Why are you so bent on the Saunders 670 DXL? I have recently set up my own darkroom and in the many many months of searching craigslist and forums like this, I dont believe I ever saw one avil. In the States, that model wont come up much in a community much for sale, generally you will see many more Omegas and Beselers than Saunders 670 DXLs.
What I was wondering... we find a Saunders.... without a lens.. and then we find 50 MM lens... and other equipment... say with another enlarger, but one we are really not interested in... but what we really want is the lens and other equipment? Would the lens work on the Saunders? Does it take a special "mount", or attachment to get it to fit on the Saunders? :)
Just thoughts... :)
Generally you can find on Craigslist the whole shebang (enlarger, lens, carrier, easel) for a great price. See my other post, the one before the above.
Originally Posted by dousterhout
Most lenses can be made to fit on most enlargers.
The mounting system for enlarging lenses is generally really simple - there are threads at the back of each lens, and they either screw into a threaded lens mount/board, or go through a hole in a lens mount/board, with a retaining ring (jam nut) threaded behind, to hold them to that lens mount/board.
Each style of enlarger has a different approach to the lens mount/board issue - a Saunders lens mount/board will generally be different then a Beseler lens mount/board, which will be different then an Omega lens mount/board, but it is relatively easy to specify and find which lens mount/board you need, if you specify what focal length lens it is to be used with, and what the thread size is for that lens.
The most common lens used with 35mm negatives is a 50mm lens. If you did a poll, most likely you would find that the majority of 50mm lenses have 39mm threads - which happens to be the most common thread size for other lenses too.
For many enlargers, a lens mount that permits mounting the lens close to the negative is needed for 50mm lenses. As I understand it, the Saunders/LPL enlargers use a lens mount that you just turn upside-down to change the distance between lens and negative. So you could use just a single mount to change between shorter (50mm) lenses and the longer lenses (75-90mm lenses) that one would use for larger negatives. It is, however, much more convenient to have a mount for each lens if you intend to switch back and forth.
If an enlarger comes with a lower quality 50mm lens with a 39mm thread mounted in a lens board, it is relatively easy to start working with it while you look for a higher quality lens to swap it with.
Both the 670dxl and the 6700 use a reversible 39mm threaded lens board/mount ring to provide focusing for 35mm and 6x7 negatives.
Most enlarging lenses from 50mm-105mm's use the 39mm thread mount and are interchangeable. Older lenses or ones with a even shorter length usually have a smaller mount. Longer lenses used for large format have a larger mount.
Since your goal is to print 35mm, stick to the 50mm 2.8 lenses. El-nikkor, Rodagon, and Componon are versions made by Nikon, Rodenstock, and Schneider, and are ones you want to keep an eye out for.
Good luck on your enlarger search, you can try posting a WTB ad on the classifieds for one.
Newt and MattKing and zsas ... thanks... that is very helpful...
zsas... yes, you are right.... there are a lot of packages, including free ones. So... we did a bunch of reading, asked some different questions... and the general concensus seemed to be that Saunders was better made than the Beseler, and Omega, and really, the rest. A couple folks compared the Saunders to a combination of the Omega and the Durst.
Comments included "holds alignment really well, better than the rest"... Very smooth adjustment controls... easy to flip it around and make large prints on the floor (this is of special concern to Olga as she is only interested in large prints now... of course, that may change, but for now it is what it is...).
So... it seemed to make sense, given the current market, to be patient and hold out for First Prize.
What are thoughts for equipment? I purposely avoided asking this question originally as I thought it is kindof newbie.. and I think folks should do a lot of reading... and I have... but what the heck.... if folks would like to offer opinions, I would love to hear them... or if you would like to add links to other discussions, as I am sure there are many, I will read them. I am also giving them to Olga to read.
What enlarger would you prefer to have in your darkroom? :) Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts and help.... it really helps with trying to understand something that is impossible without hands on experience. We are trusting your valuable years of experience and expertise.... of course... tempered with opinions ... :)
It looks like we may have found one and we shall see if we can get the deal to go through... :)
But, I am still very interested in opinions of what is the "preferred" setup... although I know it is very much tempered with.... what are you going to do with it?? And right now... Olga is guessing as to what she will want in a year, or two... and what direction she might go. My feeling is always to do the best with what knowledge you have, and then if other equipment is better suited for future endeavors...well... then you find that equipment.... and enjoy it... and see where the journey leads you.
Who knows... if she somehow wound up with a large negative camera... well... then the solutions might change... :) Right now it is an older Elan and I also have a very old 2 1/4 bellows (maybe it is a 110, I can't remember... yes... I think that is it) that I took a lot of b&w with in the early 70's. She wants the largest prints she can make. And here I thought bigger is better was a guy thing.
I agree Saunders is an outstanding enlarger! I was going to buy one myself, the DXL in fact. I guess if you are patient you can find one on eBay, Craig's and formuns like this! I wish I had the DXL but it does end at 6x7 but I think someone posted with a mod you can get 6x9. Many told me get a good lens and worry about the rest second (ie enlarger). I was kindly given a Beseler 23CXL wih color head. But I would have glady been given the one you are interested in DXL! I wish you the best in your search! I have only heard great things re that enlarger!
I have the Saunders 670XL (condenser) and 670 VCCE (variable contrast) enlargers and recommend them. I have done 32x40" prints projected onto the floor and it works great. Just need a way to reach the focus knob. I used a piece of cord wrapped around the focus knob and held on with a piece of tape. Then hold the two ends in your hands to focus. Also the focusing scope called Magna Sight is great in this situation because you don't need to put your eye 1" away from it like the other scopes.
I used a Beseler 67 series enlarger for decades. It is currently in storage because I found an Omega D6 (4x5) enlarger on Craigslist with a whole bunch of lenses and accessories. I've kept the Beseler enlarger because I would happily use it again, and ideally would like it as a second enlarger in my darkroom.
A good condition, medium to heavy duty Beseler or Omega enlarger will serve your daughter well, and like the Saunders models are still being manufactured.
There are good reasons that, at least in terms of North America, there have probably been more Beseler 23C model enlargers installed in school darkrooms then all the rest combined.
There are also excellent quality enlargers from companies like Durst and Kaiser that are more easily found in Europe.
I guess I'm saying that you shouldn't exclude other options, even if the Saunders options seem to be very good.
I would advise you to pick up a simple enlarger setup, they can be had inexpensively and free sometimes. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you can be free to always keep a look out for your ideal setup. But its best to use something basic and build up darkroom skills on small and medium prints before going large.
Large is fun, but its very expensive, more so if you are just learning to print. Everything is exponentially more expensive, paper, chemicals, trays, space needed, large easels, and complicated wall and floor setups. As Jon mentioned, tricky focusing. Errors also increase, you have to deal with a very clean room, spotless negatives, precise alignment, and long exposure times. Things you want to learn on a smaller print first.
You will not find equipment that is cheap or free when you go large, most people dont have setups that go larger than 11x14, and therefore used equipment for large sizes is not that common, or holds a higher resale price point.
Get anything, start somewhere, get the experience, she will appreciate the equipment upon upgrade that much more.