5 x 7 enlarger recommendations, pointers
Hey all, I may be purchasing a very large collection of glass plates and negatives from the 1920's-30's. The collection is from two photographers who worked in the adirondak region of NY state. Many of the negs and glass plates are 5 x 7, with several others being 4 x 5 to odd medium format sizes. I'm having a hard time finding used 5 x 7 stuff on ebay, any recommendations on where else to look? models to look for? There are some fantastic photos from the 32 winter olympics as well as several of FDR from his time as governor of NY state. The previous owner originally hired me to contact print several of the images, but after a while decided to purchase a flatbed scanner and had the prints made at wally world. I think printing these images would not only be a great learning experience for me, but printing them in a wet darkroom on fiber paper would give many of the images the quality they deserve. Any help would be appreciated.
I wrestled for several years with an Elwood 5x7 diffusion enlarger, until it and the darkroom burned up. The Elwood is as basic as an enlarger gets, but suffices to hold film, lens, and easel in the right place. Anything else is merely added convenience. One might want to improvise extras like a VC filter holder on such a simple enlarger.
I like Durst enlargers. For b/w, any old Laborator 138 would be fine. That should not be too hard to find and not too expensive. These things last forever.
I could locate a few Durst 5x7 enlargers easily, also for color, but that does not help you.
If you're not taking your camera...there's no reason to travel. --APUG member bgilwee
The Durst L138S is a well built 5x7 workhorse. They are appearing on the market at really low prices right now and there are a lot of accessories readily available as well. You will need a ceiling height of about 8'. You can also turn the head 90 degrees to project on to a wall for bigger enlargements.
On a Durst 138, you would need to fashion some type of alternative negative carrier since the negla 138 would not accomodate the thickness of glass plates...at least that is true of mine.
Beyond that, these are great enlargers...
I agree that the images that you mention probably have some historical significance. If I were you, I would impress on the owner of the negatives that a fiber print would enable these to last for an optimum period of time.
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I've been very happy with my Solar 57, which is only about 15 years yonger than your plates. I believe the Elwood is similar. They show up from time to time. There is a thread here that lists most of the enlargers made in the last 60 years. In the meantime, how about some contact prints?
Besler's 8x10 kit on a 45 enlarger gives you an execellent cold light source for 5x7, 5x8. 6.5x8.5 and 8x10 plates. I've used it successfully for many years.
On a Durst 138 enlarger, just remove the top glass of the NEGLA carrier. Works like a drean, a 13x18cm glass plate just fits in. I mean - why would you need glass both above and below a glass plate negative???
Don't drop the top glass though - I did, and now I only have five spares left
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
i've a e4 (omega) and really like it.
i've made pretty big enlargements, and then some reductions
using it and can't complain at all.
i got an aristo head, but also have
a modified e5 condensor head too ... kind of
the best of both worlds ....
"What drives man to create is the compulsion to, just once in his life, comprehend and record the pure, unadorned, unvarnished truth. Not some of it; all of it."
- Fred Picker