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  1. #11
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Maybe I am a tight wad. Maybe I don't care that much for accuracy, but I just use a darkened negative with a series of lines scribed across it. Put it in the neg holder, turn the light on and focus on the board. With a few measurements you can reasonably quickly see how close the alignment is. Sure, you are not going to get it within thou's, but for my style, its close enough (& cheap)

  2. #12
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidingWaves View Post
    Laser. Much better than Zig-align, which is better than levels. You won't regret it. Worth every penny. I've had mine for 12+ years and it would be one of the first darkroom items to be replaced if lost or damaged. Very useful for copy work as well.
    RidingWaves, may I ask you why did you find the laser much better than Zig-Align? Many thanks.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  3. #13
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    What "laser" are we talking about? After a Google search, I'm guessing the Versalab one for $189? That's worth more than the enlarger itself.

  4. #14

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    the zig that I borrowed was too fiddly, it was also tougher to check the alignment of the Neg stage vs the Lens stage. Lens stage to baseboard/easel was ok, but the Laser (Versalab) is just so much Cleaner in technique. Because it is easier and faster I find I'll do a quick check before a printing session and then check it as I move up or down print sizes and change easels, one of which needs a bit of shimming here and there. Checking it more often means I'll catch any errors sooner, saving time and paper.

  5. #15
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    Thank you, RidingWaves, I appreciate it.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  6. #16
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  7. #17

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    I have two Omega DII.

    I tried aligning it with a carpenter's level and a plate of glass. What I found frustrating was that I level something once and come back to measure again, the level shows it is now out of alignment. Did this for a few days... trying to do it in two axis at 3 different planes and having it to agree on level was nearly impossible. I finally got it and used it like this for a while.

    Then my girlfriend bought me a Versalab's laser alignment tool. It took me all 30 seconds to find out it really wasn't aligned right. Took another 30 minutes to align it correctly. (remember this is my first time using this tool). To recheck it takes a minute or so. I then aligned another one of my D-II in about 15 minutes.

    Based on my experience, I don't suggest using carpenter's level. When I tried it, I couldn't be sure what I was reading was right. (and it wasn't)

    I know Beseler has a dedicated level for this purpose. It's $179 at B&H. I'm sure you can align it correctly with this jig as something like this has been in use for decades for this purpose and all masters used something like this in their setup.

    Versalab, by the way, is $189.

    To me, the choice is clear.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #18

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  9. #19
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    The main object of enlarger alighment is to get the four corners of the image on the easel simultaneously focused. For some precise projects such as double sided printed circuit boards or integrated circuit masks, the negative and image should be precisely parallel. In pictorial photography, that rarely matters. A suitable negative and perhaps a suitable focusing aid are about all one needs. Hoffy's suggestion of scribing through a dense negative might work best with a diffusion enlarger. For a condenser enlarger, lightly sand a piece of film with both fine and coarse sandpaper. Some enlargers, such as the excellent old Omega B22, have screws that can be loosened to permit adjustment. Other enlargers may require shimming. Adhesive tape works well enough for this. A problem sometimes encountered is a column that has developed a forward tilt over the years. If so, the base of the column should be shimmed before doing further alignment.

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