Simmons Bros Omega B Enlarger

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by belfastdispatcher, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    Hello there from a darkroom noob, a couple of months go I came across this enlarger for sale locally in Belfast and I jumped at the chance. However, it didn't come with any instructions and it came with a few different parts so I don't know exactly what combination to use.

    2 film holders 35mm and 120mm (this part is easy :smile: )
    2 lenses, 50mm and 75mm
    2 lens trays/holders, one flat and one deep.
    2 different sets of condenser glass, one set is bigger then the other.

    Can anybody help me out with this enlarger?

    Many thanks!

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


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  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    A fine but older enlarger, nice outfit, what are your questions?
     
  3. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    What lens/condenser/lens holder combination for 35mm printing and what combination for 120mm?

    At the moment I'm printing from 120(and I'll probably stick to medium format from now on) and I have the bigger condenser glass, the 75mm lens in the deeper lens holder set up.

    Hope that question makes sense :smile:




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  4. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    The enlarger appears to be an Omega B-8. (it also might be an autofocus B-7–the picture isn't that clear). I bought one [B-8] about seven years ago and think it's a very good enlarger; probably the best medium format enlarger Omega ever made. It's the fourth enlarger I've owned (over 50+ years) and I'll never need a better one.

    To answer your questions:

    1. the 50 mm lens is for 35mm negatives, the 75mm for 6 X 6 negatives, from 120 film. The enlarger will work with up to 6 X 9 negatives, but that size needs a 90–105mm lens.

    2. the 50mm lens goes with the flat lens board; 1he 75 with the deep lens cone. Both should have round lens discs attached, to which the lenses are attached.

    3. When you say "2 different sets of condenser glass, one set is bigger then the other" I hope you mean four glass condensers. The two large ones are the main condensers which fit inside the aluminum tube just above the negative stage (where the negative carriers go). They go flat side out; there should be an aluminum spacer between them, which MUST be used.

    The two smaller condensers are supplementary, used alone; the thinner one for the 75mm lens, the thicker for the 50, none at all for a 90–105mm lens used for 6X9. They go (flat side up) just under the lamp housing (which comes off if you loosen the set screws). They should have one flat edge, which makes them easier to remove. My 50mm supplementary condenser is an after-market one. not made by Omega, without that flat side and requires a small suction cup to take it out.

    The thick condenser is really needed for the 50mm lens. The thin one may not be essential for the 75 (and certainly isn't for an 80mm lens–I used an 80 for years without one, before getting the VERY hard to find thin condenser.

    You can find more information about the enlarger here, on the KHB Photografix site (click on "Discontinued enlargers" and then on "Omega B8":

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

    And on Harry Taylor's website:

    http://www.classic-enlargers.com/omega_b22_enlarger.htm

    Harry also has a "Help Forum" which is very useful:

    http://www.classic-enlargers.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=general

    Unfortunately, he is quite elderly and seems to have stopped responding to questions several months ago, but the archives are very valuable for anyone interested in Omega enlargers.
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I think Bob covered the information, all I can add it that it apprears you have a filter holder under the lens board and set of polycontrast or Dupont filters, the filters may have faded over the years and if they are Dupont will not mach modern multicontrast papers and will need to be replaced. You might want to replace the power cord if it is orginal. What lens do you have? The B 22 was an upper end enlarger in its day, but if you older uncoated slow lens, consider replaceing your lens set. I dont see a timer, do you have a timer?
     
  6. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    Awesome information, thank you.

    I'm more then happy with it, I bought the complete set up including many extras for just £45 on eBay but the funny thing is I actually knew the person selling it from some 12-13 years ago.

    I've been trying to find out some info about the original owner by without much luck. He wrote his name on the thermometer.

    [​IMG]


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  7. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    The power cord looks fine and I've had a mate fit a kettle plug at the end that is now plugged into a Phillips timer. It did come with an old set of ilford filters that aren't much good. I bought another set on eBay (in the box in the photo) but I made the mistake of washing them lol. I'll have to hunt another.

    I'm away from home at the moment, I'll have a look at the lenses when I get home, i do know they're 50mm and 75mm


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  8. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    One minor point PDH; this is clearly a B-8 [or maybe autofocus B-7] a much better enlarger than a B-22. The B-8 (& B-7, etc.) and B-22 share the exact same lamphouse, but the B-22 has a thick single girder column, not a twin girder like the one pictured) and only handles 6 X 6, not 6 X 9. AFAIK the lamphouse is the ONLY part that can be interchanged between the two. The B-8 can use a number of parts (i.e. lens discs and cones) from the bigger (4 X 5) D-2.

    Now I'll stop being so damn pedantic :smile:
     
  9. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    Here's a better picture of it, yes, I have an understanding wife, I have nowhere else to store it. [​IMG]


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  10. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    One other (practical, not pedantic) point; if belfastdispatcher is in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as opposed to Belfast, Maine (as evidenced by his reference to a "kettle plug"), are bulbs available there for this enlarger? That's something important to check. The Omega B-8, as well as B-22 and older Beseler 23Cs, uses the slightly odd PH 111a bulbs. 110 V versions are still available in the US, but are these bulbs still made for 220 (or 240) V? If so, it would be a good idea to buy several ASAP, just in case.

    OTOH the enlarger just might have been converted to a different bulb. PH 111As use a small bayonet socket, like an automobile lamp socket, but higher voltage and no longer made. I've read that they can be converted to use PH 140 bulb (which use a small screw socket). Having a supply of bulbs is, obviously. very important. My solution was to but about a dozen bulbs, probably enough for a few lifetimes, as well as two extra Omega B lamphouses (for that oddball socket). This is a WONDERFUL enlarger, but I wouldn't want to have an enlaerger with just one used bulb., so please check on enlarging bulb availability.
     
  11. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    From the better picture belfastdispatcher just supplied I can see that this enlarger is indeed a B-8; a good thing since the autofocus B-7 needs still more hard-to-find parts. Since you already bought it, just make sure you lay in a supply of enlarger bulbs that fit. Unlike enlargers that use the larger PH 211 or 212 bulbs, I doubt that any ordinary household bulb can be substituted. If you are in the UK and bulbs aren't available you could always use US 110v ones with the sort of transformer tourists use, but do get a supply while you can and congratulations on having one of the best medium format enlargers ever made.
     
  12. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    Aha, good point, I think it has already been changed as it looks out of place on the enlarger but what it has been changed to I don't know. I'll have to have a look at it.

    Yes, I live in Belfast Northern Ireland (but I was actually born and raised in Romania)

    As my battery is about to die I'm gonna wish you guys a happy new year and thank you again for your help!




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  13. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Thanks for the update, I thought all the Bs were 6X6 and the C were 6X9 and the D were 4X5 (I have a D3) and the F were 5X7 or 8X10?
     
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  15. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    Actually, I don't see the focusing knob, so maybe it IS a B-7; fine as long as you have the focusing tracks for the two lenses. The model designation should be on the plate on the right side of the enlarger carriage, just below the red knob in your photo. I'm curious; which is it?

    Your wife IS understanding, as is mine. My enlarger sits permanently on the cloths dryer in my combination darkroom/laundry room; she can't clean the dryer filter unless I move it for her.
     
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  16. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    It is a manual focus one, I don't think I would want an autofocus one, even my cameras I prefer to be manual focus. And old :smile: I have two Zeiss cameras from the 50s, a Zeiss Ikon Symbolica and a Zeiss Ikoflex, my only medium format camera as of yet.


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  17. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    While I have some battery left, I have another question, the 35mm film holder seems to crop my film quite a bit, is that normal?


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  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The viewfinder of many 35mm cameras also crops , so in the end it is usually OK. You can use a file to enlarge the opening also; that is a somewhat common modification.
     
  19. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I think it's a B-7; on my B-8 the lift lever to raise the head off the negative stage is located on the opposite side (left side looking from the front). Apparently some had a filter drawer in the lamphouse and some (early in the model) didn't. Mine has it and the Ilford 3x3 contrast filters work with just a bit of the corners snipped off.

    I'm pretty happy with the results I've gotten. I do mostly 6x6 and have acquired 50, 80 and 105 EL-Nikkors for it. I made my lens cones, as it was set up for 35mm when I bought it.
     
  20. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    "Thanks for the update, I thought all the Bs were 6X6 and the C were 6X9 and the D were 4X5 "

    I think Omega was a bit inconsistent with their "B" and "C" designations; there were "C" 6 X 9 models early on and, I think, later "C" 6 X 7 models.

    "I think it's a B-7; on my B-8 the lift lever to raise the head off the negative stage is located on the opposite side (left side looking from the front)."

    My B-8 has the lift lever on the right also; I think it was moved to the left on later production machines.

    Also, my B-8 came without a filter drawer, but I was able to get one, and the part that holds it, from a partial B-8 being sold for parts on eBay. It's not essential, but I do prefer it to an under the lens filter holder.

    There are too things I especially like about this enlarger, compared to others I've owned:

    1. The inclined column, which makes it easier to print larger

    2. The rotating negative carrier, so that the image I'm printing can always be laid out horizontally on the baseboard–no need to rotate or re-set the easel.

    Also, it's really sturdy; pretty much like a 4 X 5 Omega D-2, but 1/3rd smaller.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2013
  21. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    "It is a manual focus one, I don't think I would want an autofocus one, even my cameras I prefer to be manual focus. And old"

    Me too, although I don't think an autofocus enlarger, being all mechanical, would be as much of a PITA as an autofocus camera :smile:
     
  22. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    1. I never realised that until now

    2. That's one of my favourite things about it too


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  23. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    I never paid attention to this before but it looks like some sort of conversion has been done to the light. [​IMG]


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  24. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

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    Yes, and it looks like a very good job. Whatever bulb it now takes, I'd suggest getting several extras. I fear that incandescent light bulbs are really on their way out–a good thing for the environment, but a possible problem for specialized uses, where CF or LED bulbs can't be substituted.
     
  25. belfastdispatcher

    belfastdispatcher Member

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    The lens that came with it, the other one is the same only 75mm. Good or bad, what do you think?




    [​IMG]


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  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Ok for small enlargements and to get started printing.