which enlarger

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I am in the process of setting up my first darkroom after using a communal set up at a local gallery. I am looking for advice on a good 5x4 colour enlarger (new or used). Any one with any recommendations or advice. The room will be 10 feetx 12 feet. Thanks in advance Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), August 26, 2000


I forgot to mention that I would prefer a current model and preferably one that is available in the U.K. Thanks (again)

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), August 26, 2000.

Hi Paul, I would go for a DeVere 504 bench. Once you use their baseboard controls it's hard to believe you ever managed without them. I bought a reconditioned one in almost new condition from Odyssey Sales(www.odyssey-sales.com). They are great people to deal with. They delivered and installed it.If you fancy one, and even second hand they are still expensive but made to last several lifetimes, then contact their MD. John Boyce. All the best,

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), August 26, 2000.

Before you jump, have you studied the possibilities of doing things digitally? Have you seen how many used enlargers are flooding the market? Have you ever wondered why?

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), August 26, 2000.

De Vere is great but expensive and you cannot buy any accessories on the normal second hand market. I would advice you to get instead of the Rolls among enlargers to go for the Golf GTI, the Durst laborator 1200, one of the best built pice of equipement around, buy second hand and buy wisely, there are so many around coming from people who have turned digital! Prices vary between #400 to #1000, no logic in it just market fluctuation. Accessory almost available at every corner shop! check it out at http://WWW.durst.it Good luck

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 26, 2000.

Julio. people turnet to digital because it is new, probably the futute and because they think it is easy (er). Time will tell. Why sould you use large format when medium format is sufficient for most needs, why should one go to a concert when you can buy a CD. Why bothe to find out what curries taste in India if you can get it around the corner in Clapham. Some people just love things which are difficult and annoying. Masochists! Maybe!

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 26, 2000.

Sorry about all this typing mistakes, I am tired. Forgive me.

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 26, 2000.

I second the suggestion of a Durst L1200. It outclasses the more popular brands. With a little looking, you can find one used at a good price. Be cautious about buying second-hand an enlarger model that is no longer made, if it is lacking anything, such as replacement parts or accessories, these might be very hard to find. The Durst L1200 is still in production.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), August 26, 2000.

I'll give a third vote for Durst.

Otherwise, Saunders/LPL is a very decent machine for the price.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 26, 2000.

Andrea: At a workshop that featured photographers (David Muench) as well as his son, Mark, a magazine editor, a well known nature photographer and others I can't recall, and then at another workshop about printing that showed prints from various printing techniques, opinions were unanimous: Digital color printing via high end drum scanner and Light Jet 5000 or Lamba is superior to conventional printing. Add to that the fact that digital prints (Lightjet 5000, Lamda) printed from one format seem equivalent in grain to prints made by conventional means from the next larger format. No, this workshop was not sponsored by any digital printer manufacturers, so it was not a question of manufacturers pushing products. Rather, it was a question of professionals sharing knowledge. High quality prints require expensive drum scanners (~50K)and even more expensive digital printers (~$250K), plus in-depth knowledge on how to set up those machines. For those reasons, the best digital is not a DIY thing, although the cost of lab printing, while expensive, is not prohibitive and almost reasonable. Costs will go down in time, surely. At another workshop, some very good prints were shown by Barry Haynes, co-author of the book Photoshop Artistry, photos that were printed from more mundane Epson ink-jet printers. In Dykinga's book Desert, Death Valley and the Mojave, the only non-digital component was the film. It is a book worth studying for the art as well. Finally, I have no connection whatsoever to any equipment manufacturer and only want to share these thoughts. Today one is bombarded with exagerated marketing verbiage and thus, suspicions of new technology and reluctance to accept it is understandable and probably healthy; Do not write this stuff off before first giving it a thorough evaluation. The digital darkroom is here to stay.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), August 27, 2000.

Odyssey Sales took over DeVere and still produce new 504 enlargers, parts, accessories and six different heads. Regards,

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), August 27, 2000.

Try calling MrCad in Croydon -020 8684 8282, e-mail sales@mrcad.co.uk or via their website www.mrcad.co.uk.

-- David Kirk (David_J_Kirk@hotmail.com), August 27, 2000.

Thanks for the advice!!!! Popular opinion suggests I find a good used Durst (in fact I missed one by 3 days a couple of weeks ago, the dealer sold it for #1200, with a list price of over #5000!!!!!). In the meantime I am interested in the LPL enlargers but can anyone shed light on the difference between the 7452 and 7451 models ( I believe both are colour), as I have seen some examples of the 7451 advertised used at #500. Thanks again. Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), August 27, 2000.


Check out www.saundersphoto.com. They are known as the 4550 and 4500 in the USA respectively. The 7452/4550 has a 250w head with the dichroic or VCCE modules. The other has a 200W head and a shorter column, I think.

-- Erik (xx@xx.com), August 27, 2000.

Paul, I have a LPL 7451. It is a fine enlarger and surely if you aim at colour printing or multigrade it it a very fine instrument. The Enlarger is very popular and comes under various brand-names (Jobo is one of these!). There are many models some with a thin column, don't buy one of those it shakes too much! The normal ones are fine. The difference with the Durst is that the Durst is just sturdier and gives you more option, for example if you wish to print with condensed light, for the crispy rendering of black and white, well LPL hasn't got any. Accessories are available but you might have to wait long (I've done it several times) for items to come from Japan. 7452 has longer column.

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 27, 2000.

Another question regarding the Saunders/LPL, I understand that the 7451 has a shorter column, is it worth looking at a wall mounting bracket for this model to increase column height?? Has anyone tried wall mounting?? I have seen a 7451 with wall mounting bracket (used) for half the price of a new one. Any advice appreciated!! Regards Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), August 27, 2000.

I would not recommend the Saunders LPL Enlargers for the following reasons.

1. The do not always come factory aligned as advertised. Some folks have had to resort to shimming as there is no means to align the enlarger.

2. The enlarger leaks light like a sive. I purchased one and it toom me hours to fix all the leaks.

3. The fan and motor are very noisy. I found it extremely anoying in the darkroom.

My recommendation:

Buy a Durst L1200. If you can afford the Multigraph head then go for it. If not the color head is wonderful. Solid, truly factory aligned, and an incredibly precise piece of equipment.


-- Bill Smithe (bs2@aol.com), August 27, 2000.

I ,LOVE the Durst, I think I was the first to say that on this thread, Having said that, there is no need to trash the LPL, any piece of equipment might have been produced on monday morning or friday afternoon! My 7541 doesn't leak (anymore than any other enlarger does, even the Durst has minute leaks but they are of no real importance) the head is ok (orthogonal I mean), I did measure it. I did say that the LPL is by no means a Durst but it is no rubbish, no Sir it isn't! The fan is noisy but not more than the most fans, as fans go. Short column will allow 50cm x 60cm printing, you don't really need more. Again, if finance permit, buy Durst (Look around, look a lot there are a lot of good prices if you are based in Europe, in Holland you can pay as little as #500 if you buy from a private seller). Otherwise LPL is fine, I've been using Durst for almost 15 years after moving to Holland and having left My Durst in Italy , I 've bought a LPL, It is OK.

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 28, 2000.

On second thoughts Paul, having seen your comment (on another thread) concerning the cost of the house extention............Go for the Durst! Whatta Heck! Why go on the cheap if we are talking those figures for the box in which you plan to use the enlarger! Enjoy.

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 28, 2000.

I'd just like to say to those who were unhappy with their Saunders enlarger. Why didn't you send it back to the manufacturer to correct the problem. When I was putting my 670 CXL together, I removed the column from the base. Only thing was, the chassis was on the column, at the top, so it came crashing to the floor. It was now out of alignment, so I contacted Saunders. Shipped it to them for $20.00. I could see insisting that they pay the shipping fee if it is their fault for the problem, anyway it came back perfectly aligned. I was rather pissed it was not possible for me to align it, and this has effected my decision on whether I buy Saunders for large format.

-- Raven (mtand13@netreach.net), September 04, 2000.

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