Trade my K-5 for a 4x5 camera, enlargers, etc?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by brofkand, May 18, 2012.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I have the opportunity to trade my Pentax K-5 for a 4x5 camera, darkroom equipment (I assume trays, tanks, etc), and 2 enlargers: a Chromega D XL 4x5 enlarger, a Beseler 23C with Aristo Cold head, Rodenstock lenses for the enlargers and all the neg carriers that are available for the enlargers.

    What do you think? My "Darkroom" consists now of a Plustek 7400 scanner, but it only allows me to do 35mm and I find it makes fast films much grainier than they would be in print.

    I have experience using all of this equipment in school (I shot with a 4x5, processed the film, printed it).

    The K-5 includes the 18-55 WR Kit lens, battery grip and spare battery. Probably worth about $800, maybe less.

    I want to get back into the darkroom, and this seems like an excellent way to do it---and move into large format as well.
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Do it.
     
  3. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Thanks for your confirmation, Thomas. I know Rodenstock lenses are some of the best enlarging lenses you can get, and I know how to use Beseler enlargers. I've never used Omega enlargers, and as of yet I don't know what kind of 4x5 camera he's including.

    It seems like a great deal for both of us - he wants to move up to a more modern DSLR, and I want to get back into the darkroom. It seems fair to me, but I just wanted confirmation.
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You can still use the scanner for snapshots, meaning you'll have digital files.

    The enlargers give you quality the Plustek could never match if you want a great print from the same 35mm negs.

    The only thing you'll lose is immediate feedback while shooting, and what's that worth to you?

    To me the important bit is that you have complete enlargers that aren't missing any important pieces, like neg carriers, etc, which can be both a pain in the neck AND expensive to track down.

    Money wise, it's hard to tell whether you're coming out ahead, so it becomes a comparison in utility. It seems to me you'll have more fun with the darkroom, if I am understanding you correctly, and that alone should be a big box checked in the 'pro' column.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I would go for it also.

    Jeff
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I assume that the Omega is a D5XL enlarger.

    Depending on your local market, this deal might be favourable to the other person, just because in some areas darkroom equipment like this is almost being given away.

    If the darkroom equipment and camera is in good shape, IMHO the real question is whether it has value to you! If it is what you are looking for, by definition it does.

    And you can be confident within a short while you will be easily able to replace the Pentax digital equipment with either something "NEW and IMPROVED!":whistling: or with a used version of the same thing at a reduced price.
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    He who hesitates is lost! Hurry on now.
     
  8. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    He listed it as a D XL, no 5. I have no way to know for sure.

    This equipment has much more value to me than a digital SLR with a kit zoom. It is what I have been looking for; a RAW file from a K-5 is good, but it's not a sheet of FP4 in Rodinal or a selenium toned 16x20.

    As you said, DSLRs are easily replaceable and in a few months obsolete with resale values tanked. The darkroom equipment may not be worth much -- and as of now I am just going by what he's said in email (I haven't seen the equipment in pictures or in person yet). I traded a Tamron 17-50 2.8 for a Pentax LX and PZ-1p yesterday with the same guy. I think I came out ahead on that one; the Tamron is good, but the LX or PZ-1p are wonderful. Especially the LX.
     
  9. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Do it. Curious to know what 4x5 camera you'll get.

    Enlargers are indeed being given away in North Carolina. And sometimes they even get thrown out. I got my Omega D2V with the condenser head and an Aristo Cold Light head, along with a dozen different negative carriers, for nothing more than the cost of the gasoline to go get it.
     
  10. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I'll agree - do it.

    The deal might indeed be favorable to the the other party depending on some of the details, but if this is the stuff you want, it's all in one place. 4x5 enlargers are cheap now, but almost impossible to find someone who will ship them and expensive to ship even if they will. (I've been keeping an eye out for a color head for mine locally or that someone will ship, that doesn't need extra bits or drilling or engineering to fit, and at the right price...they're all over the place, attached to enlargers that people won't separate or ship...)

    Type and condition of 4x5 camera is a big item. Could be worth essentially nothing if it's really old and in craptacular shape, could be worth half the value of your K5 if it's, say, a decent condition Graphic or old Tech III or the like, or could be worth the entire price of the K5 kit by itself. We need more information, but if you want to get into film and darkroom, this gives you enough to start it all right away.
     
  11. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    The camera is indeed the missing link, and will decide if I really want the deal or not. If it's a Toyoview with an average lens probably not. But if it's a good camera with a good lens (judging by the quality of the enlargers and lenses, I'd say they will be), it will be a good deal for me.

    Even a Toyoview is a good camera, but it doesn't really add up to make it worth the trade, all things considered.
     
  12. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I just spoke to the prospective trader. The lot includes the Omega enlarger with the 3 Rodenstock lenses on a turret (as expected), an Esco analog color analyzer (I have never used a color analyzer) what is it for? Is it a kind of exposure meter for printing?, the camera is:

    An S&K View Camera made by Shiro Photo Company, Osaka, Japan. It's a monorail, and it looks a lot like the Calumet cameras we used in school. I'm not very educated on view cameras, so they all kind of look alike to me. It's a monorail, so it's not very portable. Obviously you can still take it with you onto location, and I plan to do that. A Walker camera would be fantastic, maybe later.

    The lenses are a Scheinder Symmar 210mm f/5.6 with Copal #1 shutter (convertible to 370mm f/12 by removing rear element) and a Kodak Wide Field Ektar 100mm f/6.3.

    Here are the photos of the equipment: https://www.dropbox.com/gallery/54879676/1/Terry's 4x5 gear?h=1ba983#gallery:0

    I know very little about this stuff (the lenses I assume are high quality, but the camera I am less sure of). Thanks for any input.
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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  14. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    That is the exact camera, Vaughn. Thanks! The bag bellows in the box look a little rough...I hope the accordion bellows aren't bad.
     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I see just one lens on the enlarger turret.
     
  16. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Duly noted. He says the others are in a box, I asked to make sure they are indeed in a box.
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    The color analyzer is primarily for color printing. It can help you find the right color printing filter pack quicker and more easily - or at least it does for some people. I've never used one, and some people I know who tried them gave them up, but I do know others who like them. "Primarily" for color because I think most of them can be used for density comparisons for choosing B&W contrast grade and as B&W enlarging exposure meters.
     
  18. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I doubt I'll use it either, since I don't plan on doing color printing. But it's nice to know I have the equipment necessary to do it.
     
  19. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I use a colour analyser as a B&W exposure meter & timer.
     
  20. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    What's the word on the lenses? They're older designs...would they be up to the challenge of Acros (or Delta 100) in Rodinal, enlarged to 16x20 using the Omega enlarger? I am assuming so, but I have never used a Kodak Ektar lens. I know they are held to a high regard, but how good are they really?
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I don't know those particular lenses though no doubt someone will, but I'd say they will be fine. I haven't used a wide field Ektar but I do have a 207 Ektar which is a superb lens. About the only thing you really improve on with newer lenses over the best quality older ones is the coatings, and that will really matter only with backlighting or strong light sources inside or close outside (or relatively close, depending on the coverage of the lens) and even then it's mainly a loss of contrast so in black and white you just print it on harder paper. More modern shutters are also more reliable, less likely to need work and easier to have serviced but if the older ones (like on my 203 Ektar) are working ok they're fine.

    16x20 is loafing for 4x5. That's only a 4x enlargement. The equivalent in 35mm would be a 4x6 print. Either of the lenses should resolve more detail than you'd ever see in a 4x enlargement.
     
  22. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    It took me a second to realize how small 16x20 is for 4x5. I could probably shoot through a coke bottle and it would be tack sharp. I doubt I'll ever go higher than 16x20, but it's nice to know that I can!

    That's a good point about coatings - flare is the most obvious thing I've noticed when using old lenses on smaller formats.
     
  23. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    After thinking long and hard about it, I decided not to take the deal. I'm in a one bedroom apartment and I just don't have the space for 4 x 5 darkroom. Maybe in the future I'll be able to do it, but I don't want the stuff to just sit in the garage for five years while it waits for me to get a larger place. I try to live within my means and part of that is not getting stuff that I can't use. Thanks everyone for the input! I really appreciate it
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Roger makes a point about coatings, however I've been using some older coated lenses in Turkey and what's noticeable is that I've had no flare with a 1950's CZJ T coated 150mm Tesssar and a late 60's 90mm Angulon, also a 75mm Super Angulon when the multi coated lenses on my Canon EOS have been unusable alongside them. (This is on quite a few ocassions).

    Some lenses are better coated than others and coatings evolved, so a late version of the 203mm f7.7 Ektar that Roger refers too is much better coated than the earlier ones (at least with the UK made versions). My coated Tessar is very heavily coated but because of this has a distinct blue tinge, it would need heavy correction for Colour work.

    Ian
     
  25. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Those Canon multicoated EOS lenses also have far more air to glass surfaces than the simpler LF lenses. The more air to glasses surfaces the more important coatings become and the more difference you will notice between quality of coatings.

    I checked the serial number on my 203 Ektar once. That was back when I first got it in the 90s so memory may fail me but I seem to recall it was made in 1947. I've noticed no flare problems from it.