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Thread: Vivitar VI

  1. #1
    Alex Bishop-Thorpe's Avatar
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    Vivitar VI

    [EDIT: This is probably better suited for the Enlarging forum, under Darkroom - ouch, my bad]

    Well I finally got an enlarger. Not that I have a darkroom or anything, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside all the same.
    Vivitar VI off of eBay, which made me nervous as I've never gotten anything big and expensive off of eBay, and more so because it was being shipped by Austrlia Post. Well two of the three packages got here today, the third being the dealy that joins the head to the board should be here on monday.
    $120AUS-ish all up, including a Soligor 90mm f/4.5 lens. Half of the price was the shipping cost, so either way I think I got a good deal.

    I've heard a lot of good things about the particular enlarger, but now it's in my confused little hands, does anyone here have any first hand experiance with the thing?
    I've heard the bulbs are hard to replace, but with the internet I figured they'd exist somewhere on earth, any advice with this? I'm also wondered where I'd find a 6x6 negative carrier for it...
    Also, one of the three hunks of glass inside the head (ok, not great at technical terms), seems to have come loose during shipping, and has an off center small ding in it, just like a slight circular crack, will this ruin the whole machine? Any idea where I'd replace something like that anyway?

    I also have a rather novice question about enlarger lenses - are they all on a universal screw mount, or do I need to essentuall match the lens to my enlarger or it wont attach? I was never sure about this.

    I'm still playing with it and making sure nothing else is damaged, but overall I'm quite happy, hopefully when I get some more money together I can get some blackout fabric and trays and chemicals and junk.
    The Analogue Laboratory, or 'so you built a darkroom in an old factory in the industrial zone'.
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    Also, one of the three hunks of glass inside the head (ok, not great at technical terms), seems to have come loose during shipping, and has an off center small ding in it, just like a slight circular crack, will this ruin the whole machine? Any idea where I'd replace something like that anyway?

    Good Morning,

    Those "hunks" are presumably the condenser lenses. Having one come loose probably isn't very serious, because there's normally some kind of indication of its original location and finding a way to get it into position shouldn't be too difficult. A "slight" crack may well not cause any problem. I could depend on which lens is cracked and how large the crack is. Without a negative in the stage, project light through the lens, focus, stop down, and see if the flaw is visible on the easel. If so, you have a problem, otherwise no.

    Konical

  3. #3
    Alex Bishop-Thorpe's Avatar
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    I've managed to reposition all the elements now, and another crack about the same size has been found in another of them. I've had a go at turning the thing on, but so far no good. Kinda awkward to position the head, and I'm not sure how to get a look at the bulb, so I'll keep looking around trying to get a handle on it.
    The Analogue Laboratory, or 'so you built a darkroom in an old factory in the industrial zone'.
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    Worry less. Photograph more.

  4. #4

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    I don't own this particular model, but a Google search on "Vivitar VI enlarger bulb" turns up 320 hits, including forum posts discussing the model and dealers selling bulbs. If the search is correct, it uses a PH/111A bulb, and they tend to go for US$7 to US$10. You might also try a search on "Vivitar VI enlarger manual" if you don't have one. That turns up 739 hits, most of the first ones being people asking about manuals. At least a couple hits include pointers to people who are selling manuals. Maybe if you dig some more you could find one for free.

    The "hunks of glass inside the head" sound like condensers, but my brief research indicates that this is a color enlarger, and most color enlargers are diffusion models, which don't use condensers. Perhaps the Vivitar is an example of a color condenser model (they do exist -- I've got a Philips PCS150 that so qualifies), or maybe there's a B&W variant, or maybe you're not looking at condensers. Are the glass hunks large and of variable thickness (like oversized lenses)? If so, they're probably condensers. If they're completely flat, they may serve some other purpose, such as heat insulation or IR filtration. If they're colored, they could be your color filters, and having them chipped could cause subtle complications with filtration -- but probably not enough to cause serious problems.

    Your 90mm lens will probably be OK for 6x6 negatives (75mm or 80mm is the usual recommendation for that size; with 90mm, you'll need to raise the head just a little higher, but it should otherwise be fine). I can't speak to the quality of the Soligor lens. For 35mm, although you can use the 90mm lens, you'll be better off with a 50mm lens. If buying used, get a good 6-element design, such as a Rodenstock Rodagon, Schneider Componon, Nikon el-Nikkor f/2.8 (but not the f/4), or Fuji Fujinon EP or EX. There are also 4-element lenses from all of these manufacturers. The 4-element lenses are OK, in the sense that they don't produce prints that look like they were printed through a Coke bottle bottom, but in the used market the price difference is so small that you might as well go for the better 6-element design. Most, but not all, enlarger lenses use a 39mm screw mount (the same as used on early Leica cameras, their clones, and certain derivatives). You might need a different lens board for a 50mm lens than for a 90mm lens, though; I don't know enough about the Vivitar VI to know for sure. (The lens board is just the part of the enlarger to which the lens attaches. It's often removable and can be changed to adjust the lens-to-film distance.)

  5. #5
    Alex Bishop-Thorpe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the amazingly informative response - I opened it up to look for the lamp, and it had just been knocked out of place during shipping, works fine now. I have it all set up now, and it turns out the cracks slash dings in the glass arent visible through the 35mm negative carrier, so apparently Im good to go. I try to get some replacement bulbs on hand just in case, and keep looking for that 6x6 negative carrier - I have also found a few interesting lenses on eBay going cheap, so Ill have to keep an eye on that
    The Analogue Laboratory, or 'so you built a darkroom in an old factory in the industrial zone'.
    Blog thing!.

    Worry less. Photograph more.

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    Vivitar VI

    I know this is an old thread but I have significant resources to contribute if anyone is still following this thread. This enlarger is indeed a unique design that uses the condensers with both the Tungsten bulb and the Dioptic Light Source Dichroic Color Head. While the chips in the condensers may not show up in the 35mm settings, you may still have problems when you use 6x6 format. I have extra main condensers and negative carriers in several formats for this enlarger, including the 6x6 you requested, available to sell reasonably if you still need them.



 

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