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  1. #1
    Denis P.'s Avatar
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    4x5 enlarger blues :(

    This is a rant, sorry - but I have to vent somewhere....

    Well, I've been doing 4x5 for about a year now... Not much but I still have several negs worth enlarging. The size of 4x5 contact copies must have been one of the reasons why I got a 5x7 camera in the meantime

    I took a trip to a friend's darkroom few days ago, to make some prints from the wedding I shot recently, and promised some "real" photos (i.e. enlargements).

    He has a nicely equipped darkroom, with several big enlargers - it's a co-op darkroom, shared with several other photo buffs, and even they don't know everything they have stashed there

    In short, he offered to lend me an old Laborator 1000 which they don't use, and which was left after one of the co-op members left a few months ago...

    I was soooo excited!!! From what I could find about it, it looked like it would just barely fit my tiny darkroom (with low ceiling!)...

    However, when I got there to take a look at the enlarger, it had quite a number of problems: it comes with the fan and a huge "analyzer" - so, al in all, it's not exactly "compact". The electric cords coming and going from the enlarger, command unit for the fan and the analyzer are frayed, patched with sticky tape, and look VERY dangerous... And there was no light coming from the enlarger when we fired it up. The fan was humming, but no light.

    So we opened the head. Both lamps look blown, but that's not all - the inside of that 401 MK II color head is a disaster - rust thickly covering everything....

    Also, the neg. carrier accepts only 9x12 cm - the opening is too small for 4x5 negative. It's a flimsy thing - just two black metal hinged plates, no glass, no adjustment. Looks like it's not even original.

    So, I stood there, trying to make my mind.

    This one would be cheap (free), and I could probably have it "on loan" indefinitely.
    However, when I thought that I would have to rebuild it almost completely, with non-existing spare parts, missing negative carrier, and probably VERY expensive halogen quartz bulbs (24V, 200W!!!), I had to decline the offer for what would ultimately turn to be yet another piece of junk...

    Sheeeesh! And I was hoping I wold be able to do 4x5 at home!

    Well, it looks like it will be 50 miles trip to Zagreb and 50 miles back when I want to do 4x5 enlargements. A good thing is that I can have my 5x7 negs enlarged there, too - they have a Laborator 138 that they use regularly - and which we used to make those wedding prints. Now, THAT is a good enlarger.... - but too big for my darkroom, anyway....

    And I was so excited for a few days, eagerly awaiting to haul home a 4x5 enlarger....

    Well, the wait continues....

    Unless I try do make a DIY "graflarger" head for my Speed Graphic - which might actually be a good idea... I have several spare Magnifax 3 enlargers with two or three condenser heads to choose from And the whole setup wouldn't be too big....

    Hmm, looks like I have my "project" for next winter....

    Sorry for the rant.... I have no-one else to turn to Everyone here thinks I'm completely nuts with my LF cameras, enlargers, etc.. trying to tell me how digital is sooo much simpler (and cleaner)...

    But what do they know....

    Denis

  2. #2
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Too bad... A few days ago someone advertised a Durst 138 with several lenses and asked to be rid of it. On the other end of the country. And I don't even own a car... Some days it's just like that, but rest assured it will turn out for the better in the long term!

    I don't know if you've seen this project but it sure is tempting: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=19820

    Here's another one:
    http://digilander.libero.it/clabo/tachi/PAGE2.HTM

    The graflarger idea isn't bad at all. The Graphics are sturdy and would be a good base to build from, I think.

    Keep on, you'll get it your way one day!
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  3. #3

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    The 1000 is actually pretty small for a 4x5 enlarger. At least if it's the same model I have. If anything I'd almost argue it's too small.

    Halogen bulbs aren't cheap but they last a fair bit. Plus on Ebay you can some times buy a life time supply for $10

  4. #4
    Denis P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    The 1000 is actually pretty small for a 4x5 enlarger. At least if it's the same model I have. If anything I'd almost argue it's too small.

    Halogen bulbs aren't cheap but they last a fair bit. Plus on Ebay you can some times buy a life time supply for $10
    Nick, it's the same one you have on your Web I was grateful to have found those pages.
    The model is the one with MK II color head and analyzer. The analyzer actually adds a lot to the bulk. Without it, it wouldn't be much bigger than my Magnifax 4. I guess it could be used without the analyzer, just hooked differently.
    The trouble is, there are some electronic parts in that head (capacitors, resistors? - not sure), and the inside of the head is pretty rusty - always a good indication of major potential problems with anything electrical Also, the neg. carrier is pretty much useless to me - I would have to DIY something myself. All in all, looks like just too much trouble with very uncertain outcome.

    I'll probably either buy a fully working one, with the neg. carrier I can use for 4x5 and all other smaller formats (6x9, 6x7, 6x6 and 35mm) or hack some kind of "graflarger-type" head, using my Speed Graphic and an old Magnifax condenser head as a starting point, and probably turn it into some kind of diffusor head, using ground glass or something like that to diffuse the bulb light and make it more even. The Magnifax head cannot accept condensers in the diameter required for 4x5, so it will probably have to be a household (tungsten) bulb (150W?), with some kind of diffusor below the bulb. A modified film holder as a neg. carrier, I guess. Maybe even leave the ground glass in place on the Speed Graphic to act as a diffusor...

    We'll see... A fully working 4x5 enlarger with a set of condensers for smaller formats - down to 35mm - would be ideal, since I only have room for one enlarger, and I don't plan doing huge enlargements (40x50 cm max, I guess - and those only very rarely).

    Well, where there's will, there's always a way, as they say

    Regards,

    Denis

  5. #5

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    My Durst doesn't have an analzyer but it's that head. The carriers are just a couple sheets of metal with some notches in the back. Pretty simple I actually made some odd sizes up out of black matt board. Big problem is that head uses different neg carriers from the condensor head and I think all other Dursts to -(

    I think all the Beselers have "cone of light" so you only have one set of condensors. You move a knob to adjust them. But I guess they aren't that common over there.

    Surf over to the LF website forum. There is a home made enlarger with some pictures. He used flourscent tubes. For B&W Likely much better then use a tungsten bulb.

  6. #6
    Denis P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    Surf over to the LF website forum. There is a home made enlarger with some pictures. He used flourscent tubes. For B&W Likely much better then use a tungsten bulb.
    It's the one that Jerevan linked - I saw that one

    I was thinking more along the lines of the other link Jerevan posted -

    http://digilander.libero.it/clabo/tachi/PAGE2.HTM

    Instead of Tachihara, I have a Speed Graphic, and instead of cardboard "head", I have an original Magnifax condenser head - with plain (household, i.e. tungsten) bulb.
    I'll remove the condenser and insert a diffusion plate of some kind (ground glass or something - I'll see what works).

    Could be an interesting project - and the Speed Graphic itself isn't that big. The whole contraption would fit in my darkroom just fine

    Denis

  7. #7

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    Denis,

    About the smallest 4x5 enlarger is the GraphicView I (short rail) or GraphicView II (long rail), both were sold as such. They both can take the Graf-larger lamp head. Both have 2 sets of detents on the tilt arms, the first for zero, the second to use as an enlarger.

    Without a lens board or back they are cheap on ebay, just make sure it has the tripod mount. Frayed bellows make them even cheaper and will work for an enlarger. They are fairly light for shipping.

    Just a thought.



 

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