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  1. #1

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    Zone VI 4x5 type II enlarger - cold light head performance stability

    Hello everyone, Iím new in this great and I thank you all for any help you will provide.

    Iím about buying a used Zone VI 4x5 type II enlarger, very difficult to find in Italy, but since it has been used by a professional printer, although it looks in really great conditions, Iím concerned about the performance of the light head after years of intense use. The device seems to light on and work properly, the variable contrast control works too by dimming the 2 light sources as required, anyway I wonder if the performance of the light sources deteriorate over time and if there is any mean to check it or measure it by myself.

    Should the light source be not at 100% condition with regards to the light intensity, could it affect the quality of the prints or itís just a matter of increasing exposure time?
    Could the light source be refurbished without replacing the entire head with the aristo one?

    Your help will be invaluable to me. Thanks.
    Claudio

  2. #2
    ROL
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    Hi Claudio, I've been a ZVI (5x7) user for 15 years. Your concerns are well founded and I will add one more. Calumet, the retailer/producer of the rig is no longer in the US. I wouldn't have recommended them to anyone without specific purpose or the desire to replace the head even prior to Calumet's demise. Why invest in it at all if you suspect the head will have to be replaced? I'll leave Aristo replacements, if there are any, to others for comment.

    That's not to say fine art prints cannot be made with it, just that there are other, more easily repairable and operable enlargers out there. Yes, the performance will degrade as the tubes age. You will just be at exposing longer times, something that its relatively weak light source is already known for. But, you better pray that the blue tube does not go out, since that is necessary for both graded and hard contrast in VC papers.

    BTW, there used to be a ZVI group here on APUG, but it received almost no attention.

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    Aristo told me a couple of years ago that they don't make the Zone VI tubes--they aren't pulg-n-play, so you'd have to somehow fabricate something that can use Aristo tubes, if THEY are any longer available ...
    I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger. ("Oohlala, by the Small Faces").

    I plan to make up for it by the time I''m 84 ...

    Bob Slaughter (megzdad81)

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    Dear friends, thanks a lot, your replies enlightened me. Taking in due consideration your comments I would like to ask you what hi end cold light enlarger, matching the renowned quality of Zone VI, would you suggest me to buy?
    Thanks a lot

  5. #5

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    Claudio,
    You might try contacting Louise Kessler at Voltarc. I dealt with her to buy spare tubes for my Aristo 4500 VCL light. At that time they had taken over the Aristo line and she might be familiar with your light.
    louise.kessler@voltarc.com
    lkessler@CDL.com

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  6. #6
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    Claudio, if you decide to go ahead and get a cold light head, consider also getting a timer designed to provide repeatably stable exposures with these heads, which produce varying light output. I have the Zone VI one, together with the photocell, and it is a 220V model, available to sell, see here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/...used-220v.html

    Good luck in your search.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreyg View Post
    Claudio,
    You might try contacting Louise Kessler at Voltarc. I dealt with her to buy spare tubes for my Aristo 4500 VCL light. At that time they had taken over the Aristo line and she might be familiar with your light.
    louise.kessler@voltarc.com
    lkessler@CDL.com

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
    I recently bought spare tubes from Voltarc for my Aristo VCL4500. They were expensive and packaging and transport overseas was also expensive. It was worth it to me as the unit works so well.

    The Zone VI unit you are interested in buying probably has tubes made by Aristo (since bought out by Voltarc.) Unless the price of the unit is quite low, I wouldn't buy it unless you can get a spare set of tubes. They do last well, but a professional photographer might have given them a lot of use compared to an amateur. Louise is very helpful. I don't know if she would be familiar with the Zone VI unit. Perhaps opening it up and photographing and measuring the tubes would help (they may well be the same as the VCL4500 unit's tubes.)

    On the subject of compensating timers, the RH Designs Stop Clock Vario is state of the art in my opinion.

  8. #8
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    The RH Designs timers are excellent, but bear in mind that they are designed for printers who like to use f-stop timing. I used to do that a lot more, but now I prefer the simpler, traditional time-based approach, for which a simpler timer, like the Zone VI, works better for me. Having said that, I own both types of timers, so I guess I am hedging my bets.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  9. #9

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    It was Louise Kessler I was corresponding with, regarding the actual Zone VI enlarger head. If Aristo made a cold light head for Zone VI, that might take new tubes, but they have to manufacture them special.

    She was very quick to respond, and this was at Voltarc. I think she directed me to Calumet, who had no replacements or repairs of anything Zone VI. Now there's no one to even respond.

    I use an Omega D5 with a color head, which gives a diffused light, and they are way more common, as are Beseler enlargers.
    I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger. ("Oohlala, by the Small Faces").

    I plan to make up for it by the time I''m 84 ...

    Bob Slaughter (megzdad81)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by megzdad81 View Post
    Aristo told me a couple of years ago that they don't make the Zone VI tubes--they aren't pulg-n-play, so you'd have to somehow fabricate something that can use Aristo tubes, if THEY are any longer available ...
    I missed this post when I suggested Voltarc. If Aristo didn't make the tubes, then someone else did. It would seem a rather specialized type of manufacture, so I wonder if there are other makers of these types of tubes, presumably in the USA. It's a pity that Calumet has just declined, as there might have been an outside chance that they would have known something.

    The Aristo VCL4500 might be better than the Zone VI unit that the OP is interested in. The spare tubes were available (manufactured to order) as of a couple of years ago by Voltarc. As an aside, these tubes do not exhibit such a variation in intensity as the temperature changes (compared to the much older Zone VI single tube models which necessitated the compensating timers, stabilizers etc.

    If I were the OP, I'd be thinking of a standard colour head on a standard enlarger, just to make life simpler if spares were needed etc.

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