THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your input - I have learned a lot and at least have some direction now. I think I will look into these Meoptas and Omegas and see what fits my budget - I already have the contrast filters so that is one thing I won't have to buy.
I do think that one day I will be able to try large format - but that is not in the near future - so the enlarger will do 35mm - 6X7 at most duty. And I print exclusively B&W, and do not plan on moving into colour any time soon. For now, something not much bigger than my Axomat would be perfect since I do not have a permanent dark room and each printing session requires clean up and moving of equipment...Thanks again for all you responses, as usual I am overwhelmed with the number and thorough nature of your response - the community here has been very, very helpful!
PS. Just one more thing - I would need two lenses for best results, right? Can anyone recommend which to look for =, and if you feel so inclined give me just a quick and dirty explanation of why I want these lenses? Thanks!
To print 35 and 6X6 you need a lens that will cover the negative. 50mm is considered normal for 35 and 75 or 80 is considered normal for 6x6 and 90 for 6x7 or 6x9. Some printer (people not the enlarger) use a longer lens than is normal such as 60 for 50 and a 105 for 6X7 or 6X9. There are many very good lens on the market, I use Wollensak, Nikkor, and Schnider. Buy the enlarger then check to see what lens and lens mounts you will need. Buy the best lens you can afford. I would use an older enlarger in order to get good lens. If the trade off is good glass vs the basic enlarger I would look at a Federal or Dever, any enlarger is only as good as the lens.
I'm with jeanette on this one. If you've got a choice, go for the condensor type. They're dead easy to use with (Ilford) multigrade filters and IMO you get a punchier image. Regards, BLIGHTY.
Thanks Paul, that is exactly what I was lookig for. I knew that different lenses were required for best results, but now I know the size to look for.
You might want to check out Ebay, I saw a Federal model that is 35 to 6x9 that comes in a case for storage. For someone who needs to store an enlarger it could be really cool. Needs a quailty lens.
You can get Beseler 67s, 23Cs and 45 Ms very cheap on eBay. I recently purchased a pristine Zone VI modified 45 MXT with a cold-light head. The 23C XL that I bought new in 1977 has just been converted to a Zone VI cold light (another eBay item). The Beselers are built to last forever and can be outfitted with a number of different printing heads. The 45 MX enlarger is about 80 lbs so shipping is high but they are easy to disassemble and put back together requiring only a screwdriver. New or used parts are easy to obtain if needed and the enlargers are easy to align. You can get a complete 23C for $150 or a 45 MX for about $300 (or less) and that's only a small fraction of what they cost new or would be charged if bought used from a dealer.
Thanks to all who responded - blighty, I have heard that opinion before, I am gald someone chimed in on the subject!
Paul - I definitely will look into that - portability would be a bonus in my current "domestic" situation!
Now, as to the various "printing heads" - there I am totally green. I know that a condenser "gathers" teh light through a big magnifying glass - looking device and then "shoots" it through the neg where as the other kind uses almost like a matt screen to project evenly on the whole negative (more less) but the "cold light" heads and all the terminology is quite foreign to me. Can anyone expand on that, or perhaps point me to a resource (enlargers for dummies - no, wait, that's my email junk mail box..:))?
I saw a Omega B22 with two Rodenstok lenses and a variety of neg carriers at a very decent price - is that a decent piece? It looks tiny compared to most... (the head part)...
Thanks again for all your help
I have professionally used both Omega and Beselar in 4x5 sizes. I used an Omega Dichroic when I worked in a colour lab doing customer enlargements. For my own use, I purchased a Beseler 45MX and then put an Aristo cold light head on it. I HATE condensor enlargers and am with Ansel Adams regarding the "chalk and soot" tonality it gives.
Yes, the Beseler 45 is more than you need right now, but they are built like tanks, are very flexible in terms of installation, and will likely outlive you. If it were me, I would drive to QC in a flash. A trip to Quebec City in the Spring? What's not to like? ;-) Even if you don't make a purchase, you've had a good road trip.
Ansal Adams The Print is a good starting place. Condenser heads use condensers to focus the light, increases printing speed, contrast, and is very sharp, but tends show dust and other negative defects. Diffusion is softer, the light is not focused, slower, less sharp, but with less contrast it is easier to print both shadows and keep texture in the highlight, and shows less dust. A cold light is diffusion with a florcesent or neon light. Very diffuse and does put out the heat of a tunston light so negatives don't buckle in long exposures. Down side is depending on the make of the head may be slow and you need to print on graded paper. A Point source is a condenser on steroids, very very sharp, uses a very small clear very bright blub. Ansel Adams printed most of his 35mm on point source. A color head is a diffusion system that uses a halogen bulb for light, a mixing chamber, and colored filters to print color ,it can also be used as contrast filters for black and white.
The Omega B 66 is a very good enlarge, small footprint easy to take down, the only draw back is that is only take up to a 6X6 negative. At some point you may to shoot
Earl - too true about the trip to QCC!!! Unfortunately, the thingymajig watchamacallit you know what that pays for this stuff - the evil "J" word, does not permit! I am in touch with the gentleman who has these, and am waitning his reply!
And this is something I think I spoke literally 5 minutes before typing this reply:
"Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras."
I LAUGHED SO HARD, my sides still hurt and the neighbours may think someone is trying to kill me....
Paul - I am going to have to start paying you a tutoring fee - thank you so much! I wonder how the flourescent lights up and shuts down on time...must be some engineering trick! You are right - a Mamiya RB is on my wish list, hopefull in the near future, 6x7 will be something I will have to worry about - for now, well... see quote above ;)
Budget is shoe string!
And, by the way, the Ansel Adams Trilogy is on order!!! I have read something by him called I believe "Photography Basics", but I don't remeber much about the book now (as to when it was published, etc - the content stuck like glue, even though I had little time with it!). I do remember it had a huge credit foe "editor" so I suspect it might have been a mass market dilution of the three books - or Ansel's attempt to give back to the "little guy", hehehehe:)