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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by phfitz View Post
    the Delta 1 Bes-Align assumes the rear mounting flange is exactly aligned with the lens axis, the Versalab Parallel assumes the front flange is exactly aligned. Maybe, maybe not. It is still best to check on the easel with a micro-sight and test negative.
    I am not sure what the "mounting flange" is. Are you talking about something on the lens board (or Bes Align) or the actual housing of the lens itself?

    I have to say enlarger alignment is one of the areas in photography that fills me with the most doubt. Any light that can be shed on that topic is much appreciated.

  2. #12
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    I've just aligned mine using ZigAlign, which is a mirror-based system, no lasers. A parallel plate screws into your lens filter thread, another one goes in the negative stage, mirror on the easel, and a 45 degree mirror alignment tool completes the kit. You align the lens stage to the easel, and then neg stage to the easel, at the usual column height. Seems very precise. http://www.zig-align.com/zig-align/Enlarger.html
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  3. #13
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    I'm not trying to get focus perfect, just shape perfect. If you print a photo and the verticals are messed up or you want to show it uncropped and window mat it, you want it to be a proper rectangle/square, not some skewed rhombus on the paper. Even if your 10x10" print is off by 1/8", it shows bad when put in a mat where you want exactly 1/4" all around.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by okto View Post
    Why do you need your enlarger aligned this precisely? A bubble level will get you within less than a degree; unless you're printing wide-open (and why would you?), that slight a mis-alignment should be covered by depth of field, no?

    You are right IF you are talking about alignment between lens/film stage and the baseboard. Any mis-alignment will be covered by DOF. But, between film and lens stage alignment is very critical. Carpenter type levels aren't nearly sensitive enough for this purpose. I tried it....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #15
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=phfitz;1499202]. . . It is still best to check on the easel with a micro-sight and test negative. . . .
    QUOTE]

    Yes, indeed. Since this is the ultimate test for corner to corner sharpness, it can well be the best way and certainly the cheap way to perform all alignment, too.

    As JP498 noted, if the negative and easel aren't perfectly parallel, a tightly cropped negative may not precisely fit the easel. This is only critical with a negative carrier that shows the film rebate area. Otherwise, slightly looser cropping in the initial capture permits fine tuning the cropping of the print.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrybro View Post
    First you'd have to ensure that the base was perpendicular to the beam, or come up with a precise way of aligning and holding the laser.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum41/5...endicular.html

  7. #17

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    The shotgun shell (I have a 20ga. one) indeed DOES sit perfectly flat. The beam certainly appears to be centered and there is an adjustment screw that I haven't fiddled with..
    This works very well for me and it was like $12 shipped from California. Now to figure out how to align this Beseler 23c (shoot me). I need to bore out these two screw holes that hold this bracket in the back of the enlarger, you can see that one screw is higher than the other.. thus the head is just tilting to the left. Sloppy.

  8. #18

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    I use a large mirror that fits in place of the negative carrier and remove the enlarging lens to align the negative stage to the baseboard.
    Sometimes I will take a smaller mirror and place it in the negative carrier and double check that it is still aligned.
    I align it with the head fairly close to the baseboard and then repeat it with the head extended fully. I double check with the head lowered as well.

    Then I remove the mirror and tape a mirror to the inside of a lens board so I can repeat the process with the lens stage.
    I don't print wide open. I don't even print larger than 11x14. I don't trust bubble levels, at least not the ones I own. Using a laser is more precise, simple and quick for me at least. It's very visual, you just get the dot to reflect back into the laser diode.

  9. #19

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    One assumes that a glass neg carrier is being used (else the neg won't be flat anyway) and in my experience the glass surface reflects enough laser light to make mounting a mirror unnecessary during alignment. If you get secondary reflections from further up the optical system (maybe a condenser for example) then just put a piece of masking tape on the top of the neg-carrier glass.

    It might simplify starting off with a re-housed enlarger to have the work-table level, the column vertical and the baseboard level - all before checking the head alignment, up and down the column, and finally the lens mount alignment. To check the lens mount, put a microscope slide (or 6x6 slide glass) on the mount, then reflect the laser off that. Some enlargers have no built-in alignment screws, so those are perhaps not the easiest type to start alignment experiments with.

    I'm not sure of a reliable way to prove that the elements of a lens are in the correct arrangement regarding the lens-mount - apart from actually trying out the lens of course and/or comparing results to a known good one on the same well-aligned enlarger. One hopes that a Componar-S or Fujinon-EX (and similar standard lenses) would leave the factory in good condition, but a secondhand lens may have had a troubled life, as it were.

    How do other people do their routine of checks, and how often?

  10. #20
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I aligned mine by eye.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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