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  1. #21
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I made two ground glasses for home made 4x5 cams using the spray Krylon window frost. The stuff works well enough, but care must be taken to get an even coat and no bubbling or dense spots. I see no reason not to use it for a diffuser for an enlarger.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  2. #22

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    I notice a difference in sharpness between diffusion and condenser heads. However, I feel that the larger the format of film, the less I notice this difference. I will definitely be looking for a condenser head for my "new" Beseler 45, which came with a dichro color computer head. (The enlarger replaces by Omega B-22XL, with condenser head.) The Beseler is not complete without one, IMO. I need the same look I was getting from the Omega. With much of my 35mm "work" (and some of my medium format), I am utilizing sharp grain and high contrast, so the look I get with a condenser head is very important to me.

    As for dust, I find that cleaning your film before printing it works well. Note: it can be annoying and painstaking, but is always worth it to be able to use the condenser head, especially with 35mm, IMHO.

    As for scratches, I find that filling them with nose oil works absolute wonders. Knocks me out of my sox every time I do it! Nasty, long, sharp, white, impossible-to-spot scratches completely disappear with this trick.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    That is the key advise!

    ...D5-XL's need it often since students can change the position of the top condenser based on the format they are using -- this introduces dust and other mysteriously appearing objects into the chamber holding the condensers.

    Vaughn
    Lizards?

  4. #24
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    As someone who owns both a condenser (Kaiser) and diffuser/mixing box/dichroic (DeVere) enlarger I can state that detail is not discernible as being anything significantly different. I do generally prefer the prints from the DeVere as their contrast is more in line with what I prefer. However, since I tend to Se tone everything I'm taking that into account as it affects contrast after the fact.
    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

  5. #25
    Pavel+'s Avatar
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    Interesting points of view here. I have an ilford 500H sitting on an Omega 5D-xl right next to my D2 and variable condenser head.

    I have to say that I find the look of the two to be quite different and while I am not certain of it I feel that it is more than the difference in grade. I can match grade at one point in a print and have the others fall differently. I personally prefer the condensor look most of the time but do not find any a difference in fine detail in any way - actually if pressed I'd have to say that I think the Ilford head may win out there. Purely unscientific, all this, of course.

    The other somewhat unusual reason for liking the D2 and condensers in general is something that has nothing to do with the look of the print but rather their simplicity. There is no power supply to fail one day nor any funky components. It is pure old fashioned simplicity and that gives me comfort as the day of inexpensive parts will slowly fade away. When the ilford head or transformer goes - it goes to the junk heap. Parts are too expensive, hard to find and of questionable longevity themselves.

    So getting adept with condensers has a side benefit for me. It makes me feel better future-proofed.

    The dust thing however I find grossly overblown. I have few problems with dust showing and while it helps the diffusion enlargers don't stop flaws showing. Sloppy habits are the wrong approach so relying on diffusion sources is something I don't really get - I must confess. It hasn't been hard to eliminate the problem for condensers and I'd take the same care for diffusion printing. Kind of like mixing chemicals in proper proportions or watching temperature - something that simply comes with this darkroom passion.
    To find the answers .... Question them!

  6. #26
    Pavel+'s Avatar
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    And when the dust does get through - I call it "handmade, genuine, craftsmanship"! "One of a kind - not like that digital stuff!"
    To find the answers .... Question them!

  7. #27
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel+ View Post
    I have an ilford 500H sitting on an Omega 5D-xl right next to my D2 and variable condenser head.
    Yes, I tell people to keep those condenser heads when upgrading to a color head. Years from now when the 24V power supplies are no longer working the condenser head will still be there ready to go!

  8. #28
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    Pretty sure people know how to create new power supplies or fix the existing ones. They aren't rocket science.
    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

  9. #29
    AgX
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    "Condensor enlarger" covers a range of technical different constructions.

    We shold not forget about that.

  10. #30

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    Tracing paper or milk glass cut to circle or what you need. A glass shop easily can do this. Tracing paper texture sometimes shows. Milk glass has no tex.

    Flash the paper with a very short exposure froma 10 watt bulb in the ceiling, say point 4 sec. Use enlarger timer. Diffuse with paper to cut exposure. This allows a preexposure to be made to bring the emulsion right up to threshold but not start to turn. The slight highlight exposure in the enlarger will activate the emulsion more easily and you get a normal looking print. It does no effect the shadows. This is many time preferable to using low contrast paper because you preserve the local contrast.

    Split filter or split develope starting in a soft developer then going to dektol for 30 sec. Then ss-fix.

    Dye dodge the shadows and mid tones with clear neg plus retouching dye. Kodak Cociene Dye.

    Pencil on tracing paper dodge shadows + midtones.

    If you stay with condensers, then develope 20% less from now on. They will print just fine. People have trouble with conensers because they they develope too long. It is that simple.

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