What is a good diffusor enlarger for medium format

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Shaggysk8, May 20, 2009.

  1. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Location:
    Northamptons
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hello, as the title says really, I will not be getting one yet, but have no idea what is good or bad and tips and pointers in the right direction would be a great help for me.

    Kind Regards
    Paul
     
  2. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,888
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I am sure you will get many opinions, but I like my old Omega D2 fitted with a new Aristo cold light. It is a rock solid enlarger, and there is something intrinsically rewarding about using something that is about as old as I am.
     
  3. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

    Messages:
    553
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto ON
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There are many good enlargers and they're nearly all free now. LPL, Omega, Beseler. I have an LPL that's Rollei branded and it works perfectly for me. Make sure before you purchase that you can find the neg carriers that you'll need. You may find good free stuff on Craigslist or Freecycle.
     
  4. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,769
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Location:
    NH
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I would go with a color head if you want a diffusor and might eventually do color. Not sure what is common where you are, but all the major brands are at least very good. I have a couple of Omega D5s. Not the best (from comments I've seen), but I can easily get parts and the price was right. I have an Ilford multigrade head on one of my D5s and it is a great setup for black and white. They are also relatively common, but I do worry about service in the future. The Chromega head is very simple and mechanical, so I figure I can always fix it.
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,378
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use an Omega D2 with an Aristo VCL4500 (4x5) variable contrast cold light. I only print B&W and this lets you control the contrast on multigrade papers without filters. You can expose different areas of an image at different contrasts. It is very versatile but not cheap.
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,213
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    2nd vote for a color enlarger, even if you never intend to do color. They are good diffusion enlargers and have the filters for VC printing built right in. I'm not a fan of cold-light heads, which are very popular in the US. Their light consistency issues drove me up a tree. I prefer constant light output at all times, without having to worry about warm up. There are better ways to get perfect diffusion than cold light. Also, condenser enlargers have an unwarranted bad reputation. They are just as good as diffusion if the negative contrast is adjusted accordingly.

    I'm sure cold-light owners will protest. It's just my experience and humble opinion.
     
  7. r-brian

    r-brian Member

    Messages:
    617
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Albuquerque,
    I have a Beseler 23CII with a color head. It will do up to 6x9. Easy to use, just dial in the filtration for the contrast settings. I also have an old Omega DII that was made between 1947 and 1952. It does up to 4x5. Having a diffusion enlarger and a condenser enlarger allows me to choose which one is best for which negative.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,035
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Virtually all the suggestions are for enlargers that are quite rare in the UK, apart from LPL. The best choice is a Durst M600 series, these were the most common enlargers, an M670 is a good choice, and as others have said you need a colour head as that's a diffuser anyway. Be aware that not all MF enlargers will take 6x7 so if you wish to print that format you need to ensure that you buy a model that does.

    Ian
     
  9. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Paul, there are very few bad enlargers in MF, so anything made in the past 30 years that has been looked after will be good

    As Ian Grant points out, Durst were the most common manufacturer in the UK and still have a good service and support vendor - http://www.northernphoto.co.uk/

    The Meopta Magnifax 4 was also both well regarded and good value for money.

    Enlargers are simple devices, so there is little to go wrong unless they have been misused or dropped

    As well as EBAY, NOVA (http://www.novadarkroom.com/cat/203/Enlargers.html) and Second Hand Darkrooms (http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/info.php?p=3) are always worth a look.

    If you get a Colour Head its very important to make sure it comes with a working stabilised transformer

    It’s also worth investing in a good Enlarging Lens

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  10. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,070
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    enlarger

    just picked up an older minolta color enlarger....after using a beseler 4x5 with a cold lite all these years I'm amazed at the quality of the prints from this little machine...if you can find one buy it..make sure it is working and get the lensboards with it or you are in trouble
    Best, Peter
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    When I graduated from 35mm the man who sold me my 6cm x 7cm Mamiya RZ gave me advice that has proved good. He said most who use MF eventually try 4x5. In today's market there is little difference in price between a good MF and a good 4x5 enlarger. I have an LPL 4550XLG/VCCE that works very well. I have since moved up to 8x10 and I can also highly recommend a Durst. I also use the variable contrast light to make contact prints from the 7x17 pictured in my avatar. In life like chess it pays to plan beyond your next move.

    John Powers
     
  12. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Location:
    Northamptons
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thank you everyone I will take on board everything everyone has said and do some investigating to see what I can find myself :smile:
     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Not in the UK :sad:

    A decent MF Enlarger is only about half the price of a decent 5x4 Enlarger.

    Martin
     
  14. richard littlewood

    richard littlewood Member

    Messages:
    146
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Pennines
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Dont overlook a condensor enlarger though. There are often older 5x4 Devere condensor enlargers on e-bay, and others. If they have neg carriers youre away. All they need usually is a good scrub up. An old Devere, with shiney condensor lenses will give a fantastic light, and will do if you fancy 5x4.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,213
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, why not a condenser?
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,035
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    We could equally ask why a condenser enlarger. I've used both and much prefer a diffuser enlarger but the higher contrast & brightness of a condenser can be useful with large enlargements, typically over a metre in width and upwards.

    Ian
     
  17. richard littlewood

    richard littlewood Member

    Messages:
    146
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Pennines
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    As Ian said it is all down to taste. Good thing about a condensor is if the grain and spotting out become too much, it is easy to diffuse the light near the neg with some opaque persex or the like.
     
  18. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have a Fujimoto G70 colour enlarger which caters for 35mm to 6x7 and has a built in timer and a very high column for big enlargements.

    The best thing about this enlarger is the reversible light source which can switch between condensor and diffuser. Best of both worlds :smile:

    The following site has one of the later version (VR70) for sale:
    http://www.paulpetterson.co.uk/
     
  19. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Location:
    Northamptons
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I like the look of that, now is that one use colour filters or is it built in (I don't know a lot about enlargers so please excuse my ignorance)
     
  20. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes it has the three colour filters. The dials are on the right hand side.
     
  21. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Location:
    Northamptons
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I found this on ebay, I think I might need to get it, what do people think?, I have a bronica ETRS and a 35 plus I will go large format at a later date.