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  1. #11
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lem3 View Post
    Focus the negative, then leave the bulb on for a couple of minutes.
    A couple of MINUTES???

    You're only worried about what the negative does during the exposure, which is typically less than a minute (mine are ~15 secs).

    Turn the head on and focus critically. Check the corners/edges if your grain focuser permits, but make sure the center is accurately focused. This will take enough time that the negative will pop if it's going to.

    Turn the head off and let it cool down.

    Turn it on and check the center focus again. If it's still OK, you have no popping problem.

    Better solution... Use a glass carrier and don't worry about it in the first place.

    - Leigh

  2. #12
    kreeger's Avatar
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    You would be well served to read Barry Thornton's book:

    Edge of Darkness: The Art, Craft, and Power of the High-Definition Monochrome Photograph
    http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Darkness-...63424&sr=1-278

    Barry has some great information on how to correct enlarger baseboard/lens alignment, types, and sharpness.
    Great reference, some editorial. But what photographer isn't opinionated!

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh B View Post
    A couple of MINUTES???

    You're only worried about what the negative does during the exposure, which is typically less than a minute (mine are ~15 secs).
    Split-filter printing with 2-3 dodge/burn cycles on each setting.... the time adds up. And if it doesn't pop in 2 minutes it probably isn't going to.

  4. #14
    Marek Warunkiewicz's Avatar
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    75mm is a bit small for 6x6.
    Marek Warunkiewicz

  5. #15
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marek Warunkiewicz View Post
    75mm is a bit small for 6x6.
    75mm would be a standard enlarger lens for 6x6. They're also meant to cover 6x7.

    - Leigh

  6. #16

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    Make two more prints, changing focus by a few millimeters in each direction. This can help tell you if you are having focusing problems.

    Your lens is also old. If it wasn't well cared for, it could have very small pits in it from chemicals in the air.
    6 element 80mm El-Nikkors are cheap, and there are plenty of other good lenses on the used market for $100 or less.

  7. #17

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    Compared to a 10X8 contact print, you will always be disappointed by a 6X6 enlarged to 10X8. However, it should be reasonably sharp. For some reason, probably light scattering, enlargements have a different look than contact prints. Allowing for that, lack of sharpness can be due to many things - focus, alignment, flare, vibration, slippage, lens quality, etc. Some people have a real problem focusing the enlarger. Don't be embarrassed if you are one of them - it happens to a lot of us. A good magnifying focuser helps a lot, but you may still have to experiment with your glasses and how you look through it to get it to work right. Also, depth of focus can be an issue. Always focus on the back of a piece of paper the same thickness as your enlarging paper. (The back of a discarded print is good.) As mentioned above, if the enlarger is misaligned, some part of the print is usually good. Minor misalignment just degrades the print a little, but if it is really off, the prints look terrible. Enlarger alignment is a big topic, and doing it requires careful work or some precision equipment. Flare does not reduce sharpness, but the result may sort of look that way. The big source of flare is light bouncing off nearby walls. Prints from condenser enlargers often look sharper than prints from diffusion enlarger, even though the two may measure the same. This has to do with local contrast effects. Light bouncing around inside a condenser head can have the same effect as diffusion, to a lesser degree. Vibration is a big factor in enlarging. If something causes the support mechanism to vibrate even a little (even if you can't feel it), there goes your print. Slippage is another, related factor. Older enlarger often have worn out brakes or clamps to hold the head in place. You focus carefully, but by the time you have the paper in place and do the exposure, the enlarger head has slipped down half a millimeter and has spoiled the sharpness. Although it is usually not as much of a factor, the same thing can happen to the focusing mechanism and the stuff that adjusts the bellows and lensboard. Lens quality has been mentioned. Good enlarging lenses are generally quite expensive but well worth the price.

  8. #18

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    All that nworth says plus invest in a good grain focuser and first check the four corners of a negative that you know is sharp. If you have ruled out any alignment problems then make a print using the focuser at your desired stop. Don't focus and then stop down as even high qulaity lenses will have a focus shift.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #19
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    One other suggestion is to stop down, then focus. Not likely, but there could be focus shift when it stops down. Also, are your contrast filters in decent shape? This isn't likely to be 100% of the problem, but you may have a few issues contributing. Keep trying, you will get sharp prints!

  10. #20

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    I seems that all the bases have been covered. Gerald Koch suggested buying a good grain focuser. He may actually have one but has not focused it if it has that capability. The grain focuser I have has an adjustable lens.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

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