Omega D-II

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sjixxxy, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Its been about a year & half since I last got to work with an enlarger. I have a small section of my basement blocked off that I occasionally use to do 4x5 contact prints, and used a neg scanner to do anything larger. Scanner works good for 4x5 negatives, but I've never been happy with 35mm ones. Anyways, I've been having an itch to start doing some good old wet printing again. Today I was at a nearby photo shop to pick up some batteries for my camera and browed over to two very elderly enlargers, one being an old homely non-variable condenser D-II speckled with bits of rust. With its big puppy dog eyes, and no massive shipping fees, I was interested.

    I asked on the price and the first salesman said "whatever you want to take it out of here." while the other butsed out the 2003 blue book and found the price without lens and said $100.

    This seem fair for a no frills/no lens D-II, or should I try to talk them into throwing one on with it? Also, Is there anything should look at to make sure everything is in working order that I wouldn't be able to repair myself/or find parts for?

    What about for lenses? I'm thinking that a set of a 50mm & a 135mm lenses should cover 4x5 & 35mm pretty well. We dug through a few boxes of enlarging lenses in the shop ranging from about a 50mm Zeiss Tessar to a 160mm Wollensak Velostigmat. How much should I be concerned that none of the lenses were on lensboards? There may be some somewhere in the shop that they'd throw in with it, but if not. . . .?
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

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    the DII uses different condensors for each format, so you will need to figure out which one you have in there. with an enlarger, the lens is everything. I'd save up for a good Schneider or Nikkor lens. The D series boards are easy to find on Ebay.

    $100 sounds pretty good if it is all there.

    Brian
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sure, that's a good deal. I bought Matt Miller's D-II, and I've been picking up extras for it like neg carriers and lens cones off eBay for cheap.

    The original D-II came with only a 4x5" condensor which was and can be used with all formats, but it's possible to get other condensor sets optimized for smaller formats. The only downside to using the 4x5" condensor for everything is you lose some efficiency with the smaller formats, but it works.

    Use a flat lensboard for 50-105mm, the 2-1/2" cone for 135mm, and the 4-1/2" cone for 150mm. I have a spare 2-1/2" cone that I'd be willing to sell, if you need one. You can also get parts and lots of info from www.classic-enlargers.com.

    Enlarging lenses are so cheap these days, I'd stick to modern 6-element designs like Schneider Componon-S, Rodagon, or the 6-element EL-Nikkors (or the Apo-Componon and Apo-Rodagon, if you have the budget). You should be able to get a decent 50/2.8 for around $50, and maybe $80-125 for a modern 135mm or 150mm.
     
  4. wdemere

    wdemere Member

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    Make sure that the condenser lenses aren't scratched. Also, check the nylon gears that move the assembly up and down the track. If these are hosed, you'll have issues.

    Great enlarger. I love mine. Also paid $100, but I got 2 cones, 2 135mm lenses, a 50mm lense, trays, safelight, bulk film loader, 2 film coloring kits, 4 stainless 35mm reels, a stainless tank, some patterson tanks, and a few other tidbits. I think you can see where I'm going here. I'd offer them $75 without a lense and board I guess. But it is still a good deal at $100.

    Use the flat board and the top lense at the lowest position for both 50mm and 75mm. So you'll need 2 flat boards if you do medium format.

    Good luck,

    William
     
  5. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    I have a Omega D2-V (as opposed to your DII) at home. My only problem is a 50mm lens doesn't work for 4x6 or postcard prints. My enlarger head won't go low enough, so I have to use a 75mm. I know, not much of a problem really, if you don't go that small (some people want the snapshot size).
    Like wdemere said, be sure to check that condensor lens!
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Rogueish--have you tried propping your easel up on a box to get the paper closer to the lens?
     
  7. DKT

    DKT Member

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    fwiw--the DII & D2V's have enough bellows to do a 3.5x5 or so print with a 50mm--you're right that you can't get the head low enough though. What I do (I have both models)--is use either a 250 sheet paper box to block the easel up about 7-8 inches off the baseboard. The only problem with this, is that your working room under the lens is reduced, so if you have to dodge & burn etc, it's kind of tight. btw--I have the reduction bellows for the D2's as well--it's like a secondary tapered bellows attached to a 150mm cone. Kind of weird looking, but you can make wallet sized prints off 4x5 negs.
     
  8. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    No but have considered it. I don't print a lot of postcard or 4x6 snapshots, so the 50mm doesn't see much action anymore. I used to do 8x10 mostly untill the first 11x14. I was using the 75mm for a bigger print when the Mrs. said she wanted the same print but photo albulm sized. It seemed to work good, so I stuck with it.
    Am looking at a new (used) 75/80mm's as the one I'm using has definitely seen better days.
     
  9. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I have been using a DII for several years. I took it down to the nuts and bolts to clean and lube everything. Mine runs the rails on standard ball bearings which were essentially frozen with old grease. Several soakings in kerosene got them working again. Movement up and down keeps things free. There are several “adjustments” in the focus mechanism which require attention – don’t loose any parts.

    One 4x5 condenser has a mark I cannot eliminate. Placing it in the higher position solved this. Another “problem” was the light socket. It came with one made of brown plastic which placed the light at the wrong level. I understand that the original had a ceramic socket which I could not find for direct replacement but the hardware store had a brass (plated steel, really) with outside screw threads which matched the head exactly. Even then I had to adjust the head position to obtain good light distribution. Once this was done it stayed solid.

    In fact, the whole DII is like a tank – indestructible. $100 is probably a good price provided et c. Do not chinch on your lens(es). Get the best you can afford. There are bargains “out there” but caveat emptor – check out any “deals” that seem to be too good to be true. If help is needed feel free to pm me…..
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i think there is a secondary condensor with the dII - it slides into place just below the light source, if the enlarger doesn't come with it, you will be kind of stuck if you want to do 35mm or medium format printing. the aux bellows that dkt has are really great. i have a d3v & E4 and i use one of those instead of cones.
     
  11. DKT

    DKT Member

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    here's a couple of links to some Omega guides & pdf's of the manuals for the D2 anyways, plus the service manual...

    http://www.darkroompro.com/equipment/enlargers/index.html

    this one has some pix of the different models, including the older condenser heads etc:

    http://www.khbphotografix.com/omega/index.html


    You might want to check the counterbalance springs--these need to move easily & be free of rust. Be careful you don't pinch your fingers...those lenses you list--the tessar & the wollensak are dogs. Sorry--I'd look for some more modern lenses, like a rodenstock, nikkor or schneider. Those lense are probably as old the enlarger..
     
  12. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Thanks for the feedback so far. Prices look decent on modenr enlarger lenses, so I'll probably snatch up a set of those then.

    Next step would be to find out what condenser it has, and which ones are avaialble at the shop. It seems to have the D Series Standard Condenser Lamphouse on it. How would I go about getting to the condenser and identifying it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2004
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That silver cylinder houses the condensor lenses. If the lenses are the full diameter of the housing, then they are the standard 4x5" condensor set. If they are smaller, then they are for smaller formats. The 4x5" set will let you do all formats up to that size.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the 4x5 condensors are something like 6" in diameter.
    maybe it is just the d3v's that have the extra condensor that slips in above the 4x5 condensors ... there is a diagram when you flip the door that says "this way" for 35mm, and "this way" for medium format ...
    if i can dig mine up, i'll post a snapshot of it, just incase you need to know what to look for -
     
  16. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    If you end up needing condensors, let me know and you can have them for the cost of shipping. I've got all three.
     
  17. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Don't worry too much about condensers for other than 4x5. They work just as well for 35mm but at a lower efficiency. I have the 35mm condenser set and the only difference is about one stop loss - easily compensated for. Can't go the other way though.
     
  18. Huram

    Huram Member

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    Hello. I am new to this online community. Just did a google search on "Omega DII enlarger" and came across this site.

    I just bought a DII enlarger over the weekend at a garage sale. It also came with a bunch of darkroom goodies:tons of relatively new paper, 2 50mm lenses, 1 75mm lense, 9 trays, 3 tongs, a bunch of chemicals, 2 timers, filter set, etc. (It did not come with a safelight however!!!! Can I simply get a red bulb at home depot without buying an official safelight?) He wanted $200 for the lot; and I got it for $100 bucks. Seemed like a great deal, but I bought it from a young guy, and you may not get as good of a deal at professional's store.

    This is my first enlarger I have ever purchased, and boy is it a beast!! Very cool though.

    I noticed on an earlier link, that someone posted a pdf file for D2 instructions, but does anyone know where I can find free instructions for the DII. The DII is actually an earlier forefather of the D2. Help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Huram
     
  19. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    You could use a deep red bulb (not the pinkish red) from HD with some mods- take a jar of model paint, red, and carefully paint in any pinholes in the coating on the bulb. Be especially sure to cover the glass near the base, thats usually the weakest part of the coating. Frequent inspection to the coating is a good idea as heat will sometimes make more pinholes. Try to get a low wattage bulb, maybe 25watt.
    That said if you can get a *real* safelight you are better off.
     
  20. Huram

    Huram Member

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    Thanks, glbeas, for the safelight hint. You are right -- it would be better to simply get a safelight. My local photograph store is selling them for 20-40 bucks. A home depot red bulb costs 99 cents. Ebay has some good deals, but it takes a few days to find the right one and to wait for shipment. I will probably go ahead and do the latter, although I appreciate the red model glue idea.

    Anyone know where I can get a free copy of DII instructions?

    Huram
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's not that complicated an enlarger, but if you need a manual, you can get a copy from classic-enlargers.com for a small fee, or just read through the D-II threads on the Omega forum there, and most anything that you might have a question about is covered.
     
  22. Huram

    Huram Member

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    Thanks, David, for the website. I will check it out. I am not only a newbie to this community, but, relatively speaking, I am still a greenhorn to the darkroom (maybe 500 hours booked over the past 5 years). Now that I have my own DII and darkroom equipment, I hope to book a lot more hours. I am in the process of learning as much as I can about -- this website is a great place for me to hang out to learn from the veterans and other young bucks.

    I'm still looking for three main items on ebay: a safelight, contact printer, and 3 print frames: 4x6, 7x5, and 8x10. Is "print frame" the right term? I think I have also heard print frames (the metal paper holders that are used to get a white edge on the print while you burn the image) called by different names. Is there an official term? Would love to hear anyone's 2 cents.

    Huram
     
  23. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    The term is "easel". They come in various sizes and shapes and purposes. I'd recommend an 8x10 two-blade as a starter with an 11x16 for future use. Of course one can use the 11x16 to do any size paper or format.
     
  24. Huram

    Huram Member

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    So far, I have not been a big fan of the easels with the sliding arms -- I like the ones that are set specifically for 4x6 or 7x5 -- you simply slide that dimension paper in under the frame, and get a "perfect" frame ever time. Are these called "easels" as well?
     
  25. yeahyeah

    yeahyeah Member

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    Just a couple of thoughts Huram......

    Contact printer - I have found that my piece of glass from the local auto glass store cost me less than $10. They made it to my size specs and did whatever they do for the edges to be safe. Just a thought......

    Easel - I used to have troubles with the 4 bladed easel too. Now I have the back of old work prints marked up with lines for where to set the blades. It takes a little bit of time to make the sheets, but well worth it.

    Good luck!!

    and by the way, I have always used an Omega D2. It was my dad's and is now mine and sentimental attatchment aside, I really like using it.
     
  26. DKT

    DKT Member

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    those would be called "speed easels". speed-ez used to be a popular brand. the manufacturer, saunders, makes a nicer version of these, with a hinged frame (3/16th or so border all around) in a preset size. There's a 5x7 Saunders model with a removable bar that sits off-center. You can leave this in place and get a 3.5x5 and 4x5. Pop it out, get a 5x7. The speed-ez's, come in all sorts of sizes from wallet up through 20x24. They're yellow--slide the paper in either side. These can be kind of cheaply made--they get warped pretty easily, don't hold the paper flat all the time, and they can be hard to get the paper centered accurately for an even border. But they're cheap....

    a "4-in-one" easel might be worth looking at--premier, kalt, costar etc all make these. you get a preset 2x3, 3x5, 5x7 and 8x10 on the back. These are pretty cheap too, and you oughta be able to find a used one easily.

    btw-I do have an Omega handbook from the late 50s, that covers some of these earlier ones & has all the condenser set info, plus the various lens board dimensions etc. I think you can pretty much use the D2 instructions though--the two models are slightly different, but it's a pretty easy beast to learn how to use.