left and right. I recently started using a 60 mm Schneider W.A. Companon and that works very well and allows for a considerable amount of cropping. I use it with the "thin" auxiliary condenser, designed for a 75 mm lens. This is quite hard to find, but I managed to get one after a few months of searching. The wide angle lens also seems to work with the more easily available "thick' supplementary condenser intended for 35 mm negatives and a 50 mm lens. The 60 mm lens needs the flat lensboard made for a 50 mm lens. Because the WA lens projects quite far inside the enlarger you need to slide the board in first and then attach the lens. I've found that a 39mm threaded lens disc makes this easy, but a regular unthreaded disc and jam nut can be used by partially disassembling the enlarger.
     
  11. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    ever since I started my own darkroom work, I've been a fan of Durst enlargersand sstill am. They are well builtand parts are readily available.I'm also a proponent of using color heads for B&Wwork. it makes for a soft light and tightly controllable contrast with VCpapers. no matter which enlarger you use,don't forget to stabilize the top of the column. it does wonders for the stability. good luck and have funand get yourself an f/stop timer. you won't regret it.