Which enlarger?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Gary Liggett, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. Gary Liggett

    Gary Liggett Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Location:
    Lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I trained as a photographer in the late 1970s and am returning to darkroom work after many years absence. I would like to make fine art monochrome prints (including toning and from infra-red negatives) as well as printing normal monochrome negatives (from Ilford FP4). I have both 35mm and 6x6 film cameras.

    With regard to printing papers, the landscape hasa changed a great deal since I was last in a darkroom!

    My question is: which enlarger would you recommend for my requirements?

    I would welcome any help, advice or suggestions.

    Many thanks in anticipation,

    Gary
     
  2. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,479
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello Gary,

    regardless of what enlarger you'll get, it would be a good idea to update your profile and declare your location. This way, you'll get more reasonable suggestions from other members. Think about it, Beselers are very common in the US, not so in Europe. Likewise, Meoptas are very popular in Europe, but rather unknown in the US.
     
  3. yellowcat

    yellowcat Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Bristol, Eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Are you in the UK? If you are not printing from anything bigger than 6x6 then there is usually a good choice of Durst and LPL enlargers on Ebay.
     
  4. Gary Liggett

    Gary Liggett Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Location:
    Lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have updated my profile. Please accept my apologies for not having had the good sense to provide my location information previously. Thanks Anon Ymous and Yellowcat for taking the time to reply.

    The Durst M670 has been recommended. However, I read that colour enlargers tend to produce softer images than the old condensers. Having said that, I expect that multigrade printing papers compensate for this. Are there any particular enlargers you would recommend?
     
  5. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,479
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Diffusion enlargers will give less contrast, and may also be slightly less sharp. The last isn't necessarily a bad thing, dust can be hidden to a small extent. Other than that, you might not be able to get the hardest contrast of a variable contrast paper with a colorhead. In any case, by using a variable contrast paper you can adjust contrast at will.
     
  6. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Gary, welcome to APUG :smile:

    I expose my 35mm & 6x6 on a Condenser Enlarger and use a set of Ilford Under the Lens Multigrade Filters to control contrast.

    There are very few bad makes of enlargers around, although some samples have seen more "life" than is good for them

    Second Hand Darkrooms do a decent selection - http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk

    They have a Durst 605 for £195 or a Meopta OPERMUS 6A for £129 both B&W Condenser 6x6 Enlargers

    As with all these things, you need to decide how much money you want to spend and go from there

    Martin
     
  7. yellowcat

    yellowcat Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Bristol, Eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This looks like a nice bit of kit , but it is collection only from London

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Devere-203-Pr...ewItemQQptZUK_Photography_DarkroomSupplies_SM

    I would go for something like a durst M605 or LPL C6700 or C7700 (I have one of these), the LPL's have the advantage that they are still in production so spares should not be a problem.

    If you do get a second hand machine it is a good idea if you can check it out before you buy to make sure everything is present and in working order. I would tend to avoid ones being sold off by schools as they are not likely to have been looked after as well as privately owned enlargers.
     
  8. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,292
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gary

    As others have suggested, I would go for the best Durst color enlarger you can afford.
     
  9. Gary Liggett

    Gary Liggett Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Location:
    Lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks everyone for your carefully considered responses, and for suggesting sources. I'll have a closer look at those you have suggested and take it from there. Many thanks, once again. Gary