Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Hi Ed

I have to disagree with you, In North America every photo school as well as every photo lab , as well as professional photographer darkroom that I have encountered has a 4x5 set up as normal.
Most school photo labs in North America that I've seen don't have gear for 4x5" but were typically set up with something like Omega B-22s, some old Bogen or maybe a Beseler.. OK a few D2s but typically not set up.. School photo labs and "photo schools" are, however, quite different beasts and given the traditional trend to large format studio cameras for commercial use and given that 4x5" is one of its most economical forms, its natural that they'd be set-up for the format.. Those days, however, are behind us.. and these days any photo-school (again don't confuse photo-school with art-school) worth its tuition will have digibacks on their large format studio cameras.. and if they have a darkroom its probably right out of some time machine..

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
For a young photographer, If Nicole decides to intern or work in the professional world , being competent with a 4x5 enlarger is an advantage for her.
The "professional world" has moved on.. there is a whole new bag of talents in demand and being skilled on some old Besler 45MX just won't cut it, I'd suspect in Turkmenistan, not to say Western Australia. The jobs have moved on.. that's why all these great large format enlargers have been flooding the market for pennies.. From a commerical view they are hardly more than large, hard to dispose of, trash.. Even some of the last-of-the-breed computer controlled digital closed loop systems are being hauled away, alongside digital copying cameras, to the waste dumps.. They might have cost 10 years ago $100,000 USD but today just trash that is not worth the expensive space they occupy.. and which costs some money to have hauled away-- which is why they get listed on eBay for as little as 1 EURO.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
I have been using 4x5 since 1973 photo college days, in fact using the same brands, omega, durst and deveere. all 4x5 and above that I use today.
My Durst DA-900 I think was made sometime around then.. And I use some gear like my Focomat Ic that is from the late 1950s.. So?

Among those brands really the DeVere is about as closest to an enlarger that is still fun to use in smaller formats. Since I like to have different kinds of heads and go between B&W and colour I don't see why not have multiple enlargers. If I needed to do 4x5" I might get a DeVere 504.. But I'd probably just get another Durst Laborator run it parallel to my other enlargers--- to "near" parallel.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
They all deliver the power to create decent time and apeture when making fine art prints.
Sure.. that's why I don't bat an eye using half-a-century old gear.. I'm using technology that was well developed decades before even that gear was made.. So if it was good enough in 1960 why should it not be good enough in 2004.. OK.. I do have some more "modern" devices.. but..

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
On a practical note, I recently accepted and young man from sery. small village near geneva (switzerland) to work here in Toronto for 10 months. His first main learning curve was how to set up the various enlargers. We have 17 different analog enlargers all 4x5 - 11x14. I would have been extremely pleased if he knew how to set them up , rather than having to teach him.
Experience has shown that even IF someone thinks that they "know" how to do something they often don't.. I look at the computer trainees we've gotten.. (and they all came from a year long course before we got them).

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Funny how quickly he picked up on using the gear even though he had never been in a analog darkroom in his 20 odd years
Its not funny but its to be expected.. The gear is pretty straightfoward and easy to use.. (unfortunately, often was is expected and what one experiences from trainees is quite different).