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  1. #1

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    Which enlarger for thin scanner negs?

    Which type of enlarger light source would be recommended to print negatives which are developed slightly thinner so they scan well? Diffuser? Cold light? Condenser?

    I'm finally going to have some space for a darkroom. I mostly only shoot 6x6 and 35mm.
    I have an omega d2 and a b22 but both may be incomplete in one way or another so just buying something else may be cheaper. I'd also be willing to change the head on either. I'm eyeing focomats but don't know if I'll have the $$$

  2. #2

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    Any light source really you just need to play around with the paper grades. If the negs are 'thinner' than normal you will have lost some shadow detail.

  3. #3

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    If the detail is there in the scan, then the enlarger will also be able to produce it on paper. You may need to print on higher contrast, and your exposure times will be shorter. I have printed fairly thin negs with surprisingly good results using a diffuser light source (M605 with a colour head). A condenser source should, in theory, produce slightly more contrast, but I think a better approach is just to pick an enlarger based on your overall needs. Colour heads are very convenient for variable contrast printing. The lens can also reduce contrast due to flare, so using a late generation multi-coated lens will definitely help to keep the contrast up. All in all you should be quite fine with a diffuser head and good lens.

  4. #4
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Any enlarger will work if the detail is in the neg.

    A colour head is easier to use especially for split-grade printing, but a condenser enlarger (they're often NOT colour heads) will give you a little more contrast due to the callier effect.

  5. #5

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    cold light needs a denser negative
    ( they used to actually print in developer instructions
    to process your film 30% more for cold light enlargers )

    try using a condensor head ...

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    It is impossible to answer the question without knowing what "slightly thinner" means. Slightly thinner than a contrast index of 0.9? Or slightly thinner than a contrast index of 0.5? Or what?

    Unless negatives are severely under-developed (improperly processed), no shadow detail is lost.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    It is impossible to answer the question without knowing what "slightly thinner" means. Slightly thinner than a contrast index of 0.9? Or slightly thinner than a contrast index of 0.5? Or what?

    Unless negatives are severely under-developed (improperly processed), no shadow detail is lost.
    You're right I guess my question is kind of silly now that I think about it. For now all of my negatives are all over the place from years past as far as density but I'd really like to dial in a development workflow that produces good negatives that will easily scan and print well. In my experience a negative that would look slightly thinner to the eye in density than in density of a normal printing negative would scans slightly better. Sorry I don't have a densitometer so I know it's a little vague. I guess I'm imaging that I could split the difference a little bit.

    Sounds like maybe I should dust off my Omega D2 or B22 and see if they are complete. I'm in Mexico City right now so I won't know until I get back to Austin next week.

  8. #8

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    There is a besseler 23 c iii in my area with the variable contrast head, that I may just try to pick up when I get back home. This seems like it may make it easy for me to dial in the correct contrast. Are these good enlargers?

  9. #9

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    ^eggsellent machines & then some!
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  10. #10

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    Cool, well I'll see if that lady will sell it to me!

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