alignment of saunders enlargers : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

has anyone ever anligned the saunders lpl 4x5? at the saunders website they says alignment is perfect out of the box and stays that way, in reality I am finding that this is not the case.any info appreciated. to quote a friend "I wont be amused by sarcatic comments" -J

-- Josh (, August 23, 2000


I'm not familiar with the Sanders but I reccomend using either the Zig Align or Parallel box from Versalab to make your alignments. I use the Versalab on my D5XL and it does a good job but is expensive. Using bubble levels is finicky and not as completely accurate.

-- bill zelinski (, August 23, 2000.

I don't use a Saunders but over the years many Saunders owners have mentioned using (for shimming) metallized tape, paper tape, thin metal shims cut from a soda can, thin brass etc.

Or to put it differently, alignment certainly isn't perfect out of the box and ways of aligning it aren't provided.

To check alignment I use the Versalab laser gizmo, which works very well. My Durst turned out to be pretty close so all I had to do was use some paper tape (the usual black "photo" tape aka black masking tape) to shim the lensboard a little; it too has no built-in means of adjusting alignment.

Otoh every time I check, it's still aligned, so perhaps having no built-in alignment adjustments isn't all that bad.

-- John Hicks (, August 23, 2000.

My Saunders 4500 was not perfectly aligned "right out of the box." Alignment isn't hard but you do need to follow exactly a certain sequence. The three planes that need to be parallel are the negative stage, the lens stage, and the easel. Given that adjusting the negative stage (via tape on the negative carrier) is easier than adjusting the lens stage, the sequence is as follows. 1) Adjust the easel to the lens by shimming under the easel as necessary. 2) Then, without disturbing the easel, adjust the negative stage to the easel. At this point the lens stage and the negative stage are also aligned with respect to each other. I use the Versalab gadget, too, and find it easy and quick. You can't adjust the negative stage directly to the lens stage with the Versalab thing, nor, I think, with the ZigAlign. With both, you need to adjust to the easel as an intermediate step. I find that, once aligned, the negative stage tends to stay in alignment with the lens stage. But, I also find that as I raise or lower the head, their alignment with the easel changes. For critical work, I realign by adjusting the easel to the lens stage using a device under the easel (made for the purpose by ZigAlign) along with the Versalab thing. It's very quick. For shimming I use the silver foil tape made for masking slides. It's very thin so fine adjustments are possible. Great enlarger, by the way. njb

-- Nacio Brown (, August 24, 2000.

Email address in above post is wrong. Correct here. njb

-- Nacio Brown (, August 24, 2000.

I use a Salthill enlarger alignment tool and I also found my enlarger to be out of alignment. I found that if you use the Saunders negative masking stage, it has 4 small screws that can be run out as required to allow the stage to be effectively shimmed to proper alignment. It may not be high tech but it worked for me. That was about 8 years ago and I haven't had any adverse effects. I recently rechecked the alignment and found it still to be ok after 8 years use.

-- Bill Lester (, August 25, 2000.

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