Aristo Cold Ligth Head is complete? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Im preparing to receive my D2 enlarger, and would like to buy a Cold Light Head for it.

As I browse in Calumet, Adorama and B&H, I noticed a BIG difference in price between the Aristo and Zone VI models. Aditionally, Im some how concerned of the fact that pictures of the aristo, only show the tube and basic housing, and no kit to attach the head to my D2 chasis.

Also comes to my mind the doubt that one can use Aristo heads with VC paper using filters, or if the light is only blue/geen..

Any comments here on this matter will be appreciated, including basic instructions on how to install the head to my enlarger.

Thanks in advance..


-- Enrique Vila (, February 11, 2002


With respect to the use of Arista cold light heads with VC paper using filters, you may want to read the Darkroom:enlarger/lenses category of this site;in particular,the thread "Printing with the Omega D5XL: two questions."

-- John Boeckeler (, February 11, 2002.

Sorry, I should have said Aristo rather than Arista.

-- John Boeckeler (, February 11, 2002.

I can't comment on the Zone VI unit for lack of knowledge but I am familiar with the Aristo unit. The Aristo cylindrical tube housing (a can shaped part) is intended to go into the cylindrical shell which now holds the D2 condensors (or lower two condensors in the case of an Omega with a variable condensor head).

You remove the pair of opposed condensors and the corrogated metal spacer from the condensor housing and put the cold light source in their place. This makes changing back and forth between condensor and cold light illumination a real nuisance.

-- Ed Balko (, February 11, 2002.

If you buy the Aristo head with the V54 tube, you can use regular VC filters. If you get at tube with just green or blue light the filters will not work right.

The Zone VI model you are looking at probably is a VC head, with separate green & blue tubes. It comes with a control to adjust the amount of green and blue light, so no filters are necessary.

With the Aristo using the V54 tube, the green and blue light come from the same tube, and you can't adjust the amount electrically (as on the Zone VI) but you do get the same result by using filters.

The Zone VI is an easier way to go, but it costs much more.

-- Charlie Strack (, February 11, 2002.


Calumet makes two Zone VI cold light sources, the variable contrast source as described above and a plain cold light source that use filters with. The plain source is about the same price as the Aristo. The benefit of the Zone Vi si the photcell sensor which integrates with either a stabilizer or (better) the compensating timer which compensates for the warmup intensity drift inherent in cold light tubes. The timer also has dry down compensation. I have one and it is remarkable in its ability to deliver consistent exposures.

Dave Walker

-- David Walker (, February 11, 2002.


I have the exact same arrangment and to compenste for the higher blue emissions of the Aristo, I put a 30cc yellow filter above the neg and that puts it about right, allowing me to use Ilford MC filters.

It worked for me.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, February 11, 2002.

I bought mine directly from Aristo... heads1.html. They are extremely knowledgeable and friendly... You don't need a kit for the head with a D2, just slips right in. They say you need to use a yellow filter and then the contrast filters but I find you don't need to use the yellow... it prints out at about a grade 2.5- 3 so by using your contrast filters normally, they will be a .5 to 1 grade higher than stated, at least my system works that way. You will find with use, you will fine tune your development of your negatives (ie Zone work) and come up with glowing prints! I've had my grids since 1988 and have had no problem. When you are getting ready to print, plug in the heating plug and let the head warm up for about 15 minutes and print away! You'll love it. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, February 12, 2002.

One other thing, if you plan to print a good deal of 35mm or medium format, get the D2 Hi, the one that is 110 watts. A little faster printing times... you can always stop down to slow it down!

-- Scott Walton (, February 12, 2002.

I have been using an Aristo head + Omega D4 since 1996. The head is a D2-Hi with a V54 tube. V54 tube is perfectly adapted to Kodak and Ilford filters and to all VC papers. Other tubes, too blue (I also own a W45 tube) do not allow to get soft contrast, even with n0 filter. The V54 tube works perfectly and I use it with all formats. It is very powerful. From a 35 mm bw neg and a 50 mm closed at f/8, with a Kodak filter n2 under the lens, if you enlarge the full neg to 24x36 cm, you get maximum black around 15 sec exposure with a paper such Agfa Multicontrast. I started to use the Aristo head with a normal timer and there was no problem of inconsistent exposures. I now use a Zone VI compensating timer, which works perfectly. It is easy to install a cell into the lamp house. There are three timers which work with a cell to compensate for inconsistent exposures, Zone VI timer, Metrolux (both sold thru Calumet) and rhdesigns Stopclock Vario ( They are all very good. I also own a Zone VI VC head but it is really slow, compared to the Aristo single tube. I also tested an Aristo VC head : it is quicker than the Zone VI one, almost as fast as a D2-Hi with a V54 tube. If you develop film in a pyro developer, you'll have some difficulty to print with a VC cold light head. Strangely, a same negative, developed in PMK, needed a contrasty dialing with the Zone VI VC or Aristo VC but printed really well with the V54 tube + n2 filter. There was no difficulty in printing negatives developed with non staining film developer. Make it simple, efficient and economic : buy a D2-Hi with a V54 tube + under the lens filters. And if you can afford it, a compensating timer (Metrolux, Rhdesigns or Zone VI).

-- Philippe Bachelier (, February 12, 2002.

Enrique, I use two of those heads, one with a hi-int tube on a Beseler MXT, the other on an old D2V chasis with the regular head, FWIW, I don't use the newer tube or any correction like a cc40y, i just use about half the contrast filters, and made ringarounds from a projection stepwedge (stouffer) to figure out approx. grades. You won't have any problems *adding* contrast, just trying to get below a grade 1.5-2 might be sorta tough...but then a cc40Y, can come handy there....I haven't used the new tube, but have heard many good things about can also split filter print everything with a -1/5+ only and this works great most of the time. Unless you rig up some sort of homemade filter drawer, you'll have to use the filters under the lens.

The D2 cold head fits down inside the condenser housing for the D2 enlargers...I don't what year/model Omega you have (they only made like a half million of those enlargers...)but you'll need the large 4x5 condenser set, like the bottom portion of the D2V head, or the 4x5 set for the earlier non-variable condenser Omega D's....remove the 2 glass lenses from the metal "pot", as they call it, and place the coldlight inside, with the diffusion piece put in first....remove the tungsten lamp fixture, and run the cords out through the top....the "pot" fits back on to the enlarger chasis....Sorry if this sounds confusing, but it's actually just drops right in place--providing you have the actual components of the condenser head..if not, you may be able to purchase some of this stuff from Aristo, or you may have to dig through the bargain bins....hope this helps, as always:Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my agency.

-- DK Thompson (, February 12, 2002.

enrique - if you find an older aristo D2 cold light head with the w45 light source aristo will put the new tube in it for about $100.00. i am sure they will also make sure the heater is working & that it is as good as new. ... best of luck john

-- jnanian (, February 13, 2002.

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