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  1. #1

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    Trade my K-5 for a 4x5 camera, enlargers, etc?

    I have the opportunity to trade my Pentax K-5 for a 4x5 camera, darkroom equipment (I assume trays, tanks, etc), and 2 enlargers: a Chromega D XL 4x5 enlarger, a Beseler 23C with Aristo Cold head, Rodenstock lenses for the enlargers and all the neg carriers that are available for the enlargers.

    What do you think? My "Darkroom" consists now of a Plustek 7400 scanner, but it only allows me to do 35mm and I find it makes fast films much grainier than they would be in print.

    I have experience using all of this equipment in school (I shot with a 4x5, processed the film, printed it).

    The K-5 includes the 18-55 WR Kit lens, battery grip and spare battery. Probably worth about $800, maybe less.

    I want to get back into the darkroom, and this seems like an excellent way to do it---and move into large format as well.

  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Do it.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your confirmation, Thomas. I know Rodenstock lenses are some of the best enlarging lenses you can get, and I know how to use Beseler enlargers. I've never used Omega enlargers, and as of yet I don't know what kind of 4x5 camera he's including.

    It seems like a great deal for both of us - he wants to move up to a more modern DSLR, and I want to get back into the darkroom. It seems fair to me, but I just wanted confirmation.

  4. #4
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    You can still use the scanner for snapshots, meaning you'll have digital files.

    The enlargers give you quality the Plustek could never match if you want a great print from the same 35mm negs.

    The only thing you'll lose is immediate feedback while shooting, and what's that worth to you?

    To me the important bit is that you have complete enlargers that aren't missing any important pieces, like neg carriers, etc, which can be both a pain in the neck AND expensive to track down.

    Money wise, it's hard to tell whether you're coming out ahead, so it becomes a comparison in utility. It seems to me you'll have more fun with the darkroom, if I am understanding you correctly, and that alone should be a big box checked in the 'pro' column.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #5

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    I would go for it also.

    Jeff

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I assume that the Omega is a D5XL enlarger.

    Depending on your local market, this deal might be favourable to the other person, just because in some areas darkroom equipment like this is almost being given away.

    If the darkroom equipment and camera is in good shape, IMHO the real question is whether it has value to you! If it is what you are looking for, by definition it does.

    And you can be confident within a short while you will be easily able to replace the Pentax digital equipment with either something "NEW and IMPROVED!" or with a used version of the same thing at a reduced price.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7
    Rick A's Avatar
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    He who hesitates is lost! Hurry on now.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    I assume that the Omega is a D5XL enlarger.

    Depending on your local market, this deal might be favourable to the other person, just because in some areas darkroom equipment like this is almost being given away.

    If the darkroom equipment and camera is in good shape, IMHO the real question is whether it has value to you! If it is what you are looking for, by definition it does.

    And you can be confident within a short while you will be easily able to replace the Pentax digital equipment with either something "NEW and IMPROVED!" or with a used version of the same thing at a reduced price.
    He listed it as a D XL, no 5. I have no way to know for sure.

    This equipment has much more value to me than a digital SLR with a kit zoom. It is what I have been looking for; a RAW file from a K-5 is good, but it's not a sheet of FP4 in Rodinal or a selenium toned 16x20.

    As you said, DSLRs are easily replaceable and in a few months obsolete with resale values tanked. The darkroom equipment may not be worth much -- and as of now I am just going by what he's said in email (I haven't seen the equipment in pictures or in person yet). I traded a Tamron 17-50 2.8 for a Pentax LX and PZ-1p yesterday with the same guy. I think I came out ahead on that one; the Tamron is good, but the LX or PZ-1p are wonderful. Especially the LX.

  9. #9

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    Do it. Curious to know what 4x5 camera you'll get.

    Enlargers are indeed being given away in North Carolina. And sometimes they even get thrown out. I got my Omega D2V with the condenser head and an Aristo Cold Light head, along with a dozen different negative carriers, for nothing more than the cost of the gasoline to go get it.

  10. #10
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rthomas View Post
    Do it. Curious to know what 4x5 camera you'll get.

    Enlargers are indeed being given away in North Carolina. And sometimes they even get thrown out. I got my Omega D2V with the condenser head and an Aristo Cold Light head, along with a dozen different negative carriers, for nothing more than the cost of the gasoline to go get it.
    I'll agree - do it.

    The deal might indeed be favorable to the the other party depending on some of the details, but if this is the stuff you want, it's all in one place. 4x5 enlargers are cheap now, but almost impossible to find someone who will ship them and expensive to ship even if they will. (I've been keeping an eye out for a color head for mine locally or that someone will ship, that doesn't need extra bits or drilling or engineering to fit, and at the right price...they're all over the place, attached to enlargers that people won't separate or ship...)

    Type and condition of 4x5 camera is a big item. Could be worth essentially nothing if it's really old and in craptacular shape, could be worth half the value of your K5 if it's, say, a decent condition Graphic or old Tech III or the like, or could be worth the entire price of the K5 kit by itself. We need more information, but if you want to get into film and darkroom, this gives you enough to start it all right away.

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