Enlarger head light leaks

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I have an Omega DII enlarger with an Aristo VCL 4500 head. I am a bit concerned about the light leak between the enlarger head and the negative carrier. There seems to be an excessive amount of light that pours out. I have loosened the screws that hold the head, trying to align the head and negative carrier a bit more precisely, but there doesn't seem to be enough weight on the head to have the two surface meet and stay tight together. I purchase the enlarger used so I can't tell if this is normal or if it should be a concern.

-- Gary Brennan (garyb57@yahoo.com), November 24, 2000


I think it's normal - at least I got the same type of leaks when using the VCL 4500 with a Beseler MXT enlarger. I made a box out of cardboard that drops over the head and has a front and two sides sides that cover the space between the head and the negative carrier. This seems to work well and was easy to make. I started with a shoe box and attached the sides with electrical tape. I've been using it for about three years now and it still works fine. The only problem is that when using 120 roll film in the 6x7 format cut into strips of three frames, I have to be careful that the frames sticking out from either side of the negative carrier don't get scratched by the sides of the box. I hope this is clear, I'm not sure it's worded very well.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), November 24, 2000.

A wrap of black velvet held with tape or clamps will also work, but with this or a box be sure that you don't interfere with ventilation of the enlarger head. The heat from the lamp has to escape, which is one reason it's quite difficult to design an enlarger that is light tight but well ventilated.---Carl

-- Carl Weese (cweese@earthlink.net), November 24, 2000.

If you go to a place like Michael's crafts (or a similar chain in your area) you may be able to buy sheets of 1/8th inch thick closed cell foam in black. This is the handiest stuff for making light traps such as the one that might solve your problem.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (info@razeichner.com), November 24, 2000.

I too think its "normal" to have such light leaks around the negative carrier. I have an Omega that lets light out in the same way. If the walls around the enlarger are painted dark gray or black, not too much to worry about as far as reflected light hitting the paper is concerned.

-- William Levitt (light-zone@operamail.com), November 25, 2000.

Gary, I'm not familiar with the mechanics of this enlarger so this may not be possible. Attach self adhesive foam strips (the type used around doors as a draught excluder) to the underside of the head which makes contact with the neg. carrier. If the gap is not too wide it should make a soft seal when the head is lowered. Best of luck,

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), November 25, 2000.

Gary, get some black velvet cloth and cut 2" wide strips sufficient to wrap around the head where it meets the negative carrier. Attach the ends to the lamp head with velcro tape. I believe all D2s suffer from this condition. Fortunately, this "skirt" around the bottom of the head solves it.

-- Alec (alecj@bellsouth.net), November 25, 2000.

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