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  1. #21

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    Thanks for all of the responses. I think I'm going to splurge and get the Versalab. The Zig-align claims to be more accurate, and it may be. I'm printing 8x10's and 8x12's from 35mm negs for my graduation portfolio/exhibition at school in December, and I'm not sure if the extra precision provided by the Zig-align is actually worth the cost right now. I'll be able to justify the cost later when I move up to medium and large format and start printing bigger prints.

    At the very least, I'll have a new toy to play with
    "I have captured the light and arrested its flight! The sun itself shall draw my pictures!"

    -Louis Daguerre, 1839-

  2. #22
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I'm also not satisified with just the laser/mirror alignment. I always double check with the grain focuser on the corners vs center.
    Realize that the grain focuser that can see the edges will set you back an additional $250.
    Ditto :rolleyes:

    Martin

  3. #23

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    Sharp All Over But Not Aligned

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I'm also not satisified with just the laser/mirror alignment.
    I always double check with the grain focuser on the
    corners vs center.
    An image may be sharp four corners and center with
    the enlarger quite out of alignment. You've heard of
    Scheimpflug.

    The method I've described assures correct alignment.
    The method assumes the projected image to be
    composed of four 90 degree angles.

    With the image focused as well as it might be, test
    three of the four corners with a square for a true 90
    degrees. If the three measure true then the enlarger
    is aligned; the image will be sharp corners and center.

    No alignment tool other than a square is needed. Dan

  4. #24
    Philippe-Georges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denis P. View Post
    I have and use the same system, so perhaps I can explain it better.
    And for non-native English speakers, the photos should also help

    In short, you have two mirrors, and on one (smaller) you scrape (remove) some silvering, so that you can see through the small hole you made (basically, you remove reflective surface in a small circle). Then you draw a target on the reflective surface AROUND that hole. The hole can be physical (drilled in the mirror), or you can just scrape (remove) silver reflective surface, without drilling the glass.

    The photos should make everything much clearer...

    My system has a DRILLED hole, with target around it, but you can also just remove the silver reflective surface, like I said. Then draw a target around the hole - either directly on the glass (like I did on mine), or first tape some clear sticky tape around the hole, and draw the target on that (if you don't have a pen that can write on glass...).

    Let me know if you need additional explanations.
    Dear Denis P.,

    Thank you for the explanation, now I do understand what was said.
    I do not want to look like a fat nor a bohémien, but your simple and effective trick looks like the Hasselblad parallel mirrors system from the 80's, this is what I still use for reproductions.
    The problem is that in order to use this wonderful device, one has to be able to look trough the hole, so the enlarger-head must be removed. This causes a change in the top weight of the whole construction. Doing this, I have seen an important change in the inclination angle of my Omega D3. So, I guessed that the alignment whit-out the head will not be the seam as with the head.
    This is why I put a rather long, very thin a light sheet of glass in the negative carrier slot (plexi will do too) put on 2/3 of the column's height. This sheet is just long enough to hold the little and round mirror with the hole. On the base board the larger mirror is placed directly under the small one. Then the image of the concentric circles is checked on their parallelism, and when needed the enlarger is tuned. I repeat this with that sheet of glass slided in the lens-carrier slot too.

    Thanks again,

    Philippe

    P.S. Sorry for this bad English!
    "...If you can not stand the rustle of the leafs, then do not go in to the woods..."
    (freely translated quote by Guido Gezelle)

    PS: English is only my third language, please do forgive me my sloppy grammar...

  5. #25
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancqu View Post
    An image may be sharp four corners and center with
    the enlarger quite out of alignment. You've heard of
    Scheimpflug.

    The method I've described assures correct alignment.
    The method assumes the projected image to be
    composed of four 90 degree angles.

    With the image focused as well as it might be, test
    three of the four corners with a square for a true 90
    degrees. If the three measure true then the enlarger
    is aligned; the image will be sharp corners and center.

    No alignment tool other than a square is needed. Dan
    I align the enlarger with the Versalab but double check (paranoid?) with a Focus Finder

    That way I know it is both correctly aligned and sharp corner to corner

    The Versalab is one (very accurate) way of doing it – but not the only one

    Martin

  6. #26

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    Just ordered the Versalab from Freestyle.

    Over the last two months, I think I've bought enough stuff to pay their bills for the rest of the year (ok, a bit of sarcasm/exageration there )
    "I have captured the light and arrested its flight! The sun itself shall draw my pictures!"

    -Louis Daguerre, 1839-

  7. #27
    fotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leicam5 View Post
    ........
    The problem is that in order to use this wonderful device, one has to be able to look trough the hole, so the enlarger-head must be removed. This causes a change in the top weight of the whole construction. Doing this, I have seen an important change in the inclination angle of my Omega D3. So, I guessed that the alignment whit-out the head will not be the seam as with the head.....
    Why not just raise the head like when inserting a negative holder and use a small dental mirror to reflect back at a 90 degree angle to the viewer?
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  8. #28

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    If you've got multipe enlargers to align

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
    I have to admit the Versalab is expensive, but I have to align 18 enlargers at two different schools, so I love how easy and quick it is to use.
    Amen. And I'll add to it that the process is such that the enlarger is in the same state that it will be used in, i.e. negative gate closed, lamp head in place, etc. This may not be the case with other methods, and the weight of lamp heads, etc. in the wrong place can have considerable effect and frustrate the user.

  9. #29
    clayne's Avatar
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    I use a Versalab. Works fast and quick - although the rubberband method for the glass reflector annoys me and is too fiddly. Aside from that issue it's great.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  10. #30

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    Now I'm Repeating Myself

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Aislabie View Post
    I align the enlarger with the Versalab but double check
    (paranoid?) with a Focus Finder. That way I know it is
    both correctly aligned and sharp corner to corner.
    The Versalab is one (very accurate) way of
    doing it – but not the only one Martin
    OK, so trusting to the Versalab's indication of a correct
    alignment you are satisfied that the planes of the easel
    and negative and the plane perpendicular to the optical
    axis are all parallel. You are not wholly trusting though
    so check with a focus finder.

    Now I repeat; a projected image may be sharp, corners
    and center, even if the enlarger is not aligned. A check
    for focus is not assurance of correct alignment.

    Checking with a square will provides greater assurance.
    My previous post describes the procedure. The method
    does assume the source of the projected image to
    have all corners be of 90 degrees.

    Either way, we must be trusting. A square or any
    right angled item may be used. When ready to
    print I've made checks in no time using a
    single size easel. Dan

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