Omega D2 Questions
Over the past two years I've been slowly but surely moving back to film, and recently began processing my own again. I am about to make the final step here in a couple days when I take possession of an Omega D2 enlarger and some accessories, which I am getting for free from school surplus. The enlarger in question has a cold light head (I have no idea which one).
I've used the D2 but only briefly; most of my experience with enlargers has been the Beseler 45 and 23 series enlargers. Does anybody have suggestions about using and setting up the D2? If I remember correctly, it's rather large (I haven't seen one in a long time and I have not seen this one yet).
I *will* find a place to set up a real darkroom again!
First, is it a DII or a D2 (they were different models but look very similar)?
I have PDFs of DII manual, D2 manual, and D2 service manual. PM me with your email address and I'll send you whichever you want.
I should know which model it is in a day or two. Thanks!
I should add that the D2 (or DII) is somewhat large but not bad for a 4x5 enlarger. A bit larger and significantly heavier than the Beseler 23; a bit smaller (but not much lighter) than the Beseler 45.
Make sure you get as many negative carriers as you can. Also, both the D2 and the DII will use what's called a "lens cone". There were 2-3 different sizes for different focal length lenses. It would be a shame for them to get tossed into the trash if separated from the enlarger.
I'll echo mgb's post. It isn't that large and it is smaller than the Beseler. If you want a perspective on size, look up a Durst 184. Something like 8 1/2 feet tall and that is just the height of the column, forget about raising the head all the way.
Great enlargers, I've had mine for years. I'm more partial to the ungeared DII as the gears on the D2 can strip eventually. There is no easy fix for that as far as i'm aware aside from finding parts secondhand.
The DII has these plastic bushings which can be replaced with bearings and metal bushings from mcmaster carr.
Otherwise, most of the bits are reasonably priced and very easy to find. I used to prefer diffusion but over the years i've come to really prefer the condensers. Careful with the 4x5" condenser if you get one, they are very fragile and easy to scratch with a negative carrier if you are careless. I know because i've managed to ruin at least three over the years. Plus they are heavy.
If you are at a lack of space or don't have a permanent space for a darkroom, look for a rolling cart to place the enlarger on. Wheeling it into a darkened bedroom with an adjacent bathroom at night works, i've done the printing in the bedroom and have the trays in the tub. It works well enough that I was able to print for 2-3 years like that.
I use an old D2 (or DII, I forget which one - and what is the difference?) with an Aristo cold light. Mine is tall enough to make a 16x20 with 35mm and 4x5, and is no more than 4ft tall (not at home at the moment, so I can't measure). One thing I've always liked about the Omegas - you can align the negative stage at each corner for level to the lens and base board. I had a Beseler 45M once, got it used, it wasn't level and there was nothing I could do about it.
Like someone said, get all the extras and accessories you can, you never know what you will need.
There is a popular web site for lots of vintage parts, someone can chime in with that.
Here are two useful links:
1) Harry Taylor's Classic Enlargers: http://www.classic-enlargers.com/; and
2) KHB Photographix: http://www.khbphotografix.com/
You should definitely refer to the two links in the previous post. Harry Taylor's site has a wealth of information on all things Omega. He will answer your questions on his message board too. He's the man with all the right answers, and with spare parts if you need them. While you probably can source the parts for less elsewhere, with Harry you know you're getting what you need.
It is a great enlarger. The only caution I'd have is if it comes with the original Omega cold light (uses a round florescent bulb). I found it pretty miserable. Fortunately, mine also came with a condenser.
I used a D2 at my school, and I've been trying to get ahold of one since school ended. (I think) the main difference between the D2 and the DII is that the DII has a lift and lock mechanism for changing the height of the enlarger; whereas the D2, being newer, has a knob to raise and lower the enlarger.