Its been about a year & half since I last got to work with an enlarger. I have a small section of my basement blocked off that I occasionally use to do 4x5 contact prints, and used a neg scanner to do anything larger. Scanner works good for 4x5 negatives, but I've never been happy with 35mm ones. Anyways, I've been having an itch to start doing some good old wet printing again. Today I was at a nearby photo shop to pick up some batteries for my camera and browed over to two very elderly enlargers, one being an old homely non-variable condenser D-II speckled with bits of rust. With its big puppy dog eyes, and no massive shipping fees, I was interested.
I asked on the price and the first salesman said "whatever you want to take it out of here." while the other butsed out the 2003 blue book and found the price without lens and said $100.
This seem fair for a no frills/no lens D-II, or should I try to talk them into throwing one on with it? Also, Is there anything should look at to make sure everything is in working order that I wouldn't be able to repair myself/or find parts for?
What about for lenses? I'm thinking that a set of a 50mm & a 135mm lenses should cover 4x5 & 35mm pretty well. We dug through a few boxes of enlarging lenses in the shop ranging from about a 50mm Zeiss Tessar to a 160mm Wollensak Velostigmat. How much should I be concerned that none of the lenses were on lensboards? There may be some somewhere in the shop that they'd throw in with it, but if not. . . .?
the DII uses different condensors for each format, so you will need to figure out which one you have in there. with an enlarger, the lens is everything. I'd save up for a good Schneider or Nikkor lens. The D series boards are easy to find on Ebay.
$100 sounds pretty good if it is all there.
Sure, that's a good deal. I bought Matt Miller's D-II, and I've been picking up extras for it like neg carriers and lens cones off eBay for cheap.
The original D-II came with only a 4x5" condensor which was and can be used with all formats, but it's possible to get other condensor sets optimized for smaller formats. The only downside to using the 4x5" condensor for everything is you lose some efficiency with the smaller formats, but it works.
Use a flat lensboard for 50-105mm, the 2-1/2" cone for 135mm, and the 4-1/2" cone for 150mm. I have a spare 2-1/2" cone that I'd be willing to sell, if you need one. You can also get parts and lots of info from www.classic-enlargers.com.
Enlarging lenses are so cheap these days, I'd stick to modern 6-element designs like Schneider Componon-S, Rodagon, or the 6-element EL-Nikkors (or the Apo-Componon and Apo-Rodagon, if you have the budget). You should be able to get a decent 50/2.8 for around $50, and maybe $80-125 for a modern 135mm or 150mm.
Make sure that the condenser lenses aren't scratched. Also, check the nylon gears that move the assembly up and down the track. If these are hosed, you'll have issues.
Great enlarger. I love mine. Also paid $100, but I got 2 cones, 2 135mm lenses, a 50mm lense, trays, safelight, bulk film loader, 2 film coloring kits, 4 stainless 35mm reels, a stainless tank, some patterson tanks, and a few other tidbits. I think you can see where I'm going here. I'd offer them $75 without a lense and board I guess. But it is still a good deal at $100.
Use the flat board and the top lense at the lowest position for both 50mm and 75mm. So you'll need 2 flat boards if you do medium format.
I have a Omega D2-V (as opposed to your DII) at home. My only problem is a 50mm lens doesn't work for 4x6 or postcard prints. My enlarger head won't go low enough, so I have to use a 75mm. I know, not much of a problem really, if you don't go that small (some people want the snapshot size).
Like wdemere said, be sure to check that condensor lens!
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Rogueish--have you tried propping your easel up on a box to get the paper closer to the lens?
Originally Posted by rogueish
fwiw--the DII & D2V's have enough bellows to do a 3.5x5 or so print with a 50mm--you're right that you can't get the head low enough though. What I do (I have both models)--is use either a 250 sheet paper box to block the easel up about 7-8 inches off the baseboard. The only problem with this, is that your working room under the lens is reduced, so if you have to dodge & burn etc, it's kind of tight. btw--I have the reduction bellows for the D2's as well--it's like a secondary tapered bellows attached to a 150mm cone. Kind of weird looking, but you can make wallet sized prints off 4x5 negs.
No but have considered it. I don't print a lot of postcard or 4x6 snapshots, so the 50mm doesn't see much action anymore. I used to do 8x10 mostly untill the first 11x14. I was using the 75mm for a bigger print when the Mrs. said she wanted the same print but photo albulm sized. It seemed to work good, so I stuck with it.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
Am looking at a new (used) 75/80mm's as the one I'm using has definitely seen better days.
I have been using a DII for several years. I took it down to the nuts and bolts to clean and lube everything. Mine runs the rails on standard ball bearings which were essentially frozen with old grease. Several soakings in kerosene got them working again. Movement up and down keeps things free. There are several “adjustments” in the focus mechanism which require attention – don’t loose any parts.
One 4x5 condenser has a mark I cannot eliminate. Placing it in the higher position solved this. Another “problem” was the light socket. It came with one made of brown plastic which placed the light at the wrong level. I understand that the original had a ceramic socket which I could not find for direct replacement but the hardware store had a brass (plated steel, really) with outside screw threads which matched the head exactly. Even then I had to adjust the head position to obtain good light distribution. Once this was done it stayed solid.
In fact, the whole DII is like a tank – indestructible. $100 is probably a good price provided et c. Do not chinch on your lens(es). Get the best you can afford. There are bargains “out there” but caveat emptor – check out any “deals” that seem to be too good to be true. If help is needed feel free to pm me…..
I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
Truly, dr bob.
i think there is a secondary condensor with the dII - it slides into place just below the light source, if the enlarger doesn't come with it, you will be kind of stuck if you want to do 35mm or medium format printing. the aux bellows that dkt has are really great. i have a d3v & E4 and i use one of those instead of cones.