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  1. #1
    Ambar's Avatar
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    Fuji S69.. Go or no Go?

    So..
    I've been planning on getting a darkroom going for a while now and I just stumbled across a potentially good opportunity to do just that.
    There's a Fuji S69 enlarger available with a 50mm lens, 35mm/6x6/6x7 negative carriers and maybe a timer of some sort. For now, thats all the detail I've got. The seller said that she will get in touch with me tomorrow with more details and a price.
    I'm just curious to know what this beast is like? Have any of you used/owned one? Is it any good? Are there any details I should be looking out for?
    And.. What would one of these go for? I know prices are closely related to the condition of the equipment, but any ballpark estimate would help.
    I might be buying up all she has and starting from there. Aparently she once had a running darkroom but I've no idea what has survived the (possibly) years of closet storage.
    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Unfortunately The amount of darkroom equipment in Rio seems to be pretty light(from comments here) Sooooooo, if it's clean it's worth what you're willing to pay.
    In the Chicago area there was a computer controlled Durst 6X9 advertised for a long while. It started at $900. (enlarger only) and when I contacted the owner he was willing to sell it for $150. with one lens. I think he's still got it.
    Beseler 23C's are advertised for between $40.00 and some unrealistically at $250. plus. Some without accessories, some with.
    FWIW I think in thirty-five years in the business I've only seen one Fuji enlarger.
    Hope this helps a bit.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  3. #3
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    I guess it is a Fujimoto variation, and from the ones I've used (a smaller 35 mm one and a bigger G70) they are great. The negative holders were a bit flimsy but they worked fine. Looking around a bit for the Fuji S69 on the net, they look rather sturdy and non-complicated (in a good way). The ones I've used had halogen bulbs, but not sure about this one though.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  4. #4
    Ambar's Avatar
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    Thanks John.. and it is true. Darkroom equipment in Rio is not the easiest thing to come by. The used market on pretty much anything here isn't as articulate or as well established as the one in the US (I lived in boston for almost five years). What ends up happening is that sellers cant find decent buyers, and buyers can't find decent opportunities. Consequently, most things end up in the dumpster. Ebay-like website MercadoLivre have a few going for anything between 200 to 400 US dollars. But I have no idea what the seller will be looking for. I was hoping to dish out something like 500 bucks for a complete (or close to complete) Lab in working condition (Enlarger, clocks, timers, trays, a lens and negative holders). Let's see what happens! I hope it's in some kind of decent condition.
    Jerevan, for some reason there seem to be a few of them available in MercadoLivre, I guess they might have been popular around these parts at some point. Who knows?! Heheh! Thanks for your input!

  5. #5
    Ambar's Avatar
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    I bought it!
    And I think I did a pretty good deal..
    The enlarger is in REALLY good shape. Main column and focussing system running smooth as butter, bellows is light tight and looking GREAT, condenser lens in perfect shape. No particular dings scratches and or other bends to mention and absolutely no rust, a nice 150W enlarger bulb, a little bit of dust and that's it.
    I came with a Fujinon-ES 50mm f4 lens, that has a little fungus growing inside, but no "hotspots" and nothing that can't be cleaned out (I'm sending it out to be cleaned today!). Several trays, a focussing aid, a perfect working timer for the enlarger, a nice 11x14" 4-bladed enlarging easel, and a BUNCH of film developing tanks and reels.
    She asked for $750 bucks and I said YES Please!
    It would have cost me little less to buy a new one in the US but it would most definitely not have been completely accessorized and the hassle of bringing any enlarger over to brazil in a flight more than compensates for anything else.
    She seemed happy to part with it to someone who intended to use it and take care of it. She worked professionally with it back in the day and kept it this long for affectionate reasons. Apparently this was her workhorse and love for several years.
    I've got and ENLARGER!

    But I still have a couple of questions. I can't seem to find a thread number anywhere to indicate which kind of lens it'll take. Is this a universal standard? Neither lens nor enlarger have any markings...
    Also, I'm probably gonna play around with the 50mm i've got for now, but my plan is to enlarge 6x7 negatives. Would a 80mm lens cover this? What problems could this bring?
    Thanks For the help!
    Rodrigo

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The Fujinon ES lenses were their basic lenses - 4 elements and reasonable performers. There isn't a lot of information about them online, but the information I've seen indicates that they use a 39mm thread, which is as close to a standard as there is.

    Does it thread into a lens mount, or is it attached to a lens plate using a threaded retaining ring?

    6x7 negatives optimally go with 90mm lenses, but many of the better 80mm lenses work as well. I have a later model 80mm f/4 Rodagon that easily covers 6x7, but I generally use my 90mm lens instead.

    Congratulations on your darkroom acquisition - I can only hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoy the enlargers I've had over the years.
    Matt

    “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

  7. #7
    Ambar's Avatar
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    Hi Matt,
    It threads right into the plate without any adapting rings of any sort. Now I need to clean out a couple of years of piled up old stuff to set it all up! I guess this is gonna be this weekend's project. I might be buying a Schneider 80mm f4 from a fellow APUG'er. I think (hope more than anything else) that it'll cover 6x7. I wanted to get ONE lens that would be an "all-rounder-ish" for 35mm, 6x6 and 6x7. Eventually I plan on getting a good 50mm, but I had a feeling that a good 50mm would get me nowhere with medium format. Where as a good 80mm would help out all over.

    I don't know how tall my column actually is but it has a crazy little meter that says, when fully extended, using a f=9cm, it'll have a 7x magnification. A f=7.5cm will have a 8.5x magnification. So I'm guessing a 80mm will do something close to 8x. 8x2.4 by 8x3.6 should give me a 19cm by 29cm (8.7"x13") print from a 35mm neg (give or take). Which is as big a paper as I'll be able to process initially, and enough for plenty of fun! Does this rationale proceed?

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    You will most likely be happier using your existing lens for 35mm, and the longer lens for 6x6 and 6x7.

    Enlarging lenses are optimised for a range of magnifications. An 8x enlargement is at the top of the range for most 80mm lenses, whereas a 50mm lens is most likely to be designed for an 11x14 print.

    In addition, the 50mm lens will permit using the enlarger at a more convenient height (thus limiting the danger of vibration).

    Both approaches will work, but I think you will be happier using the 50mm lens you have for larger prints from 35mm.

    For smaller prints, you may be happy leaving the 80mm lens installed.

    Which version of Schneider lens is it?
    Matt

    “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

  9. #9
    Ambar's Avatar
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    It's a Componon-s. Just the one I was looking at to maybe buy new at BH.
    Interesting and it would make sense that a 50mm would be optimized by design for greater magnifications.
    Would a 90mm do a better job on 6x6 than a 80mm on a 6x7? Or are we starting to split hairs here? (Portuguese expression for this would be "looking for hairs on an egg".. Hahah!)

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambar View Post
    It's a Componon-s. Just the one I was looking at to maybe buy new at BH.
    Interesting and it would make sense that a 50mm would be optimized by design for greater magnifications.
    Would a 90mm do a better job on 6x6 than a 80mm on a 6x7? Or are we starting to split hairs here? (Portuguese expression for this would be "looking for hairs on an egg".. Hahah!)
    A Componon-S should be good.

    As to whether a 90mm would do a better job on 6x6 than a 80mm on a 6x7 - the answer is yes, but you would really be "looking for hairs on an egg" in that case.

    Speaking more practically, however, I think you will find that it is much easier to find a high quality 80mm lens at a reasonable price than it is to find a high quality 90mm lens at a reasonable price. There were a lot more of the 80mm lenses made and sold.

    In fact, you may find it easier and cheaper to find a pair of high quality lenses - 80mm and 50mm - then a single high quality 90mm lens.

    Or you may get lucky and find all three.
    Matt

    “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



 

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