I just received an Omega D2 enlarger from somebody who wanted to get rid of it. It has two Zeiss lenses plus a short lens cone, a 4-1/2 inch condenser and a 120 (6x6) aperture plate.
I already have an Omega DII enlarger in my darkroom but it only has a Wollensak lens plus a tall lens cone, a 6 inch condenser and a 4x5 aperture plate.
I also have a couple of flat lens boards and an old Ilex (?) lens that isn't marked with a focal length.
My other enlarger is a Beseler 23-C that has two EL-Nikkor lenses (40mm & 80mm) plus a 35mm & 120 aperture plates.
I have been thinking about combining parts from the two Omegas to make one good one that does everything.
The condensers are interchangeable and the lenses easily go between but the DII has the color lamphouse with the filter slot where the D2 doesn't. On the other hand, the D2 has a rack-and-pinion height adjustment where the DII is a lift-and-lock design.
I'm sure I can combine the lamphouse from one and the column from the other to make one "Franken-larger" but I just want to be sure before I go tearing everything apart.
Second, can I mount the EL-Nikkor lenses in the flat lens plates and use them in the Omega as well?
If I can combine everything together, it would be nice to have one enlarger that can do all my formats from 35mm, 120 and 4x5.
I suppose I'd also need to find a condenser and an aperture plate in order to use 35mm film. Right?
It is my understanding that, overall, the Omega is a better enlarger than the Beseler 23-C. Correct?
Do you think it is feasible to make one "Franken-larger" that does everything?
"Better" is a relative term. I had a Beseler 23-C, then "upgraded" to the Omega D2 because I thought I was going into 4x5. I ended up not going into 4x5 (at least, not for very long), but I did keep the D2. There are certain characteristics that I like (like the negative carrier not moving around), and I liked the fact that I have more leeway with 6x9 negatives.
I eventually moved up to a D2V. That has a condenser head where you can move a smaller condenser into 3 different shelves, depending on the negative that you're working with. And there is a long bellows where the lens goes, so you don't need a lens cone for each format. But I still enjoyed using the D2.
An important question is this: do you have both the lens cone and the condenser for both 35 and 6x6? You'll probably need both. And I'm sure what an "aperture plate" is.
Yes, D2 and Dll are almost identical, and you can combine them together.
"Aperture Plate" = "Film Holder".
(Bad habit of mixing metaphors. )
I have two lens cones. The longer one (4-1/2 in. ?) for 4x5 and a medium one (3 in. ?) which I believe is for medium/120 format.
There are also two flat plates.
I have two condenser units. 6 in. dia. and 4-1/2 in. dia.
I have two film holders. 4x5 and 60mm x 60mm for 120 format.
I am guessing that all I need for 35mm is a film holder and a lens to match. Correct?
(The 4-1/2 in. condenser could be used for 35mm... because the lamp is 75 watts, light loss from the smaller aperture would go unnoticed.)
I'd be interrested to find out whether my EL-Nikkors would work.
Again, this is a guess but I suppose, the flat plates could be adapted to hold them, assuming I can collapse the focusing bellows enough to bring them in focus.
This would probably need some experimentation to verify or not.
I like the Beseler but I find it to be a pain in the butt to keep aligned.
Once aligned, the Omega seems to hold its alignment forever.
Like others have said, I'd also like to be able to use one enlarger for all formats.
I don't know about 40mm but with 80mm, it works fine with flat lensboard. I use it myself with D2 and DII. Parts are interchangeable. The only difference between the two is column system.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
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You shouldn't have to change the 6" condenser.
The 4" should be in a frame that fits in the filter drawer. There should be a diagram of the different positions on the inside of the flip=up door.
You will want to keep all the Omega lens cones and lens plates. Decide which column you like best, mount it on the best baseboard and put the better condenser head on top. Take the lenses off the Beseler boards and mount them to the appropriate Omega plates or cones. Negative holders for the D series are very plentiful you can collect all that you need and many that you don't need for not much money.
Get a few spare enlarging bulbs while they are still available.
Lenses from 50 to 105 mount on the flat plates. 40 mm may need 421-026 Recessed Mount. 135mm mounts on the 2 3/4" cone and 150mm mounts on the 4 1/2" cone.
If you are going to go though that much trouble.... I would recommend replacing the baseboard. I did to mine. It's really not large enough. I used two layers of 3/4" plywood glued and screwed together. Much stronger than the original.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
This is all good to know! Thanks!
The D-II (the older enlarger) is all working but only has 4x5 condenser, holder and lens.
There were some other lenses that came with it but they look crappy. Besides, if doing 4x5, the other lenses won't be used.
The D-2 (the newer enlarger) has the 120 condenser, holder and lens.
The older enlarger has the slot at the top of the lamphouse for filters but the newer enlarger has the rack and pinion height adjustment.
The old one has a good baseboard but the new one has a crappy, plywood baseboard.
The older D-II has been cleaned up but I didn't take it all apart. Only the exterior was cleaned and the optical path. The rest only got the once-over.
The guide rods for the lens carriage could use a good cleaning and lubrication. The rollers and lift mechanisms could use a good looking at.
The newer D-2 will need a good cleaning to get it into operation.
I have been meaning to take the old one apart to give it a full cleaning and the new one will need to be taken, at least, part way apart to clean it. I figure there would be no better time to take them both apart, look to see which parts are the best and put them together into one unit that has everything the way I like.
I think I'll take the old lamphouse with the filter slot, pick the stage that looks the best and mount all that to the rack-and-pinion frame, using the nicer baseboard to hold it all up.
I've got two interchangeable condensers and film holders plus lenses to match. Right there, I have an enlarger for 4x5 and 120 all ready to go.
I'll look for film holders for 35mm and a lens mount for my Nikkors.
Just from looking, I *THINK* the 40 mm will work without modification but just barely. I might be able to get a piece of black Delrin and make a shim ring to raise the lens up by about 1/2 inch. That out to about do it.
If I do all that, I think I should be able to make one Franken-larger that can do everything.
I'll still keep the Beseler but it will be the backup enlarger or the one I teach my nephews on.
P.S. Who ever came up with the hare-brained naming scheme for these enalrgers? Have you ever tried to explain the difference between a "D roman numberal II" and a "D arabic 2"? I guess nobody thought of naming them "D-2.0" and "D-2.1"
You are probably familiar with this already, but just in case, here is the link to KHB's excellent resource on Omega enlargers. Just click on "Discontinued Enlargers" on the left: http://www.khbphotografix.com/omega/index.html
And another great resource that you probably already have seen - Harry Taylor's Classic Enlargers site: http://www.classic-enlargers.com/
Harry is very generous with his contributions on the Help Forum (and KHB are known to chime in there as well).
“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