Changing Lenses on DII Enlarger
Alright APUGers -- I am a rookie at this, so please pardon my ignorance.
I recently purchased a DII at a garage sale -- it came with a lense already on it (50mm Nikkon) on a black lense board. It also came with 2 other lenses -- a Besler 75 mm and another 50mm. The current set up seems to work great with my 35mm negs. I would like to print some 6x6 negs, but the current set up leaves the corners rounded and soft. I would like to put in the 75 mm besler to prevent this.
I took out the lense board and examined the board holding the 50mm lense. It looks like the 50mm lense has been securely glued into this board and it would be quite a chore to get it out. I am guessing that the 75 mm besler will not likely fit anyways. Here are my q's:
1. What exactly do I need to get this 75 mm Besler up and going on this enlarger? All I have is the lense.
2. When looking through the Besler lense, it is pretty crappy. A lot of dust on it, spots, etc. I don't see any scratces and I don't think there is any fungus on it. Will the spots on this lense affect my prints? What is the best way to clean this puppy?
3. Also, I am confused about condensors. Looking at my enlarger, I have a bulb in the lamp house, next comes a silver bucket type piece with a lense at the bottom which the light passes through. This is the condensor, right? Next comes the slot of the negs., then the billows, then the lense. Help me if I am mistaken about what I think is the condensor. If this silver bucket like thing isn't the condensor, will I need to get one with a 75mm lense to do 6x6 work?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
The flat lens board you are using for the 50mm lens is correct for the 75mm lens too. If you cannot detach the 50mm lens then you'll have to have a board manufactured by your local machine shop. This is pretty easy to do as you can obtain the dimensions by tracing the board on a piece of paper with detail about the thickness of the board. You want to measure the diameter of the 75mm lens from just outside the threads to just outside the threads on the other side of the lens. You'll have to have a retaining ring that fits the threads. The threaded end of the lens goes through the hole in the lens board and the retaining ring is screwed on from the other side to hold the lens.
Originally Posted by Huram
regarding the condensers. The glass lens you see inside the silver bucket is the condenser. They made at least two sizes. The smaller of which should work for all negs up to 6cm x 6cm. The largest set of condenser lenses are about the same diameter of the silver bucket itself. The important thing is to be sure the condensers are wider than the negative so there is good light coverage.
Regarding the Besseler 75mm lens, I'd suggest looking on ebay or something for a lens. You will be able to pick up a lens (80mm is a better size) for a pretty reasonable price. A nasty dirty lens makes your prints muddy and a little soft
Lens boards for the older Omegas are still quite available - both new and used from the usual online sources (e.g. Calumet, etc.). The ones I have all have a large center hole, and then a small adapter plate attached with three screws. The center hole in the adapter plate is selected based on the size needed for the specific lens. Some lenses use a 39mm Leica screw-in mount, others a clean hole with a retainer ring on the back side.
You may be able to (carefully) clean the Besseler lens using the usual blow-it, brush-it, lens-cleaner-it technique. If there is dust inside, you may also be able to remove the front element to clean the interior surfaces. That, however, gets a bit trickier, and depends on the lens design. If it is too dirty inside, and you can't get at those surfaces, I'd also suggest getting another lens in better condition.
You are correct about the "silver bucket" being the condenser assembly. There are two large lenses inside that, with the convex surfaces facing each other. The assumbly should be removeable via a couple of side screws at the top, and L-shaped retainer slots. Be careful when you remove it, as the lenses just sit inside, and it's heavier than it looks. You'll want to remove the condenser lenses and carefully clean them with lens-cleaning fluid and a lens cloth. Over time, atmospheric gunk gets on these and substantially reduces the light transmission.
Different condensors are often used for different focal lengths. If you have the D2V model, there is a third condenser lens in a housing below the lamp head, with a flip=up door and slots to reposition the third lens.
There's at least one dealer online that services older Omega enlargers, and has a variety of parts available. A Google search on "Omega enlargers" should turn him up.
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That dealer would be Harry Taylor's www.classic-enlargers.com, and he runs an excellent forum on Omega enlargers as well at the site.
You can find lensboards, lens cones, and good lenses cheaply on eBay, as well as Omega negative carriers (I like the Rapid Shift carriers) and all manner of obscure Omega parts. I really went to town with this stuff and accumulated a stack of negative carriers for every format I shoot, a tilting negative stage, 4x5" copy attachment, reduction/copy bellows, all for a fraction of what it once cost.
Clean up the lens you have and see how it is. If it's not very good, try something like an 80mm Componon-S, EL-Nikkor, or Rodagon. All are modern 6-element lenses that can be had for around $50-75 on the used market.
I've got a 4x5 glass plate negative carrier I'll send you if you want it for your collection! I certainly can't use it. It looks unused.
Actually, I'll trade it for a round lens board that fits on a cone if you have one. But I think I need Copal 1. It is for a B+L lens I bought here on apug from someone. I'll have to measure the lens as I'm not sure if it is Copal 1 or not.
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Thanks, Will, but I've already owned and sold a 4x5" glass neg carrier, and I think I've sold off all my surplus lensboards and stuff. You can find those round lensboards on eBay, though, and you can buy them from Harry's website new. He'll probably drill them for you, if you need a special size, but I think the only retaining ring size he has is 39mm (I asked once).
Thanks all for you great advice and help on these issues! This website serves as a great educational tool for. I really appreciate all who contribute!! Thanks a lot!
I don't see where anyone directly addressed the issue of the size of the condenser. The old DII had four different condensers depending on what size lens/negative you were using (I have a DII). The 3 1/2" diameter condenser is for 35mm negatives. For 6x6 negatives, you will need at least the 4 1/2" condenser; the D2's had a 4 13/16" condenser which took the place of the 4 1/2" and 5 1/2" condensers. There is also a 6 1/2" condenser for 4x5 negatives.
For lenses, don't forget to look at the darkroom classifieds right here on APUG. As far as lens boards, the flat board works for lenses up to 90mm and there are a lot of used ones out there. I don't know if I have an extra board for my extra 75mm or not.
Good luck with the DII. It's a 50+ year old enlarger that's almost indestructable.
Quick question. I am planning on getting a DII lense board with a 39mm hole. Will the following 3 enlarger lenses work with this 39mm hole?
Thanks again for all the help.
My 80mm EL Nikkor is 39mm. The others I'm not sure but are probably 39mm, being 39mm is pretty standard these days.