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  1. #11

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    For B&W only work, a condenser enlarger gives sharper looking results than a colour diffuser type and putting VC filters in the draw is no great hardship. These should go above the image path, though, as they are not exactly optical quality. I have been using a Durst M370 BW for years and find it robust, stable, a good cost compromise and it can take negs up to 6 x 7. It is also small enough to be fairly portable if you are stuck with a temporary darkroom.

    If you are on a tight budget, spend most of your money on the lens. It's far better to put a top class lens on a cheap 2nd hand enlarger than to put a coke bottle on a high end enlarger. You can always replace the enlarger later if you really can't live with it and you can pick them up for next to nothing 2nd hand at the moment.

    As others have said, you will need two lenses if you want to do 35mm and 120 and you need to consider in advance how big you want to print. Some enlargers let you rotate the head if you want really big prints, so that you can bluetack paper to a wall and print right across the room. With your temporary darkroom, this might be an easier solution than using a massive enlarger.

    David.

  2. #12

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    HI
    I also have a bathroom darkroom and having a small enlarger is a plus, My way of setting up is to set the enlarger on a big plastic box with a lid, when not printing i put all my chemicals and trays etc in the box and then the enlarger sets on it, takes up a small amount of space. but anyway i have cardboard to put in the windows and put a old towel in front of the door. set my darkroom light up and set out the trays on the counter, i also put toothbrushes and cobs etc in the draws, and i have a piece of cardboard that i put behind my trays and attach my digital timers for each steep of the printing. picked up the timers at target for $6.oo each" works for me" for my enlarger i have a real darkroom timer. my enlarger is a unicolor, made in the 70's, dose 35mm and 120 and head will rotate to do very large prints on the wall. came with two lens and has a filter draw. i like it and it is working for me. and i think that is the key, have a set up that work for you, because you are the one that will be putting it up and taking it down each time.
    hope this helps ---> Melanie
    PS-- make sure you have an extra bulb for you enlarger at all times.

  3. #13

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    I bought a Durst M301 from Ebay. It collapses almost into a large shoebox. Ok, not that small, but I tell ya the base is almos the biggest part of the enlarger. Best thing about is that when I bought it and took it apart to clean it, I did it with 1 screw driver and it was about 15 pieces.

    It takes a standard house hold lightbulb too. I have the opaque filter that goes in between the bulb and condenser....

    Here is a sample:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW

    Here is a good size comparison next to the Omega C760
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW

    I also added a 50 2.8 lens (you need to get a high quality lens).
    David Savkovic

    My home page

  4. #14
    Blighty's Avatar
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    Zinzin,
    I'm going to go against the grain here and suggest you get a condensor enlarger. It's true you can't really do colour work on them, but if you've no real intention of doing so then nothing's been lost. B+W multigrade printing on a 'condensor' is a doddle. It's just a matter of placing the appropriate filter in the filter drawer. Maybe a dichro head is easier in this respect, but only marginally so. I've also found that a condensor enlarger seems to print with more sharpness and punch, especially in the shadows, than a dichro (colour). Having used both types of enlarger I would never go back to using a dichro again. I will add one caveat; I've never used a large format (5"x4" or larger) enlarger, so I couldn't really say in this case which type would be better. But for 35mm or medium format, IMO condensor is 'king'. Regards, BLIGHTY

  5. #15
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Another condenser crusader here.

    Like many others, I use an Omega D2V (the V is for variable condenser) that I bought back in the '60s. It replaced a Durst M600 that I had purchased about 2-3 years earlier, convinced that I'd never need anything beyond medium format. The Durst was a fine enlarger - relatively small and convenient. But, I made the mistake of looking at a 4x5 negative.

    I'd also agree with the suggestion that you put your money in the best lenses you can afford. Go for the six-element lenses, or even the newer APO designs if your budget allows. Better glass allows your negs to be all that they can be.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  6. #16

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    Unless you use dual filtering or an exposure meter, colour head enlargers can be a pain with VC papers (the time changes when you change the filtration) where using the drop in filters keeps things very straightforward (same speed for filters 00-3.5, double your exposure for filters 4-5)

    However, a diffusion head (colour or VCCE) has it's advantages in hiding grain, dust and scratches (best not to get them in the 1st place though!). I recently bought a LPL C7700 (colour head) and compared to my Durst M601 (condensor) and once contrast was matched (the Durst was quite a bit more contrastier when print were made without any filtering) in my test prints, there was very little difference. Examining the print from inches away and with a loupe I could spot some differences (grain & the local contrast issues people discuss) I decided to sell the Durst.

  7. #17
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    One advantage of colour heads for VC paper is if you use different papers which will require different amounts of filtering for the same grade. The exposure times between grades need not change: Ilford for example publish equal-exposure filtration tables for their papers.

    As you see, stick 10 photographers in a room and ask them any question and you will get 10 different, all perfectly correct, answers...


    Cheers, Bob.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob F.
    Stick 10 photographers in a room and ask them any question and you will get 10 different, all perfectly correct, answers...
    This would make a great sig line.
    David Savkovic

    My home page

  9. #19
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob F.
    As you see, stick 10 photographers in a room and ask them any question and you will get 10 different, all perfectly correct, answers...
    I disagree, Bob. The average number of different answers from 10 photographers is usually closer to 12 or 13.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  10. #20

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    zinzin:
    One thread or another around here suggested putting an ad in the local paper classifieds under wanted to buy darkroom. As I recall in the thread it elicited several responses with inexpensive or free darkrooms.
    You might want to try it in your neck of the woods.

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