Zone VI enlarger: experience and questions...

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by thibsie, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. thibsie

    thibsie Member

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    Hi all, first post here :smile:

    I have a Zone VI enlarger (which type I dunno how to check) with the usual 5x7 classic non-VC head (and old 'blue' lamp) and the compensating timer.
    Things I noticed:

    * indeed, too much contrast on VC paper but getting the lamp replaced would be difficult. It seems Aristo can't do it (since they didn't make the head) and probably not cost effective at all if I have to buy one new. Anyone would have such an updated lamp ?

    * the exposure time is loooooong. I admit it can be *really* annoying at times. Newer lamps are any brighter?

    * the knob for controlling light brightness makes no brightness difference at all but produces a strange noise (from the head) and makes the lamp flicker somewhat when I turn the knob down. Is that normal ?

    * what would be the best option for getting other negative carriers? I have a (custom?) one cut for 5x7 neg and two anti-Newton glasses. Make my own but how ?

    * how can I get an extension for the focus knob which tends to be way to high to turn comfortably when enlarging 4x5 negs to 30x40 and beyond ?

    Thank you :smile:
     
  2. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Welcome thibsie,

    Enlarger Lamp: Try the large format photography forum, this fellow might be able to hep as well. If you are handy a search of the forum using the keywords "LED enlarger" might give you some ideas.

    Negative Carriers: There are a few on ebay, but a local shop with a water-jet cutting machine might be able to make you a full set (some assembly required :wink: ). Cost might vary so if the first shop is high, don't give up.

    Extension for Focus: A local industrial supply house will have flexible drive shafts or you could make one from some small diameter hydraulic hose. Telescope dealers usually have something available that would suit your needs. Often small telescopes with manual drives have knobs on the end of flexible cables.

    Welcome again and I hope others will be of greater help,

    Neal Wydra
     
  3. smithdoor

    smithdoor Member

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  4. KennyMark

    KennyMark Member

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    As I understand it (from my experience with my own), a type I is not VC, has one focus rod connecting negative stage and lens stage compared with the type II which has two rods. Those are the most distinguishing differences at first glance. There are others such as different shaped negative carriers and the ability of the type II to accept a lens turret that aren't so easily distinguished to the uninitiated.
    I always look for the number of focusing rods, the easiest tell.
     
  5. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I don’t think you could find a new lamp, and if you did it would be very expensive, more than the value of the enlarger. You can filter the lamp with gels to get softer prints on VC paper


    That’s a major problem with the Zone 6 enlarger. I had one, and sold it because of the long exposure times.
    I don’t think you could find a new lamp, and if you did it would be very expensive, more than the value of the enlarger. You can filter the lamp with gels to get softer prints on VC paper


    No, that is not normal, and would probably cost more to repair than the enlarger is worth.


    Negative carriers are different for the Type 1 and Type 2 heads, and both types are rare (and hard to use). You can use your 5x7 carrier and make a black paper mask for smaller negatives.


    You could design a wooden “beam” with a hole that grips the Zone 6 knob.

    I used a Zone 6 Type 2 for years, and I found it clumsy and rough to use. Rather than trying to modify your Zone 6, I would look around for a nice used enlarger with all the parts you need. In Belgium, you should be able to find a wonderful Durst L1200 for sale
     
  6. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    In theory this should not be true. If the enlarger only puts out blue light, then filtration can only cut the blue light and makes times longer. It cannot create green light.
     
  7. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Yes, if the light energy was entirely in the blue spectrum. Most lamps designed for enlargers have a spectral output that covers both blue and green, even though the light may have a blue tint.

    So filtering the lamp with gels will allow for a softer print on VC paper, although it will make exposure times longer.
     
  8. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    I wonder if anybody knows if the blue light in a non VC Zone vi is the same blue light in the VC version?
    that would explain the long printing times and the high contrast of the OP
     
  9. ROL

    ROL Member

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    The Type II has two posts on the head compared to one for the Type I. I believe the green tube was simply added to the existing blue in order to make it a VC printer. As I use graded paper almost exclusively, I only use the green to assist focusing. It can be a difficult and cumbersome enlarger to use. The focus extension arm will dangle into the projection, hit you in the head (which you may eventually feel you deserve for buying it in the first place) unless bungeed back to the column or a wall, etc. I returned mine and use a step ladder at great enlargements. The extension will only get you so far anyway before greater projections put it out of reach as well. You can use glass with masks for alternative carriers. There used to be a ZVI user group here on APUG, which got almost no action. This sterling fellow has graciously provided user Technical Manuals for this machine and other darkroom equipment:

    http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/Technical Manuals/Z VI Enlarger Installation Manual.pdf
    http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/Technical Manuals/Z VI Variable Contrast Cold Light Head.pdf

    There is a fellow over at LFPF making LED lamp houses for 4x5 that I believe may fit the ZVI. That may be a better bet if you don't plan on printing larger negatives.
     
  10. Keith Pitman

    Keith Pitman Subscriber

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    I made a glass carrier for my Type II. The same concept should work for a Type I as well as other manufacturers' enlargers as well. Here's a link (Post 38):

    http://www.largeformatphotography.i...r-any-advice-for-new-user&p=967492#post967492

    It might help if you posted pictures of your Zone VI head and the brightness controller.

    Although I have no idea how to do it, I think converting your head to an LED source is a great idea. I think there are discussions of this project in this forum and elsewhere on the internet. Also, this company is making LED enlarger heads:

    http://www.modernenlargerlamps.com/Modern_Enlarger_Lamps/Welcome.html

    Good luck.
     
  11. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I agree with the LED conversion suggestion. The conversion service listed above is for Omega enlargers, so I would look for a used Omega—they are very plentiful, and inexpensive, and would be easier to use than the Zone 6.
     
  12. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    If you do a search you will come across reports of using a single tube Zone VI or Aristo unit being used with VC filters. Some people have had success, albeit with grades rather unevenly spaced. Some have in addition placed a yellow filter permanently over the light in addition to the chosen VC filter. However, some have reported it to be very unsatisfactory because the light is mostly blue. Maybe there were changes to the tube phosphors over decades of manufacture. The company that took over Aristo can make tubes to order, and they have a single tube with extended spectrum to improve VC filter use.

    I had 30 years ago a 4x5 Zone VI single tube lamp and I found it rather dim with smaller negatives, though with 4x5 it was ok. The light looked very blue to me. I suppose it worked despite being dime because it was so blue. I never tried it with VC paper and filters though.

    You might find some of these articles interesting:

    http://www.light-sources.com/specialty/products/aristo

    The company will make new tubes. They are expensive. For details search apug for ken nadvornick.

    e.g.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/84987-aristo-new-replacement-lamps-available-jan-2011-a.html
     
  13. thibsie

    thibsie Member

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    Sorry for the delayed answer,week's been tough.

    Thank you all for your answers.
    It will take a bit of time for me to digest it all and look for my options but all your posts certainly are useful.
    I'll update ASAP.