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  1. #1

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    Horizontal 8x10 Enlarger --- Search for a Commercial One or Build It??

    First, please forgive the verbose post. I think I'm mostly just "thinking out loud".

    For years I've collected LF equipment for my personal use and was planning to piece together a nice hybrid setup. However, my economic situation has changed... it's actually a bit desperate at the moment. So I'm auctioning some of the gear I collected to use. I might be able to realize my original plans within 8-12 months but my present situation restarted my thinking.

    I had planned on a completely dry workflow using color negative film, having it commercially processed, and having drum scans made of the very few worthy of the cost and effort. I pieced together two camera kits: 1) a compact/lightweight 4x5 kit with smaller/lighter lenses dedicated solely to 120 roll film for 6x12cm, and 2) a larger 4x5 kit with lots of rear shift and larger/heavier lenses to stitch multiple sheets into 4x8, and 4x10. I've yet to invest in any of the digital bits for my planned workflow because scanners, printers, etc. quickly become outdated so I was saving those for last... it's a good thing I did.

    I've worked as a photographer full-time for most of my career and it was always at least part of my job. Most of this work was junk with a creativity bone rarely thrown in now-and-then to make it somewhat tolerable. It's been over 35 years since I did any real photography for my own personal edification. At age 13 I fell in love with B&W photography and the tonal "control" possible with it. Back then, there wasn't much tonal control available for color photography. New films, chemistry, processing techniques and, of course, Photoshop have changed all that. BTW, I started with Photoshop 2.0. I have no pipe-dreams of acquiring any kind of recognition or making any profit. That opportunity is long gone. I was never a great photographer anyway... and I'm way too far out of practice with creative aspects of the medium.

    My aforementioned re-thinking has me pondering the "me too" aspect of photography. So I'm thinking of foregoing the full-blown hybrid workflow and settling back to the old ways of my youth. This would be B&W sheet film souped by hand in open tanks with hangers and selenium-toned, fiber-based paper souped in trays and selenium-toned, long wash times, tedious flattening processes, mounting problems, and chemical disposal. I'll shoot 8x10" when I can carry it and 6x12cm when I can't. The only thing "digital" about my workflow will be enlarging masks created on a flatbed scanner and printed on a small but high-quality printer for easier, more precise, more consistent, dodging/burning.

    I want to make prints as large as there is paper available... 16x20 would be considered small.

    TO THE QUESTION: Should I search for a ready-made horizontal enlarger or build one?

  2. #2
    PDH
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    [TO THE QUESTION: Should I search for a ready-made horizontal enlarger or build one?[/QUOTE]

    I have not seen many horizontal enlargers or process cameras in the past few years, seems that most were sold off as folks converted to digital so I just dont see many. If you find one on ebay you may need to travel to pick it up.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnielvis View Post
    dude....you got that rail system still???? that's an enlarger waiting to happen
    John: I gave the rail system to a neighbor. I did this before I started "re-thinking" my plans. I might be able to get it back but I feel odd asking him for it.

    Others: For those who don't know, I already had what I need (an 11x14 process camera in good condition). I hadn't planned on using it. The funny thing is I stored that big ol' camera in my house, in my way, for about 12 years and finally decided, very recently, to get it out of my way, and I was glad to have the freed-up space. LOL!!

  4. #4
    Curt's Avatar
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    Start building and when it's over half way finished a complete one will appear. Works every time.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  5. #5
    eclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    John: I gave the rail system to a neighbor. I did this before I started "re-thinking" my plans. I might be able to get it back but I feel odd asking him for it.

    Others: For those who don't know, I already had what I need (an 11x14 process camera in good condition). I hadn't planned on using it. The funny thing is I stored that big ol' camera in my house, in my way, for about 12 years and finally decided to sell it very recently. LOL!!
    You will be embarrased for a minute or two and happy for the rest of your life if you get it back!

  6. #6

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    I've seen quite a few big process cameras simply thrown away. Or check used equip listings under
    industrial printing rather than photo gear. Or you can make one out of a big clunky view camera.
    Or many of the classic Durst enlargers like the 138 can be quickly pivoted on their side. The feet
    have sheave rollers, so all you need to do is install matching floor rails and a wall easel. Just make
    sure your light source has bulbs intended for the horizontal position. Some of the older Durst mural
    heads had an incredible amt of light for big enlargements - sometimes too much - you'd need a helluva cooling system and power supply, but they were overkill for black and white printing.



 

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