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  1. #1

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    Aligning an enlarger with a laser, quick idea..

    I can't afford a Versalab Parallel.. but there are these rifle boresight laser alignment tools.. basically a cartridge with a laser pointer built in.
    I'd imaging the 12 gauge one would work particularly well, just rest it with the laser pointing upwards, place a mirror in your carrier, etc..
    Easier than building a laser diode driver for one of those cheapies, easier than mounting a laser diode perfectly 90deg. to your baseboard, etc.
    Cheap (from China) on the *bay*.. just a thought.

  2. #2

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    Also imagine fitting one (not the 12 gauge, a smaller caliber) into the battery compartment of a top-rf mounted speed/crown graphic.. press the focus button and instead of the lightbulb for focusing, you've got a laser dot. Same with the side-mounted kalart if you can figure a way to mount it into the top of the case (where the original attachment went)..
    Also would make for calibrating your kalart extremely easy (i've done this before, calibrated an aero-ektar perfectly, then a week later a 7.5" anastigmat, perfect every time.. near and far.)

    Just some thoughts, coffee is finished..

  3. #3

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    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.

  4. #4

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    Very true.. And much more difficult than it sounds but i'd imagine that the cartridge would stand flush/flat on the baseboard. A shotgun shell is pretty wide in diameter..

  5. #5
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    I bet a shotgun shell version would work. I use a 3-way laser torpedo level on the baseboard with a mirror in place of the negative carrier.

  6. #6

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    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?
    The camera is the most incidental element of photography.

  7. #7

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    "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? "

    most high-end APO lenses were designed to be used wide open, same with point-light heads. Than again some children like to play with their food.

    two things I just don't get:
    1) an optical lens does not bend/move a laser beam so you're not aligning the lens to the carrier or baseboard
    2) the alignment changes up and down the column

    the best choice is a Salthill Tri-linear alignment tool but they are rarer than hen's teeth.

  8. #8

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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?
    I believe laser alignment is a lot faster and easier. And if it is faster and easier you are more likely to do it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by phfitz View Post
    two things I just don't get:
    1) an optical lens does not bend/move a laser beam so you're not aligning the lens to the carrier or baseboard
    2) the alignment changes up and down the column
    You can align the lens with something like the Delta 1 Bes-Align used with a laser alignment tool. As far as the column is concerned I would have to check to see how much that varies. I'm not sure but I stumbled across a thread somewhere where someone said aligning the negative and the lens was far more important than aligning the negative/lens to the baseboard. I don't know if that's true so don't quote me. Just a post I saw somewhere. I would have to research it or test it myself... not very inclined to do the latter. It would be good to know what the deal is though.

  10. #10

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    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.

    "As far as the column is concerned I would have to check to see how much that varies. "

    moving the head up & down to change enlargement AND refocusing the lens for different distance will need to be checked for each enlarger and lens.

    if you need to be that accurate, you need to be THAT accurate, should only be needed for big (20 - 30X) enlargements.

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