What about using more than one enlarger?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by matti, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. matti

    matti Member

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    So we bought this new really large house. Not only does it have an awesome studio with north facing large window. But when we change our old oil central heating I will have a really large room without windows in the basement that I can use only as a darkroom.
    I am sure I will come back for a lot of questions during construction. But for now I am contemplating to actually keep all my three Durst enlargers there. One 6x6, one 4x5 and one 5x7. All diffusion light source with color heads. Would there be any real benefit? Or should I at least get rid of the 6x6?

    /matti
     
  2. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    I would keep all of them if you have room. I have a Beseler 23C which I use for enlarging and an Omega C760 which I use only for making contact prints. Since I have to fit in my darkroom time around all of my other obligations I find it very convenient to have one enlarger already set up to for contact prints. Since I use a slot processor for everything 8 1/2 x 11" and smaller, I can literally walk into my darkroom and make a few contact sheets in 5 or 10 minutes.

    If I had a third enlarger, I would leave it configured for medium format.
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Yes , a very real benefit.

    This allows you to set up three negatives, test and work on multiple images.
    I always work with minimum two enlargers , and I flip the prints back to back and this also allows for zero emulsion dings or marks.
    Using multiple enlargers opens up many doors, allows you to dedicate one for flashing if you are lith printing. Also if you are having a tough time on one image but not the other you can concentrate on the first image , finish it and then work on the more complicated image.

    thats just a quick start to the advantages for me at least.

    QUOTE=matti;1358725]So we bought this new really large house. Not only does it have an awesome studio with north facing large window. But when we change our old oil central heating I will have a really large room without windows in the basement that I can use only as a darkroom.
    I am sure I will come back for a lot of questions during construction. But for now I am contemplating to actually keep all my three Durst enlargers there. One 6x6, one 4x5 and one 5x7. All diffusion light source with color heads. Would there be any real benefit? Or should I at least get rid of the 6x6?

    /matti[/QUOTE]
     
  4. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Keep them. I have an Omega D-II that I fit a Chromega Dichro II head on that lives next to a Beseler 45 with a condenser head. For bitingly critically sharp enlargements I use the Beseler with an anti-newton glass carrier, and the Omega handles faster proof work and doubles as a dedicated 6x6/6x7 enlarger.

    If you have the space, keep them, you can outfit them all with separate lenses, removing the concern that changing lenses will eventually knock something on the enlarger out of alignment. Hell you can even be like Jerry Uelsman, except he has 7 enlargers in his process line.
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Actually I think Jerry had over 15 enlargers going at one time. each one serving a purpose in a photocomp line.

     
  6. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Haha, I was going to say add a few more and pull a "Uelsmann"
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    My problem is time. Having multiple enlargers allows me to potentially clean, load, and focus several
    negs in advance, so I can get to printing quickly. The different enlargers have different applications
    too. I have two 8x10 units (one cold light and one additive colorhead), a 5x7 unit strictly for color
    work (its in the cleanroom), and a basic old Omega D 4x5 colorhead unit, which is my workhorse for
    4x5 and smaller black and white work. Now I have to figure out where to move the Omega so I can
    squeeze in another 8x10 unit with a 40X60 easel. I won't itemize all the enlargers I've turned down
    over the years. Wonder what I'll do with all this stuff when I get too old to use it. I'd have a dream
    darkroom except for the fact it's getting too crowded (actually, there are four darkrooms). Bad habit.
    Storing big prints isn't very kind on space either. But at the moment all the big ones have been sold,
    so I gotta do something dumb like making a bunch more of them.
     
  8. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    If I had the room in my darkroom I would immediately put up a second enlarger.

    In your case three would be the bees knees :smile:
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Some enlargers can be very 'fiddley' when changing mixing boxes and lenses and lensboards and negative carriers between a wide variety of formats. So, I found it nice to have different enlargers set-up and ready to go for certain formats.
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    At the very least realize that you do not need to set it up if you won't use it. But I would clutch onto it all my live long days were I you.

    Keep it light.
    ChrisW
     
  11. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I worked my way through grad school (Pre digital) printing for a high volume custom lab in NYC. I had five enlargers in my darkroom and depending on work load I would set up at least three, and often all five. I was able to print scores and even hundreds of hand made prints a day. They used to say the expected rate for a good technician was ten negs an hour. Multiple enlargers and a good printing strategy will save lots of time. And, believe me, these were quality prints, with dodging and burning. (I didn't have to do the washing and drying.)
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Sound like my history of working in Labs, the key is planning your day, and putting similar negs /sizes on specific enlargers and this training will negate the note taking , as you get really good at looking at the easel , watching the print emerge and knowing when you have made a good print.

     
  13. matti

    matti Member

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    Thank you all. I can really see the time savings now. And as time is my limit I will try to set up all three. Maybe one for medium format, one for 4x5 and one for contacts. No lens switching and working on two negs at a time sounds like I might get more fun.
    /matti
     
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  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    You may consider changing the 5 X 4 for a de Vere. They are the Rolls-Royce of enlargers.
     
  16. matti

    matti Member

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    Then I'll have four!
     
  17. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Dursts aren't Yugos. They're fine machines.
     
  18. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    When you get them aligned they are fine enough, but otherwise... hell on wheels to continue the car analogue.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ha! I'd call the Durst the best - but then I built one better! (not for sale).
     
  20. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I really have enough space for two enlargers in my darkroom and I already have two. But I only use one because it's my favorite.... but enlargers keep following me home! I have a third sitting in my living room now.....
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I would only consider "deleting" the 4 x 5 enlarger if:

    a) you have all the necessary parts to enlarge everything between 6 x 6 and 5 x 7 using the 5 x 7 enlarger, and
    b) removing one enlarger would free up space, and you could use that space.

    6 x 6 enlargers are usually more convenient for 35mm and smaller formats than 4 x 5 and 5 x 7 enlargers, so I wouldn't get rid of the 6 x 6 enlarger.

    And the 5 x 7 enlarger is the only one big enough for 5 x 7 or panoramic formats like 6 x 17.
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    An enlarger is only as good at the person operating it.

    Some here would have better prints using a coke bottle as a lens than others that talk about but never make good prints.
     
  23. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    To me storage space or cabinets are more important than saving setup time. I have two enlargers but one is permanently parked under the stairs behind the furnace. I am constantly wishing I had more cabinet space. Maybe humidity controlled archival storage.

    When doing color at the rental lab I always rent the room with 2 and use both. A little harder to totally concentrate on one image that way.. but I am paying for time.
    Dennis
     
  24. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I have two Beseler 4x5 enlargers in my 8' x 9' space. One is set up with the 6x7 mixing chamber in the 45S head, and the other has the 4x5 mixing chamber. The 11x14 masking frame usually lives on the medium format setup, and the 20x16 frame on the 4x5. This sames a little time in locating the correct lens and carrier, especially if I am working on multiple formats. Since the 45s heads can be exchanged, or a condenser head swapped in, I have enough redundancy.

    Though I still have a Durst M605 and F30 broken down and in storage!

    Graham
     
  25. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    You may find it convenient for variable-contrast printing to have an under-lens filter-holder fitted on one enlarger, then you can burn in with varying filtration very consistently, without worrying about the dichroic heads not matching between enlargers and also without twiddling dials a lot. Handy for split-grade too if you like that.
     
  26. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Keep them. You will find a use. If nothing else you can dedicate them to specific formats.
    Saves swapping lenses.

    This is my setup

    Elwood for 5X7 and 8X10
    Saunders for medium format and 4X5
    Vivitar for just 35mm
    Besseler MX45 condenser and cold light 110-4X5 for guests
    Small Omega and Durst for teaching kids
    Besseler with 3 heads in storage.