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  1. #1

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    Enlarger alignment for each neg carrier?

    Hi,

    Tonight I aligned my d6 enlarger (neg stage and lensboard) for the first time with a laser alignment tool. I inserted the piece of glass that came with it in a 4x5 glassless neg carrier and aligned without problem. Did the same for lensboard, no problem.

    Then I got to thinking(always dangerous) and inserted my new used 4x5 glass carrier and rechecked alignment. I was surprised to find that alignment had changed about 1/8" on the target somehow.

    Is this normal? How much error in alignment would call for an adjustment?

    Thanks for your replies,

    Mike

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Blansky has said that he aligns every print by shimming the easel, if I remember correctly.

    Zig-Align makes an easel alignment tool, which might be a bit easier than shimming.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeb_z5
    ...inserted my new used 4x5 glass carrier and rechecked alignment. I was surprised to find that alignment had changed about 1/8" on the target somehow.
    1/8" variation on the target doesn't sound like a lot. Depends upon how high the enlarger head is set (what would otherwise amount to magnification). Possibly the glass in the carrier is providing its own reflection and may not be completely plane parallel. The question is whether or not the negative itself is orthogonal to the optical axis. But again, 1/8" doesn't sound like a lot....

    Can you tell a difference between prints made with the two different carriers, but with the same negative and same magnification?
    My Verito page

    Anyone can appreciate a fine print. But it takes a real photographer to appreciate a fine negative.

  4. #4
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Hi Mike
    I only use the same kind of glass carriers for my printing, on a very odd occasion will I use the plates without glass.
    I never thought to check if there was a difference between the two.
    I would check the bottom of the negative carriers, glassless and glass, to see if there are any differences.
    For example on omega carriers there is a small alignment plate held down with four small screws. I have found that if one of these screws comes off the pressure is different when sitting in the negative carrier stage.
    I would align your enlarger each time you change carriers as this alignment tool is quick to use, I know this solution is a bit of a pain. but other than different pressure from the bottom of the negative carrier I do not know what could be giving you this difference. 1/8 of an inch spread over a 20x24 will give you soft edges.

  5. #5
    blansky's Avatar
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    As David said I align every print. I got the idea from Les because I was too stupid to think of it myself.

    My setup is a Zone VI enlarger and I usually print 16x20 and 20x24. I usually print with the lens wide open because of the enlargment times needed.

    I have a homemade table that allows the "shelf" that the easel sits on to go from about 2-3 different heights. When I built it I was pretty anal about getting everything level ( on each level) but after I got the laser alignment tool I found that I was always out of alignment.

    So rather than fight the thing, I just align every print which takes about ten seconds. I then shim under the vacuum easel with those little wood shims that you can get at a hardware store.

    If I was enlarging at a better f stop, this may not be necessary but until the LED enlarger head gets here that's the procedure.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  6. #6
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=wfwhitaker]1/8" variation on the target doesn't sound like a lot. Depends upon how high the enlarger head is set (what would otherwise amount to magnification). Possibly the glass in the carrier is providing its own reflection and may not be completely plane parallel. The question is whether or not the negative itself is orthogonal to the optical axis. But again, 1/8" doesn't sound like a lot....

    1/8" out of alignment is significant as I have found since I started using the laser alignment tool. I think you may have highlighted the problem though when you mention the reflection. I sometimes get two laser spots bouncing back from the glass but one is always stronger than the other and that is the one I use for alignment purposes. I also use a Zone VI VC enlarger and to my sirprise I noticed that the head does go out of alignment when moved up and down the column so I re-align every time I set up the enalrger to make a print.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
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    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  7. #7

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    Thanks for your replies!

    Initially I was getting a dual reflection. I solved that by inserting a piece of paper between the glassless carrier and the condenser. Between the glass sandwich on the glass carrier.

    I haven't printed larger than 11 x 14 yet so I set the alignment a the mid point between 5x7 and 11x14. After I was done I ran the head up and down the column and could not see any difference in alignment.

    Checking alignment was quick with this device though so maybe I will just do a quick check and shim if necessary.

    Thanks again,

    Mike

  8. #8

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    I might add That when I first set this enlarger up 2 months ago I leveled it with a bubble level. The laser proved it to be off the target by 1 1/2" (lol). I can't wait to start printing tonight and see the difference it makes

    Mike

  9. #9
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    . . . I sometimes get two laser spots bouncing back from the glass but one is always stronger than the other and that is the one I use for alignment purposes. . . .
    Les - I'm curious. Assuming the two laser reflections are coming from the two surfaces of the bottom glass, wouldn't the dimmer reflection represent the top surface upon which the negative is resting? If so, wouldn't that be the better reflection to use?
    [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. #10
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarker
    Les - I'm curious. Assuming the two laser reflections are coming from the two surfaces of the bottom glass, wouldn't the dimmer reflection represent the top surface upon which the negative is resting? If so, wouldn't that be the better reflection to use?
    Interesting observation Ralph, I have to say that I did not think of that as the reason for the two reflections, I assumed that the weaker of the two was bounced from the opal glass cover on the lamp housing. I think Mike's post would support that theory and I intend to do the same as he did when I next print. I do know that my enlarger is always perfectly in alignment for I sometimes work with the lens wideopen and still have pin sharp grain across the whole of the image.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

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