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  1. #1

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    FS LED Lamp House for Omega D-series enlarger

    This is a brand new LED replacement lamp house for the Omega D2, D3, D5 and D6 condenser enlargers. It replaces only the existing lamp house so you keep the condensers and the ability to use above-the-lens VC filters. The primary advantage is the total lack of infrared radiation, so the negative will not heat up, no matter how long the exposure. This prevents shifting and popping of the negative which can ruin focus. Also, since the light comes only from the center of the lens there is much less stray light than with a bulb which tends to reflect a lot of light off the black lamp housing. The end result is that prints made with this product are very, very sharp. Glass negative carriers are not needed for most negatives. The unit is a real pleasure to use.

    Build quality and uniformity of illumination, both spatially and temporally, are superb. Ilford VC filters work as expected with this unit. Exposure times are similar to those of a 150W bulb. Uses 110VAC, 9.5W North American standard power.

    Asking US$150.00 plus shipping however you want.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_1276.jpg   IMG_1279.jpg   IMG_1286.jpg   IMG_1281.jpg   IMG_1247.jpg  

    Last edited by cardiomac; 01-30-2012 at 12:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Any plans to make a similar unit for Beseler 45s?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    Any plans to make a similar unit for Beseler 45s?
    Thanks for asking. This product only works with condenser enlarger heads but I plan on making a similar one for the Beseler 45 condenser head in the future. It would be similar in design to what I'm making now. Diffusion heads are trickier to design from scratch because they need more complicated attachment points for lifting and stabilization. With such a small market you have to be very careful about how much you spend on design and construction of a new product. Even then, the price to deliver such a product may be too much for the market to bear.

  4. #4
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Thanks. My bad choice of no punctuation. I didn't really mean literally the "45S" color head, I meant forty-fives as a plural, and of course it's for the condenser.

    I think you might have a market, as there has been much discussion about the availability of tungsten enlarger bulbs in the future. On the other hand, many of us have put in a stock of them, and I expect that your price point may have to come down some. In any event, good luck!
    Last edited by David Brown; 01-30-2012 at 03:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5

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    Looks nifty - how is the color temperature compared to the normal bulb used in condenser enlargers, with respect to contrast response to the filters. I am using an Aristo V54 light, so my response is off the charts anyway, but what about this one?

    Also, to anyone, how hard is it to find a condenser set for the D2, with the drawer? Mine I got as a giveaway years ago and never had the condensers, so I went straight to Aristo.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    I think you might have a market, as there has been much discussion about the availability of tungsten enlarger bulbs in the future. On the other hand, many of us have put in a stock of them, and I expect that your price point may have to come down some. In any event, good luck!
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I wish the price could be lower but the reality is that it is really expensive to make. The components are all very high quality and cost just over $100 - just for the parts. The LED module alone is almost $60.00. It takes me about two hours of work each to make them and some of the steps are time consuming (the wrinkle paint has to be oven cured, for example). I haven't even begun to recover prototyping and design expenses yet. It may be possible to save $15.00 or so by casting the housing out of epoxy resin rather than having it machined from aluminum. Some time could be saved by not painting certain parts. But overall, I think the lowest price it could be sold for is maybe $129.00. My suspicion is that even that is too much for most people.

    You know I got into this because I was frustrated with the contortions I was going through to avoid focus shifting when printing 4x5 negatives, focus shifts that would occur because of heating from the incandescent bulb. In this 21st century, there had to be a better way. After many, many hours of experimentation, I finally came up with this design and it has put the joy back into printing. The focus issue is gone completely. A giant unknown variable has been removed from the equation. And not only that, but the enlarger just works better. We like to think these old enlargers had everything figured out and to mess with them is to ruin them but that's not the case. When the D2 was designed, the incandescent bulb was the best point light source available but in reality it's not that great. The majority of the light emitted by the bulb is not directed where it is needed. It is either absorbed or, worse, scattered by the housing. This scattered light is a diffuse light source. In effect, the stock enlarger is a blended condenser/diffusion device. By directing the light where it is supposed to be, this new LED light source enables the enlarger to work as, I assume, the engineers intended, i.e. as a pure condenser enlarger. In other words, it's the light source they likely would have used had it been available at the time.

    This product gives the old enlarger new capabilities. It makes it a more pure condenser enlarger while avoiding heating the negative. In my opinion, it creates a sharper print with better grain definition. If that's the look you like, then that's the reason to buy it.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Collier View Post
    Looks nifty - how is the color temperature compared to the normal bulb used in condenser enlargers, with respect to contrast response to the filters. I am using an Aristo V54 light, so my response is off the charts anyway, but what about this one?
    The color temperature is 2700K. In the tests I've done with a Stouffer step wedge, Ilford VC filters are just about spot on from 00 to 5 for MGIV paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Collier View Post
    Also, to anyone, how hard is it to find a condenser set for the D2, with the drawer? Mine I got as a giveaway years ago and never had the condensers, so I went straight to Aristo.
    Condenser sets come up all the time on eBay. It may be possible to special order just the variable condenser (drawer) housing from Omega. Or find somebody willing to part out a broken enlarger. Good luck.

  8. #8
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    This all sounds very interesting. My first question is, how long do you expect the LED light source to last? And how much is a replacement? My 212 bulb has gone out two or three times in the last 30 years; should I expect the LED to do the same?

    And I can relate about the negative popping. I don't do 4x5, but my MF negs pop. My standard procedure is to set the timer for a 60 second exposure. For the first 30 seconds, I put something under the enlarging lens to keep the light off the print. This 30 seconds allows the negative to pop. Then I count off the seconds for exposure. It sure would be nice to set my timer to 15 seconds for a 15 second exposure!

    Cheers,

    -- Mark

  9. #9
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    I wanted to chime in that I bought one of these when the OP first posted about them on the Large Format Photography Forum. Unfortunately due to family obligations this past weekend I haven't had a chance to print with it yet, but it is a very well constructed good looking piece of gear. I'm actually surprised he can sell it for what I paid. It looks better than the original.

    My reason wasn't so much the bulbs. I have a few, and I think they'll be available for the foreseeable future, but more for heat. Partly negative popping, which I don't seem to have too awfully much trouble with, but also to lessen fading of my VC printing filters. The new lamphouse actually looks much nicer and far better made than the factory incandescent one. I probably don't have much problem with popping because I use a 75W 211 bulb, not a 150W 212. I actually prefer the slower printing times, as I like to keep exposure times, typically, in the 20-30 second range to provide time for some dodging.

    I wonder if it will be possible to filter this LED source for color with color printing filters? Not sure if the spectrum is suitable or not, but eventually I'll try that. If it doesn't work, changing back to my tungsten source for color takes about 30 seconds.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfohl View Post
    This all sounds very interesting. My first question is, how long do you expect the LED light source to last? And how much is a replacement? My 212 bulb has gone out two or three times in the last 30 years; should I expect the LED to do the same?
    The LED module is rated for 35,000 hours minimum. Heat is what kills LED's, but this unit barely gets warm in use so it should last longer than that. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that a replacement module will be available in 30 years. But then, I'm not even sure incandescent bulbs will be available in 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by mfohl View Post
    And I can relate about the negative popping. I don't do 4x5, but my MF negs pop. My standard procedure is to set the timer for a 60 second exposure. For the first 30 seconds, I put something under the enlarging lens to keep the light off the print. This 30 seconds allows the negative to pop. Then I count off the seconds for exposure. It sure would be nice to set my timer to 15 seconds for a 15 second exposure!
    That is exactly what I was doing and it was driving me crazy! That 30 seconds holding a piece of cardboard under lens seemed like 10 minutes! But my biggest fear, perhaps unfounded, was that with a long exposure the negative would bow further than the point where I had focused it originally and my print would be ruined by being out of focus, a nightmare after you have just spent 5 minutes on a complicated dodge and burn routine.

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