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  1. #1

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    Aligning Vivitar VI dioptic enlarger

    I received a fine looking and fully functional Vivitar VI Dioptic enlarger from a nice gentleman.

    Before putting this into my darkroom, I would like to align it. I have a Versalab Parallel laser alignment tool that my girlfriend bought me.

    Problem is, I can't figure out if this enlarger is able to be fully aligned. I looked at the user-manual and looked closely at the equipment itself. I can see the film stage can be moved by losening 4 bolts. The lens stage tilts side ways only. I can't find any way other than shimming to align the head relative to the baseboard.

    I can see I can do the parallelism alignment between film stage and the lens stage. Seems there is no way to do baseboard vs head alignment.

    Does anyone know otherwise?

    Also, does anyone know if focusing knob can be made tighter?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post

    I can see I can do the parallelism alignment between film stage and the lens stage.
    That is the critical alignment.
    Lack of column-to-table alignment on enlargers is common because it is not as critical as film to lens alignment. The service manual for my Omega D5500 recommends using shims if alignment is far out.
    I actually made adjustable false tables for each enlarger baseboard to perfect the alignment. But in real-life enlarging, it probably does not make much difference as long as lens to negative alignment is exact.
    BTW, you have a very unique enlarger. It has the efficiency of a condenser enlarger and the adjustable filters of a diffusion enlarger. It works by feeding the light source through a fiber optic cable in which the fibers are scrambled. You get efficient transmission of the light and even distribution of the filter coloration.
    Last edited by ic-racer; 11-13-2012 at 07:58 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    This enlarger came complete but I see parts for it are very hard to find...

    Great idea about the adjustable base plate. I might do that.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    This enlarger came complete but I see parts for it are very hard to find...

    Great idea about the adjustable base plate. I might do that.
    I bought shelves from Home Depot, then put 4 of these captive nuts in each corner:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Then I put grub screws through those and use an Allen wrench to adjust each corner from the top.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

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    I was wondering how you did that. I was going to attach a much larger top anyway so I'll incorporate adjust-ability as well.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #6
    Patrick Robert James's Avatar
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    Shimming is the way to go. Saunders enlargers were always marketed as perfect out of the box so they have no adjustments, but I don't know what perfect they were talking about. It sure wasn't my perfect. Shimming solved the issues.

    I like ic-racer's baseboard. that sure is a lot simpler than shimming the column! An elegant solution. That is a perfect solution for a wall mounted enlarger as well.

  7. #7

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    I really like what ic-racer did. So instead of just screwing a larger board onto the existing baseboard, I'm going to do something like this to make it adjustable.

    Every now and then, I do "dirty border" type prints. It is kind of important to have baseboard aligned against the head so the borders are in right proportions side to side and top to bottom.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #8
    mr rusty's Avatar
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    Am I missing something here? I sometimes use the ability to swing the lensboard and also prop up the baseboard to correct convergence in a negative - correctly set up the image is all in focus. (I forget the correct name for this setup - have to open up my "way beyond monochrome!) Also, in general use, surely the enlarger lens has a depth of field on the baseboard so provided the lens is swung so that the "midway" marks are aligned and are to all intents central, the DOF will absorb any microscopic misalignment. I have never quite understood the conversations re "aligning" an enlarger when they are fitted with adjustments that allow you to swing the lens board??

    BTW, I also use a V1 with a dichroic head and find it an excellent enlarger. The neg carriers are glassless, and the light is totally cold at the negative due to the "light pipe" design. The guy I bought it from had been the official photog for british aerospace before he retired, and although I didn't know much about enlargers I figured he wouldn't have wanted to use a bad unit! Coupled with an RH analyser pro I think I have a great rig.

    I have both 35mm and 6x6 neg holders for it. If anybody has a 645 neg holder I would like to buy it, but it isn't a showstopper to use 645 in the 6x6

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr rusty View Post
    Am I missing something here?
    Maybe I was missing something, I did not realize the Vivitar VI has a tilting lensplate. Does it just have a center mark or is there a click or detent. On my Durst, there is a firm detent at the middle position. The baseboard tilt lock in the middle position with a tapered screw. In that enlarger the actual alignment of the lens stage and baseboard are both separate from the tilting mechanisms.

  10. #10

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    ic-racer
    Yes, the lens itself tilts side to side. But, not forward to back. There is no "click" but just a center mark I have to manually align. Instruction says to pull the lens stage all the way up and it'll automatically align to vertical. Well, it doesn't... not accurately so anyway.

    mr rusty
    I'm not worried about DOF at the baseboard. At printing f stop, there's enough DOF already (as you pointed out). What I'm worried about is, for example, printing dirty border style.... Everything may be in focus but the image itself won't be rectangular. It may not matter that much by itself but framed in rectangulary cut mat board, slight difference actually stands out. I ran into this when I printed with my D2 not aligned correctly.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?



 

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