4x5 vs 8x10
Are 4x5 enlargers common? I saw some at the school darkroom and they appeared a reasonable size. My enlarger now is a 6x6 enlarger and I don't think I could ever fit an 8x10 enlarger in my cramped darkroom, but a 4x5 might fit.
The quandary is, if I had an 8x10 camera, I can make 8x10 contacts with no enlarger at all. Like I already do with my 8x10 pinhole camera. But, I would be stuck, because I cannot see ever getting an 8x10 enlarger, whereas if I got a 4x5 camera, I could possible see getting a 4x5 enlarger and using it for all of my work. But in the meantime, I couldn't print the negatives except for very small contact prints.
How much larger than an Omega 6x6 enlarger are 4x5 enlargers?
I can't answer your question from current experience, but I remember working for the newspaper 35 years ago that the 4x5 enlarger wasn't that much bigger than the 35mm enlargers. The 8x10 enlarger was a beast though.
On another note there is a current thread about 4x5 vs. 8x10 on the LargeFormatPhotography.info forum. It might be of interest to someone trying to choose between these two formats. This is more about what the formats are capable of instead of enlargers. Still, it might pertain.
4x5" enlargers are quite reasonable to fit in most normal spaces. The things to be aware of are the size of the baseboard, since some have very large baseboards, and extra long columns, which are sometimes tall enough for the head to hit the ceiling at maximum enlargement, presuming the baseboard is on a table at a comfortable working height.
If you have a small baseboard, like on my Omega D-II, the easel can hang over the edges with no problem, and just take be aware of the height of the column plus the head and the distance between the table and the ceiling when you're looking for an enlarger. I was able to use my D-II even in my tiny dark/bathroom a couple of apartments ago. I added an extra set of rubber feet under the baseboard, so that it could sit squarely on a rolling typewriter table and could just slip over the commode in a narrow space between the vanity and the wall. There's a photo of this somewhere in the "Darkroom Portraits" thread.
I would go for a 4x5" enlarger first, work with it and see what happens and comes along.
Sometimes the big 8x10" enlargers are for (nearly) free as long as you pick up the beast yourself.
Shipping cost are dramaticly high.
Maybe you get lucky, just keep your eyes open and if you can not use the big one right now, if you have it stored properly it can be waiting for you to use when your living situation expands.
If your happy with printing 8x10 contacts I would go that route. You wouldn't need to buy a new enlarger, the camera is easier to learn than a 4x5 and you would have no where to step up to. A used 8x10 might be less costly than a used 4x5 and a new enlarger.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I agree that it's easier to learn to use a view camera with 8x10" than with a smaller format. You can see what's going on with camera movements much more easily with a larger groundglass, and there's a strong intuitive appeal to the idea that the size of the image on the groundglass is exactly as it will be when framed on the wall. I now shoot 4x5" and 2x3" and some formats larger than 8x10", but my first view camera was an 8x10", and I think that with the smaller cameras I'm relying on instincts developed with the bigger camera.
Knowing my habits now, 20/20 hindsight, I may have just as well gone with 8x10 rather than 4x5.
I still use my Hassy as a carry around camera, and the Zone VI 4x5 for landscape work. I rarely enlarge greater than 8x10. Never use 35mm anymore.
Just 2 cents rambling on....
I've recently acquired a 4x5 enlarger (an Omega D6) and it is a pleasure to use. I've got it on a wheeled cart that is 20" high, which means I can roll it from it's storage spot into my bathroom/darkroom when I want to do some darkroom work. If the cart was higher, the enlarger would be too high to go through the door .
1) I wouldn't want to try this with an 8x10 enlarger;
2) I expect, but cannot say for sure, that my Omega may handle the smaller sizes (135, 6x4.5, etc.) more conveniently than an 8x10 enlarger.
That being said, I'm keeping my previous enlarger (a Beseler 67 series with both condenser and colour heads). If I ever get a dedicated darkroom again, I intend to set both enlargers up (for colour, and maybe 35mm as well).
Can't use the d*&(* word here, so go to the link and think about an Epson 700
If you're thinking about both contact prints and enlarging, 5x7 might be an alternative for you. My first foray into LF was buying a garage-full that included a 5x7 view camera, Solar enlarger (think old hairdresser's sit-under hair dryer) and a 4x5 B&J press camera. I liked 5x7 for contact prints, and the enlarger, while NOT small, could still fit into a niche and be used on top of a lever-operated, porcelain, American Standard spent-developer removal system.
When I moved to Ukraine, I gave away the enlarger to an area guy who was getting into LF, so yeah, they can be cheap! And if you find the camera before you find the enlarger, you can still contact print.
The Kiev 88: Mamiya's key to success in Ukraine.
Photography without film is like Macroeconomics without reading goat entrails, and look at the mess that got us into.