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  1. #11

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    I've got an Omega D4 that's planted on a sturdy table on a concrete floor in the basement. I've never had the need to brace it for any reason, even when the head is at the top of the column.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    what other type of enlarger would you propose to use??

    DeVere's and Dursts are particularly stable. To my mind - all enlargers should be properly braced as well - involving drilling the column to run wires with turnbuckles on them - at a diagonal to the column geometry and going to the closes structural tie point (ceiling joist, stud, whatever).
    I should have clarified why I thought that 4x5 enlargers may not be adequately stable...

    They do sell enlargers for which the max. size is 35mm or 6x6/7/9 and neither, in my experience, is stable enough for their nominal format. Anecdotally, I've always been given advice to use an enlarger whose maximum format size is, minimally, one greater than the largest format I will be printing. This would suggest using an enlarger supporting 5x7 or 8x10 for 4x5 negs.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
    It would also depend on where the darkroom was. If the enlarger was unstable you wouldn't own it but if you did and you anchored it to the floor or wall in a basement you might be OK. If you anchored it to a floor or wall in a second or third story room of an old building next to a railroad track you might have a problem. Or if kids were jumping up and down in the room next door there might be a problem. Sometimes the more secure to the structure the more it picks up vibrations. Enlargers are made with stability in mind although some have more mass than others. It depends on the mechanics of the enlarger and the environment it is in. How stable is the camera and tripod you take into the field and what precautions do you take there to ensure stability?
    The darkroom is a rented apartment's kitchen. I cannot drill any holes into walls or floors. The kitchen also has a refrigerator and that means mechanical vibrations will be transmitted to and through the floor. Linoleum does a very poor job of attenuating such vibrations.

    The best darkroom setup I ever used (now no longer accessible) had the enlargers mounted on nodular cast iron machine tool bases (these are designed to absorb mechanical vibrations from machine tools). Rock solid.

    Some sort of thick rubber matting might be a reasonable substitute. I wonder if anyone has tried that as an enlarger base?

    I take a couple precautions in the field to ensure camera stability. If, say, I'm using a 35mm camera I always have it on a solid pan/tilt head and heavy aluminum legs (aluminum isn't the best vibration absorber, but heavy ones are ok). If the camera doesn't have MLU, and the shutter speed is in the "mirror-shake" range - then I will use a neutral density filter to require a shutter speed out of that range. And I always place a bean bag with a couple lbs of BBs on top of the camera to prevent shake. I suspend another bag of BBs (3-4 lbs) within the tripod legs and, depending on the length of the extended legs, I adjust the position of that bag to try to match the center of mass of the legs/head/camera system.

  4. #14
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    I print 4x5s full-frame on an unbraced Omega D-2 in a cramped closet in sizes up to 16x20. I've never found stability to be an issue. The head can wobble if you bang it, but so can a view camera on a tripod. You have to be smart about it but it works. Sanders

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    The darkroom is a rented apartment's kitchen. I cannot drill any holes into walls or floors. The kitchen also has a refrigerator and that means mechanical vibrations will be transmitted to and through the floor. Linoleum does a very poor job of attenuating such vibrations.

    The best darkroom setup I ever used (now no longer accessible) had the enlargers mounted on nodular cast iron machine tool bases (these are designed to absorb mechanical vibrations from machine tools). Rock solid.

    Some sort of thick rubber matting might be a reasonable substitute. I wonder if anyone has tried that as an enlarger base?

    I take a couple precautions in the field to ensure camera stability. If, say, I'm using a 35mm camera I always have it on a solid pan/tilt head and heavy aluminum legs (aluminum isn't the best vibration absorber, but heavy ones are ok). If the camera doesn't have MLU, and the shutter speed is in the "mirror-shake" range - then I will use a neutral density filter to require a shutter speed out of that range. And I always place a bean bag with a couple lbs of BBs on top of the camera to prevent shake. I suspend another bag of BBs (3-4 lbs) within the tripod legs and, depending on the length of the extended legs, I adjust the position of that bag to try to match the center of mass of the legs/head/camera system.

    hi aldevo
    don't you think you might be just a tad obsessive about this idea of shake

    lighten up

    for instance why use a camera system (35mm) that's greatest asset is light weight handholdability and then tie it down to a huge tripod and extra weights

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Heath View Post
    hi aldevo
    don't you think you might be just a tad obsessive about this idea of shake

    lighten up

    for instance why use a camera system (35mm) that's greatest asset is light weight handholdability and then tie it down to a huge tripod and extra weights
    Well, I certainly don't use the tripod all the time

    But when I do choose to use it (e.g. I'm shooting Efke 25) - why not make it as effective as possible? I've backpacked with 45-50 lbs of gear for extended time periods- so I don't really give a you-know-what about an additional 10 lbs...

    As for the enlarger - the darkroom will be in an apartment kitchen and vibration sources (little kids stomping in the hallway, refrigerstor switching on and off) will be present. So, IMO, it's rather silly not to try to anticipate problems arising from them and plan accordingly.

  7. #17
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    As for the enlarger - the darkroom is in an apartment kitchen and vibration sources (little kids stomping in the hallway, refrigerstor switching on and off) will be present. So, IMO, it's rather silly not to try to anticipate problems arising from them.
    For those kinds of environmental vibrations, it won't matter which enlarger you're using. If the floor is in motion, so is the enlarger, any enlarger.
    Sanders

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanders McNew View Post
    For those kinds of environmental vibrations, it won't matter which enlarger you're using. If the floor is in motion, so is the enlarger, any enlarger.
    Sanders

    That's true - unless you dampen the vibrations. Machine shops employ various means to do that - which I can look into on my own if I feel the need. Of course, I'd have to make sure this doesn't compromise the alignment. Probably overkill and I won't do it unless the need is apparent.

    I can always turn off the fridge for a bit. And the "external child stomping" threat is actually pretty managable.

    Thanks to everybody for the responses! It seems a 4x5 enlarger is probably just fine...
    Last edited by aldevo; 04-16-2007 at 12:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #19

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    I built a 4x5 enlarger out of a old Beseler 23C. It will just about handle a 16x20 print, but like Aldevo I usually make 11x14's. The rig is very lightweight, yet the prints have been perfectly sharp. I keep it parked on top of a plastic (!) rolling cart. For what it's worth, I'm not in a apartment - single story home, concrete foundation, etc.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanders McNew View Post
    For those kinds of environmental vibrations, it won't matter which enlarger you're using. If the floor is in motion, so is the enlarger, any enlarger.
    Sanders
    Well - with respect to vibration control - there are generally two philosophies in the engineering world. There's the 'absolute' school (mass damping - make everything have a common 'ground' - bolt everything down so it DOESN'T move) and the 'relative' (if it's gonna move anyway - make them move together - so there's no relative motion). So - I think it's an important thing to consider in darkroom design - especially if you're a precision freak and/or you need very sharp results. Consider what kind of structure you're mounting to. If the floor- mount both to the floor - if the wall - both to the same wall and reinforce it. But it's good to first consider what the most stable part of the building is - i.e. in a brick building with wood floors - best go into the brick, if possible. etc etc etc...

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