Recommendations for a compact enlarger?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Xia_Ke, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Xia_Ke

    Xia_Ke Member

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    So it has been almost a year and a half since I have been in a darkroom, which I sold off before moving. Before I found APUG and learned to print, neg scans used to be just fine with me, but you all have ruined me for life! I hope you are proud of yourselves...lol All joking aside, I need to get some sort of bathroom darkroom together again. My bathroom is plenty big enough to convert when I want to print. My problem is that we live in a townhouse and storage space is at a premium. Leaving it set-up is not an option, so everything will need to be broken down in-between printing sessions and stored away. I need some recommendations for a small, sturdy enlarger. I'm realistic and know I won't be able to get a 4x5 enlarger and that I won't be printing 20x24. This will be for printing 35mm and 6x6 negs at either 5x7 or 8x10. Any thoughts on a compact enlarger that can be easily broken down and stored away?
     
  2. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    If you only needed an enlarger for 35mm something like Durst F30 could be an option. Very small and light.
    Since you also want 6x6 you need something bigger. Long ago I used an Opemus (5 or 6 but I can't remember exactly) that was very easy to dismatle for storage, but I suppose any enlarger which is easy to take apart will be a good choice. You only need to be able to separate the base from the column and it will be fairly easy to store.
     
  3. Xia_Ke

    Xia_Ke Member

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    Hi Jesper,

    Thank you for the recommendation. I'm actually shooting about 80% 35mm and the majority of my 6x6 is slide film. The ability to print 6x6 would be nice, but if it means keeping the peace at home, I can stick with just printing 35mm for now. I'm just really missing the creative outlet of a darkroom.

    Aaron
     
  4. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    I would have suggested an Opemus 5 as well, but I don't think very many of them made it across the Atlantic to the USA. Probably the OP will be better off looking for one of the american brands that we don't see over here much.
     
  5. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    I used an Omega C700 for quite a while. It will handle both 35mm and 2/14 x 21/4 as well. It is very easy to take apart and yet is sturdy when set up. I bought mine new and it came in a neat carton to store it . I enlarged up to 11 x 14

    Howard
     
  6. GregW

    GregW Member

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    I use a c700 too. good small machine. You can get a used one for astoundingly little money. Mine was $4.00 at a thrift store. They are frequently 20-50 on that auction site.
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Look for a Durst M600.
    And the key...you also want the original BOX. I have a M600 and it packs well between sessions.
    Setting up and breaking down the enlarger is not difficult. It is like it was designed to be taken down between sessions.

    I know you can do 11x14 with the M600, I did.
    I do not know if you can do 16x20 w/o rotating the head to do a wall projection, or rotate the column and project onto the floor. The M600 can do both of these, so you can print BIG...if you want to.

    I do not have experience with the other medium format Durst enlargers like the M601 and M605. But I would guess that they would also be able to be broken down and stored like the M600.

    I also have in storage a couple of Omega C series enlargers. Setting up the girder on the baseboard is much more difficult than the Durst. And the box is much longer than the Durst. Although you can stand it on end in the closet to get it out of the way.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you can find a Minolta they are super nice to work with, especially with the dichroic head.
     
  10. kiku

    kiku Subscriber

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    Ditto the above comments. My Minolta III is great. I picked-up various bits and pieces at 3 different camera stores probably not long after Minolta discontinued its manufacture and I now have an almost complete setup. Howard Tanger
     
  11. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I've used the Durst F60 for 35mm and 645. It is small and light and easy to take apart. It can do 6x6 if you have the right condenser.

    Jon
     
  12. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    The most portable enlarger I have ever seen is the Durst Magico. I actually have one that I bought on a whim and it is decently well built. It only takes a few seconds to set up and stows in a box. The enlarger clamps onto the end of a table or counter and the baseboard moves up and down along the column.
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Keep in mind the Omega C-700 is a current production machine and parts are plentiful. The Dursts have been out of production and are scarce as well as parts being nearly impossible to obtain.
     
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  15. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    re Durst
    Get ALL the parts when you get the enlarger.
    Because Durst is out of the enlarger business, you are completely dependent on the secondary/used market for parts.
    I'm still gathering missing parts for my L1000, and that has taken a LOT of time, effort and extra cost. And yes some parts are VERY VERY difficult to find, and EXPENSIVE when you do find it.
    You will pay a premium for individual parts vs. getting it all with the enlarger. ESPECIALLY the condenser lenses. There are guys out there taking these enlargers apart to sell the pieces individually. If you are not careful, you can easily double or triple the cost of the enlarger when you have to replace missing parts.

    This also applies to Omegas and Besslers, but to a much lesser degree.

    If you are not buying new, get the enlarger as complete as you can, to minimize the cost of replacing missing parts.
    The cost of replacement parts could turn what you thought was a great deal into a BUST.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    There are a lot fewer Durst enlargers here in North America then there are Omega and Beseler units.

    In Europe, it is the other way around.

    To the OP: Take a close look at the storage space you have available. If you have something like a closet available, you can put a fairly large enlarger on a cart, and roll it back and forth.

    Here is a shot of my Beseler 67C with a dichroic head and an XL column rolled into our bathroom on its cart.

    My Omega D6 on its cart? It needs a bigger closet :smile:.
     

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  17. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Matt
    A friend of mine uses a microwave cart for the same enlarger, but w the B&W head.
    Her supplies (trays, etc) are stored in the bottom of the microwave cart.
    When not in use she keeps it tucked into the corner of the family room.
    Makes for a nice portable setup.
     
  18. Xia_Ke

    Xia_Ke Member

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    Thank you VERY much everyone for the suggestions!!!

    In regards to the Opemus enlargers, I was able to find some available and they look right in line with what I am after, but as everyone mentioned in regards to Durst parts, I imagine parts for the Opemus would be even harder to find in the US.

    I had looked at some smaller Durst units as those seemed right up my alley. They were actually what I had started looking at before posting this thread. The C700 looks like a good possibility as well.

    Basically as far as storage space goes, we are out of closet space. The building is slab construction, so no basement out small attic space is full. Ideally I would love something that could be broken down to fit into one of those under the bed bins. Any thoughts on the Durst M301? That thing looks tiny and easy to break down.
     
  19. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Depends on how high your bed is off the floor.
    If possible you want to reuse the original packing box as that will pack things in almost the smallest space. But the box might be taller than the space under your bed. Due to size, the vertical column and the baseboard may have to stay out of the under-bed box, but everything else should fit. It will all depend on the size/dimensions of the under-bed box.
     
  20. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    No love for the Beseler Printmaker 35? There's plenty of them out there, and they use the same lens boards and many parts from the larger 67. I have one in my attic and it was my main studio enlarger in the 90's when I sometimes had to do quick contact sheets or small prints. it'll do up to 11x14 from 35mm out of the box.

    You can upgrade it to 6x6 or 6x7 with a condenser & lens board kit - and you'd want a larger lens.

    The Beseler 67 (the one with the single column) is a bit bigger but a very sturdy enlarger and is what I use today for up to 20x24 (I mounted it on a 10" box to go that large though). It's still decently compact as enlargers go, and there are plenty of them on the used market.

    If you score a deal on a beseler (or any of the other suggestions) check back here for lens recommendations. You can score a Nikkor EL for $30-$50 if you shop around.
     
  21. Xia_Ke

    Xia_Ke Member

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    Thanks again for the info :smile:

    M Carter, I'll have a look at the Printmaker 35. While the more money I can save on this the better, as is always the case, I don't mind spending a couple extra $$$ to get something that will fit the bill better. I've heard good things about the El Nikkors, but I really liked the Rodagons I had in my old darkroom and will likely search out another one of those.

    This all gives me a good idea of things to keep an eye out for. Time to start shopping around and see what I can come up with :smile:

    Thanks again APUG!
     
  22. Red Tractors

    Red Tractors Member

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    Just got an Omega C-700 in another crazy cheap E-bay lot, (I'm done, I swear) Compared to the B-66 and the B-22XL it's tiny, and very light. (But seems very well made.) It looks like it would be hard to screw up, impossible to kill and easy to use. No lens board to loose, just back the lens out of the focus mech and replace it with anything in an L39 mount.
     
  23. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    My experience with the Durst is very many years old, but it seemed well constructed (at least to me) at the time. I had a M300 and a 606 back when there were camera shops everywhere but you had to dodge dinosaurs to get there.

    Certainly as "hardy" as, for example, an Omega B-22. The Durst would be my first choice if compactness was key. As long as you have the lensboards and negative holders you need, and assuming bulbs are available, I wouldn't worry about spare parts. There really isn't much to go wrong. If and when that day comes, you look for another enlarger. If that plays 2nd fiddle to availability then it's one of the many Omegas (but won't be as compact. The 6x6 Durst's aren't that much larger than the M301 (as I recall).

    I vaguely remember issues with printing up to (or maybe past) 11x14. So, if that's an issue for you, you might want to consider a 40mm wide angle enlarging lens.
     
  24. Neil Poulsen

    Neil Poulsen Member

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    I used a Durst 600 in my early bathroom darkroom, and it worked fine.

    If you can find a functioning enlarger, I don't think that parts are a problem. They don't tend to break. It's important to find one for which lightbulbs are available.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hard to beat are the Minolta Rokkor enlarging lenses. If you can find one.
     
  26. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Are they six element types? How do they stack up against the German lenses? Because of their relative obscurity the prices online seem to match the rodagons and componons. I never had a chance to handle one but I know rokkor camera lenses are great.