No one has mentioned wide-angle lenses yet. I can't quite get a 20 x 16 from a 35 mm neg because of ceiling height in my basement. My bench is pretty solid and I don't fancy making a drop table, especially as I have 2 enlargers. Of course the size of the print depends on the distance between the lens and the column; a wide angle lens won't get you up to 24 x 20 if the max distance from lens to column is only just over 8 inches.
Originally Posted by ic-racer
But wide angle lenses don't necessarily solve the problem because edge fall-off becomes of increasing significance as the print gets larger, and the lens is wider-angled than recommended for the neg size.
I love autofocus which I have on both my enlargers, a Durst DA900 and a Focomat 11c. The Focomat lens fittings are quirky and not easily interchangeable, but for 20 x 16s I use a 45 mm Rodenstock Apo lens in the Durst. I lose autofocus but for making 20 x 16s that is not a problem as I typically make only one 20 x 16 in a session so once focus is locked that's it for the evening.
I find if I position the easel so that edge fall-off is equally distributed and then manoeuvre the negative so that the projected image is centralised to the easel ie using the light meter with no negative put max illumination in the centre of the easel and equalise the light intensity at each corner, and only then manoeuvre the negative so that the desired image is contained in the easel borders, the visual effect of light fall-of may not be noticeable. It's surprising what a difference this can make. If it is still noticeable a little dodging of the centre or burning of the edges is not too difficult.
I have an Omega D6 (extended column) with an Ilfospeed Multigrade 400 head. I have it and with its large baseboard on a wheeled cart that is 21"/53cm high. The cart is assembled from components designed for adjustable kitchen shelving.
That height is critical, because it allows me to wheel the cart plus enlarger (currently 200cm high) through the door to our bathroom. The adjustable nature of the shelving makes it simple to adjust the cart's height to whatever is necessary.
I also have a table that stands 36"/90cm high. It slides over the cart and baseboard - in fact it actually is supported by the baseboard, as its lowest shelf rests directly on the baseboard. Most of my prints are done using the table. The relative dimensions are such that I routinely do 11x14 prints using the table, and can usually do 16x20. If I were to print larger, I would just pull the table away and put my easel on the baseboard.
I have to be careful with alignment issues. If the table wasn't directly supported by the baseboard, most likely I would have to be even more careful.
The enlarger plus baseboard is quite heavy, so the cart is quite heavy duty. I expect that the cart plus enlarger plus baseboard weighs all together in excess of 100 kg/220 lbs.
Here is a link to a cart similar to mine - just imagine it with two shelves only, and just 21"/53cm high. The website is for Storables - a USA company that I bought my shelf components from: http://www.storables.com/rolling-supply-cart.html
Last edited by MattKing; 01-15-2012 at 04:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
My last darkroom was in a basement with a low ceiling. I built a low table to put the enlarger on, and a platform which sat on the baseboard so that for most normal enlargements my 'baseboard' was at about normal height, when I wanted to do larger prints, I would take away the platform and use the actual baseboard, which was lower than optimal for comfort, but it worked...
I bought a low profile lamphouse (Aristo VCL4500) which has given me a bit more enlarger height. I still can't get it to its full height. I have gone the wide angle enlarger lens route also.
I suggest a low stool on rollers? Clearly not as comfortable, but it would allow the entire works to be built low to the floor and they are not very expensive.
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Originally Posted by Neal
In my basement darkroom, I built a stand for the enlarger (D2V) that would enable it to extend completely on its column to the highest possible height, which put the baseboard uncomfortably low. Then I built a four-sided (top, back, sides) box of plywood to boost the easel up to a comfortable height for my normal work. When I needed more, it was easy to pull off the booster and use the baseboard. It turned out to be nice to have the space, too--that's where I kept my paper safe, for instance.
I was able to make the easel even higher than it would be in a normal darkroom, which was great for focusing, and my back!
I had friend who built her darkroom in a travel trailer, she had Omega D2 which her father converted by laying it on it side and shooting to the wall. She was able to make 16X29s, did not have a hot water supply which was a problem in the winter, even on jacks rocked in the wind.
Thank you all for a wide array of suggestions: wide angle lenses, low stool, side projection and various options of height adjustment of the easel. A lot of answers that really show the dedication of some of you... doing side projection in a rocking trailer is quite admirable, and so are those of you who manage to print sat cross legged.
I measured the Devere + head, 1.5m, ough, and max ceiling height would possibly be at 1.75m after isolation. As I don't want to rough it on the floor, I won't pursue with my plans to move the precious to the loft though I understand that some of you would point out that the ceiling is high enough
Thank you all for the input provided, greatly appreciated.
PS: I am still laughing at it. The loft is still not finished. My surveyor concerned over security repeated several times that I have to remain aware of the loft hatch when going upstairs. My response was, no problem at all, what could happen?
Seeing the photo of the stool on roller, I had suddenly visions of me, sat on the stool, falling through the loft hatch after an impetuous push of the foot lol
Last edited by delphine; 01-18-2012 at 08:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I hope that you can find another use for the attic space, and that you have alternate plans for darkroom space.
My own darkroom has a low ceiling, to the point that if I stand up straight I will hurt myself. With a loud bang!
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
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