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  1. #21

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    I agree with lee and Bob Carnie.

    With what you're interested in Nicole, I would say that a 4x5 enlarger isn't so much about you moving up to large format as it is having a rock solid and stable system. The enlarger chasis could be thought of as the backbone of your darkroom. Nothing worse than having equipment that always shows its limits rather than its potential. This is not "disinformation" just thoughtful advice from people that have walked this road in the past.

    Model type? Who cares... Buy great glass and a great light source. If something local is common, that can be a plus. In North America there are models that undoubtedly are different than in your neck of the woods, but we reference those that we know of and you could easily look them up on the www to see similar types of machines we're refering to.

    The arrogance and rants aren't helping Nicole, and that's what this is for...

    joe

  2. #22
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    Hi Ed

    I have to disagree with you, In North America every photo school as well as every photo lab , as well as professional photographer darkroom that I have encountered has a 4x5 set up as normal.
    Most school photo labs in North America that I've seen don't have gear for 4x5" but were typically set up with something like Omega B-22s, some old Bogen or maybe a Beseler.. OK a few D2s but typically not set up.. School photo labs and "photo schools" are, however, quite different beasts and given the traditional trend to large format studio cameras for commercial use and given that 4x5" is one of its most economical forms, its natural that they'd be set-up for the format.. Those days, however, are behind us.. and these days any photo-school (again don't confuse photo-school with art-school) worth its tuition will have digibacks on their large format studio cameras.. and if they have a darkroom its probably right out of some time machine..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    For a young photographer, If Nicole decides to intern or work in the professional world , being competent with a 4x5 enlarger is an advantage for her.
    The "professional world" has moved on.. there is a whole new bag of talents in demand and being skilled on some old Besler 45MX just won't cut it, I'd suspect in Turkmenistan, not to say Western Australia. The jobs have moved on.. that's why all these great large format enlargers have been flooding the market for pennies.. From a commerical view they are hardly more than large, hard to dispose of, trash.. Even some of the last-of-the-breed computer controlled digital closed loop systems are being hauled away, alongside digital copying cameras, to the waste dumps.. They might have cost 10 years ago $100,000 USD but today just trash that is not worth the expensive space they occupy.. and which costs some money to have hauled away-- which is why they get listed on eBay for as little as 1 EURO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    I have been using 4x5 since 1973 photo college days, in fact using the same brands, omega, durst and deveere. all 4x5 and above that I use today.
    My Durst DA-900 I think was made sometime around then.. And I use some gear like my Focomat Ic that is from the late 1950s.. So?

    Among those brands really the DeVere is about as closest to an enlarger that is still fun to use in smaller formats. Since I like to have different kinds of heads and go between B&W and colour I don't see why not have multiple enlargers. If I needed to do 4x5" I might get a DeVere 504.. But I'd probably just get another Durst Laborator run it parallel to my other enlargers--- to "near" parallel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    They all deliver the power to create decent time and apeture when making fine art prints.
    Sure.. that's why I don't bat an eye using half-a-century old gear.. I'm using technology that was well developed decades before even that gear was made.. So if it was good enough in 1960 why should it not be good enough in 2004.. OK.. I do have some more "modern" devices.. but..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    On a practical note, I recently accepted and young man from sery. small village near geneva (switzerland) to work here in Toronto for 10 months. His first main learning curve was how to set up the various enlargers. We have 17 different analog enlargers all 4x5 - 11x14. I would have been extremely pleased if he knew how to set them up , rather than having to teach him.
    Experience has shown that even IF someone thinks that they "know" how to do something they often don't.. I look at the computer trainees we've gotten.. (and they all came from a year long course before we got them).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    Funny how quickly he picked up on using the gear even though he had never been in a analog darkroom in his 20 odd years
    Its not funny but its to be expected.. The gear is pretty straightfoward and easy to use.. (unfortunately, often was is expected and what one experiences from trainees is quite different).
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

  3. #23
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Symchyshyn
    I agree with lee and Bob Carnie.

    With what you're interested in Nicole, I would say that a 4x5 enlarger isn't so much about you moving up to large format as it is having a rock solid and stable system.
    There ARE pretty solid 6x9 enlargers out there.. and there are some junk 4x5" enlargers out there.. They are loads of 4x5" enlargers that are horribly out of alignment--- and where the main tool to set them up into alignment is a big hammer and a method of wacking 'til its OK.. Don't confuse the format with "stability", quality or alignment.
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

  4. #24
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    Hi Nicole,

    I was like Lee, believing the only enlargers in the world were Omegas and Beselers. They were/are extremely popular here in the USA, all fifty States, not just Texas and Kansas. As others have observed, nearly every school, from high schools to universities, was equipped with 4x5 enlargers, even though the preferred format for teaching students slid to 35mm many years ago. Maybe the penchant for 4x5 enlargers is a lingering legacy of the USA's tradition of the Speed Graphic camera.

    I will offer another plug for starting out with a 4x5 enlarger if you can. I started with an Omega B8 allows up to 6x9 MF sizes. Then along came a 4x5 Beseler which had served many years at the local newspaper. Of the two, I like the 4x5 best. Overall, its easier to work with and has greater flexibility. The 4x5 uses a 150 watt bulb while the B8 uses a 75 watt. This means shorter exposure times, particularly when doing 11x14 and larger enlargements. Its still small enough to be moved around if necessary. That was important for me since the darkroom is also my general Fix-It shop, and a very small space at that. Not hardly an optimal set-up, especially in the Germanic tradition of optimizing everything, but I make it work.

    Contrary to what some believe, the brand name on the equipment is not important at all for making good prints. Profociency in using your equipment IS important, so buy some and get crackin'!

    As far as paper is concerned, the Adorama brand can't be beat, in my opinion, for learning use. Its cheap, in both RC and FB, high quality, and extremely close to Ilford MG IV in performance.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  5. #25
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    Hi Ed

    once again I must disagree with you.

    My lab is solidly based with old gear, as well we have high end digital gear,
    My experience over the last 8-12 months is that I personally am in the darkroom 26 out of 30 days per month , making traditional prints.
    Actually our buisness has soared over the last few years and I attribute it to the digital world. My clients do prefer a hand crafted image and as well enjoy the magic I can provide with wet chemistrys and the experience I have gained over the years. We basically are printing each and every day because ( profesionals have not moved on ) .
    I think Nicole and other young photographers should be encouraged to learn every aspect of photography and it does start with analog methodology.
    Photo shop is a simple by product of photo-comp, If you don't believe so look at the great master printer/photograher Jerry Uelsmann pre dating photoshop
    Ed if you have moved on so be it but I think your comments are totally off base and misleading, I am constantly producing photographic shows and meeting young photographers , thrilled to learn how to make a georgeous silver print by hand.

  6. #26
    lee
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    Quote Originally Posted by edz
    There ARE pretty solid 6x9 enlargers out there.. and there are some junk 4x5" enlargers out there.. They are loads of 4x5" enlargers that are horribly out of alignment--- and where the main tool to set them up into alignment is a big hammer and a method of wacking 'til its OK.. Don't confuse the format with "stability", quality or alignment.
    the same can be said for every enlarger out in the world. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean others would like it. I cannot give a recommendation to some equipment I have never seen much less used. You are correct when you say that I have a provential experience but it is my experience. When I was in Frankfurt AM at Rhein Main AFB all we had were Omegas to use.

    lee\c

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    the same can be said for every enlarger out in the world. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean others would like it. I cannot give a recommendation to some equipment I have never seen much less used. You are correct when you say that I have a provential experience but it is my experience. When I was in Frankfurt AM at Rhein Main AFB all we had were Omegas to use.

    lee\c
    And I can remember a diesel Mercedes we had a few years ago that rusted out and refused to start during our "normal" Kansas winter. So much for automotive perfection!

    If an enlarger is out of alignment, it can be re-adjusted. No mystery about that.
    Last edited by Alex Hawley; 11-25-2004 at 03:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by edz
    There ARE pretty solid 6x9 enlargers out there.. and there are some junk 4x5" enlargers out there.. They are loads of 4x5" enlargers that are horribly out of alignment... ...Don't confuse the format with "stability", quality or alignment.
    Really???? 4x5" enlargers can go out of alignment? :o Well no kidding... I didn't think of stating the obvious.

    I guess while we're stating the obvious we can also give the other side... There are some junk 6x9 enlargers and solid large format enlargers out there. There are also 6x9 enlargers horribly out of alignment. I wasn't confusing the format with "stability", quality or alignment... But thanks for trying to help me too...

    BTW, why are you so jumpy/defensive about letting people have an OPINION especially from users that have EXPERIENCE WITH VARIOUS EQUIPMENT in the darkroom??

    joe

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicole McGrade
    Hi everyone

    To help me set up a darkroom (processing and printing) and before buying all the equipment, I'd love to hear your suggestions/experience as to what equipment works best for:

    1) Ease of use
    2) Speed
    3) But most importantly: artistic ability!

    I really appreciate your help and have learnt so much already through APUG! Big thanks to Sean and to everyone for their input.

    Kind regards
    Nicole
    ...

  10. #30
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    the same can be said for every enlarger out in the world. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean others would like it. I cannot give a recommendation to some equipment I have never seen much less used. You are correct when you say that I have a provential experience but it is my experience. When I was in Frankfurt AM at Rhein Main AFB all we had were Omegas to use.

    lee\c
    Come on... Rhein/Main AFB... could just as well been in Podunk Iowa.. USAF installations are global and hardly driven by local aquisitions.. Heck they have the aircraft and logistics to move whatever they want, don't they? Back in the 1970s it could just as well have been Ford Pinto country.. The AFB, however, did pick up a lot of gear from Leitz (including, from what I've heard quite a few Focomats) and Zeiss.. especially, it seems, doing some of the surveilance stuff.. and I don't expect the counters and dixie-cups mucked with those Omegas either... Most of that stuff has been long dumped into the trash..

    The key.. I think is to talk about features and characteristics and not brands.. since its all too easy for people to be mislead and start chasing hen's teeth.. Now if all there is ... are some Omega D2s.. then D2s it is.. in Germany it would be silly for someone to pay (and some poor souls have) more for an Omega/Chromega than for a good Durst--- its like comparing a Dodge Dart to a Mercedes SL.

    Now in Australia.. I'd suspect that it might be easier to find a nice Durst than to get an Omega..
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

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