I have been using the real old Opemus std, a 3 and a 5 color. I ended up replacing the colorhead with a condenserhead because I found the setup not stable enough for the heavier colorhead. Apart from that I liked using the Opemuses since they are fairly sturdy, simple and easy to use. The built in focusing aid worked really well too. I was lucky getting most of the enlargers I have owned for free and you might be that lucky too.
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I use an Opemus 2a, which probably is 40 years old. It works very well! A simple, small and relatively sturdy enlarger.
Thanks for the advice everyone,
Nice as it would be, I don't think I realistically have space for a 5x4 enlarger.
I think I'll have to stick with a MF, at least for the time being.
I'm watching a few different units on e*bay at the moment, a couple of LPL 7700s, and a Durst Modular 70, which I thought looked quite good.
There aren't many meoptas on there at the moment.
Lens caps and cable releases can become invisible at will. :D
There´s one thing you have to consider with 645 negs, and smaller enlargers - particularly those without an angled column. Because of the orientation of the exposure on the film, it can be difficult to make bigger enlargements.
I´m having a hard time explaining it properly... Compare the way a 645 neg is oriented on a film strip, as opposed to a 35mm neg. The 645 neg sits vertically while the 35mm neg sits horizontally.
With my Durst 605, which is do adore, I can´t make much bigger than 8x10 with a 645 neg. It´s got a straight column. It´s a massive pain in the arse. The easel won´t sit on the baseboard properly, if you follow me. I hate cutting negs into single frames (as opposed to strips) but sometimes I have to if I want to make a 16x20 enlargement. You don´t get this problem with 6x7, for example.
I´ve got no problem printing these 645 negs on my Omega 4x5 enlarger.
Something to consider, I suppose. I wish I had considered it more before I bought my 645 kit! Oh well, live and learn...
I started in 1966 with a Opemus 2A. Not too bad but quiet some light leaks. That was later a small problem when printing color prints together with the color filters in the drawer. Later it was easy to use it for M.C. filters.
Latest point when printing 645 negatives is indeed valid. That's why I decided for a Dunco II 67 120 pro version.
No problem for printing 645 negatives.
All Dunco II 67 models are equipped with HLX light source, mixing chamber and condensor.
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Another vote for Magnifax (I have two, both with Meograde heads). Simple, solid, and quite a lot of parts still available new. Most of what isn't, you can make up: turn down old tank gun barrels for the column, for example...
If you can afford it, De Vere (bomb-proof and still fully supported) or Kienzle; Kaiser are still in the business too.
A vote against Durst: zero support for older enlargers, even when Durst were still in the enlarger business.
I own both a Durst Modular 70 and the L1200. Currently have the L1200 setup cos I do 4x5.
The modular 70 is a very nice enlarger which will do upto 6x7.
The negative carrier is excellent and it is far better quality than a meopta enlarger. Either the colour head or the vario head are good for B+W. The vario head is approx matched to ilford filter sets. The condenser head is also availble for 35mm and 6x6 if you can find it on the second hand market.
Tried an LPL for a day and took it back because it let light everywhere.
Personally I prefer a vertical column so that image remains centred as you move head up and down but YMMV.
I used Meopta's at college and until I used Durst I thought they were the D's B's.
Funny, the carriers I've seen on the "smaller" Dursts have been a lot poorer than the one in my Opemus 6. The carriers for the L138s are a different matter...
Originally Posted by percepts
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Until a careless shipper broke two filters on my 138S head, and I tried to get replacements, I though they were the D's B's too. After that I just thought they were B's.
Originally Posted by percepts
I had that problem with a Saunders 6x7 enlarger that I used to own (fairly small baseboard and non angled column). I fixed the problem with a fairly easy modification. First, I got rid of the small baseboard that came with it and made my own baseboard that was significantly larger. Then I took a piece of 6x6 inch lumber about 10 inches long and cut both ends at an angle. I mounted that to the back of my home made baseboard to that it angled forward, then I mounted the column on top of that (I used really long lag screws to mount the piece of lumber to the baseboard, and to mount the column to the piece of lumber.
Originally Posted by Marco Buonocore
That gave me the ability to print a 20x24 in either direction (with the paper either horizontal or vertical on the baseboard), but introduced 2 new small problems. With the added height, when the enlarger head was all the way to the top of the column, it wasn't very sturdy (small rinky dink column). I made it significantly sturdier by V bracing the top of the column to the wall.
The other small problem was that the enlarger head wouldn't drop low enough to print full frame 4x5 prints from 6x7 negs, so I sometimes had to use a raised baseboard on top of the home made baseboard to make small prints (I just used the original baseboard with 2x4's under it to raise it up).