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  1. #1

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    How to Convert Omega 5x7 Enlarger for VC Printing

    I have an Omega 5x7 E6-XL with the "saucer" head (Omegalite w/ circline fluorescent bulb). I'd like to ask if anyone has any suggestions for modifying this head or making a totally new head that can do VC printing. An unusual feature of this enlarger is that the 5x7 opening at the top of the bellows is oriented as "portrait" rather than the usual "landscape", and there is no filter drawer. I've been told by KHB that the Omega 5x7 dichro head will not work. Harry at Classic Enlargers suggested just changing the current bulb to one with a color temp around 2700K (incandescent) and using filters under the lens; this is the cheapest way to go since the Ilford website says the filters will work with any incandescent light source. Just before Aristo went bye-bye I'd coordinated with them and arrived at a system that would have cost around $2000 (OMG!!!!!), but fortunately there was no time to place an order. I can try out Harry's suggestion, but it doesn't solve the repeatability issue that stems from fluoro systems. Any thoughts, short of getting a different enlarger? Adequate 5x7's don't show up used very often, and that format is the one I use most often.

  2. #2
    E76
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    If you still want a cold light head despite the price, Aristo didn't disappear—they were just bought by another company. If you can't find any other heads that fit you may want to consider building your own. Forum member Steve Smith recently built one using LEDs that seems to work quite well.

  3. #3
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E76 View Post
    Aristo didn't disappear—they were just bought by another company.
    Yes, and that acquiring company has decided not to produce any more full product assemblies. As of my last conversation with Louise Kessler the tooling for the Aristo product line was still packed away after their plant relocation with no current plans to resume full production.

    Louise did offer that she had located the original plans for the actual grid lamps and was trying to get some kind of limited production of replacement lamps up and running for those customers who already owned units. I do not know where that effort currently stands.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  4. #4

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    Ken and E76: I was being brief when I said Aristo went bye-bye. Actually I'm up to date on the Aristo details, thanks to Ken's previous posts. Also I've been watching with interest Steve Smith's progress, although I'm not as versed as he is regarding electrical stuff, but would be willing to attempt it with some handholding if it comes to that. Right now, I'm just trying to get as much info as I can before committing to building the dern thing. I know I can construct a box with incandescents and get uniform illumination, but that's such an inefficient heat-producing solution that would require some experimentation to get the intensity worked out ... but if that's what it takes so be it.

  5. #5
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    I got a D2 with the Omegalite and quickly got a hold of an aristo unit. The omega lite for all intents and purposes is terrible with VC paper. The exposures are very long and the spectrum was designed for graded papers made in the late 60's

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmolson View Post
    The omega lite for all intents and purposes is terrible with VC paper. The exposures are very long and the spectrum was designed for graded papers made in the late 60's
    Agreed. It's still working very well with graded papers, but I'm having to persist with various means of changing contrast that are nowhere near as convenient as a VC system.

  7. #7
    outwest's Avatar
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    If you can round up a condenser housing and condensers it is very easy to add a dichroic head from a Honeywell/Nikor/Rollei 6x7 enlarger. Works like a champ on my E.

  8. #8
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    I'm surprised the E Chromega head won't fit your enlarger.

    I had an old style Aristo head and got good results with 8x10 negative enlarging with the following:

    1) 30CC Yellow Aristo filter placed between light and negative
    2) Ilford 6x6in filters placed between lens and paper on a home-made filter holder.

    It worked very well.

    Also, the fact that the bulb on your saucer head can be cheaply replaced with one of another color temp, puts you way ahead someone with an Aristo head


  9. #9

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    Ken - when was your last conversation with Louise?

  10. #10
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Collier View Post
    Ken - when was your last conversation with Louise?
    Hi George,

    A pair of them...

    The first on 3/18/2010 when she finally was able to answer my long-standing question regarding a possible resumption of production by stating that,

    "Yesterday I finally came across the lamp production templates. They have made the decision not to produce any of the [fully assembled cold light head] units, but I'm working with engineering to see what's needed to make replacement lamps."

    Then again on 3/25/2010 when I asked about availability of an Omega D system mounting bracket for a nice condition VCL4500 I had subsequently picked up on eBay, she responded,

    "I'm looking for items like that - but with their decision not to make any of the electrical items the shipping staff has jammed things together so it's hard to find items like that.

    So these would be about four and a quarter months ago from this post. Do you have any more recent information?

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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