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  1. #1
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Dumb questions about beginning enlargement

    Sorry if these seem like simple questions, but I have not worked in a darkroom for several years and I am completely out of touch with current products and technologies.

    I have just acquired an LPL 7700 colour enlarger and want to enlarge 35mm and 6x6 black and white negatives. The enlarger comes with a Nikon 50mm lens.

    Questions:
    1. I assume that if I use VC paper that I can dial in the contrast using the colour head?

    2. What do I do about my pyro negatives which have a stain in terms of contrast control?

    3. What will the 50mm lens cover in terms of formats and will I need an additional focal length lens? If so what would be good on the used market?

    4. What would be a good place to start experimenting in terms of paper and chemistry? I used to use Ilford multigrade so I guess this would be OK, but I cannot remember anything about the chemistry I used.

    5. The enlarger has 35mm and 6x6 holders, are other sizes such as 6x7 and 645 easy to get?

    I have searched archives and have some ideas, but would welcome anyone's opinions.

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    1 Yes, data is available from the paper manufacturer

    2 Print as normal

    3 50mm lens 35mm film only, plenty of good 80mm's around at reasonable prices for 6x6, 6x7

    4 Why not use Ilford Multigrade, Ilford Multigrade developer & Hypam to start with

    5 Yes, they should be.

    Ian

  3. #3
    Matthew Gorringe's Avatar
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    1. You can use the colour head but will probably find it easier to use the VC filters because they keep a constant speed (no need to keep changing exposure).

    2. Not sure, start by exposing for the highlights and adjusting contrast for the shadows.

    3.50mm willl cover 35mm only, if you want to do 6x6 then get an 80mm lens. If you think you might want to 6x7 and 6x9 later just get a 105mm lens now and be done with it.

    4. Ilford multigrade is as good a place as any to start experiementing for both paper and chemistry.

    5. Should be easy, look at ebay, the big photo stores in NY. They shouldn't be expensive.


    Good luck, I hope you enjoy yourself. Asking dumb questions here at APUG has helped me every time so don't be shy.
    Matt Gorringe

  4. #4
    FrankB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    Sorry if these seem like simple questions, but I have not worked in a darkroom for several years and I am completely out of touch with current products and technologies.
    No need to apologise. If this isn't exactly the purpose of APUG then I'm not sure what it is for!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    I have just acquired an LPL 7700 colour enlarger and want to enlarge 35mm and 6x6 black and white negatives. The enlarger comes with a Nikon 50mm lens.

    Questions:
    1. I assume that if I use VC paper that I can dial in the contrast using the colour head?
    Yep. Increase the Magenta to increase contrast, dial it back out and add Yellow to reduce.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    2. What do I do about my pyro negatives which have a stain in terms of contrast control?
    Exactly the same, I believe, although the quantities you dial in and out may vary.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    3. What will the 50mm lens cover in terms of formats and will I need an additional focal length lens? If so what would be good on the used market?
    35mm. Yes, if you want to go up in format size. 80mm works well for 6x6. There's a table somewhere which someone may be able to point you to showing what focal length matches what format. In terms of makes, Schneider, Rodenstock and Nikon are the usual recommendations. As a (very!) rough rule of thumb, look for examples as near mint as possible and with as low an f number as possible for the size, as the quality of the lens will (of course) affect everything you print with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    4. What would be a good place to start experimenting in terms of paper and chemistry? I used to use Ilford multigrade so I guess this would be OK, but I cannot remember anything about the chemistry I used.
    Ilford Multigrade paper in Ilford Multigrade dev is a pretty good standard starting point (and some never feel a need to move off it!). If you use a stop bath then again Ilford Ilfostop does the job (and isn't as whiffy as some of the alternatives!). Ilford Rapid Fixer is a pretty good fixer.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    5. The enlarger has 35mm and 6x6 holders, are other sizes such as 6x7 and 645 easy to get?
    Um... Not necessarily. I got my last carrier for an LPL 7700 from Mr CAD - http://www.mrcad.co.uk You could try them.

    As another (unsolicited!) suggestion, I'd recommend getting a copy of The "Photographer's Master Printing Course" by Tim Rudman. It's the best book for getting started in the darkroom that I've found.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best,

    Frank
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  5. #5
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Wow. That was quick. Thanks for all the great responses.

    Are there any standout 50mm and 80mm lenses that I should be aware of, and what about easles? I don't think there is one with it.

  6. #6
    FrankB's Avatar
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    On the secondhand market the variation between individual lenses may outweigh the variation between lens brands / models.

    I have a 50mm EL Nikkor f2.8 which came with my enlarger and very I'm happy with, I have an 80mm Schneider Companon S f5.6 which is decidedly soft (probably just this individual item) and I have a Rodenstock Rodagon 80mm f4 which is an absolute diamond-cutter!

    Your Mileage May (and almost certainly will!) Vary!

    Easels - I got a load of LPL's that came with my enlarger and they're okay. A while back I spent a king's ransom on a new Beard 20x16 four-blade and (whilst I still shudder at the amount!) it is a superb bit of kit!
    Last edited by FrankB; 10-12-2007 at 05:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  7. #7
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Thanks, Frank.

    Last question I think: do these enlarger lenses have standard thread sizes? Do all lenses fit all enlargers?

  8. #8

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    For smaller lenses 39mm is fairly standard. But you'll find older lenses that are different. Above say 105mm in focal length you need to check.

  9. #9
    FrankB's Avatar
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    What Nick said!
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  10. #10
    Brian Jeffery's Avatar
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    In addition to the excellent advice already given you might also find the following useful:

    When using the colour filters use the values listed under Kodak on the documentation that comes with the paper as they match those of your LPL;

    You might consider using the combined Yellow and Magenta filters as although this gives longer exposure values it does mean there is more consitency in exposure between grades. Grade 2.5 for example would be Y32, M42;

    Remember that the lens mounting plate is reversable. For 50mm lenses the dome should be mounted in an upwards position, whilst for 80mm lenses the dome should be facing downward.

    Brian

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