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  1. #1

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    Darkroom Equipment Questions

    Hello all,

    So I am starting to use my Mamiya m645 camera, which obviously makes 645 negatives.

    I have an Omega C760 enlarger that has a diffuser head, a 6x7 mixing chamber, and a 6x7 negative carrier. I also have a pretty cheap easel, a vivitar 50mm vivitar 75mm enlarging lens, and an Omega enlarging timer that is very very touchy (a very miniscule movement in the knob could mean 2 seconds or 0.5 seconds)

    I have noticed parts for this enlarger are extremely expensive. I know that I need a 645 negative carrier, but they're over $70.

    I'll probably make a negative carrier out of cardboard or something similar. Is that OK? I realize this isn't ideal, but it's better than using a 6x7 carrier that won't allow me to have white borders.

    Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced timer and easel? The easel I have is some old two-arm one that is hard to adjust properly (I always get uneven edges), and the timer is frustratingly difficult to use. I think it is so because it was meant to be used with a meter, but I don't have one.

  2. #2
    David Brown's Avatar
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    All of this comes up on the auction site frequently. The neg carrier shouldn't cost over $20 and if you are patient: $10. In the meantime, use cardboard. Wait for a Time-o-Light or something like an Omega CT 10 timer. Cheap, but effective. Even a Gralab 300 will work, and you can use it to time film development too. They are plentiful - don't pay over $20.

    Easels are inexplicably expensive. However, they seem to be coming down a bit. Look for a 4 blade 11x14. I've seen them go for less than $50 lately, which is better than the $100 they used to bring. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    I have used a 6X7 carrier with 645 film plenty of times, should not be a problem as the film is the same, just the frame size is different. Easels are a bit pricy, you can get a speed ezel for not too much, but truly good easels are not at all cheap. As for timers, there are some two knob timers out there, one knob does one digit and the other takes care of the second digit of a two digit number and a switch that usually says 1 or .1, so if you dial 3 on the first one and 5 on the second, you will have 35 seconds or you will have 3.5 seconds depending on where the switch is set. (sorry, that was a really confusing description, but I can't think of a better way to describe it right now.) These timers are usually accurate and have plenty of flexibility for most uses. Additionally, they tend to be cheap, $20 to $30 is not uncommon. Here is an example from eBay of a Grlab 450. I don't know the seller or have any relationship to the auction at all, just did a quick search. http://cgi.ebay.com/gralab-450-digit...#ht_500wt_1127

  4. #4

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    That timer is the same one we use in our darkrooms at school. I didn't know GraLab made those. I assume there will be no problem using it with my Omega enlarger, that uses halogen bulbs?

    The film IS the same size, that isn't the problem. I normally don't crop my photographs, and I like to have the white borders when I feel they are necessary, which is why I would like to have a 645 carrier. In the meantime I'll use the back of a legal notepad. I only wish I could find a 645 carrier for $10 on eBay!

    Are the lenses I have good enough? They've always seemed sharp to me, but then again I don't have anything to compare them to. At school we use El-Nikkors and I honestly can't tell a difference in a negative produced by the El-Nikkor and my lowly Vivitar, both 50mm versions. I haven't used my Vivitar 75mm lens yet, so it may be wretched.

  5. #5

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    The easel is what gives you white borders, not the neg carrier.

  6. #6

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    You can use the 6x7 carrier, you can just mask the opening down to 645 using construction paper. Have the opening in the center of the 6x7 not to one side of the other. And yes you can make carriers out of cardboard, I perfer black core mat board or illustration board. You can also make your own easel with heavy mat board. I have a whole series for for 11x14, 8x10, 5x7 paper with varying border widths. Just the other night I made one for a full frame 35mm with a thin black line around the 4x6 image on 5x7 paper, took about 30 minutes. You do need a good timer, a Gralab 300 or Timeolight will work just fine but for better control an electronic timer with .10 sec increments would be better. As for lenses, the inexpensive lenses will be "ok" for 5x7's or 8x10's with minimum cropping, but for the best quality go with a high grade lens from Nikon, Rodenstock, Schneider. You will find everything you need on the Bay or the "list", it just takes some time to find it all.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Here is some stuff: http://cleveland.craigslist.org/pho/1309144953.html

    (link points to what looks like clean easel and timer and other stuff for $57 USD)

  8. #8

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    I have a two-knob Unicolor electronic timer for sale in the classified section of this site. It's an excellent timer in excellent condition. You can make me an offer.

  9. #9

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    You can try Craiglist in your area too. I see darkroom stuff on it in Virginia all the time.



 

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