Ignore the red filter, they're not very useful.
The timer does in fact switch on the enlarger, that's what it's for. While I don't have that model, timers usually have two purposes:
- to switch the enlarger on for focusing (usually a dedicated button), until switched off, and
- to switch the enlarger on for a finite time. You set the time somehow (buttons/dials/whatever), press Go and the enlarger should come on for the specified time.
Yes, enlargers are very dim. Paper is pretty sensitive stuff. You will need to focus your image with the lights OFF, preferably with the safelight off too. You will want a focus-aid/grain-magnifier to see proper focus (edit: Ok you have that).
Ignore the Trinar lens if you can't clean it (cleanliness in the lens is important or you will get a flat image). Go spend $20-$40 on a 50/2.8 Rodagon or Componon-S or EL-Nikkor.
The filters change the image contrast when using variable contrast (VC) paper. You will need a set, but they're pretty cheap and easy to find. Plenty appear on APUG, and probably there are several sets in your local camera shop for like $5 each. I'd send you a spare set that I have except that postage from AU will cost you 3x more than what you'd pay for a set locally.
The stop and fixer will be perfectly fine. No you can't develop paper in Ilfosol; go get a 1L bottle of Ilford Multigrade.
To focus the enlarger, you put the easel under it and then put the focus finder on top of the easel. Approximately focus the image onto the easel with the lens wide open, then make fine adjustments while looking into the focus finder. You should see the grain snap into focus - that's where you want it. Then stop the lens down about 2 stops (probably f/8 will be best on your lens) and start making test strips and then a print.
Originally Posted by polyglot
So more money to eeek out on a lens, paper developer and a set of filters. I seen Ilford multigrade filters on ebay although my filter holder only measures 75mm x 75mm. I read earlier that the filters go off with age or use, is this true? Is it possible to try the enlarger without the filters as the whole damn thing might be junk!
Thanks for the offer although sending them 1/2 way around earth would be slightly impractical
I was going to buy a test strip machine, basically a thing with slots on it but I think I can do without this. What about a contact printer?
I'm glad to hear the actual enlarger being dim is normal and hopefully I'll get some use out of this batch of stuff! The problem is the timer dial doesn't seem to do anything and it certainly doesn't switch it on and off! The timer has a60 second dial, a switch with 'light' and 'standby' modes and a start button (which clicks when the timer is plugged in).
I'll look out for a 2.8 lens in those you mentioned. I think an APO lens is way out of my league for now and certainly not with this contraption!
Last edited by nocturnal; 11-07-2013 at 09:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Yep, stuff costs and it will continue to cost. I think I've exposed about $1000 of film this year alone and that's without mentioning the chemistry or capital equipment. Film photography is not cheap except compared to racing motorbikes
The filters come in a couple of sizes, so at least you know which ones (3") you need. The ones I have are too small for your enlarger. Yes, they do fade with age and lots of use. Make sure you can inspect them before you buy and make sure they all look nice and uniformly coloured (uniform within one filter; each filter will be a different colour). If you find a colour enlarger, the dichroic filters in those do not fade.
You certainly can use the enlarger without filters, the contrast will probably be somewhere around grade 2 on VC paper depending on the particulars of the lightbulb in it. You can also print at higher grades (higher contrast) using graded papers (grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 are usually available), but that's a fair bit more work than just using a single VC paper. The quality is arguably better too with graded paper.
If you're feeling really hardcore, pale blue or magenta gel filters (say if you had one handy) can be used to increase contrast. How much though is guesswork.
You don't need a test-strip machine or contact printer. Cut your paper into 1" strips and expose those under the enlarger one at a time to make tests. Contact printers are handy for previewing a whole roll, but certainly not necessary. You can make contact prints by using crystal-clear (polyethylene) sleeves for your film and sandwiching an 8x10" sheet of paper under the sleeved film, under a sheet of glass under the enlarger. You do really want to find an easel though if you don't have one. A simple 2-blade 8x10" easel should be about $10 secondhand and it's what I use for 90% of my prints.
You might want to try googling for a manual for your timer. And don't bother with APO lenses on 35mm B&W, there is absolutely no point to it because the basic lenses can resolve down to the grain of all but the most crazy-fine (CMS-II) films. The lens you have will work fine if you can clean it - there's probably a locking ring that needs to be undone (metal thing with a tiny notch on two opposite sides), but the lens-spanner to undo them is also going to cost you too... You should be able to make grain-sharp enlargements to at least 11x14" with your cheap lens, so definitely have a good go at cleaning it.
By itself the enlarger at full aperture with no neg in the neg carrier shouldn't be noticeably dim. Check the wattage of the bulb and if this is right for the enlarger then as long as the lens aperture dial is working and it opens up as you go down from say f16 to f 3.5 then it suggests that the lens may have very serious fungus or needs a very good clean on the outside of the lens.
I hope it was not a Mercury filled one. Otherwise you should care for the debris.
Originally Posted by nocturnal
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It is difinitely inside the lens and I can't open it. It seems like a toy lens anyhow despite it being branded as a Rodenstock. I'll check the bulb soon. It is a CFL type and is very small.
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
Yes I remember breaking a thermometer in chemistry in school and getting punched for it. I binned both boxes as I don't want to be as mad as a hatter (some say I am!)
Originally Posted by AgX
From the little I can find out the PCS 1000 was actually made by philips
I have no personal experience of it, but it seems it does use a flourescent bulb (which is potentially a good thing as they run cold) and apparently has a shutter of some sort in the enlarger head controlled by the timer. I guess the standby button turns the light on, the "light" button opens the shutter for focussing and the "start" button makes a timed print. If the start button isn't turning the projected light on and off according to the time set on the dial, I guess the shutter isn't working.
This seems to be an unusual enlarger, but potentially could be good - the cold light of the flourescent tube avoids negative pop caused by heat.
Two choices. Either get it working, or junk it and start again with a more traditional unit.
Where abouts in the UK are you BTW?
Firstcall in Taunton are good for spare enlarger bulbs ISTR.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
I am still a beginner, but perhaps you can learn from my very recent mistakes and confusion.
I use the Ilford filters but trimmed to fit in my tray. I also use multigrade papers.
The advice previously given on one film, one developer is solid. Sticking with one film, one speed, and one developer for months at a time really helped me learn. FWIW, i started with ilford delta 100 and DD-X. Then tri-x with DD-X. Then tried Perceptol, ID-11, Microphen, and Ilfosol 3. I now use Perceptol for my slow films and DD-X for fast.
As for the dimness, I'm not sure how your enlarger is constructed, but after many trials and errors I realized that the lens board and clip in mine (durst m600) had gotten wonky. I took it apart and discovered the clip had jammed and several itty bitty bits had shaken loose. Got it fixed, put back together, and swapped out the grungy old lens and have been faring much better. Also, make sure you have the correct lens for your negatives.
Happy making! - ruby
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