Omega D2 problem - spotty prints / condenser issues

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by JWestern, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. JWestern

    JWestern Member

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    Hey everyone,
    I recently acquired a dusty old D2, which I cleaned up and have just got around to testing it out. I'm getting really spotty prints, with lines in them that matched up to the larger condenser lenses, i switched them around and got some better results putting the nicer lens closer to the negative and the bad one further away. I think the person who gave it to me had it sitting in their garage through many cold winters and hot summers, causing the glass to damage. Holding the condenser lenses up to the light there are many specks and tiny air bubbles in the glass.

    I'm wondering if replacing my 75w bulb with a brighter 125w if it will help cut through some of the imperfections in the condenser lenses, or if I should invest in some new lenses all together?

    Thanks
    Joe
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have two D2.

    My condensers have bubbles and specs as well but they do not show up on my prints. When I got mine, I took it apart and cleaned everything including the condenser. No, brighter bulb won't fix it and will give you another problem. Omega says if you are going to use a bulb greater than 75 watts, you have to use heat absorbing glass and an active ventilation. Your film will bake and pop without them.

    How bad is your condenser? Which size? (what's the diameter?) Where are you? I might have a spare. I'll have to look.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i've never done this, but
    have heard of people doing this over the years ...
    if you can find a acrylic / plexi guy to cut you a disk of diffusion plexi
    stick that in your condenser sleeve first, then your lenses.
    the plexi will diffuse your light and you won't get the scratches &c ..
    ( or so i hear )

    YMMV

    john
     
  4. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I had the problem with bubbles and defects in the condensers of my DII.

    Somewhere I picked up another pair of condensers and between the four had a combination that did OK.

    I also had a glass shop cut a circular piece of opalite. That was pretty nice.

    But since then have switched to an Omegalite.
     
  5. JWestern

    JWestern Member

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    i got rid of the small specs and lines by switching around the glass in the main diffuser, except for one somewhat prominent spec that turns up in all prints. it seems to be fine for 35mm, but the specs become quite visible again using a 135mm lens for medium format. no go on the brighter bulb then... im really considering a cold light head, but the time and cost of finding replacement bulbs for them seems like a nightmare... not to mention the issue with printing on multigrade, the whole thing sounds like a hassle. the main condensers are 6.5 inches, the variable condenser is 4.5, but is far enough away from the lens it doesnt SEEM to be causing problems. the condensers are full of many, many, many small spotty bubbles within the glass. im in north jersey.

    Bill, what stage of the DII did you insert the opalite? Also, mine is a variable condenser...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2012
  6. JWestern

    JWestern Member

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    The opalite or some kind of diffusion seems like the best bet along getting new diffuser lenses... Thanks for the response guys.
     
  7. JWestern

    JWestern Member

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    UPDATE: I've actually had slight improvement tonight by "rotating" some of the imperfections in the condenser lenses out of frame... if that makes sense. Good luck to anyone else suffering the same problems... the Omega DII is a fantastic piece of equipment!
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    It goes in the condenser housing first, followed by the condensers, so it ends up immediately above the negatives.
     
  9. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    I had the same thing with my D2 and discovered a pair of glass bubbles in the condenser lenses I rotated them out of sync and got them out of the frame but the best thing I ever did was get an Aristo cold lite
     
  10. JWestern

    JWestern Member

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    ive been doing alot of reading on the aristos and zone vi cold heads... just isnt in the budget right now. seems like a real pain and expense to get replacment bulbs, and id be worried of it breaking if i had one shipped to me. are the issues with mg paper that much to worry about? ive also read that this problem is nothing to worry about with certain new bulbs.
     
  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Every enlarging head has its foibles.

    Make a gray print without negative but in focus. If you get marbled uneven look, ask yourself if this would be aesthetically acceptable as an overlay to all your prints (because it is there).

    You might be able to obtain two cold light heads for a couple hundred dollars, if both work you have a spare. Cold light heads present a "time" challenge, there are compensating timers to solve that or there are strategies (like leaving the light on).

    Color heads are going to be diffuse so they make a good choice.
     
  12. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Also, make sure you are not stopping down more than you need to. Most recommend 2 stops from open, max. This is the sharpest place for many lenses, and stopping down more than that, you may be picking up too much depth of field, up into the condensers.
     
  13. JWestern

    JWestern Member

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    so far so good with (a combination of) new condenser lenses, and a bit of rotating... i havent tested anything above using a 50mm on 8x10 with 35 negs... no specks or scratches in the shadows, afraid to test with a grey print though! printing with a 2.8 rokkor lens, usually find myself printing at 8 and mostly 11, subconsciously over-correcting for misalignment issues that I'm not even sure are there!

    would love to get an aristo or zone iv, but saving for a proper medium format kit before that happens...