Omega DII Enlarger, setup & lens questions

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by dswiger, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. dswiger

    dswiger Member

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    Just acquired a DII for free that seems to be in OK condition.
    Bellows look good, lamp works, no broken parts, etc.
    It was apparently used for 4x5 since it has the correct condenser, neg carrier & lens.
    But the lens, a "Paris anastigmat Huet" f4.5, 150mm, looks a bit aged & worse for wear.
    The coating looks like it's flaking, lots of dust inside & micro scratches.
    The lens cone is the 2 3/4 in version, which I think is only for a 135 lens.

    So the questions.
    If I get another lens, what is best for 4x5? I know you can use either a 135 or a 150.
    I am planning on enlargements from 8x10 to 16x20, so what would be best?
    If I get another 150, definitely need the taller cone. If the 135 is sufficient, then what I have works.
    The most important part of this question is what lens mfg is the best choice.
    I see a lot of Rodenstock lenses on Ebay, but is the Rodagon good enough

    Should I consider a "cold head" lamp setup & eliminate(?) the need for the condenser?
    I had heard that the cold head lamps are lower light output, but minimize negative heating.

    OK, now the "odd" question. Along with the enlarger, I was also given an Omega D5500 color head.
    I think it needs some work, maybe the rollers replaced (stuck filter).
    I am inclined to sell it for parts on Ebay as it has a 4x5 mixing chamber.

    It has been over 40 years since I've done wet darkroom stuff, so I would like to keep this as simple as possible and not get caught up in getting a bunch of upgrades, extra stuff. In short, would like to just clean it up & use it!

    Thanks

    Dan
     
  2. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Get a nice clean Rodagon 135mm and you'll be all set - it covers just fine. Schneider, Rodenstock and Nikon all made great glass and you'll be happy with any of them.

    Make sure to look for one in good condition, with no haze in the lens or scratches, etc.
     
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Dan,

    The color head will be a pain to add to the DII (trust me on this one, I started down that road once). The mixing chamber is no issue as I just leave my 4x5 chamber in for all printing.

    If it's been 40 years, start with what you have. I have trouble getting things up to snuff after a couple of months.

    Best enlarging lens? As they say in racing, "Speed costs, how fast do you want to go?". ;>) Seriously though, you have little to worry about. A 16x20 is not a big enlargement from a 4x5 negative. I think you will find a 135mm easier to use than a 150mm. My 150 has been sitting quietly in its box since I got the 135.

    Enjoy your new enlarger,

    Neal Wydra
     
  4. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Dan - do a search on this forum for "Aristo cold light", or just "Aristo". You'll find a lot of info and opinion.
    Keep in mind, thought, that the production of these lamps is tenuous, you'll find more by the same search in the forum for Product Availability. (however, these lamps can last a long time - my first one lasted 25 years)
    I use a D2 with an Aristo head, new V54 lamp, and filter drawer for 6" filters and love it.
     
  5. dswiger

    dswiger Member

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    Neal, Jeff, I'll look for a 135. They seem to be more $ than 150mm. Hmm. Just curios though if for some strange reason I wanted to do a 20 x 24 enlargement, would a 150 be more appropriate at that size?

    Neal, the car analogy unfortunately works for me. I spent a lot on cars before photography. Now I spend a lot on photo gear.
    But curious (I know this will get me in trouble) about your adventures with the D5500 color head on a D2. Any descriptison/pics or memory of the process?

    George, I'll take a look

    Thanks all for the help

    Dan
     
  6. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    If you go with a 150mm, you will need more column height than a 135mm for the same print size.

    I would stick with the 135mm.
     
  7. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    I have a 150 5.6 El Nikkor that is perfect if you're interested. Never used it. Don
     
  8. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Dan,

    The problem with the head is going to be all the little bits you're going to have to machine or buy. I'm pretty sure the little lift arms will have to be modified and I know you will have to make the rods that connect them. I even had to make a few parts when I went from a D2 to a D5 and I had all of the hardware from the D2. A whole D5XL with a color head and power supply ready to go can be had for two or three hundred dollars.

    I can't stress this enough. Right now darkroom hardware is cheap, take advantage of it. Spend your time making photographs and your money on nice materials. If I hadn't gotten the D5 chassis free (and I have a mini cnc mill and a 9" lathe) I wouldn't have bothered.

    Enjoy your printing. Your conversation has convinced me to do some myself this evening.<g>

    Neal Wydra
     
  9. dswiger

    dswiger Member

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    OK, the votes seem to be for a 135. I am looking at a few on Ebay now & the 39mm plate/retaining ring to go w/it.
    A 150 would require a longer cone.

    Thanks
     
  10. dswiger

    dswiger Member

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    Neal,
    Very good point. My weakness in that area is I'm a gear head & have done plenty of fabrication to get something done.
    I am more inclined to put the color head up on Ebay as-is for parts.
    It needs the rubber rollers replaced & the IR glass is broken.
    The good news is that the electronics seem to be behaving, etc
    So maybe what I get for it will pay towards the 135 lens

    Thanks for the intervention

    Dan
     
  11. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    love my d2

    what he said....

    alternately, i've used mine with both a cold light head and the proper condensers/lamp for 2 1/4... once you start to get "complicated" you move beyond what is a rock solid, reliable enlarger that is a joy to use....

    should you need parts, harry taylor in CT harry_g_taylor@sbcglobal.net is an expert on omega enlargers and very helpful

    enjoy:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  12. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    if you can't find the plate on ebay, you can get it at freestyle - an advertiser here, or harry, as noted previously.

    jvo
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For the record, a 150mm lens with the proper cone on an Omega D-II will enlarge a 4x5" neg to 16x20" with the standard column. I don't know if there was an extended column that worked with a D-II, but you could raise it or easily rotate the column to project on the floor, if you only print that big occasionally.

    Used enlarging lenses are pretty cheap, so there's no reason not to use modern 6-element lenses from the major manufacturers, and it's not much of a stretch to go for Apo lenses that were formerly very expensive (with the exception of Apo EL-Nikkors, which are still very expensive). Ctein published an article many years ago, showing that there was more sample variation among lenses of a single manufacturer and model than differences between comparable lenses from different manufacturers.
     
  14. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    ALL CAPS BECAUSE THIS IMPORTANT. A 150 used a 6" lens cone. A 135 a 3 1/2 . IF YOU PUT A 135 ON THE 6", YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE LARGE PRINTS.

    BECAUSE IT IS TOO FAR FROM THE NEGATIVE.

    IF YOU PUT A 150 ON A SMALL CONE , THEN YOU CAN NOT MAKE SMALL PRINTS.

    SO MATCH THE CONE YOU HAVE.

    A 150 cover 4x5 "better". 135 was for 3.25 x 3.75 " negs.
     
  15. Huub

    Huub Member

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    When you look at the rodenstock information of the 135 rodagon you'll see that its listed for 4x5 and not for smaller formats. I remember finding some MTF curves for both lenses somewhere on the net and the differences between the two lenses were marginal IIRC. The advantage of making bigger prints with less column hight is a very big plus for the 135 mm for me. And in my personal experience it is an excelent performer.
     
  16. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I have used a 135 El Nikor (3 1/2 inch cone, as Ronald says) for 30 years for 4x5 with a D2, and have never seen edge or corner problems (and I have looked for them). I, too, enjoy the increased projection scale.
    FWIW - I always (always) use the lens 2 stops down.