newbie needs enlarger advice: LPL, Axomat or Ilford?
So I'm settnig up a darkroom at home and have been shopping for a good enough B&W enlarger to start with.
I'm currently looking at these 3.. around the same price point
1. Axomat 4 (good cond)
2. Ilford C700 (good cond)
3. LPL 3301D (mint/like new cond)
Which one would be the best buy?
One of the things I considered when buying my first enlarger was if I was going to print a larger size neg than 35mm - that determined which enlarger I started out with: an LPL 66-Sll - 35mm and 6x6. Have owned both LPL and Meopta enlargers - the lenses I had with my old Meopta were superb! I was extremely surprised by their contrast and the results I got. I no longer have either of these - upgraded to a LPL 6700MX with Rodenstock 50mm and Schneider 105 mm lenses.
Any of these would be a good "starter"; a good lens is a must - shoot lovely images with your expensive camera lens and then print through a "Coke bottle base" lens will leave you cold. The Axomat came as a "kit" when first produced - does it include the lens? The LPL is a nice robust 35mm enlarger that will meet a beginners needs no problem. Try to get the best price possible and spend some extra $$ on a well made enlarging lens from Rodenstock, Schneider, Nikon etc. You'll find other threads on enlarging lenses vis the "Search" feature - everybody has their favorites.....
I started with the 3301D and it was fine for what I needed when I started. Then I moved up to a bigger and better LPL MX C7700 to do colour and medium format. I'm not familiar with the Ilford C700. What size will that cover?
And of course, as Nanette advised, the lens you use makes a big difference, so it depends which lens is included with which enlarger.
Thanks for your replies guys. I do realise that the lens in an important aspect and will be looking to upgrade the lens in due time.. not sure of lens specifics with these tho. I will be looking at them properly tonite so will make sure to have a proper look. I've only seen pictures of all except the Ilford - I actually tried google'ing for the Ilford and was unsuccessful. Maybe its an Omega C700? Anyways thanks for the advice.. will update later tonite after I've seen them!
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As a very rough starting point, look for lenses from Rodenstock, Schneider or Nikon.
ok so i got an enlarger. well, i got 2. the Ilford C-700 lamphouse & the Axomat. the Ilford came with a Schnieder 50mm & the Axomat 4 came with a Nikon 50mm.. both lenses perfect, no fungus, all good. the only reason I purchased both was because both sellers were offering alot of accessories with them that i needed so i splurged.
so $AUS100 got me both enlargers & lenses, 2 timers, 1 Ilford SL1 Safelight w/ 902 filter, 5 Patterson Tanks (different sizes) w/ heaps of spirals, 9 trays, tongs, thermometer, unopened 250 sheet box 8x10 Ilford Multigrade BW Paper, unopened 100 sheet 4x6 Ilford Multigrade BW Paper, unopened 25 sheet Ilford Multigrade Fiber, Ilford Multigrade Filters 3x3 + more bits & bobs.. not bad I thought.
not sure which enlarger i will keep... i'm swaying towards the Ilford as it looks newer BUT it is missing the Contrast Filter holder/drawer... see attached pic. is this easy to get? is it a universal size that simply takes that Ilford Filter Kit? Sorry for the rookie question but I'd love to get started!
also on a side note...the paper.. although unopened, it may be a few years old... is it still good?
EDIT: WAIT... this "Ilford" C700 looks EXACTLY like this Omega C700
I'm assuming there the same thing. So as evident in this omega picture, the slot here is empty too. It must be some universal type filter holder right?
Last edited by ryca; 09-22-2009 at 10:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Oddly the filter drawer looks to be missing. You would need to get one if you want to use VC filters above the lens. Or you could tape over it & use them beneath the lens if you have a filter holder.
Above the lens the condition of the filter is less critical from the scratch/fingerprint consideration.
Yeh John the filter drawer is missing. I'm trying frantically to hunt one down as I'd rather have filters above the lens. I've discovered that this "Ilford" C700 is exactly the same as an "Omega C700" which are readily available, but that being said, I still havent been successful in finding a filter drawer online.
Originally Posted by John Koehrer
The hunt continues....
Well done! 2 for the price of 1 - what more could you ask for?
The paper may be fine, then again it might not be. I'd buy some new stuff to start out with; once you have mastered exposure and contrast, you can then try out the older paper.
I regularly purchase (get for free ) old paper from my local store - often it is perfect, but I've also had some that is totally useless. Useally, it gets a slight base fog (reducing contrast) and then escalates from there. I picked up a 100 pack of Agfa Brovira postcard paper and the entire box was perfect! (Early 70s). I used all of it in the APUG Postacrd exchange a couple of rounds back.
E*** may have the drawer you are looking for - I often trawl the UK & US sites to see what it on offer. Have picked up some bargains simply by searching "Located in any country/region". Plus put a WTB classified here on APUG - could be somebody has a spare floating around?
Well done on scoring some nice kit - wish I'd landed that much for $100 when I first started out......