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  1. #1

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    Quick question about order of aligning my enlarger...

    I'm about to start using my new easel and I had waited to align my enlarger until I got it. I had noticed before, when aligning with my old easel, that when using the mirror method, there was a large difference between the baseboard and the easel. My baseboard (countertop actually) slants slightly one way. Do I level my easel first as best I can, or can I just level my lens and lensboard to the easel no matter if its slightly out? I ask because all the bubble levels I have are slightly out and I think just buying a new one from the hardware store won't make a difference.

  2. #2
    galyons's Avatar
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    Align, (level) the easiest macro alignment first. In this case the easel. This will put less of a strain on aligning the much more difficult micro alignment unit, the enlarger head, (film plan, lens board and board).

    Cheers,
    Geary

    Quote Originally Posted by rjas
    I'm about to start using my new easel and I had waited to align my enlarger until I got it. I had noticed before, when aligning with my old easel, that when using the mirror method, there was a large difference between the baseboard and the easel. My baseboard (countertop actually) slants slightly one way. Do I level my easel first as best I can, or can I just level my lens and lensboard to the easel no matter if its slightly out? I ask because all the bubble levels I have are slightly out and I think just buying a new one from the hardware store won't make a difference.
    But your flag decal won't get you into Heaven any more. They're already overcrowded from your dirty little war.
    Now Jesus don't like killin' no matter what the reason's for, and your flag decal won't get you into Heaven any more. – John Prine

  3. #3
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    I would try and level the countertop first. Leveling just the easel would then require you to use only that easel, and in only the exact spot beneath the enlarger. Leveling the countertop would allow more flexibility.
    —Eric

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    The countertop need not be level as long as the baseboard, negative carrier, and lens board are parallel. For alignment I lightly sand one surface of a clear negative with both coarse and fine sandpaper to make a focusing target. This makes lines that are sharply defined over all the easel when everything is in focus. This is the most critical alignment. It is still possible for the negative carrier and baseboard to be tilted in opposite directions, as is done for perspective control. Checking the proportions of the carrier image on the baseboard should suffice to check for this.

  5. #5

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    Jim helped my alignment problem!

    His method of scoring an old negative works like a charm. I actually scored a grid pattern on one which was easy to see if the projected image was square, and if it's all in focus. Thanks Jim!

    I found it easiest to start with the easel & work my way up using a bubble level, then double checking the results with a grain focuser and square. Assuming the easel was made flat, you're adjusting the lensboard & neg carrier to the baseboard. As he stated, it doesn't matter if it's level, just in alignment.

    Jo

  6. #6

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    Thanks!

  7. #7
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones
    It is still possible for the negative carrier and baseboard to be tilted in opposite directions, as is done for perspective control.
    This is an excellent point which frankly, I had never considered.

  8. #8
    jstraw's Avatar
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    If I were to use the two-mirror method, would removing a small circle of the mirror finish from the back side of the mirror work just as well as drilling the mirror? What's needed is the dot of light, reflected in the second mirror, yes?

  9. #9

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    I happen to have the opinion, based on nothing whatsoever, that the palce to start is by having the enlarger in a plumb position so that gravity will be less likely to put it out of position and thereby reduce the frequency of need for realignment.

    If the enlarger is in a plumb position and your easel is also, then you can first make sure that your negative carrier is moved to a plumb position..this is probably the most important point. Secondarily, you will need to make sure that the axis of your lens is perpendicular to the negative carrier..or that the front face is also moved to a plumb position.

    There are a number of ways of doing this. There are a number of tools that can be used. The tool that I like is to use the type of level that has a bubble in the middle of a circle. Obtain a piece of 1/4 plate glass that is approx. 4 inches wide and 24 inches long. Carefully mount, I would suggest an adhesive, the bubble to one end of the 4" x 24" width. By having this piece of glass in the negative stage with the end that does not have the bubble attached and having the bubble level extended 2 feet outward one should be able to get the negative stage, assuming the enlarger is adjustable, quite plumb. Then do the same thing with the glass held against the face of the enlarging lens and again it can be made very plumb. Now you are done because you started by having the easel in a plumb position.

    Two people working in concert on the effort will be very synergistic.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  10. #10

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    I always level the table first, then check the level of the various easels. Then I level the neg carrier, then the lens board/lens. I use the laser alignment tool, which does a superb job but always makes me cautious about the laser beam.

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