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  1. #1

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    Making Do in the Dark....Enlarger Improvising!?!

    I haven't been successful in my quest for a used diffuser enlarger for 4x5 negs, so I'd like some opinions using what I have.

    I had a second Kodak 2D to which I've concocted a florescent light source, glass carrier & filter drawer. all that remains is mounting what I have as a lens....a 13.5cm Tessar in shutter. Should it be mounted reversed or normally? Suggested aperatures for best resolution/light output?

    Primary observations indicate low light output.....any ideas on when long exposures are TOO long, using Ilford MG fiber?

    Using a level to align carrier, lensboard & easel....better technique?

  2. #2
    Sparky's Avatar
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    When reciprocity failure rears it's ugly head - and you start losing highlights - or getting weird highlight separation (or lack thereof). Has anyone ever gotten any reciprocity data on enlarging papers?? Would be interesting. I've personally had a hell of a time getting mural-size prints tonally equivalent to small prints.

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    When you say "Primary observations indicate low light output" is this by eye or some test? Meter or paper?

    Your eyes can be fooled pretty easily. I'd try making a print at say F/8 or F/11. See how long it takes.

  4. #4

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    Just by eye....need to finish up lens mounting, etc. before paper tests take place.

  5. #5
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    The Tessar might require fairly small apertures for good sharpness in enlarging. Mount it normally on the camera standard. With patience one can get a more suitable enlarging lens on the internet for a bargain price.

    After aligning the enlarger with a level. fine tune the enlargement by placing a scrap piece of film (clear film works fine) that has been lightly sanded with fine sandpaper in the negative carrier and check if all zones of the projected image show sharp lines. This should be more sensitive than using the level, and will also indicate potential problems with using a Tessar lens at closer-than-normal focusing distances.

    Older large format enlargers often have 150 Watt or larger incandescent lamps. A small flourescent lamp might be too weak.

  6. #6

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    Great idea, focusing on scratches....thanks! I'm sure I'll find something soon for glass. Just didn't want to buy one if there was one in the package I was looking for. The flourescent fixure is rated a 100 watt equivalent...still seems dim initially. Perhaps enough, but I just don't see f32/45 happening....then there's that whole depth of field bringing the gel filters behind the neg into sharp focus thing. Gotta get some 5.6 or 8 glass!

  7. #7

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    I've built a couple of enlargers from folding cameras. I ended up going with a 150 watt soft light flood. I have a little info in my December archive of my blog.

    www.greyhoundman.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Jolefler -- If you need glass, check the cheap picture frames at a dollar store. If the edges are sharp, a whet stone or sand paper fixes that. Stopping down to f/32 or smaller may cause noticable loss of sharpness due to diffraction. I avoid apertures smaller than f/16 with 4x5.

  9. #9

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    Thanks, Folks!

    Great ideas that I'm all over, Jim!

    Cool blog there Greyhoundman! And a nice look in enlargers....I'm getting partial to cardboard & ductape photo modifications. I do have considerably more though, as it's a 5x7 camera base.

    If I can get some pictures done and up, I'll list some swap bait in the classifieds....somebody's got to have an extra 135-172 enlarging Wolly or better laying around.

  10. #10

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    If you look at some of the other archives, I've a 4X5 enlarger I built from scratch.
    If you end up going with something other than your current light source, be careful of heat buildup. I ended up putting a piece of sandblasted glass above the neg area.

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