Well my Durst certainly has particular lens alignment features, and my Omega D certainly doesn't,
though I have added some of my own. But the Durst if far more precisely built and a lot more solid
to begin with. The idea of not checking and correcting such things is about as sensible as driving around on a flat tire.
The older Omega D series had the alignment on the negative stage rather than on the lensboard. Which Durst do you have with an adjustable lens stage? Although the lensboard swings, the center detent on all the Durst enlargers 5x7 and bigger that I am familiar with is fixed in position. As far as I know the PROLA/DURST adjustable lensboard is a USA made aftermarket accessory.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
I have a Saunders/LPL which the manufacturer claims to never need adjustment. I am starting to believe it. The enlarger is now in its 3rd building, my wife and I are forever buying a different residence, and I only shoot 35 at this point. I make lots of 20X24 inch prints and they are sharp and crisp from corner to corner and in the middle. I love grain, but it has to be sharp.It is not the answer you were looking for, but it works for me. Don
Swapping enlargers is just not in the cards for me anytime soon with my primary unit. I have about a dozen neg carriers in four formats including a rare and expensive Xpan carrier, anti-newton glass, filed out for full frame, 5 lens boards, three for 50mm openings. Unless I could find a complete LPL 4500 VCCE B&W in the West, drive out to pick it up and check the alignment with my Versalab and then get it home feeling solid about it, we are talking a lot of money and a lot of time moving from one to the other.
At this point, if I am hell bent on getting better fine tuning out of my enlarger, I am better off spending a few hundred on some custom made machined adjustments for my 45MX rather than what would add up to thousands in messing around with swapping units and the associated down time.
Maybe down the road, but sure as hell not now....
Ice-Racer : the 138-series were made over quite a timespan, and there were variations to them.
I have a couple of them, and even the detent has a correction feature, allowing it to be fine-tuned.
Now foward/backward tilt on the lens mount is a different thing. It's highly rigid to begin with, but
could be hypothetically skewed with a very heavy lens. The only really massive lens I use is on my
customized 8x10 color enlarger, which is built like a tank and has micrometer corrections for everything. That was a challenge; but I really lucked out and found a solid machined bronze tilt &
yaw correction device originally intended for WWII mortar sights. Something like that would cost a fortune to machine new, but I got it for free was able to quickly adapt it to my enlarger column.
I have for my Bessler MX a mounted Scheinder 135mm for 4x5 that is fitted with an adjustable lens board from I think the old Zone IV Studios. Its a two-part board, with a large rubber (?) piece in-between, and three screws connecting the two boards, which then allows a micro amount of adjustment for the lens to Neg stage. It seems pretty well thought out, but I don't do much 4x5, and according to my Veraslab Laser, it does do what its supposed to do. I think some good ideas are yet to be discovered in alignment.
It is, and has been for a long time, my opinion that the world has never been fortunate enough to have a truly precise large format enlarger. I've had an Beseler MX, an Omega D2, looked at a Beseler 57 once, and 45VXL, fiddled with a number of Omega D5's and 6's, and attempted to buy a handfull Durst L1000's and L1200's, and have found all of them wanting in some way or another. Beselers are built with the precision of a VW Bug (not the new ones, mind you, though they aren't much better), Omegas are perhaps a better-conceived and more complete system, though with the exception of the lens-stage alignment system on the 5500, they too are lacking in design finess and a complete range of adjustments standard across models. Tabletop LF Dursts are very finely made, but their rarity due to a number of factors has made them lucky finds at affordable prices, and they really only shine as precision instruments when all the bits and pieces are present and accounted for. Tracking Durst parts down is an art in itself and not unlike collecting vintage wristwatches.
If I were to invest in a large-format enlarger system at this point, I would probably set out to buy an Omega D5/6 chassis, one of the new LED heads, a wall-brace kit, and make a valiant attempt to retrofit a D5500's lens stage to it. If ultimate precision were the goal, I'd probably opt for the condenser LED head over the VC model, and then spend a long afternoon with my engineer's level and a Versalab alignment laser.
In theory, and if one had enough time and energy and cash resources to devote to the system, the probable ideal would most likely be a Durst L1200 Vari-Point. Unfortunately, they are impossibly rare, and even when found, the bulbs have been out of production for years and years.
For the small format crowd, the Leitz V35 is an absolutely unparalleled piece of equipment. My only wishes are that the negative carrier had 2 pieces of glass instead of just one, and that the markings for setting the column height relative to the baseboard were not so chunky. Beyond that, hook up a Heiland Splitgrade and the new Heiland LED light source, and you've got probably the best small format enlarging system ever conceived.
Until somebody comes up with something with that kind of build quality and well-thought engineering, I'll be sticking to contact prints.
I think I remember seeing these, thanks for mentioning it!
Originally Posted by RidingWaves
I recently priced this system out through RH Designs and in 4x5 it was around $2,400 US before shipping. In some ways, I have the money but I would rather do like you said and get a chassis and then build a custom enlarger in terms of adjustment from the ground up, then decide what size LED source to get which could end up being 5x7 for coverage.
Originally Posted by Captain_joe6
If there is no heat involved like there is not with the LED light sources, you can work with hybrid materials like carbon fiber and aluminum. Personally, I think this would be a blast to do and highly rewarding in the resulting product.
This Delta One Bes Align lens board fits any Beseler enlarger that uses the 4” x 4” x 1/8” lens board, such as the 23C and 45M.
While we are complaining about enlargers being imprecise, can we also complain about them leaking light? I boggles my mind why enlarger manufacturers just unanimously decided that it was ok for enlargers to leak light all over the place...in a darkroom.