Enlargers -- Beginner's question

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O.K. I've spent some time looking through the archives on this site re enlargers, and I'm pretty confused. I'm fairly new to LF and am currently making 4x5 contact prints, getting the lay of the land. I'd like to get an enlarger soon. Could I get some recommendations? I would like to keep the expense low, and I'm not afraid of used equipment. I like the price of a used Omega D2, but I understand this uses a condensor light source. There are some comments on the site regarding adding a cold light to this to either make it a diffusion source or approximate the performance of one. Should I go this route, or forgo the D2 altogether? I'd like to get something I could be satisfied with for a long time. Any recommended reading? Thanks to everyone who responds in advance -- this site is really invaluable.

-- Mark Christopherson (mchristopherson@lhdl.com), August 01, 2000


A D2 in good shape is a fine machine. Aristo's cold light drops right in at a price of about $190 or so. I havent checked in a while. Replacement carriers are available from Columbus Camera at about $25 each. They may also make replacement lens cones and boards.


They may also have some enlargers for sale.

Pick up a couple of good Schneiders and have at it.

If you are going to think about printing color, you can use the condenser head without loss of quality, and put the filters in the filter drawer.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), August 01, 2000.

You should check the auction site at www.ebay.com. I recently purchased a Beseler 45MX in good condition for short money. I've also purchased lenses, carriers, and lensboards at very reasonable prices. I havn't been disappointed yet. You should check it out.

-- Bob Eaves (rcephoto@mediaone.net), August 01, 2000.

Mark: The Omega D-2 is a workhorse enlarger. So is the Beselar. You can't really go wrong with either one. I use a D-2 with a cold light head and have never wished for anything else. I also used a Beselar at work for years without problems. Midwest Camera Exchange and other camera shops get used cold light heads. I bought mine from Midwest. There are two types of tubes for cold lights. The old standard is heavy in blue light and you have to play with variable contrast filters to get the contrast you want. Without the filter, it gives you about a grade 3 paper grade with variable contrast paper. There is also a more yellow tube designed for variable contrast paper. The cold light drops into the head in place of the condensers. You might like to use the condensers. A lot of people do. I just like the look of the prints I get with cold light. You need a little lower contrast neg with condensers. Either the Beselar or Omega will give you great prints from 4x5 and smaller negs.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), August 01, 2000.

Another vote for the D2 with coldlight, I have used one for about 6 years and would not change. Pat

-- pat krentz (patwandakrentz@aol.com), August 01, 2000.

Kent...looks like you need to "Ask Harry". That is the name of a website located at www.classic-enlargers.com. The site has more information on Omega enlargers than anyone should ever need. They also buy, sell, and trade enlargers and accessories, though the prices seem a bit high.

I think the D2 would be a great choice. The cold light is a nice option, but the condensors work fine as well.

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), August 02, 2000.

I have a monster D-6 from Midwest with an Arista cold lt for a D-2. I think from all the answers you can't go wrong with any of the Omega/Besler products. The (not so secret)secret is good a good lens! You can also get around the cond. problem by putting a diffusing glass or plastic under the cond. George Nedleman

-- George Nedleman (gnln@thegrid.net), August 02, 2000.

If you get the D2, get a D2V. This is the enlarger with the adjustable (variable) condenser head. Otherwise, you'll need a different set of condenser as you switch from one format to another. I used one for a few years. They work well, accessories are inexpensive, etc. Whether or you want to use a condenser head for 4x5, you may want the option of a condenser head for smaller negatives.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), August 03, 2000.

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