I just use a Paterson grain focuser - it is simple, cheap, robust and adjustable. I have a Hocus Focus but find it is really only good for rough focusing (I do need reading glasses however, so if you have good eyesight it may be sufficient). I switch to the grain focuser for a final tweak of the focus. It is quite tough: made from a single bent strip of perspex with a mirror glued on, so there is not much to break.
The projected image made by my old (ca.1972) DGA dichro colourhead of my Beseler 23CII is also quite dim. A lot of its 300W halogen's power is lost in the colour mixing head and its dichro filters. The later generation of colourheads must be more efficient since they use 100-150W halogen lamps to do the same purpose.
Even with dichro filters shifted out of position for focusing, the projected image seems to be much dimmer than if the same image was beamed through a 75W opal lamp in a condenser head.
Have you tried using the Russian colour enlargers? I have an old "TЕХНОИНТОРГ" catalogue from 1985 which listed a Russian colour enlarger, the "ДОН-103". I always wondered how it worked- it looked like it was based on a similar looking Leitz Focomat. It had automatic focusing and had a craned head.
Also, the Russian enlarger lenses are quite wonderful to use. The "Вега-11У (2,8/50)" is built like a well-made German or Japanese lens and probably costs only a fifth of what a used Nikkor EL 2,8/50 would cost. The "Индустар" enlarger lenses, like the camera lenses they were based on, are quite superb. The last lens I used before I stopped making "wet" darkroom prints 3 years ago was the "Индустар-96У-1". I used it almost exclusively for making colour prints on RA-4 paper. It did better than a Nikkor-EL 4/50 that I borrowed. Got all the lenses cheap- the
Vega was only US$5 from eBay, and the Industars (three of them) were all given free by friendly Russian and Ukrainian sellers there.
The И-96Y at least had a removable barrel which allowed me to use it on the Beseler fully. The other Russian enlarger lenses had long barrels which limited the bellows' movement and allowed it only to focus for prints up to postcard size. These lenses had to be used with recessed boards for more flexibility.
очень приятно, что русская техника вам понравилась (it's a pleasure to hear that you like Russian photo equipment ). The non-standart working distances of Russian lenses is a long-known pain, but once you've managed to put it on the enlarger, it would work fine
Judging from overall looks of my Fuji, it should be made around early 70s, so probably it employs an old-style colour head Though quite dim it is, the quality of light it produces is plainly superb - that's why I want to learn how to make perfect prints with it And I love the overall quality of it, it's built to last, and the filters are like new.
ДОН color enlarger... hm... they were produced in very small series, and I used it once or twice, in University - to be frank, the mechanical quality of it was not comparable to foreign-made analogues, especially the negative carriers.
I asked my friend to buy a grain magnifier for me on Ebay - so sooner or later I would be able to focus without too much squinting
Originally Posted by ZorkiKat
Originally Posted by eumenius
I'm really a Russian/Ukrainian photoapparat addict!
I'll be putting a thread about my Russian enlarger lenses in the enlarging forum in while.