What enlarger would you choose?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by handcoater, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. handcoater

    handcoater Member

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    When I move to my new house in Michigan, I will be building a darkroom. I have been out of gelatin silver printing for many years but spent 28 years of my life as a commercial/fine art photographer. I have extensively used 8x10 & 5x7 Durst, and 4x5 Beselar, Omega and Saunders enlargers but have little experience with smaller enlargers (used a Beselar 23C and Omega B22 a few times). When I build my darkroom, I will only be printing 120 (6x6) negatives.I will be printing B&W only and prefer a diffusion enlarger. I don't like the cold lights as much as the dichroic/multigrade heads.

    What medium format enlarger would you choose and why?
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I thought that I would only print 120 6x6s as the largest size and only black & white. The first reasonably priced enlarger in good condition was a Omega 5D-EX with a Chromega Dichroic II head. The seller who was a photofinisher convince me that the diffusing color head would work for black & white. Well, because I spent too much time at APUG [note to self: stay away from APUG], I now develop and print film from single frame 35mm, 35mm, 120 6x6 and 4"x5" in black & white and color.

    I recommend:
    • Get an enlarge that can handle at least 4"x5" just in case, so that you do not have to buy a second enlarger.
    • Run as fast as you can away from APUG before it is too late.
    • Delete this and all photographic websites from your computer.
    • Never "just look" at KEH.com.
    • Never "just look" at eBay.com.
    • Never "just look" at graflex.org.
    • Never "just look" at largeformatphotography.info.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    If you were closer I'd make you a great deal on a Beseler 23C II with a 23DGA dichroic head and power supply. Personally, I like Omega enlargers, and use a D-6 Pro Lab for everything. I used to print 35mm and 6x6 on dedicated C-700's. I still have three of them.
     
  4. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Omega D 2V
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    any of the omega enlargers will treat you well.
    i have and love a d3v but it might be overkill for 6x6.
     
  6. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I like the Saunders LPL 670 VCCE enlarger. Very easy to dial in different contrast amounts.

    Jon
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If I were you I would choose an enlarger from:

    1) those that you have some familiarity with and liked in the past; and
    2) those that you can get accessories for easily.

    The 4x5 enlargers work really well with 120.
     
  8. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    For that format and diffusion/colour head requirement, I would recommend the LPL C7700 Pro. It's rigid enough and easy to use, which are probably the only real requirements.

    Personally I would use my DeVere 504 (I own both it and a C7700 Pro) since it's even more rigid, but that's more bulky than it needs to be for MF.
     
  9. handcoater

    handcoater Member

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    Uh oh... i have never "just looked" at graflex.org. What have I been missing? Be right back... :smile:
     
  10. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    "he's the man who never returned" apologies to the MTA song by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes. :smile:
     
  11. Len Middleton

    Len Middleton Member

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    handcoater,

    Another vote for a 4x5 enlarger, rather than anything smaller. More robust and rigid, and flexibility in case you later feel limited by medium format.

    Omega D's and Besler 45 units would likely be front runners due to availability in the USA. Along the same vein, parts and accessories for them will likely be available, long after the smaller units make their way to the second hand shops, dump, etc. Currently they are going cheap, and you might be able to get what you need for little more than just for showing up with something to haul it all away.

    Durst are great units (and I understand so are Deveres), but parts may be a problem (availability and expense)...

    To give you an idea where I put my money, currently own a D5 with dicro head (and condenser head in a box), and a Durst L184 8x10 with a condenser head I am setting up. But then again, I do shoot both 4x5 and 8x10...

    Hope that helps,

    Len
     
  12. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    If you plan on staying in the 11X14 t0 16X20 rerange of enlargments, I like the Durst 600 or 601 with a color head. I have a D3 with I use for 6X9 and 4X5, but for 6X6 and 35mm I use the Durst. I have a condenser insert and the color insert and often the color insert for Black and White as is a diffusion set up but not a cold light. I use the masking glass negative holder. Easy to keep in alinement. Small foot print. I see them on my local C list, very inexpensive. Buy 2, one for parts.
     
  13. Gary Grenell

    Gary Grenell Member

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    I would use the enlarger that I use

    I use the Fujimoto 450M VC enlarger with the dichroic head. I have touted the lovely attributes of this enlarger on the board in the distant past (i am a very infrequent contributer), and I love this machine. As far as I know, it can be gotten for a song at Jobo.